EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE | Mon Aug 20 16:42:03 EDT 2012

Celebrating the golden anniversary of a remarkable science agency

Note to journalists: Please report that this research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 20, 2012 — A gallon of regular gasoline cost 31 cents, a first-class postage stamp 4 cents and an office visit to the doctor’s office $5. John F. Kennedy was president. Lawrence of Arabia won the Academy Award for Best Picture. A new band called The Rolling Stones got lots of attention.

It was 1962, and today scientists are gathering here for a special symposium honoring the 50th anniversary of an agency that has improved the health and well-being of millions of people over the last half-century. The event, marking the golden anniversary of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), is part of the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.

“The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has an extraordinary record of achievements that respond to the great challenges facing humanity,” said ACS President Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Ph.D.

The symposium is among several special presidential events being held at the meeting, which continues through Thursday. ACS expects an attendance of 14,000 scientists and others for more than 8,600 reports on new discoveries in science and other topics, plus a major scientific exposition.

“The institute has supported the research of thousands of scientists, and their discoveries are helping society address problems like disease, population growth and malnutrition. We congratulate NIGMS Acting Director Judith H. Greenberg, Ph.D., and its entire staff on this milestone and wish them well for the future.”

The Institute also has advanced scientific progress through research training programs that foster the next generation of scientists, including efforts to encourage underrepresented minorities into careers in biomedical research, Shakhashiri added. He pointed out that NIGMS, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, primarily funds research that lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. That approach in focusing on what sometimes is termed “basic” research, has paid off in multiple practical discoveries in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

NIGMS has funded the research of 74 Nobel laureates, including 38 in physiology or medicine and 36 in chemistry. The agency’s fiscal 2012 budget of $2.43 billion funds the research of more than 4,700 scientists and 4,300 trainees.

Abstracts of scientific presentations at the symposium appear below.

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National Institute of General Medical Sciences 50th anniversary
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