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I can't tell you how meaningful and how important it is to me to be with you here today, to be with my great friend and colleague,
Dr. Steve Straus, fellow traveler in much of our professional careers and adult lives, and to see him so robust and looking so well,
to be with Linda Engel and my many friends at the NIH.
Steve indicated that I got my start in research at the NIH.
I'll just spend a few moments to be more personal about it, and also hopefully use this as the segue into a trail and a direction where
what I would consider to be a very hard-nosed scientist--wandered inevitably into the field of integrative medicine.
I started here as a research associate, as Steve said, in some of the golden days at the NIH, training young people directly out of their medical residencies, came to the NIDR.
I remember being in this auditorium for the first time, maybe 6 days after I came here as an officer in the Public Health Service,
and the first lecture I heard about was on the importance of solid waste disposal.
And I went through the whole lecture not knowing what they meant by solid waste.
I'd never heard that term before.
But that was my first time in this auditorium, and the thought that I am here now addressing this group means a great deal to me.
The other thing I will say about the NIH and how important it was,
I came here interested in information, trying to understand what it is that allowed white blood leukocytes to accumulate specifically at sites of inflammation.
In the time that I started here, the concept that we take as a given -- chemotaxis, that cells follow chemical gradients -- was not an accepted dogma.
Many people didn't think there was such a thing.
We started learning at the NIH and developed methodology for chemotaxis, but one of the beautiful aspects of this institution is,
I took a course from Henry Metzger -- I don't know if he's still here.
Henry Metzger taught a course on chromatography. So I took a course on chromatography.
And I remember mixing serum with endotoxin.
It generated inflammation. But since I was taking a course in chromatography,
I figured I'd run it through one of the columns that we were learning about.
And lo and behold, with my first column, we were able to identify C5A, which is recognized as one of the major chemotactic factors.
So, I have a deep alliegence to the NIH and thank you Steve for inviting me here.