Dr. Diego Rodriguez-Gil named to NIH study section
JOHNSON CITY (July 8, 2021) – Dr. Diego Rodriguez-Gil, assistant professor at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine, has accepted an invitation from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Scientific Review to serve as a member of the Neuroscience of Interoception and Chemosensation Study Section.
Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science.
Rodriguez-Gil’s appointment began July 1 and ends June 30, 2025.
“The NIH peer review system is recognized as the premier model for fair and independent review of grant applications,” said Dr. William Duncan, ETSU’s retiring vice provost for Research and Sponsored Programs. “The appointment of Dr. Rodriguez-Gil to this study section is evidence of his scientific accomplishments and publications in scientific journals and his ability to evaluate the quality of grant applications.”
The Neuroscience of Interoception and Chemosensation Study Section (NIC) reviews applications to investigate the genetics, molecular biology, and anatomy and physiology of chemosensation and interoception in humans as well as vertebrate and invertebrate animals.
To simplify these areas of focus, Rodriguez-Gil describes interoception as “the sense of feeling self, perceiving the sensations from inside the body” and chemosensation as “the sense of smell and taste.”
“For example, if there is a study that is looking at the loss of taste or smell due to COVID-19, this study section would likely review those type of grant applications,” he said.
Rodriguez-Gil has established himself as an expert in these areas through his research and publications. He earned a Ph.D. and a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Buenos Aires University, Argentina. Before coming to Quillen, he served as a postdoctoral associate and as an associate research scientist in the Department of Neurosurgery at Yale University School of Medicine, where he continues to serve as an affiliate faculty member.
Rodriguez-Gil has obtained several research grants, with the most recent awarded in 2020, from the NIH National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders to study the regeneration process of the olfactory system and how response to an injury in the central nervous system part of this sensory system can proceed with minimal inflammatory response.
At Quillen, he serves as course director for Clinical Neuroscience and earned the 2020 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and Education from the Department of Biomedical Sciences. He also teaches graduate students in the Biomedical Science Graduate Program and earned the Outstanding Teaching Award in 2019.
“This appointment to the NIH study section speaks volumes about Dr. Rodriguez-Gil’s achievements as a scientist and leader in his research area and scientific discipline, and demonstrates the competence and quality of scientists in our department and institute,” said Dr. Krishna Singh, professor and interim chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
Rodriguez-Gil says he looks forward to continuing to contribute in meaningful ways to his field of study.
“I compare it to looking at the tree versus looking at the forest,” he said. “When you are writing a grant, you are right there looking up close at the tree. Reviewers usually look at the broader picture, and they see the forest and the breadth of the research happening.”
To learn more about ETSU’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, visit etsu.edu/com/dbms.