The Research Advocate, our award-winning membership newsletter, provides the latest news and information on medical, health and scientific research advocacy, as well as reports from Research!America and member organizations. Regular features include policy articles, profiles of Research!America members, media coverage of research advocacy issues, a column by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley, and important updates to help our members in their own efforts to make research to improve health a higher national priority. For questions or comments contact Jennifer Santisi,

From Research!America

Honorees Announced for the 2017 Advocacy Awards

Distinguished leaders in scientific, medical and health research whose accomplishments have led to groundbreaking discoveries and raised public awareness of life-threatening conditions will be recognized at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on March 15, 2017.

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will receive the Legacy Award for his lifelong devotion to preventing, diagnosing, and treating infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Dr. Fauci is also chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, where he has made numerous important discoveries related to HIV/AIDS and is one of the most-cited scientists in the field. He serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues, and initiatives to bolster medical and public health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats.

Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D.


Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., institute professor, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be recognized with the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership.  Dr. Sharp’s decades of research has focused on the molecular biology of gene expression related to cancer and RNA splicing, which he discovered in 1977. Dr. Sharp is a powerful advocate for cancer research, serving as Chairman of Stand up to Cancer’s (SU2C) Scientific Advisory Committee since the organization’s inception in 2008.

Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D.Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., will receive the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award for leading an outstanding scientific research organization as president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Under his leadership, the institution brought its divisions together on a new campus, formed the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance with the University of Washington and Children’s Hospital and expanded faculty and research activity. Dr. Hartwell has established the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and serves as the university’s second Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine.

The Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award will be given to the Lupus Foundation of America. Since its inception, the Foundation and its national network have provided millions of dollars to support lupus research at the nation’s leading medical institutions, with support for more than 400 lupus research studies conducted at more than 100 medical institutions throughout the U.S. The Foundation is the driving force behind programs that seek to increase public and private investment in lupus research, develop safer and more effective therapies, and improve public, patient and professional awareness of the disease.

The honorees for the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion, the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award and the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy will be announced in the coming weeks.

To learn more about Research!America’s Advocacy Awards visit

Experts Discuss Public Health, Prevention and Future of Research

An emergency public health fund would support rapid response efforts to eliminate major health threats like the Zika virus, according to speakers at Research!America’s 2016 National Health Forum, Thursday, September 8 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “We have a broken process that doesn’t allow us to respond to emergency situations,” said  Anthony Fauci M.D., director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. An emergency fund, he said, would provide immediate resources for the development of a vaccine – resources that would not get tied up in the congressional appropriations process.

Keynote speaker William N. Hait, M.D., Ph.D., global head, Janssen Research & Development. Hait, LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, shared his vision for predicting and preempting disease before illness ever occurs. “If that fails, we should concentrate on nothing short but curing a disease -- one disease at a time, a world without disease,” he said.

The first panel, moderated by Nsikan Akpan, digital science producer, PBS NewsHour, discussed bold initiatives such as the cancer moonshot and the BRAIN initiative which have led to more collaboration between the public and private sector and patient engagement. France A. Córdova, Ph.D., director, National Science Foundation, added that public-private partnerships are taking on new meaning, especially in times of tight budgets.

The second panel, moderated by Natalie Azar, M.D., NBC News medical contributor, touched on the role of prevention research as it relates to emerging infectious diseases, pain management and opioid abuse, antimicrobial resistance and other conditions. Anne Schuchat M.D., principal deputy director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said prevention research challenges our imaginations, specifically “how to catalyze prevention in ways that will gain congressional support and public support.”

Socioeconomic factors that contribute to health disparities such as income inequality must be considered in efforts to reduce the risk of chronic disease, noted Hortensia Amaro, Ph.D., associate vice provost for community research initiatives and dean's professor of social work and preventative medicine, University of Southern California. Reducing medical and diagnostic errors and increasing investments in the health care system would also improve population health, said Andrew B. Bindman, M.D., director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The mission of the Food and Drug Administration was the focus of the third panel, moderated by Geneva Overholser, senior fellow and consultant of the Democracy Fund, and former national syndicated columnist and editor. When asked about agency priorities, FDA commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., said a strong workforce is crucial to regulating science like gene editing. Generating evidence, he noted, is also a priority to ensure the agency has good data to make sound regulatory decisions. 

Other panelists included: Donna Cryer, president and CEO, Global Liver Institute; John W. Danaher, M.D., MBA, president, Elsevier Education, Elsevier; Emil Kakkis, M.D., Ph.D., president and founder, EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases; Albert A. Lauritano, M.S., CLP, director, strategic technology partnerships, BDThe Honorable Kweisi Mfume, former U.S. Representative; Sudip S. Parikh, Ph.D., senior vice president and managing director, DIA Global; Joe V. Selby, M.D., MPH, executive director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute; Stephen D. Silberstein, M.D., FAHS, FACP, professor of neurology, director of the Jefferson Headache Center, Thomas Jefferson University; Jean-Christophe Tellier, M.D., CEO and chairman of the Executive Committee, UCB, Inc.; and Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D., vice chancellor for science policy and strategy; vice dean for research, school of medicine, University of California, San Francisco. 

For more information on the event, photos and videos, visit

Federal Policy Update

The Senate passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) on Wednesday, September 28 to flat-fund the government until December 9, 2016. The House quickly followed suit and the President signed the bill into law Thursday, September 29. The final includes $1.1 billion in funding to address the Zika health crisis.

The CR also includes $37 million to fund the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which combats the opioid crisis and passed through both chambers in July. However, due to pro-rated funding, only about $7 million will be available to implement this law during the 10 weeks of the CR. It is possible that additional funding to implement CARA will be included in the final fiscal year 2017 (FY17) spending bill.

While more than 200 members of the House signed a letter urging the Senate to take up mental health legislation before adjourning last month, the Senate did not act.  The House overwhelmingly passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2626) in July; however, similar Senate legislation is stalled due to debate over gun-related provisions. If compromise language can be reached, the Senate bill may be considered during the lame duck session of Congress. 

House and Senate leaders continue to negotiate in an attempt to secure a version of the 21st Century Cures Act (HR 6) that can pass both Houses of Congress this year. Reportedly, the package currently under discussion includes significantly less mandatory funding for NIH and FDA than the $9.35 billion ($8.75 billion for NIH and $600 million for FDA) in HR 6; however, no legislative language has been made public. 

Research!America’s Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD), held annually the Monday before Thanksgiving, is planned for November 21, 2016. PHTYD is an opportunity to raise awareness about the multi-faceted role public health research and practice plays in protecting and advancing population health, and to express our deep appreciation to the women and men who work in public health at home and abroad.

Oral Health Briefing on the Hill

Fotinos S. Panagakos, DMD, Ph.D.“Prevention is key when discussing oral health, if you can prevent oral diseases, you can prevent other serious health problems” like diabetes, stroke and heart disease, said Fotinos S. Panagakos, DMD, Ph.D., global director, scientific affairs, Colgate-Palmolive Co., during a Capitol Hill briefing on October 4 in Washington, D.C., hosted by Research!America and Colgate-Palmolive. The event, “Oral Health in an Aging Nation: An Unmet Public Health Challenge,” was widely-attended by congressional staff, and research and public health advocates.

One out of five low-income seniors consistently have pain in their mouth while chewing, noted Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., chief economist & vice president, Health Policy Institute, American Dental Association, adding that unmet dental needs affect people’s quality of life, nutrition and overall well-being. Many patients do not go to the dentist because they don’t have dental insurance. Panelists all agreed Beth Truett, B.S., MDivthat Medicare should include dental health benefits for older Americans.

Beth Truett, B.S., MDiv, president and CEO, Oral Health America, discussed the need for stronger support for legislation such as the Older Americans Act Reauthorization of 2016 which includes a provision for oral health screenings. Oral Health America published a report on the current state of oral health among seniors across the country, ranking each of the 50 states on measures such as dental coverage, screenings and access to fluoridated water..   

Other panelists included Michael C. Alfano, DMD, Ph.D., president, Santa Fe Group Professor, dean and executive vice president emeritus, New York University; and Judith Jones, DDS, MPH, DScD, director, Center for Clinical Research professor, Department of Health Policy & Health Services Research and Department of General Dentistry, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

Research!America to Host Town Hall at APHA Annual Meeting

With Election Day close at hand, the public health community is preparing for how a new administration and new Congress will address issues that impact the health and safety of citizens, ranging from the Zika virus to chronic diseases to the opioid epidemic. Research!America is hosting the town hall, "Assuring Public Health and Prevention is a High Priority for Next Congress and President," at American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2016 Annual Meeting at the Colorado Convention Center on Monday, October 31, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m (MST). The panel discussion will touch on critical issues including patient hopes and expectations; the careers of the next generation of public health professionals; and global health security. Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, will moderate the town hall. 

Confirmed panelists include: Julie Gerberding, M.D., MPH, executive vice president for strategic communications, global public policy and population health, Merck; Robert Youle, former board chair, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, attorney and partner at Sherman & Howard, LLC; Morgan McCloskey, MPH, project coordinator, health, wellness and fitness, Colorado State University; David Goff, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., dean, Colorado School of Public Health.

According to a recent public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America, a majority of Americans (78%) say Congress should make health promotion and disease prevention research a priority, compared with other policy areas. For more information on APHA’s Annual Meeting, click here.

Georgia BIO Summit Highlights Value of Innovation

Biotech leaders discussed the value of medical innovation and public perception of drug development at the Georgia BIO Summit on September 28 in Atlanta. During a panel discussion, James Greenwood, president and CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), said it's important to connect the dots for non-scientists and to remind them that innovation is responsible for improved health outcomes. He added that short-sighted policies, outdated laws and regulations can stifle innovation and delay new treatments and cures for patients. Gillian Cannon, president of North American Operations, UCB, Inc., said that the various stakeholders across the health spectrum need to work together to define value and make sure it is optimized for patients. Care coordination is key, she said, to driving value for patients.

Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley said a new survey, supported by the Georgia Research Alliance and other partners, shows that a majority of Georgians say it is important for the state to lead in medical research and science and technology but noted that half of respondents do not believe we are making enough progress in developing new medicines. Many Georgians attributed lack of progress in medical research to the following: too many regulatory barriers (56%), not enough researchers (48%), not spending enough money (46%) and an R&D tax burden that is too high (45%). “Georgians understand that university and private sector research must receive adequate support from both the federal and state governments to help find solutions to what ails us,” Woolley said. To view the survey results, click here.

Campaign for Cures

The much-anticipated first presidential debate occurred with minimal attention to research and health issues, and the vice presidential debate was no different. During the presidential debate on September 26, Clinton mentioned mental health during a discussion on racial tensions, emphasizing that police officers need more support and training on how best to handle difficult situations with individuals suffering from mental illness. But neither candidate touched on the need for faster medical progress or a solid public health system.

With more presidential debates to come, Sunday, October 9 and Wednesday, October 19, research advocates are urging candidates to raise these issues. Research!America has issued an open letter to debate moderators urging them to ask candidates questions on what they will do to fight public health threats, like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Zika. How would candidates ensure research and innovation is a priority for their administration? What would they do in the first 100 days in office to advance research for health?   

Our national voter education initiative Campaign for Cures also continues to press candidates for their views on medical research and innovation. Over 500 quotes have been added to the campaign’s interactive online map, with many candidates across the political spectrum voicing their support for medical research and innovation. View the quotes at

U.S. Investments in Medical and Health R&D Report

Industry, including pharmaceutical, medical technolo­gy, biotechnology and health IT companies, invests more in R&D than other sectors, according to Research!America’s new report. U.S. investments in medical and health research and development (R&D) grew by 13.3% over a three year period (2013 – 2015). However, medical and health R&D represents a small fraction of total spending on health. Currently, the U.S. spends less than 5 cents of every health dollar on R&D to prevent, treat, and cure disease.

In 2015, industry invested 64.7% of total R&D spending, followed by the federal government (22.6%). The majority of federal investments is channeled through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which funds research at universities and businesses in every state, as well as research on NIH’s campuses. Investments from voluntary health associations, professional societies, foundations and state and local governments increased 8.3% from 2013 to 2014 and 16.8% from 2014 to 2015. Universities grew their investments substantially by more than 20% from 2013 to 2015 while independent research institutes increased their spending modestly by just over 3% each year. 

Americans care deeply about advancing research that is supported by both the public and private sector. More than half of those surveyed (56%) say that U.S. spending on research is not enough. Read the full report here.

Microbiome Initiative Webinar

Through genomic sequencing, human beings are now able to recognize more bacteria than we knew were living among us. In fact, we have only cultured 1% of all bacteria on Earth. Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., MPH, executive director and CEO of the American Society for Microbiology, joined Research!America and member organizations for a webinar on Friday, September 16 for a discussion about the microbiome, communities of microorganisms vital to our bodies, our ecosystems, and our world. Bacteria are more important than we may realize. Ocean microbes produce half of the oxygen that we breathe on this planet.

The National Microbiome Initiative supports interdisciplinary research and an integrated workforce for the development of innovative technologies, collecting fascinating new information about this ubiquitous community of microorganisms. Advances in microbiome research will contribute to health care, food production, and environmental restoration, as well as improvements to health across the globe. 

Special Thanks to Our Supporters and Research!America Alliance Members


2016 National Health Research Forum

AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Technology Association)


Astellas Pharma US, Inc.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute

UCB, Inc.

2017 Advocacy Awards


Alzheimer’s Association

Campaign for Cures

Pfizer Inc


Capitol Hill Briefing on Oral Health in Older Adults

Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Program Support

Alzheimer’s Association

Visit for ways to support Research!America.


New Members

MedStar Health Research Institute

New Orleans BioInnovation Center

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing

University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences

Renewing Members

AAALAC International

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association

Annenberg Center for Health Sciences

Association of Clinical Research Organizations

Baylor College of Medicine

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation

Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine

Carnegie Mellon University

The Clinical Research Forum

Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness


FasterCures, The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions

Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research

Galveston National Laboratory

Heat Transfer Research, Inc.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Medical College of Wisconsin

Medical University of South Carolina

National Patient Advocate Foundation

National Psoriasis Foundation

The New York Academy of Medicine

University of California, Riverside

University of Louisville

University of Washington School of Medicine

Van Andel Research Institute


Regular Features

President's Letter

Mary Woolley, President and CEOThis is the time of year for announcements of major science awards and prizes.  So we at Research!America are thrilled to announce our science Advocacy Awards as well (read more on page one). It’s a good time for all of us who care deeply about research and innovation to celebrate, and it’s also an opportunity. This is the time to ‘connect the dots’ for our friends and family, who might take note of a Kavli, Janssen, Lasker, Heinz or Nobel Prize winner in the news. There are many possible conversations  – one builds on the fact that only in recent decades have Americans dominated international science awards, a reflection of the priority the nation placed on science after the Second World War. Not only has science and innovation driven the U.S. economy as a result, but many lives have been saved. You can go on to say that the U.S. hasn’t been prioritizing science and innovation recently, rather taking continued progress a bit too much for granted...this is a risky proposition for a nation that aspires to world-leading science, a thriving economy and better health for all. Which in turn is a very good reason to think carefully about whom to cast your ballot for next month. There will be a new Administration and a new Congress in 2017, the question is will science and innovation be high on the agenda for the members of either or both? Candidates who are elected on platforms placing a high priority on our issues will act on them in office. It’s not too late to reach out to the candidates on your ballot to emphasize that strengthening this nation’s commitment to science and innovation, and with it medical progress, and economic prosperity, is a voting issue for you. One you hope and trust it is one they embrace if they want to win your vote! 

Member Spotlight: American Society for Nutrition

Founded: 1928

Location: Rockville, MD

Mission: To develop and extend knowledge of nutrition of all species through fundamental, multidisciplinary, and clinical research; facilitate contact among investigators in nutrition, medicine and related fields of interest; support the dissemination and application of nutrition science to improve public health and clinical practice worldwide; promote graduate education and training of physicians in nutrition; provide reliable nutrition information to those who need it, and advocate for nutrition research and its application to development and implementation of policies and practices related to nutrition.

Sarah Ohlhorst, M.S., RDThe American Society for Nutrition (ASN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together the world's top researchers, clinical nutritionists and industry to advance our knowledge and application of nutrition for the sake of humans and animals. ASN’s  focus ranges from the most critical details of research and application to the broadest applications in society, in the U.S. and around the world. 

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) brings together the world's top researchers to advance the knowledge and application of nutrition. ASN has more than 5,000 members worldwide working in academia, public health, clinical practice, industry, and government who conduct research to help all individuals live healthier lives. Members can join any of ASN’s three Scientific Councils: Medical Nutrition, Nutritional Sciences, and Global Nutrition; three Interest Groups: Student, Early Career, and China; and 15 Research Interest Sections for networking and collaboration on topics including obesity; maternal, perinatal and pediatric nutrition; and aging and chronic disease. ASN publishes the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition, and Advances in Nutrition.

ASN was founded in 1928 as the American Institute for Nutrition (AIN). In 2005, the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, the American Society for Nutritional Sciences (formerly AIN) and the Society for International Nutrition merged to form ASN. Today, the Society encompasses both research and clinical focuses. An important part of ASN’s mission is to advocate for nutrition research and its application to development and implementation of policies and practices related to nutrition.

“ASN’s primary advocacy goal is to increase federal nutrition research funding, which many of our members rely on to make discoveries that will improve public health,” said Sarah Ohlhorst, MS, RD, Senior Director of Advocacy and Science Policy with the American Society for Nutrition. ASN advocates for basic, clinical, applied and translational nutrition research, focusing on federal sources such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) intramural and extramural programs. ASN advocates for nutrition monitoring conducted jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. ASN points to its Nutrition Research Priorities, as well as the U.S. government’s National Nutrition Research Roadmap, to illustrate the importance of nutrition research and identify gaps in need of future funds. “The advancement of these nutrition research priority areas will have the greatest projected impact on the future health and well-being of global populations,” noted Ohlhorst.

ASN also encourages the next generation of nutrition scientists to participate in the policy arena. ASN’s Science Policy Fellowship provides students and young professionals with the skills and tools necessary to become well-informed advocates for nutrition science and research. Early career scientists from across the country meet with policy makers and federal agencies to highlight the benefits of nutrition research. 

ASN frequently works through coalitions and partnerships with likeminded organizations to enhance its advocacy. “The advocacy efforts of Research!America help to complement ASN’s own efforts to advance nutrition research and to promote research policies that lead to scientific progress and innovation, ultimately improving public health.” said Ohlhorst.

For more information visit



From Washington

Advocates Speak Up for Research on Capitol Hill

More than 300 research advocates from across the country met with congressional staff and voiced their support for robust increases for the National Institutes of Health during the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day on September 22 in Washington, D.C. Research!America was a partner for the event, and led a diverse group of advocates from Illinois to meet with staff members from four congressional offices-- Sen. Richard Durbin (IL-D), Sen. Mark Kirk (IL-R), Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11-D) and Rep. Danny Davis (IL-07-D)-- to discuss the crucial importance of faster medical progress and what it will take to achieve it. The Rally occurred during congressional negotiations around Zika funding and a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running past the 2016 fiscal year.

In the News

Media Matters

Mary Woolley, President and CEO

Medical and Health R&D Investments

The new U.S. Investments in Medical and Health Research and Development report from Research!America providing an overview of R&D investments over the last few years, was highlighted in Bloomberg BNA, POLITICO Pro, Becker’s Hospital Review, and Elsevier. Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley was quoted in BloombergBNA “Steady growth in federal R&D investments is critical to overcoming the ravages of cancer and Alzheimer's, developing vaccines for Zika and other global health threats.”


National Health Research Forum 2016

Research!America’s National Health Research Forum – Straight Talk: New Thinking on Tough Challenges -- featured leaders in government, industry, patient advocacy, scientific societies and academia discussing science, policies and initiatives impacting medical progress, innovation, and public health. BloombergBNA, Elsevier, Medpage Today, Medscape and The Washington Examiner, were among those who published articles about the program. WebMD live-streamed the event and viewers shared messages and joined the conversation on social media. 

Debate Questions on ScienceRush Holt, Ph.D.

An op-ed from Research!America board member and AAAS CEO Rush Holt, Ph.D., and National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt, Ph.D. published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch urges debate moderators to ask presidential candidates questions highlighting the ways in which “scientific and technological advances affect every aspect of our lives.”

Advocates Praise Zika Funding

A CQ Roll Call article about Zika funding featured a quote from Research!America VP of Communications Suzanne Ffolkes. “Given the urgency to develop a Zika vaccine and reduce the threat of the virus to individuals at risk, it’s gratifying that additional funding to support research and prevention strategies to address this public health emergency will be included in a stopgap spending bill.

Alzheimer’s Disease and the Election

Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley penned an op-ed on Disruptive Women in Health Care about the lack of discussion among candidates regarding their plans to advance medical progress and combat Alzheimer’s disease. “Given the tremendous toll of Alzheimer’s disease from both a health and economic standpoint, now is the time for those who care about defeating Alzheimer’s and other health threats to ask candidates their plans for research for health.”

Wade Berrettini, M.D., Ph.D.

Curbing the Opioid Crisis

Wade Berrettini, M.D., Ph.D. professor of psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and affiliated with the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), authored an op-ed for offering  solutions to mitigate the opioid epidemic.



Impact of SuicideGeorges Benjamin, M.D.

In a Voice of America article about the prevalence of suicide and the impact on communities, Research!America board member Georges Benjamin, M.D., director of the American Public Health Association, commented that statistics can change for the better with firearms safety.  


Media Contacts

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VP Communications

Anna Briseño
Communications Manager

America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, technology, science and research.
The Honorable John E. Porter