What We Do:
The Scientific Review Branch administers the initial peer review of extramural grant applications and contract proposals solicited by NIDA. These include applications for Research Projects (R01, R21, RM1), Planning grants (R34), Program Projects and Research Centers (P30, P50), Cooperative Agreements (U01, UM1, U19), Research Career Development Awards (K99/R00, K12), Institutional Training Grants (T32), Research Education (R25), Research Resources (R24), Conference Awards (R13), Pioneer Awards (DP1, PD2), SBIR/STTR (R41,R42,R43, R44) applications and Contract proposals (N01).
- Convene Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs) or NIDA standing study sections for peer-review of applications and contract proposals
- Implement NIH peer review policies
- Participate in the development of Funding Opportunity Announcements
- Conduct grantsmanship/outreach activities for the scientific community
Who We Are:
Dr. Dharm Rathore – Branch ChiefImage
Dr. Rathore is Chief of the Scientific Review Branch (SRB) at NIDA’s Division of Extramural Research. He has 12+ years of experience in managing scientific peer review of research grant applications, cooperative agreements, and R&D contracts at the NIH. Each year, SRB manages the peer review of 1000+ grant applications and contract proposals received in response to 40+ funding opportunity announcements. Dr. Rathore has overseen and managed the peer review for a large breadth of funding instruments involving multi-project (UM1, U19, P01, P30, P50, etc.) and single project (R01, U01, R34, G11, R24, etc.) initiatives for basic and translational research centers, complex Consortia, Networks, Leadership Groups, and Clinical Trial Units. Before joining NIDA, Dr. Rathore was Chief of the AIDS Research Review Branch at NIAID, NIH. Before that, Dr. Rathore was an Assistant Professor (2003-08) with the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech. in Blacksburg, VA.
Dr Ipolia Ramadan – Section ChiefImage
Dr. Ipolia Ramadan is a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) and Section Chief in the Scientific Review Branch at NIDA. Prior to joining NIDA, she was a Health Program Specialist at NINDS where she supported extramural research in the areas of neuroimmunology, neurovirology, neuro-AIDS, stroke, and CNS and PNS tumors. Dr. Ramadan received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Georgetown University and completed her postdoctoral training at the NIA Intramural Research Program. At NIA, Dr. Ramadan’s research primarily focused on the effect of mood stabilizers on brain arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid metabolism and signal transduction in animal models of neuroinflammation, HIV, and bipolar disorder. Her scientific expertise is in the areas of neurotransmission, neuroreceptors trafficking and signaling, neuropharmacology, and neuroimaging.
Dr. Preethy Nayar – Section ChiefImage
Dr. Preethy Nayar joined NIDA as a Scientific Review Officer in 2021 and serves as the Chief, Section B, in the Scientific Review Branch, Division of Extramural Research. She previously worked as an SRO at the Center for Scientific Review. After receiving her medical degree from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India, she completed her residency in Otorhinolaryngology at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. Dr. Nayar received her PhD in Health Services Organization and Research from Virginia Commonwealth University. Before joining the NIH, she was a tenured associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a Research Scientist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska. Her research focused on place-based and racial/ ethnic disparities in outcomes and access to health care for patients with chronic conditions. She also investigated patient and health care provider perspectives of the quality of health care services for Veterans who accessed the VA and non-VA health systems.
Dr. Gerald McLaughlin – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Gerald McLaughlin (Jerry) graduated from UC Berkeley (AB, biochemistry) and the University of Iowa (PhD, biology). After NIH, NSF and NRC postdocs at Notre Dame, Texas A&M University Medical School and the Centers for Disease Control, he was a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University, and the Indiana School of Medicine. His research was continuously funded by multiple agencies and companies, he mentored multiple undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral trainees, published 64 peer-reviewed papers, and reviewed for multiple journals, agencies and companies. He was deputy director of clinical laboratories at the IUSM School of Medicine, then VP for a phage therapy company. He joined NIAID in 2000 as SRO, and NIDA in 2005 as chief of review 2005-2019, and Deputy 2019-. He co-manages the NIH Mitochondria Interest Group 2000- and the NIH Scientific Program and Review Interest Group 2004- and the FAES Board 2019-, and is NIDA’s contact for R15 and R13 applications. Scientific interests include biochemistry, infectious diseases, aging, neuroscience, drug abuse, biotechnology, and science management. Hobbies include reading, hiking, philosophy, space advocacy, and managing HHS’s DTL tennis teams.
Dr. Trinh Tran – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Trinh Tran received her doctoral degree in pharmacology from The University of Houston and completed her post-doctoral training in the Mind/Brain Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. Her area of expertise is neuroscience, with a research background focused on understanding synaptic changes and cognitive impairment associated with aging. Prior to joining National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Tran was contracted as a scientific manager to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), under the Department of Defense. At CDMRP, she provided scientific, technical, and administrative assistance on research projects within a broad range of medical research fields and military health. These programs focused on a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including cancers, neurological disorders, psychological health, traumatic brain injuries, orthotics/prosthetics outcomes, spinal cord injuries and regenerative medicine for traumatic injuries.
Dr. Sindhu Kizhakke Madathil – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Sindhu Kizhakke Madathil completed her doctoral training in Neuroscience at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in Calcutta, India, where she studied the therapeutic effect of antioxidants in Parkinson’s disease. She then completed her postdoctoral training in Traumatic Brain Injury from the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Madathil served as a principal investigator in the Department of Brain Trauma and Neuroprotection at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where she investigated alternative drug delivery systems for treating brain injury. Her research efforts also involved understanding the cellular mechanisms of traumatic brain injury.
Dr. Sheila Pirooznia – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Sheila Pirooznia received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Drexel University, Philadelphia, where she examined the neuroepigenetic basis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and identified a critical role for the histone acetyltransferase, Tip60 in regulating specific neuronal processes implicated in AD pathogenesis. She went to do her post-doctoral training at the Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her postdoctoral research extensively studied the pathophysiological mechanisms that drive bioenergetic deficits and dopamine neuron loss in Parkinson's disease and identified crucial mitochondrial nodal points for therapeutic interventions for PD. She has published her research in high-impact journals like Molecular Neurodegeneration, Science Translation Medicine and more recently in Science Advances. She has also authored review articles including a recent review in Pharmacological Reviews. Her research areas of expertise include chromatin biology, transcriptional mechanisms of gene regulation, ubiquitin signaling, neuroinflammatory pathways and mitochondrial metabolism. She joined NIDA as a Scientific Review Officer in 2020.
Dr. Jenny Browning – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Jenny Browning received her PhD in Neuroscience from Washington State University, where she studied the neurobehavior and neurocircuitry of cocaine addiction. After completing postdoctoral training at the University Maryland, she joined the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research as a principal investigator where she examined potential treatments for brain injury and post-traumatic epilepsy. Dr. Browning joined the NIH in Center for Scientific Review as a Scientific Review Officer before coming to NIDA. Dr. Browning’s research interests include behavioral neuroscience, neurocircuitry, and animal modelling.
- Dr. Soyoun Cho – Scientific Review Officer
Dr. Soyoun Cho received a master’s degree in pharmacy from Seoul National University, Korea, and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. After completing her postdoctoral training at the Vollum Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Cho continued her research, leading the research laboratory at the Center for Sensory Neuroscience, Boys Town National Research Hospital. Prior to joining NIDA as a Scientific Review Officer, Dr. Cho worked as a senior research scientist at a pharmaceutical company, developing non-opioid analgesics. Her areas of expertise include neuroscience, pain research, synaptic transmission, hearing impairments, pharmacy, drug development, and computational modeling.
Dr. Rebekah Feng – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Rebekah Feng is a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) in the Scientific Review Branch at NIDA. Dr. Feng received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience (2012) at Georgetown University Medical Center with a focus on the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s Disease. She went on to conduct her post-doctoral research at Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Munich, Germany. At MPI, she was part of a team that discovered a potential common mechanism for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Frontal Lobe Dementia. This work was published in Science and covered by German news media. In 2014, Dr. Feng joined the Division of Intramural Research at NINR/NIH as a Research Fellow and team leader. Her work focused on uncovering the underlying mechanisms of fatigue in oncology patients as well as the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Dr. Feng has authored 44 peer-reviewed publications and serves as a peer reviewer, review editor, and editorial board member for multiple journals. Dr. Feng is the recipient of the NIH OITE Mentor Award from 2016 to 2018, and the NIH/NINR Director’s Award in 2021.
Dr. Brian Wolff – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Brian Wolff is a Scientific Review Officer at NIDA. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Georgetown University, where he studied how oscillating electrical stimulation affects the brain. His doctoral research used cellular imaging techniques to assess how techniques like transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and alternating current stimulating (tACS) work at the circuit level. After graduating, he became a postdoctoral fellow and later a research fellow at NINR/NIH, leading a small team that developed preclinical models to study the neurobiology of fatigue symptoms. He also acquired an interest in data science, developing methods for analyzing and visualizing relationships between behavioral and clinical biomarker data from cancer patients. He has a wide range of scientific interests, including behavioral neuroscience, brain stimulation, psychopharmacology, and data science. Outside of work, he likes to immerse himself in music, as a listener, writer, and performer.
Dr. Marisa Srivareerat – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Marisa Srivareerat completed her doctoral training in pharmacology at The University of Houston, where she studied the effect of stress on Alzheimer’s Disease progression. Following that, she joined SpecialtyCare, as a clinical neurophysiologist, where she utilized nerve conduction studies to assess neural integrity during brain and spine surgeries. Prior to joining NIDA as a Scientific Review Officer, Dr. Srivareerat managed a team of neurophysiologists at NuVasive Clinical Services, where she worked directly with leadership and the hardware team to accomplish NuVasive’s strategic objectives for growth-increased revenue, market leadership, patient care, and quality customer service. Her areas of expertise include neuroscience, electrophysiology, synaptic transmission, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Dr. Caitlin Moyer – Scientific Review OfficerImage
Dr. Caitlin Moyer completed doctoral training in neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied synapse alterations associated with schizophrenia, and how synapses in the auditory cortex change during adolescence. Her postdoctoral research at the University of California Santa Cruz investigated the synaptic and behavioral changes observed following environmental toxin exposure, and in genetic models relevant to psychiatric and neurological disorders. Before joining NIDA, she was an associate editor at PLOS Medicine, where she supported researchers in publishing their work in an open access journal while maintaining a thorough and fair peer review process. Dr. Moyer’s areas of interest include synapse plasticity and structure, genetic and behavioral models of disease, and microscopy.
Angelina Jordan – Lead Extramural Support Assistant Program SpecialistImage
Angelina Swann joined NIDA in September of 2008 to serve as an Extramural Support Assistant where she provided support for large, funded grants which includes but is not limited to “The Avenir Award Program, Centers, Loan Repayment, NIDA L, Medication Development Study Section and many more. In 2019 she became SRB a Program Specialist and Lead Extramural Support Assistant for the Scientific Review Branch at NIDA where she has been and continues to provide support for staff. In addition to numerous Merit Awards, she also has received the NIDA Director’s award. While at NIDA Angelina has acquired her bachelor’s degree in Biology and is currently working on her master’s degree.
Nicole Slade-Acty – Program SpecialistImage
Nicole Slade-Acty joined in March 2022 to serve as a Program Specialist and SREA Administrator within the Scientific Review Branch at NIDA. Nicole brings over 10 years of governmental support experience including peer review support, interpretation and enforcement of ethics statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures. Before coming to NIDA, Mrs. Slade-Acty supported approximately 3,500 agency-wide employees as an Ethics Specialist with the National Cancer Institute Office of Ethics. Mrs. Slade-Acty’s extensive knowledge includes over 7 years of experience as a Program Specialist and Extramural Support Team Lead with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Scientific Review Program. Mrs. Slade-Acty has received numerous awards for her efforts including a NIH Director’s Award, NIAID Director’s Awards, NCATS Director’s Award and a NIAID Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) Director’s Peer Recognition Award for exemplifying the core values of DEA and advancing the mission of NIAID.
Jayson Hill – Extramural Support AssistantImage
Jayson Hill started with NIH through the DEAS’s program (Division of Extramural Activities Support) in September 2008. He’s been and continues to provide support staff for many largely funded grants including the “The Avenir Award Program for Research on Substance Use Disorders and HIV/AIDS” as well the “NIDA Loan repayment program”. Jayson has extensive experience in supporting the peer review of grant applications and contract proposals in both virtual and in-person review formats. Before coming to NIH in 2008, Jayson was a Property manager for a large commercial and residential management company overseeing about 2500 properties. When Jayson isn’t working, he enjoys going to beach and riding his bike around Myrtle Beach, SC.
Michael Renwick – Extramural Support AssistantImage
Michael Renwick has extensive experience in providing administrative and technical support to peer review, program, and grant administration activities at the NIH. He currently supports the peer review of application submitted to NIDA-L, a Medication Development Study section and the peer review of Career Development, Research Education, and Research Training applications reviewed at NIDA. In addition, he also serves as the timekeeper for the Branch. Before joining NIDA, Michael worked for the Scientific Review Program at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where he supported the peer review of HIV and other infectious diseases research applications. Michael has extensive experience in supporting the peer review of grant applications and contract proposals in both virtual and in-person review formats. Michael joined NIH in 1989 and NIDA in 2020.