University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

NIH selects Jonathan Geiger to serve on vital neurological study section

Jonathan D. Geiger, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor and principal investigator for the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant on Pathophysiological Signaling in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been selected to serve on the NeuroAIDS and Other End-Organ Diseases Study Section for the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Center for Scientific Review (CSR). Geiger will serve a term beginning July 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2019.

"Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors," said Richard Nakamura, director of the Center for Scientific Review at the NIH, when he informed UND President Robert Kelley of Geiger's selection.

The National Institutes of Health is the nation's medical research agency and the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in the United States.

"This is a great recognition for our work and for me," Geiger said. "Although this represents a great deal of additional work for me, it is a huge recognition by your peers that you are doing excellent work and that your reasoned opinion matters. I have served on 80 such study sections over my career and have chaired over a dozen of these interesting but intense meetings. As always, I look forward to participating in study sections because you get to interact with some of the very best scientists nationwide and you get to read some very impressive applications for grant funding."

The Center for Scientific Review is the gateway for NIH grant applications and their review for scientific merit. The CSR organizes the peer-review groups or study sections that evaluate the majority (70%) of the research grant applications sent to the NIH. The CSR's peer-review system has enabled the NIH to fund fundamental, cutting-edge research that years later led to new treatments, which have allowed millions to leave their doctor's office with new drugs and cures for diseases:

  • 70% of major drugs have been developed or made possible by NIH-funded research.
  • 80% of the Nobel Prizes in Physiology/Medicine were awarded to or shared by NIH scientists since 1964.
  • 1.35 million deaths are prevented each year because of NIH research advances in treating or preventing cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

"I want to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of Dr. Geiger's participation in assuring the quality of the NIH peer-review process," Nakamura said.

-- Denis MacLeod, assistant director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, (701) 777-2733, denis.macleod@med.und.edu