The Nash Symposium
Recognizing 40 years of Contributions to Genetics Research

NIH Symposium August 9, 2010

1963 section at NIH Download the symposium pamphlet and its addendum

Howard Nash, whose scientific career at the NIMH spans over four decades, has made seminal contributions to diverse research areas including the fields of DNA recombination and repair and the molecular mechanisms of general anesthesia. While Howard has worked in multiple fields, his research has consistently been distinguished by a dedication to rigor, a focus on intellectually challenging questions, and a commitment to genetic approaches using model systems. Just as Howard used bacteriophage to successfully probe the general mechanisms of DNA recombination, he has more recently used fruit fly mutants with altered responses to anesthetics to probe the molecular neurobiological basis of general anesthesic action. His willingness to take new directions, articulate the important questions, and explore the answers deeply has produced a notable and productive research career.

Howard's sound and thoughtful advice, and his eminently pragmatic approach to both science and lab management have extended beyond his committee work to a number of tenure-track investigators who have sought his counsel. Described as an indispensible guide, he is lauded for his insistence on getting not only the answers but also the questions right. Drawing from an encyclopedic knowledge of the many avenues of science he has explored, his comments serve to both inform the work and broaden the perspectives of junior scientists who seek his advice. His effectiveness in this regard can be attributed not just to the fact that he possesses a wealth of experience in offering advice, but also to the fact that he listens as carefully as he speaks, and that his advice is always cogent and to the point.

Howard's sphere of influence and his unmistakable commitment to shaping the direction and promoting the excellence of the science pursued within the NIMH IRP distinguish him as a model of the scientist-mentor that the NIH strive to engender.