Maria Belen Cassera, an assistant professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been appointed to the National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review in recognition of her scientific status and research contributions. 

Cassera will serve as a member of the Pathogenic Eukaryotes Study Section, which reviews applications involving protozoal, helminthic, and fungal pathogens in animal and human models. 

In this four-year position, which begins July 1, Cassera will conduct peer review of grant applications submitted to the NIH and evaluate them for their scientific merit.

“Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements, and honors,” wrote Richard Nakamura, director of the Center for Scientific Review at NIH. “Service on a study section also requires mature judgment and objectivity as well as the ability to work effectively in a group, qualities we believe Dr. Cassera will bring to this important task.”

Cassera examines the metabolism of the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum in order to identify new drug targets.  She is affiliated with the Fralin Life Science Institute and the Virginia Tech Center for Drug Discovery.

“Being invited to serve as a permanent member of an NIH study section is a huge honor and responsibility. I will review the proposals with the same respect, attention, fairness, and dedication that I would like to receive for my own applications. I learned a lot participating as an ad-hoc reviewer and I had the opportunity to meet amazing people. I am looking forward to serving and helping (with my two cents) to move forward science that will one day save lives.”    

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