Amy H. Newman
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Amy Hauck Newman was raised in Buffalo, New York, one of two sisters. Her mother was an elementary school teacher; her father, a mechanical engineer. She enjoyed school from a young age and was interested in literature, poetry, and the sciences. She wanted to become a pediatrician, although her high school discouraged her from pursuing science. As an undergraduate at Mary Washington College, she majored in chemistry and undertook pre-medical coursework. Most of her peers were women and she found the college to be a very supportive environment; she decided to go to graduate school for medicinal chemistry. Graduate school was challenging, but her program was fairly streamlined, and she finished her degree in four years. Newman did her postdoctorate with Kenner C. Rice at NIH, where she focused on opiate synthesis and benzodiazopene receptors. Rice was a encouraging mentor, teaching her to write scientifically and to pursue collaborations. Since NIH had few opportunities for permanent positions, she then took a position at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. At Rice's suggestion, she began researching sigma receptor ligands; she continued to seek collaborators, including Jeffrey M. Witkin at NIH, which eventually led to the opportunity to begin a medicinal chemistry program back at NIH. At NIH she found a work environment supportive of her growing family and she began conducting research on analogues of benztropine—a dopamine transporter ligand like cocaine that does not have cocaine-like effects on the body. Newman's role as an NIH scientist is to develop the basic science of compounds in the hopes that pharmaceutical companies will continue to develop them into medications. Her lab also conducts research synthesizing amide analogues with an affinity for glutamate receptors, which also play a role in drug abuse. She has intentionally kept her lab small, though has maintained a vigorous research program; she has also taken on additional administrative responsibilities like committees. At the end of the interview Newman discusses balancing her family and career; she comments on science education in the United States; and she shares her frustrations with how the communication of science to the public leads to unrealistic expectations for drug development and with the process of drug development itself. Newman notes how public perceptions of addiction have changed, and hopes that will translate into more attention from pharmaceutical companies. She concludes her interview by reflecting on the types of mentors she has had, and her efforts to be a strong mentor.
|1980||Mary Washington College||BS||Chemistry|
|1985||Medical College of Virginia||PhD||Medical Chemistry|
National Institutes of Health
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
|1980 to 1981||
A. D. Williams Teaching Fellowship, School of Pharmacy, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University
|1982 to 1983||
Rho Chi Pharmaceutical Sciences Honor Society Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award
Rho Chi Pharmaceutical Sciences Honor Society
Watts Day Research Original Proposal Award
|1985 to 1987||
National Research Service Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence Travel Award Scholarship
Division of Intramural Research Scientific Director's Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health Director's Seminar Series Invited Lecturer
Guest Editor of Medicinal Chemistry Research, Special Issue, v. 8 (1 & 2)
HHS Special Service Award
Sato International Memorial Award, Pharmaceutical Society of Japan
National Institute on Drug Abuse Director's Award of Merit
National Institute on Drug Abuse Director's Award for EEO, Diversity and Quality of Worklife
Featured in National Institutes of Health: Women in Science by the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women's Health
First recipient of the National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health Women Scientists Advisory Achievement Award
Table of Contents
Born in Buffalo, New York. High school science. Mary Washington College. Pre-med with chemistry major. Gender disparity among faculty.
Interest in medicinal chemistry. Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard Glennon's lab. Networking. Postdoctorate at NIH with Kenner Rice. Extracurricular activities. Marriage.
Building a lab at Walter Reed. Tenure track position at NIH. Commuting. Dopamine transporter research. Role of government research in drug development. Research on glutamate receptors. Lab dynamics.
NIH career path and structure. Deputy Scientific Director. Committees. Women Scientists Advisory Committee.
Balancing childcare and family with career. Science education in the United States. Gap between public's expectations for drug development and reality. Changing perceptions of drug abuse. Mentoring and supportive networks.
About the Interviewer
Hilary Domush was a Program Associate in the Center for Oral History at CHF from 2007–2015. Previously, she earned a BS in chemistry from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 2003. She then completed an MS in chemistry and an MA in history of science both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her graduate work in the history of science focused on early nineteenth-century chemistry in the city of Edinburgh, while her work in the chemistry was in a total synthesis laboratory. At CHF, she worked on projects such as the Pew Biomedical Scholars, Women in Chemistry, Atmospheric Science, and Catalysis.