Researchers Appointed to New National Science Review Program

Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard and Lea Vacca-Michel will serve on biomedical research panels

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Lea Vacca-Michel and Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard

Acquiring research funding from government and educational organizations is a highly competitive process. The National Institutes of Health distributed more than $20 billion in grants and contracts for university and industry research in 2010. All were awarded through a peer-review process involving experts from all science, technology and humanities disciplines.

Rochester Institute of Technology will have two of its up-and-coming faculty-researchers participate in this process. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard and Lea Vacca-Michel were recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health Early Career Reviewer Program, part of the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

The NIH piloted the program this year to develop the pool of qualified researcher-reviewers. Engaged early in their academic careers, the experience of writing critiques, scoring applications and participating in formal review discussions is expected to prepare the program candidates to being full-fledged reviewers and assist them in developing their own grant applications.

The Center for Scientific Review sought out recommendations from U. S. universities for candidates who have active research programs, have published in peer-reviewed journals and who have not yet participated as independent reviewers with the organization.

Both RIT faculty members have expertise in the areas of biomedical technologies and biological systems, areas where their expertise may be sought for review panels. Lamkin-Kennard is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. Her work focuses on the use of computational and physical models to simulate integrated human physiological systems, particularly related to microcirculatory, cardiovascular and cellular systems biology. She has been at RIT since 2006.

Vacca-Michel’s background is in biophysics and structural biology, biochemistry and protein nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The assistant professor of biochemistry in RIT’s College of Science began teaching at RIT in 2009.