Dr. Carolyn Muller, UNM professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of Gynecologic Oncology at the UNM Cancer Center, has been selected to serve as a peer reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the world's foremost medical research centers. The invitation is both a credit to Muller's scientific accomplishments and one of the highest forms of service to national biomedical research.

"This is a fantastic honor for Dr. Muller and for our Center," said Dr. Cheryl Willman, director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center. "The prestige of being part of the peer review process at this level is matched only by the tremendous amount of scientific learning reviewers acquire—and bring back to their home institution."

Seventy percent of major discoveries and Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology are attributed to scientists in the United States. The NIH funds most of this ground-breaking work, and it does so through the uniquely powerful mechanism of peer review. The cornerstone of excellent science, peer review involves scientific experts evaluating the merit of research by others in their field. Each year, the NIH receives around 88,000 grant applications for medical and allied research projects. It recruits 18,000 external experts from across the nation in a massive effort to identify the most promising projects for funding. These experts are organized into peer review groups, called study sections, each containing around 20 scientists. The NIH then matches these review groups with relevant grant applications, and the rigorous review process begins.

Reflecting her world-class clinical credentials, Muller has been recruited to the NIH's Clinical Oncology Study Section. "Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline," wrote the NIH's Director of the Center for Scientific Review, Dr. Toni Scarpa, in a letter of congratulations. " evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors."

The Clinical Oncology Study Section reviews grant applications in patient-oriented research and clinical therapeutic trials, areas that ensure the safe and timely delivery of cutting-edge treatments to patients. The goal is to identify the best new clinical research for NIH funding. Muller begins her three-year term as a Study Section member in July.

"I am thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity," said Muller. "By serving the medical research community through the peer review process, I hope to also serve the many patients and their families who will benefit from new and better ways to treat cancer."