UTSA hosts Sept. 25 lecture by former NIH biomedical research director Sidney McNairy

Sidney McNairy

Sidney McNairy

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(Sept. 23, 2013) -- The UTSA Research Centers in Minorities Institutions will host a presentation by Sidney McNairy, former director of the Division of Research Infrastructure (DRI) for the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health. McNairy will speak on "Translational Research and Health Disparities: The Nation's Imperative" at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25 in the Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building atrium on the UTSA Main Campus.

After a career spanning 47 years in government and academia, McNairy retired in April after serving 18 years as director of the Division of Research Infrastructure (DRI) for the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As director, McNairy developed and oversaw the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI), Institutional Development Award and Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions programs. Additionally, he directed the Animal and Research Facilities Improvement programs and the Science Education Partnership Awards.

Often described as "a beacon of light for biomedical research in the nation," McNairy championed the idea that researchers in minority-serving and other small and developing institutions can compete with scientists at major institutions if presented with the same resources and opportunities. McNairy is believed to have been the driving force behind the success of many federal grant programs that strengthen biomedical research at both emerging and research-intensive biomedical institutions throughout the nation.

Born in Memphis, Tenn., McNairy developed an interest in science at a young age and became the first in his family to graduate from college. He began his teaching career as a professor of biochemistry at Southern University in Baton Rouge and later directed the university’s Health Research Center. In addition to his academic career, McNairy held many visiting scientist appointments at companies and federal agencies including Pfizer, Eli Lily, General Electric, Standard Oil of California and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recipient of numerous accolades, honors and awards, McNairy has received nine honorary doctoral degrees and several Director Awards from NIH. In June, McNairy led an NIH delegation to the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting in Germany, an accomplishment he described as one of the highlights of his career.

McNairy earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, and both his master's and doctoral degrees in biochemistry from Purdue University.

The Seminars in Translational Research series brings together investigators from basic clinical and social sciences to highlight the multidisciplinary and varying stages of translating research discoveries from the laboratory bench to the bedside and ultimately the community.

The monthly seminars are jointly sponsored by the UTSA Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI), the Health Science Center Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS)/Novel Clinical and Translational Methodologies, and the joint UTSA-UT Health Science Center San Antonio graduate program in biomedical engineering.

The RCMI program is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) (support transferred from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). The IIMS is supported by the CTSA program in the NCATS Division of Clinical Innovation, which supports a national consortium of medical research institutions.