EPL Employees Selected to Receive NIH Merit Awards
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2014 National Institutes of Health Cross Divisional Merit Awards for the development of the first web-based Nonneoplastic Lesion Atlas and for Operation Clean Sweep. The NIH Merit Award is the highest-level honor award that an Institute Director can give to employees and is presented to recognize scientific and administrative achievements that support and advance the NIEHS mission.
There were 15 individuals recognized for developing and deploying the first web-based Nonneoplastic Lesion Atlas including Dr. Amy Brix, Dr. Melvin Hamlin, Emily Singletary, and Dr. Tom Steinbach from EPL. These individuals are being recognized for successfully developing and publishing the NTP Nonneoplastic Lesion Atlas (NNLA) in 2014. The NNLA is the first of its kind and represents a global toxicology and pathology web-based resource which contains thousands of searchable high-quality images and guidelines for nonneoplastic lesions in experimental rodent models. The NNLA had over 40,000 page views from its launch in January, 2014, through the end of May, 2014, and it has quickly become the ”Gold Standard” for pathologists working with the NTP and throughout the field of toxicology and pathology. The NNLA can be found here.
Operation Clean Sweep was prompted by the Food and Drug Administration following the discovery of vials of smallpox virus in an NIH campus building in July. Operation Clean Sweep consisted of a top-to-bottom inventory of all NIH laboratories which began with all institutes and centers, followed by audits conducted by specialists in occupational safety and health. There were 22 members of the Clean Sweep Team recognized including Kylie Brockenfelt, Leslie Couch, Dr. Thomas Steinbach, and Mary Ellen Sutphin from EPL. Members of the Clean Sweep Team were recognized for having gone above and beyond their call of duty by assisting the NIEHS staff through the various stages of the clean sweep in which team members systematically inspected all the freezers, refrigerators, lab space, and storage areas throughout the facility to identify any biological or select agents that were “discovered” in the lab, to classify biological agents and to identify unwanted items. These unwanted items included numerous hazardous, unwanted or unused chemicals as well as dangerous and unlabeled items. Once the team identified unwanted items, they were inventoried, classified, added to the HSB database system, and properly disposed of. Not only did the team members help the NIEHS comply with the mandatory search of the facility, they also helped make NIEHS a safer environment to work.
An awards ceremony for the recipients was held on December 12, 2014 on the NIEHS Campus in Research Triangle Park, NC.