In honor of The NICHD Connection’s nine year anniversary, I want to share an experience I had at the April Director’s brown bag coffee.

NICHD Director Dr. Diana Bianchi sat at the circular arrangement of tables hosting nearly 40 NICHD staff and scientists. She was about to share her experience testifying before the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee on April 2, but first donned a pair of darkly tinted shades—having left her standard prescription glasses in the car. Looking like a rock star, she exclaimed “Everyone should feel good!” Dr. Bianchi clearly considered the congressional hearing a success.

While we listened to her stories about questions from the subcommittee, what struck me most were her comments about the overwhelming support for biomedical research. She relayed the sense of hope that NIH provides to the Congress members’ constituents, and in some cases their own personal lives, upon hearing the descriptions of NICHD work. “So much of it is educating the members [of Congress] about what we do,” she explained. As we continued the brown bag meeting, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement of listening to the strategic planning that could affect the direction and funding of child health and human development research on a large scale.

In light of the impactful research of our fellows, this month we are focusing on just that this month: your research. Former fellow Dr. Gülcan Akgül’s work on inhibitory interneurons in the mouse hippocampus can be found on the front page, and several Three-minute-Talk (TmT) finalists and semifinalists have offered a three-sentence recap of their work.

To round out our anniversary issue, we introduce our new NICHD fellows, relay important updates in Dr. Suna Gulay’s “Rep Report,” and present the June Announcements and Events, including upcoming 2019 summer training opportunities.

Thank you to all of the fellows who have helped make these nine years of The NICHD Connection such an enjoyable experience. I look forward to another year ahead!

Your Editor in Chief,
Dr. Shana R. Spindler, PhD

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