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Congratulations to Presidential Early Career Award Winners

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently announced winners of the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

By Patricia Kobor

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently announced winners of the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Two psychological scientists were among the twelve NIH-supported researchers to receive the prestigious awards. The winners were honored in a ceremony at the White House with President George W. Bush on Friday, Dec. 19, 2008.

Laura Elena O’Dell, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, El Paso, won for her research on the neural bases of addiction. O’Dell’s work, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, focuses on the effects of nicotine exposure and withdrawal on molecular targets related to stress. She received her BS in Psychology from Texas A & M, and her MS and PhD degrees from Arizona State University.

Francis S. Lee, directs a laboratory at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College that focuses on basic molecular and neural mechanisms relevant to neuropsychiatric disorders. He uses genetic models to delineate the role of growth factors in complex behaviors related to the pathophysiology and treatment of affective disorders. Lee received his undergraduate degree with high honors in Psychology from Princeton University, and an MD and PhD from the University of Michigan.

According to NIH, the PECASE program demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to leadership in the sciences. Since its inception in 1996, the PECASE program has sought to enhance connections between fundamental scientific research and national goals. NIH's PECASE winners have achieved excellence in multiple disciplines of biomedical research and have complemented their research efforts with a strong commitment to education and mentorship in their communities.