Dr. Pelis has worked at the NIH for more than 15 years, primarily in the Office of the Director, where she was lead speech writer on the NIH Director's Presentations Team and an editor for the NIH Director's Blog. Kim joins the ONHM with experience in both academic and public history. She earned her Ph.D. in the history of medicine from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to coming to the NIH, Kim was an assistant professor of medical history at the Uniformed Services University, across the street from the NIH, from 1998 to 2005.
Check Out our Oral Histories
This July marks the 200th Birthday of Gregor Mendel, father of modern genetics. From 1856 to 1863, Mendel conducted experiments crossbreeding pea plants, illuminating the mechanisms of trait inheritance. Researchers at NIH have made their own historic genetic breakthroughs. Notably, Dr. Marshall Nirenberg’s translation of the genetic code in 1961 revealed the secrets of DNA and earned him the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In 1989, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) was founded to support the international effort to identify, map, and sequence the entire human genome. Nirenberg honored the pioneering work of Gregor Mendel when he visited Mendel’s Square in the Czech Republic, pictured here.Have you looked at our oral histories lately? New interviews with scientists, nurses, and administrators are being conducted and posted every month.
One of our newest oral histories is with Dr. Dominic Esposito, director of the Protein Expression Laboratory at NCI. Have you ever wondered how researchers get the raw materials to conduct experiments? In March 2020, Dr. Esposito was approached by NIH researchers who needed a constant supply of COVID-19 spike proteins to study how the virus works and build a vaccine.
“Figuring out how to run a group and to carry out this kind of research from home was a challenge, especially in the early days of the pandemic, when time was a factor and everybody was putting in 16-hour days. It was very difficult for me to be that far away and not…stand there in the lab and look at the data. That was a challenge, but frankly, it turned out to be a great opportunity. It made our group more efficient; we learned a lot of new technologies out of this.”
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This photo is part of the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum collection. Cell culture technician Kelly Snead separates final SARS-CoV-2 proteins into storage tubes for shipment to NIH researchers.