June 3, 2005

Boothby elected to biology group’s board

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Kim Halliburton

Boothby elected to biology group’s board

Mark Boothby, M.D., associate professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, was recently selected to serve on the board of directors for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). FASEB is the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States, with 22 societies and more than 65,000 members.

Boothby was selected as one of two representatives from the American Association of Immunologists (AAI), of which he is a longtime member.

FASEB's mission “is to enhance the ability of biomedical and life scientists to improve, through their research, the health, well-being and productivity of all people.”

The group is actively involved in mobilizing its member societies, generating ongoing communication with legislators and working to enact changes in government policy concerning research issues.

Board members are charged with making sure the organization stays true to its principles, setting priorities and providing oversight of the overall business aspects of this large organization, Boothby said.

“It is a great honor to be able to represent the AAI, which is the leading national organization dedicated to the advancement of research into immune diseases and defenses against infections,” says Boothby.

He is serving on the finance committee for AAI for his second term, along with now representing the group on the FASEB board of directors.

Boothby says he was pleasantly surprised to be chosen to represent AAI on FASEB's board of directors, and is committed to being an active representative of the scientific community.

“In serving on the board, a goal and duty are to try to gauge and appropriately represent the interests of the overall constituency of working scientists,” he said.

Boothby's own research involves the regulation of lymphocyte survival and function by signaling and transcription mechanisms. As a researcher, the issues addressed by FASEB directly affect him and his colleagues.

Boothby noted two main issues that are FASEB priorities with particular significance to him — he says that with his “four hats” of private citizen, member of the Vanderbilt community, representative of the AAI, and member of the FASEB board of directors, the issues of NIH budgeting and international visa-issuing policies for visiting scientists are most relevant to him.

The government funding of, and plans for cutbacks at, the National Institute of Health currently represent a high priority issue for FASEB, along with legislation on embryonic stem cells, changes to the visa-issuing policy, and NIH Conflict of Interest regulations.

FASEB utilizes its member societies, under the guidance of its board of directors, in letter-writing campaigns, lobbying efforts, and in other situations where strength in numbers is particularly effective.

According to Boothby, however, all members of the community need to be involved.

“With our elected representatives, working scientists are the most effective people for communicating the vision and needs of the scientific community,” he said.

For more information about FASEB's efforts, visit www.FASEB.org.