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Drs. Michael Lauer and Clare Waterman to receive Arthur S. Flemming awards for exceptional federal service

Office of the Director - May 29, 2012

Michael Lauer, M.D., director of the NHLBI Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, and Clare Waterman, Ph.D., chief of the NHLBI Division of Intramural Research's Laboratory of Cell and Tissue Morphodynamics, are among the 12 recipients of this year's Arthur S. Flemming Awards. Established in 1948, the awards recognize outstanding service in all areas of the federal government.

The George Washington University and the Arthur S. Flemming Awards Commission bestow the annual awards in several categories. Lauer received his honor for Managerial or Legal Achievement; Waterman received hers for Basic Science. Congratulations to them both for this recognition of their continuing dedication to and leadership in biomedical research.

Lauer and Waterman join a list of distinguished past recipients, including Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Neil Armstrong, Mary Elizabeth Hanford (now Elizabeth Dole), Robert Gates, journalist John Chancellor, Nobel laureate William Phillips, and NIAID director Anthony Fauci. Lauer, Waterman, and the other 2011 award recipients -- including NCI's Tom Misteli, Ph.D. -- will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 4.

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Lauer was selected for his exceptional leadership at the NHLBI. His award citation reads:

Dr. Lauer has established new principles for managing a $1.7 billion program of basic, translational, and clinical cardiovascular research, has played a key role in setting the national cardiovascular research agenda, and has been exemplary in empowering his staff through creation of an active learning environment. He is a thought leader in cardiovascular comparative effectiveness research and patient-centered outcomes research, including encouraging the conduct of large, simple clinical trials to answer key public health questions during a time of fiscal austerity. He has pioneered the use of streamlined results-based accountability in research decision-making using objective metrics, and has increased the value of large population-based studies by sharpening the focus on clinical outcomes. He has been instrumental in fostering research in neglected populations, and in neglected areas with significant public health and cost implications. Under his inspirational leadership, Dr. Lauer's staff is extremely productive, with hundreds of publications and invitations to represent NHLBI at numerous national and international scientific meetings.

"This is a great honor," said Lauer. "I want to thank my colleagues in the Cardiovascular Sciences Division and in the Office of the NIH Director, NHLBI Acting Director Susan Shurin, and NIH Director Francis Collins for their inspiring support and encouragement. I am most grateful and appreciative."

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Waterman was selected for her world-leading expertise in basic cell biology research. Her award citation reads:

Dr. Waterman has made seminal contributions toward our understanding of fundamental mechanisms of cell migration. Using a quantitative microscopy method she invented known as Fluorescent Speckle Microscopy (FSM), Dr. Waterman’s research has made major advances in our knowledge of how cells self-assemble dynamic, force generating cytoskeletal and cell adhesion structures that physically drive vertebrate tissue cell migration. The ability of vertebrate cells to directionally move is critical to development, immune response, establishment of the vasculature, tissue maintenance, wound healing, and its regulation is compromised in cardiovascular disease and metastatic cancer. 

In addition to her outstanding research contributions, Dr. Waterman has a strong record of scientific leadership, both as the Director of the Cell Biology and Physiology Center in NHLBI, as well as in the greater academic community, evidenced by editorships at prominent journals, [directorship of] intensive short courses, success in faculty recruitment, and numerous invited talks and awards.

"Having spent the first half of my career in a private research institute, it is a particularly great honor to be chosen for the Flemming federal service award," said Waterman. "I came to work at the NIH because I wanted to do research for the benefit of the public. I am thus deeply touched to be honored for my public service and am grateful for the support of the NIH and NHLBI leadership."

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