ARCHIVED= Staff Changes | National Institute on Aging
About NIA

NACA meeting: May 19-20, 2009

Staff Changes

Dr. Alexander Parsadanian joined the Scientific Review Branch as a Scientific Review Officer. Dr. Parsadanian received his B.S. and M.S. in Biophysics from Yerevan State University, Armenia, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Institute of Molecular Biology, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow. From 1984 to 1992 he worked at the Institute of Biochemistry of the Armenian Academy of Sciences as a Senior Scientist and the Leader of the Genetic Engineering Group. In 1992, he joined the laboratory of Dr. H. Thoenen in the Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1995, he moved to the U.S. and worked as a Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr. W. Snider in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. In 1999, Dr. Parsadanian joined the laboratory of Prof. D. Choi in the same Department, where he was promoted to a Research Assistant Professor. In 2002, Dr. Parsadanian established his own laboratory in the Department of Neurology, and in 2008 he was promoted to Associate Professor of Neurology. His research focused on the mechanisms of neuronal cell death and on the in vivo effects of neurotrophic factors on neurons during development, injury, and in neurodegenerative diseases with particular emphasis on motoneuron diseases. Dr. Parsadanian is a recipient of several grants including two from NIH, author of more than 30 scientific papers, and holds several patents.

Dr. Rebecca J. Ferrell also joined the Scientific Review Branch as their newest Scientific Review Officer. Dr Ferrell is a biological anthropologist with expertise in skeletal pathology and aging, dental microstructure and development, demography, and reproductive aging. She comes to NIA from Howard University, where she was an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and conducted NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)-funded research in dental anthropology. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Population and Health where she worked on the Biodemographic Models of Reproductive Aging project. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes in the areas of dental anthropology, paleodemography, and reproductive aging. Dr. Ferrell received her B.A. in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary. Her M.A. and Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology are from Pennsylvania State University, where she was a Fulbright grantee for her dissertation research reconstructing past health and population dynamics.

Dr. Kevin Kinsella joined the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) as a Health Scientist Administrator/demographer. Dr. Kinsella comes to the NIA from the U.S. Census Bureau where he served as Chief of the Aging Studies Branch in the International Programs Center. In his role at Census, he authored numerous publications on aging populations, prepared demographic estimates, and managed agreements that funded the Bureau’s aging-related activities and collaborations. Dr. Kinsella served as Study Director during a two-year detail at the National Research Council where he directed two BSR-sponsored panels which resulted in programmatically important National Research Council (NRC) volumes: Preparing for An Aging World: The Case for Cross-National Research and Cells and Surveys - Should Biological Measures be Included in Social Science Research? He is also the primary author of two recent publications of significant programmatic importance to BSR: The Health and Retirement Study: Growing Older in America and Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective. In his new role in BSR, he will be responsible for the management and development of an increasingly interdisciplinary demography of aging portfolio along with other members of the Population and Social Processes Branch. He conducted his graduate coursework in sociology at Cornell University.

Dr. Lyndon Joseph joined the Geriatrics Branch of the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG) in March. Dr. Joseph, an Exercise Physiologist, was an Assistant Professor in the Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore with a joint Research Fellow appointment in the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at The Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His research focused on the effects of exercise and weight loss on metabolic abnormalities that are usually associated with aging such as diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, specifically in insulin-dependent and -independent skeletal muscle signaling mechanisms regulating insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in sedentary overweight/obese older men and women. Dr. Joseph received his doctorate degree in Physiology from Pennsylvania State University, his Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Northeastern University, and his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. John Fisher College. He completed his Post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the Division of Gerontology and his Cardiac Rehabilitation internship at Boston University Medical Center. He has 23 peer reviewed publications and has written several review chapters on the effects of exercise and weight loss on the metabolic abnormalities of aging and obesity.

Mr. Michael O'Donnell joined the Intramural Research Program as the new Principal Administrative Officer. Prior to coming to NIA, Mr. O'Donnell was employed by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) where he served as the Deputy Director of the Administrative Services Division. In addition to his duties as the USDA's Continuity of Operations Level Three Site Manager, he was a lead in developing the Division's five-year strategic plan, its annual performance plan, and its annual budget request and execution plan. At USDA, he also served as Acting Director, Civil Rights Division; Acting Branch Chief, Property Management Branch; and Head of the Space Management Section. A winner of multiple certificates of merit for outstanding performance, Mr. O'Donnell received the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary's Honor Award for his work on Salmonella Sampling Coordination.

Dr. John Hsiao joined the Division of Neuroscience (DN) as a Health Science Administrator in charge of the Biomarkers and Diagnosis Program in the Dementias of Aging Branch. Dr. Hsiao is a physician, graduating from the University of Maryland, and completing residency training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He completed a nuclear medicine residency at the NIH Clinical Center. Before joining NIA, Dr. Hsiao was at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), beginning in their Intramural Program and moving to their Extramural Program in 1994. Through various re-organizations at NIMH, he led research programs in neuroimaging, schizophrenia, clinical neuroscience, and clinical treatment trials. He was the Project Officer for NIMH's Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) – two randomized clinical trials comparing newer and older antipsychotics in patients with schizophrenia and in patients with Alzheimer's disease and psychosis. He continues to evaluate and treat people with serious mental illness. Dr. Hsiao is a Captain in the Public Health Service.

Dr. Andrew Monjan, Chief of the Neurobiology of Aging Branch, DN, retired from Federal service in April 2009. After receiving his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Rochester in 1965, he completed post-doctoral studies as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurophysiology at the University of Rochester’s Center for Brain Research. He subsequently held joint appointments in the Departments of Psychology and of Physiology at the University of Western Ontario, and then went on to obtain an M.P.H. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1970 under an NIH Community Trainee Fellowship. Following a decade within the Department of Epidemiology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, he joined the NIH in 1983 as an extramural program officer at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Two years later, he joined NIA. A founding member of the Trans-NIH Sleep Research Coordinating Committee, he fostered the development of sleep research throughout NIH, served as the Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, participated in the development of a National Sleep Research Disorders Center within the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and was an active advisor to the extramural community to promote a better understanding of sleep, health, and aging. He also played an early and continuing role in the development of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, where he served on the Blueprint Coordinating Committee and was a member of several project teams. He served as the NIA liaison to NASA, wherein he worked with NASA, other NIH Institutes, and international partners to develop and implement the first in-flight biomedical space research laboratory as part of the Neurolab Spacelab mission (STS90), and on NASA’s shuttle mission STS95. Within NIA, he served as the first Acting Associate Director of the Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program (now the Division of Neuroscience), was the project officer for the first national controlled randomized clinical trial of a drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and subsequently developed strong research programs relating to neuroimmunology, neuroendocrinology, sensory and motor function, sleep, prion diseases, and their relationships to the aging process. Dr. Monjan has received several awards, including the NIH Director’s Award and NIH Award of Merit, in recognition for his achievements at NIA. He will receive a Special Achievement Award from the Sleep Research Society at their annual meeting in June.