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Environmental Factor, May 2015

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NIH names Goldstein scientist emeritus

By Eddy Ball

Joyce Goldstein

The package Zeldin submitted to NIH for Goldstein’s emeritus appointment included glowing letters of recommendation from leading scientists at universities in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Joyce Goldstein, Ph.D., became the latest National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientist emeritus appointed at NIEHS, as part of a recent wave of retirements by senior scientists. On April 3, she joined colleagues Lutz Birnbaumer, Ph.D., and Thomas Eling, Ph.D., who also followed this more indirect path to retirement. Her emeritus status honors the importance of her contributions to biomedical research and her worldwide reputation in her field.

In his announcement of Goldstein’s appointment, Scientific Director Darryl Zeldin, Ph.D., praised her groundbreaking scientific discoveries and enviable productivity. “Dr. Goldstein has published over 160 papers and 25 books and chapters during her illustrious career, and her work has been cited over 12,000 times.”

The culmination of a 46-year career as a federal scientist

Following appointments at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Goldstein accepted a position in 1977 as group leader of the NIEHS Systemic Biology Branch. She became one of the first women scientists to achieve tenure at the institute.

By the 1990s, Goldstein’s research had evolved beyond her original interests in toxicology and animal studies, to center on the identification and characterization of polymorphisms, or variations in a specific DNA sequence, in the human cytochrome P450 family, which metabolizes a number of widely used pharmaceutical drugs. Over the past 25 years, her findings have helped lay the foundation for the development of personalized, precision medicine.

Looking back at her decades of mentoring biomedical researchers, Goldstein said modestly, “I had some good postdocs.” Many of her former students and trainees now hold high-profile positions with government, academic, and private-sector scientific institutions.

Honor and a chance to continue research

As a scientist emeritus, Goldstein no longer receives pay for her work, but she will continue to have office space, library privileges, and network access, as well as limited technical and supply support to continue her research and service. She maintains her position as a member of the NIEHS scientific community, now with the Signal Transduction Laboratory.

Goldstein will continue to write manuscripts and reviews, contribute to editorial boards, and serve on the Faculty of 1000 as a reviewer of outstanding research in her areas of expertise. Her most immediate goal, however, is helping the scientists and trainees in her Human Metabolism Group take the next step in their careers.

(Eddy Ball is a contract writer for the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)

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