Three Georgetown Lombardi Leaders Appointed to Federal Advisory Posts

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTON — The director, deputy director and a leading scientist at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center have each been named to high-level scientific advisory posts within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Director Louis M. Weiner, MD, has been named chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology for the National Cancer Institute, a branch of the NIH. The board oversees the activities of the NCI’s intramural branch in Bethesda, Rockville and Frederick, Md., and advises the NCI director on budget and personnel allocations. Weiner’s five-year term on the board began in September 2012, and he was asked to serve as chair beginning Aug. 1, 2013.

“I am honored to assume this leadership role within the BSC among such an esteemed group of my peers,” Weiner says. “The portfolio of high-caliber cancer research carried out with the NCI is vital to the nation’s cancer effort, and I view this as an opportunity to contribute to this important work.” 

Michael B. Atkins, MD, deputy director of Georgetown Lombardi, has accepted a slot on the NIH’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, which advises the NIH director on all human research involving gene therapy in the country, as well as on new developments in recombinant DNA technology. Atkins’ four-year term began Aug. 1, 2013.

Recombinant DNA refers to genetic material formed by bringing together DNA from different sources to create a new structure — or recombining DNA in new ways.

The committee assesses issues surrounding human gene transfer trials, the ability of DNA recombinants to survive in nature and the potential for genetic material to transfer to other organisms. The group also considers the weighty ethical, legal and societal implications of these issues.

“I hope my participation on this committee can contribute to a better understanding of areas where its use can help us raise the bar in biomedical research, especially in cancer, while never losing sight of our obligation to move this research forward in a sensible, responsible way,” Atkins says.

Milton L. Brown, MD, PhD, an associate professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi, has been appointed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to the National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors. The four-year term began in September.

The Board advises the National Toxicology Program leadership on the content of the scientific program, and on the merits of the intramural and collaborative programs. Housed at HHS, the National Toxicology Program is an interagency program that evaluates chemical agents for toxicity and adverse effects on human health.

“While the vast majority of chemical agents used in commercial or household products are not hazardous, it is vitally important that we as a country remain vigilant for the sake of human health,” says Brown, who directs the Center for Drug Discovery at Georgetown University Medical Center. “For me, it is an honor to serve on our nation’s leading board on toxicology and to help contribute to identifying agents in our everyday environment that potentially threaten our health.”

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future.  Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (grant #P30 CA051008), and the only one in the Washington, DC area.  For more information, go to

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health).  GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.”  The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.