Five New Members Appointed to National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council

Announcement Date:

Five new members recently joined the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. They are:

Liza D. Cariaga-Lo
Carmen W. Dessauer
Mark A. Peifer
Janet L. Smith
Wilfred A. van der Donk

Liza D. Cariaga-Lo, Ed.D., vice president for academic development, diversity, and inclusion at Brown University in Providence, R.I. Her research examines the impact of social environments, individual psychological attributes and culture on development across the life span. Cariaga-Lo earned a B.S. in human development from the University of California, Davis, and an Ed.D. in human development and psychology from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Carmen W. Dessauer, Ph.D., professor of integrative biology and pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She studies the regulation of adenylyl cyclase, an enzyme that plays key roles in many cellular processes. Dessauer earned a B.S. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Mark A. Peifer, Ph.D., Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor in the department of biology and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research at the interface between cell and developmental biology explores how cell adhesion, cytoskeletal regulation and a cancer-related signal transduction pathway influence cell fate and tissue architecture in development and disease. Peifer earned a B.A. in biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in Boston, Mass.

Janet L. Smith, Ph.D., Margaret J. Hunter Collegiate Professor of Life Sciences and professor of biological chemistry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is also the scientific director of the General Medical Sciences and Cancer Institutes Structural Biology Facility at the Advanced Photon Source, a national user facility for macromolecular crystallography at Argonne National Laboratory. She studies protein structure and function using X-ray crystallography. Smith earned a B.S. in chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wilfred A. van der Donk, Ph.D., Richard E. Heckert Endowed Chair in Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He uses synthetic organic and protein chemistry to address problems at the intersection of chemistry and biology, including the design of new antibiotics and the discovery of new natural products. van der Donk earned a B.Sc. in chemistry from Leiden University in the Netherlands and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

The council, which meets three times a year, is composed of leaders in the biological and medical sciences, education, health care and public affairs. Members serve 4-year terms and perform the second level of peer review for grant applications assigned to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health. Council members also offer advice and recommendations on policy and program development, program implementation, evaluation and other matters of significance to the mission and goals of NIGMS.