Alumni Newsmakers
June 2, 2010 |  by Dale Keiger

Howard B. Dickler, A&S ’64, has been appointed the first chief operating officer of the new National Institutes of Health Center for Human Immunology, Autoimmunity, and Inflammation in Bethesda, Maryland. The trans-NIH CHI has been created to probe the human immune system in great depth using multiple high-throughput multiplex platforms both in normal individuals and disease states.

Robert Ford, A&S ’80, SAIS ’83, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, has been nominated by President Obama as the U.S. ambassador to Syria. If confirmed by the Senate, Ford will be the first U.S. ambassador to Damascus since February 2005. Ford’s appointment is expected to advance U.S. interests by improving communication with Syria.

Cui Tiankai, SAIS ’87, was appointed vice minister of foreign affairs in January by China’s State Council.

Gregg Semenza, Med ’90 (PGF), a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is one of seven recipients of the 2010 Canada Gairdner Awards, which honor groundbreaking medical research behind cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, and malaria treatments. Semenza is being honored for a discovery that led to therapies to block or stimulate responses to low oxygen levels. Tumors seeking oxygen to grow stimulate production of new blood vessels to access more oxygen, but by blocking this response, tumor growth is decreased.

Francesco Clark, A&S ’00, an entrepreneur who sur­vived a tragic pool diving acci­dent more than seven years ago, was featured in a January episode of the PBS documentary This Emotional Life. Clark, who was paralyzed by the accident, suffered through a deep depression, but eventually his resilience and optimistic attitude led him to an opportunity to help himself and others with his natural skin care line, Clark’s Botanicals.

Wes Moore, A&S ’01, shared his remarkable twist-of-fate story in his newly released book, The Other Wes Moore, with an April 27 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. His is the tale of two kids with the same name, living in the same city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar and decorated combat veteran, while the other is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder.