October 17, 2008

Chalkley to lead task force on research needs

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Roger Chalkley, Ph.D.

Chalkley to lead task force on research needs

Roger Chalkley, Ph.D., has been elected by the National Academies of Science as chair of the Committee to Study the National Needs for Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Personnel.

Over the course of two years, this task force will conduct a review and prepare a report to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Quality Research (AHRQ) on issues regarding research personnel needs.

“This committee is exploring a vitally important question — how we should educate, train and provide opportunities for the next generation of scientists,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the School of Medicine and associate vice chancellor for Research. “I'm proud that the National Academies looked to Roger to help find the answers.”

“Throughout my entire educational career, I have been funded by the NIH, so of course I am pleased to repay the system by serving, although it is a lot of work,” said Chalkley, who is senior associate dean of Biomedical Research Education and Training.

The focus of the committee will be gathering and analyzing information regarding the employment and education trends of research scientists in the biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences, as well as oral health, nursing and health services research.

The analysis will also consider the demographic changes in the United States, the current economic crisis and changes in scientific opportunity.

Eventually the report will make recommendations on workforce levels and should play a key rote in future funding decisions for training grants and M.D./Ph.D. programs.

“This is a great opportunity to have someone from Vanderbilt serving on this committee,” Chalkley said. “It helps put Vanderbilt in the spotlight and makes us highly visible.”

Chalkley was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford, in Chemistry and conducted his postdoctoral research in gene regulation and chromatin structure in the laboratory of James Bonner at CalTech. After serving 20 years in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Iowa School of Medicine, Chalkley came to Vanderbilt in 1986.

He recently was named president-elect of the American Association of Medical Colleges group on Graduate Research Education and Training.