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Loré Anne McNicol, Ph.D., director of NEI’s Division of Extramural Research (DER), has received a 2007 Presidential Meritorious Rank Award. These prestigious awards are given to a select group of senior federal executives who have provided exceptional service to the American people.
As director of DER, Dr. McNicol oversees the planning, implementation, coordination, and evaluation of a $570 million research and training grant portfolio that supports more than 1600 vision research projects across the nation and around the world. Since becoming DER director in 1999, Dr. McNicol has overseen the investment of significant amounts of new funding in high-impact research programs that have attracted investigators new to vision research. This resulted in creation of new NEI grant opportunities, such as a pilot program for innovative research. As a result, grant applications have increased 25 percent.
Another new DER initiative was the Collaborative Translational Research Program. Researchers organized multidisciplinary teams to develop new treatments for eye diseases. A major success was the study showing that gene therapy could restore the vision of dogs that have an inherited blinding gene mutation. This breakthrough led to plans for a clinical trial that will test the safety and effectiveness of this treatment for patients with the identical gene mutation.
Dr. McNicol also helped develop a major electronic grants administration tool now in wide use at NIH, served with distinction on the Bioengineering Research Consortium, and co-authored a book on reparative medicine. Dr. McNicol received her Ph.D. in medical sciences from Boston University School of Medicine, and has had faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, California Institute of Technology, and the University of Maryland.