James Madison University

Ludlow Invited to Chair Study Section for NIH

Posted: June 5, 2013

PHOTO: Christy Ludlow

It is no secret that recent economic conditions have impacted funds available for research grants.  Limited funds have required government agencies to become more prudent with grant applications and led to increased dependence on the scientific expertise of review committee members.  After extensive experience reviewing research grant applications for various agencies Dr. Christy L. Ludlow has accepted the invitation to serve as the Chairperson of the Motor Function, Speech and Rehabilitation Study Section, Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health.

The Center for Scientific Review has many Study Sections that review the thousands of grant applications that are received each year from scientists applying for funding.  There are dozens of such review groups which are comprised of scientists from around the country (and Canada).  The scientists are invited to serve for 4 to 6 year terms on Study Sections based on their recognition for being a productive and well recognized scientist with expertise for research in a particular area.  Usually this means they have published a large body of scientific research in research journals and received grant funding for several years. 

Dr. Cindy O’Donoghue, CSD Department head explained that this invitation was an honor for both Ludlow and JMU.  “This level of recognition is an acknowledgment that she is among the best of the best – world class.  Members of these committees are chosen for their high end scientific discoveries based on years of published research.  JMU is fortunate to have someone of Dr. Ludlow’s caliber as a member of our faculty.”

Ludlow describes her responsibilities as chairperson, “To review research grant applications, attend the review meetings and guide the group discussions  when evaluating the scientific merit research grants to be considered for funding by the National Institutes of Health.”

Originally invited to serve on the review group in June 2010 based on her research on voice, speech and swallowing Ludlow explains her role.  “This is a great deal of work and difficult to do as one needs to  be as fair as possible in one’s reviews, while providing the necessary review information to the staff of the agency on which research grants hold the greatest promise for have a significant impact on biomedical knowledge and patient care.  The recent appointment to become the Chair of the Motor Function and Speech Rehabilitation Review Group… is recognition that I have performed well as a reviewer and have the leadership capabilities to lead other scientists in performing careful and fair reviews that are informative to NIH program staff”.

Her two year term of begins in July of 2013 and the study section represents many different scientific areas including motor control research and neurorehabilitation, and voice , speech and swallowing research and rehabilitation.  During her tenure she plans to “work to further facilitate fair and insightful reviews by the group by increasing understanding among the scientists from diverse backgrounds. Given the very tight limits on research funding available through government agencies, it is increasingly important that the review process be as informative to the NIH staff as possible to facilitate good use of the dollars to improve scientific knowledge and patient care.”