NIH selects Geiger as chair of vital NIH neurological study section

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Jonathan D. Geiger, PhD, in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, to serve as the chair of the NeuroAIDS and End-Organ Diseases (NAED) Study Section for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR). Geiger will serve a two-year term beginning July 1, 2017. At the UND SMHS, he is the principal investigator for the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant on Pathophysiological Signaling in Neurodegenerative Diseases, and multiple other NIH grants.

Geiger has served as a regular member of the NAED-grant-review study section since July 2013, and over that time, he has often served as the alternate chair. His workload for the NIH study section will increase accordingly.

“This is quite an honor for Dr. Geiger and for UND,” said UND Vice President for Health Affairs and SMHS Dean Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, “because he might be the only faculty member at UND to serve in such a capacity.”

“I have valued the advice and feedback that I have received from Dr. Geiger over the years,” said Grant McGimpsey, PhD, UND vice president for Research & Economic Development and dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “This appointment is yet further affirmation—although none is necessary—of the high regard that Dr. Geiger is held by his colleagues in the scientific community.”

Geiger’s selection is a significant recognition by his peers that he is doing excellent work and that his reasoned opinion matters. He has served on over 100 such study sections during his career and has chaired dozens of these interesting but intense meetings, where he gets to interact with some of the very best scientists nationwide and he gets to read some very impressive applications for grant funding.

The National Institutes of Health is the nation's medical research agency and the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in the United States.

The Center for Scientific Review is the gateway for NIH grant applications and their review for scientific merit. The CSR organizes the peer-review groups or study sections that evaluate the majority (70%) of the research grant applications sent to the NIH. The CSR’s peer-review system has enabled the NIH to fund fundamental, cutting-edge research that years later led to new treatments, which have allowed millions to leave their doctor’s office with new drugs and cures for diseases

70 percent of major drugs have been developed or made possible by NIH-funded research.

80 percent of the Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine were awarded to or shared by NIH scientists since 1964.

1.33 million deaths are prevented each year because of NIH research advances in treating or preventing cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

“This is a very special honor for me because few people serve as grant review study section chairs,” Geiger said. “The confidence placed in my leadership abilities almost certainly comes from a recognition by my peers and by the NIH that I have sound scientific judgment and that I understand how essential honesty, passion, and integrity are to the grant review process. This adds a tremendous amount of work to my already busy workload, but interacting with my peers serving on this study section is enlightening, informative, and incredibly educational. Serving on these committees is something that I look forward to and value greatly.”



Denis F. MacLeod

Assistant Director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations

University of North Dakota

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