This year the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will invest nearly $30 billion into medical research. Many faculty members at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine apply their scientific expertise to help determine where that funding will go.
They do this by participating in NIH study sections, peer review groups through the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review. Study section members evaluate many of the applications for the agency’s nearly 30,000 competitive research grants.
Most recently, Dane Chetkovich, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Physiology, as well as Brian Mustanski, PhD, associate professor in Medical Social Sciences and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, have accepted invitations to join two of these study sections. Their membership is effective immediately.
“Selection by the NIH for study section membership reflects our faculty members’ standing in their research communities,” said Rex Chisholm, PhD, vice dean of Scientific Affairs and Graduate Education. “We are delighted to have Drs. Chetkovich and Mustanski, as well as all the other faculty currently serving on study sections, contribute to the peer review process that forms the basis of the NIH grant award process.”
Members are selected based on demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific disciplines, including research accomplishments, publications, activities and honors. Part of their responsibility is to survey the status of research in their fields of science.
“Becoming a member of a study section at the NIH allows a scientist to play an important role in identifying research projects that are the most meritorious,” said Dr. Chetkovich. “By providing thorough and fair reviews we serve the scientific community. By identifying projects that are most likely to lead to breakthroughs and improve health, we serve the public. This latter opportunity is especially meaningful to me as a practicing physician.”
Dr. Chetkovich joins the Clinical Neuroplasticity and Neurotransmitters Study Section for a term through June 2018. Mustanski is a new member of the Behavioral and Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS Study Section through June 2020.
“I have been very fortunate to receive research funding from NIH, and I see service on study section as a way to pay it forward,” said Mustanski. “It is also an excellent opportunity to keep a finger on the pulse of what kinds of issues are routinely raised during the grant review process. Having this knowledge can make me a much more effective mentor to my junior colleagues as they prepare their grant applications.
“Serving on the study section is an excellent opportunity to get to know other leaders in the field of HIV research, and I hope that future collaborations will emerge from these connections.”