NIDDK Director's Update Summer 2022

Commendations & Commencements


Dr. Diana Cummings

Dr. Diana Cummings joined NIDDK as a program officer for research on gut-brain-microbiome-nutrition interactions related to digestive disorders and obesity in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition. Prior to joining NIDDK, she was a scientific review officer for a standing study section that reviews research on translational neural devices at the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Dr. Ashley Frakes

Dr. Ashley Frakes joined NIDDK as a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator in NIDDK’s Genetics and Biochemistry Branch. Frakes will lead the new Glial Biology Section.

Dr. R. Dwayne Lunsford

Dr. R. Dwayne Lunsford joined NIDDK as a program director in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition. Previously he was deputy director of the Therapeutic Development Branch at NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and director of the Microbiology Program and Coordinator for the Small Business portfolio at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Dr. Andrew Lutas

Dr. Andrew Lutas joined NIDDK as a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator and acting section chief of NIDDK’s Neuromodulation and Motivation Section in the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch.

Dr. Quan Wang

Dr. Quan Wang joined NIDDK as a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator and acting section chief of the Nanoscale Single-Molecule Dynamics Section in NIDDK’s Laboratory of Chemical Physics.


Dr. Behdad (Ben) Afzali

Dr. Behdad (Ben) Afzali, Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator and section chief in NIDDK’s Kidney Diseases Branch received the American Society of Clinical Investigation’s 2022 Young Physician-Scientist Award. Afzali was recognized for his notable research achievements on the basic mechanisms of tissue inflammation, its resolution and healing.

Dr. Barbara Rehermann

Dr. Barbara Rehermann, section chief in NIDDK’s Liver Diseases Branch, was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology. Rehermann was elected on her scientific achievements and contributions that have advanced microbiology.

Fond Farewell

Dr. Peggy Hsieh

Dr. Peggy Hsieh, director of NIDDK’s Fellowship Office and section chief in the Genetics and Biochemistry Branch, is retiring after 39 years at NIH. As Director of the Fellowship Office, Hsieh provided service, support, mentorship and training to fellows in NIDDK’s Division of Intramural Research and supported various fellow-led initiatives including a virtual seminar series called “Trainees Recognizing Excellence and Diversity in Science,” or TREaDS. The series features presentations and discussions with leading scientists from underrepresented groups around the country. Hsieh won the Nancy Nossal Mentorship Award in 2019 for her commitment to excellence in mentoring. In her lab, she focused her studies on molecular mechanisms of DNA repair pathway and the consequences to a cell when repair is missing or defective.

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