Where were you born?
What school did you attend?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Michigan State University
What gained your interest in the NIH?
I originally came to do my postdoctoral research at a specific Lab in the NIH (NHLBI) which was world-known in renal physiology. My doctoral thesis work had been in prostaglandin biochemistry in the kidney and I planned an independent research career pursuing physiological questions in the kidney from a molecular and biochemical approach, something quite new at the time in the renal field. My postdoctoral research worked so well that I was offered a tenure-track principal investigator position at the NIH. I was tenured five years later and led my own independent research lab for 15 years. The principal topic of my independent research was gene regulation by osmotic stress in the mammalian kidney and how the molecular mechanisms compared to other organisms under such stress throughout the evolutionary chain (e.g., plants in drought, microorganisms in the Dead Sea, etc.).
What kind of work do you do at the NIH?
After 15 years leading independent research in my own lab, I was asked to work directly with the Deputy Director for Intramural Research, NIH Office of the Director, to help oversee all the research conducted in NIH facilities and create policies and programs conducive to facilitate such research. Please see: https://oir.nih.gov/about and https://oir.nih.gov/about/leadership-staff/arlyn-garcia-perez One of the first programs I created was the pilot for the NIH Academy, a post-baccalaureate research programs for individuals who are also devoted to elimination of domestic health disparities. The pilot went on for 12 years, with 10-15 individuals per year. It transitioned successfully into a bigger program in 2011 (see: https://www.training.nih.gov/programs/academy ).