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Tinkle Chairs Session at U.S.-China Symposium

By Eddy Ball
December 2008

Photo of Hal Zenick, Ph.D. at the NCSOT meeting
Tinkle was a prime mover in the development of the NIEHS NanoHealth Initiative and the natural choice to represent NIEHS at the symposium. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Photo of Sam Wilson
Wilson was one the three signers of the NIH proclamation accepting an invitation to co-sponsor the symposium. The others were former NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D., and NCI Director John Niederhuber, M.D. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS Office of the Director Senior Science Advisor Sally Tinkle, Ph.D., attended the First U.S.-China Symposium on Nanobiology and Nanomedicine in Beijing October 21 – 23. At the precedent-setting event, she co-chaired a session on “The Molecular Basis for Engineered Nanomaterial Interactions with Human Health and the Environment” with Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) Professor Zhifang Chai, Ph.D..

The symposium ( NIEHS was sponsored on behalf of NIH by NIEHS and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Chinese sponsors were CAS and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The NIH contingent was led by NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research Michael Gottesman, M.D. Tinkle and NIEHS Acting Director Sam Wilson, M.D., served as members of the U.S. National Steering Committee .

According to Tinkle, the symposium established important ties between U.S. and Chinese nanomaterial/nanomedical investigators, set the stage for partnerships to coordinate and leverage research programs, and was an opportunity to discuss the new NIH/NIEHS NanoHealth Enterprise Initiative with an international audience of materials scientists. “By the close of the meeting,” she said, “we identified several action steps to support these goals — including a web portal for contact information, the cataloguing of resources and potential collaborative projects.”

NIEHS provided four members of the U.S. Select Speaker Faculty participating in the symposium. They included Professor Andre Nel, M.D., Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles; Vicki Colvin, Ph.D., Rice University; Paul Howard, Ph.D., Food and Drug Administration National Center for Toxicological Research; and Brian Thrall, Ph.D., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

As a follow up to the symposium, Tinkle said that Gottesman will contact Director of the Fogarty International Center Roger Glass, M.D., about exploring opportunities for student and post-doctoral exchange programs during his visit to China this month.

According to Tinkle, the symposium was a natural next step in her efforts on the behalf of NIEHS as a member of the NIH Nano Task Force Health Implications Working Group of the Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee since 2004, as NIEHS representative to the NIH Nano Task Force and as chair of the Nanomaterials Health Implications Working Group. “Through its NanoHealth Enterprise Initiatitive, NIEHS increases its scientific leadership position in the fields of nanotoxicology and human health,” Tinkle explained.

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