Has your research yielded visually intriguing and compelling scientific images of which you are especially proud? Perhaps your images or videos illustrate a specific cell or structure that has previously been difficult to visualize, or they convey a complicated scientific concept in a clear and understandable way. You may have seen that National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has been featuring terrific imagery in his blog, including this recent entry, which highlighted skin cancer research conducted by NIAMS grantees Markus Schober, Ph.D., of New York University, and Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., of The Rockefeller University.
Image: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
NIAMS is pleased to announce the release of its new Fiscal Year 2015–2019 Long-Range Plan. Our goal was to provide a document that would help propel research progress by informing the Institute’s priority setting process, while enabling NIAMS to adapt to the rapidly changing biomedical and behavioral science landscapes. While the plan highlights a variety of research needs and opportunities, the Institute’s dedication to supporting investigator-initiated research will remain one of our highest priorities. Scientific ideas created and presented by the extramural community are vital to the advancement of biomedical research and improved public health.
The NIAMS FY 2014 funding plan has been updated with additional information about Research Career (K- Awards). In addition, Dr. Katz’s 2015 Statement to the Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations has been posted.
Inflammation is a function of the immune system that evolved to quickly respond to potentially harmful agents like bacteria or toxins by stimulating the production of potent molecules called cytokines. While inflammation normally helps protect the body, certain genetic mutations in proteins that sense the dangerous substances or generate the inflammatory response cause chronic inflammation that can lead to autoinflammatory disorders.
Image: Over-activation of a cellular sensor (red) triggers inflammation. Credit: Kristien Zaal, Ph.D., NIAMS.
Two types of antibody molecules act in concert to stimulate inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis, according to research funded in part by the NIAMS. The two molecules, rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA), are elevated in most people with the disease. The study appeared in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology.
Research funded in part by the NIAMS has revealed a connection between excessive activity of a signaling molecule and osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic disease characterized by fragile bones. Working with mice, the researchers found that TGF-β, a molecule that controls diverse cellular processes, is overly active in two different forms of OI. Blocking the molecule’s activity reversed the bone abnormalities in the diseased mice, offering a possible approach for treating OI. The study appeared in the journal Nature Medicine.
Observations of mice engineered to carry a mutation that causes a severe form of dwarfism have led to a better understanding of the pathology of the disease and potentially identified a window during which treatment may be most effective. The study, which was funded in part by the NIAMS, was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
The NIAMS has appointed five new members to its advisory council. The council comprises scientific and lay members who have expertise in the mission areas of the Institute. Council members provide advice to the Institute on broad policy issues and make recommendations on research proposals.
Image: NIAMS Director, Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., (front center) and NIAMS Deputy Director, Robert H. Carter, M.D., (front right) welcome new members to the Institute’s council.
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the NIAMS will host its first bilingual (English/Spanish) Twitter chat on Tuesday, September 30, from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT. This chat will focus on lupus, a disease that disproportionately affects Hispanic women. Tweets for this chat will be posted in both languages and questions will be answered in the language in which they were posted. From the NIAMS, Mariana Kaplan, M.D., and Susana Serrate-Sztein, M.D., will discuss the latest advances in lupus research. Irene Blanco, M.D., an assistant professor of rheumatology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, will be our guest “tweeter” and will assist in responding to questions. Dr. Blanco, an expert in the clinical aspects of lupus, has been a partner in the NIAMS Multicultural Outreach Initiative (NMOI). Twitter users can log on to Twitter and follow the hashtag “#NIAMSLupusChat.” The chat can also be followed on services, such as: Twubs, TweetChat and Twitterfall.
The NIAMS has launched a new Google Plus (G+) page, and has established a dedicated channel on YouTube, which will provide a single, convenient platform for NIAMS stakeholders to view NIAMS video resources and other content. On G+ and YouTube, the NIAMS will feature videos about research the Institute conducts and supports, as well as health information publications, news stories, resources, research advances and other news from the Institute and the NIH. This new G+ and YouTube presence adds to the two existing NIAMS social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter.
A newborn screening test for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) reliably identifies infants with this life-threatening inherited condition, leading to prompt treatment and high survival rates, according to a study supported by the NIH. Researchers led by Jennifer Puck, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, also found that SCID affects approximately 1 in 58,000 newborns, indicating that the disorder is less rare than previously thought. The study was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). It appears in the August 20, 2014, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The NIH is challenging science innovators to compete for prizes totaling up to $500,000 by developing new ways to track the health status of a single cell in complex tissue over time. The NIH Follow That Cell Challenge seeks tools that would, for example, monitor a cell in the process of becoming cancerous, detect changes due to a disease-causing virus or track how a cell responds to treatment.
Three new research awards—totaling up to $19.4 million over five years—will address the growing proportion of the U.S. population that has multiple chronic medical conditions. The grants are funded through the NIH’s Health Care Systems (HCS) Research Collaboratory, which engages health care systems as research partners in conducting large-scale clinical studies.
The NIH has awarded eight grants as part of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project to explore how human genes are expressed and regulated in different tissues and the role that genomic variation plays in modulating that expression. The GTEx awards will contribute to a resource database and tissue bank that researchers can use to study how inherited genomic variants—inherited spelling changes in the DNA code—may influence gene activity and lead to disease. The grants will add data from analyses of tissue samples whose collection began in 2010, as well as expand the resource database and tissue bank.
The NIH has issued a final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) policy to promote data sharing as a way to speed the translation of data into knowledge, products and procedures that improve health while protecting the privacy of research participants. The final policy was posted in the Federal Register, August 26, 2014, and published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts August 27, 2014.
While many of the NIH Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) Biomedical Research Workforce recommendations already have been put into effect, the NIH continues to follow through on implementation goals.
We have seen that in most instances women do well in competition for NIH research funding. For R01-equivalent grants, success rates are almost identical for men and women on type 1 applications with small, but persistent, disparity in success for type 2 (competing renewals) and research project grants overall. When we look at the representation of women, we see in recent years that men and women are nearly equally represented percentage-wise in training and career development programs. However, looking at representation as principal investigators (PIs) on research grants overall, we see women constitute only about 30 percent of overall research project grant PIs, and only about 20 percent of NIH research center and small business research program PIs.
NIH Director’s Blog
This video tells the inspirational story of two young Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers who are taking aim at a genetic disease that has touched both of their lives. Called myotonic dystrophy (DM), the disease is the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults and causes a wide variety of health problems—including muscle wasting and weakness, irregular heartbeats and profound fatigue.
Other Federal News
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced steps that the agency plans to take to enhance the collection and availability of clinical trial data on demographic subgroups—patient populations divided by sex, race/ethnicity or age.
Stem Cell Therapy: FDA Regulatory Science Aims To Facilitate Development of Safe and Effective Regenerative Medicine Products
One of the FDA’s primary missions is to make sure that the products the FDA approves are safe and effective. There is tremendous interest in the development of regenerative medicine, including numerous proposed products that rely on stem cells. Stem cells have the ability to generate more stem cells or to turn into more mature cell types, such as nerve- or bone-producing cells. These properties make stem cells potentially well suited for use in regenerative medicine. They might be used in repairing heart, nerve and brain damage or in treating diabetes and other diseases by repairing or replacing cells and tissues.
As scientists learn more about psoriasis, more therapeutic options are becoming available for patients with this skin disease. Understanding how psoriasis develops enables them to target different steps in the disease pathway to broaden the types of treatments available.
In the quest for youth—or at least a more youthful appearance—women and men are seeking treatments to minimize laugh lines, crow’s feet and frown lines, as well as to plump up lips and cheeks. A popular treatment involves injecting dermal fillers into the face. In studies of FDA-approved dermal fillers, people generally report they are satisfied with the outcome of their treatments.
Tempted to get a tattoo? Today, people from all walks of life have tattoos, which might lead you to believe that tattoos are completely safe. But beware—there may be associated health risks.
NEW PUBLICATIONS AND PRODUCTS
The NIAMS has translated many of its most popular fact sheets into Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. The fact sheets offer health information on various types of skin, musculoskeletal and rheumatic conditions. You may access and download nearly 50 Asian-language publications from the NIAMS Asian-language webpage. Some Chinese-language publications are available in audio format.
Did you know that knee replacement is the most common joint surgery, and that it’s becoming more widespread among baby boomers and adults over 75? A new topic from NIHSeniorHealth.gov, Knee Replacement, offers videos, quizzes, FAQs and more for older adults who may be considering knee replacement or who just want to know more.
The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) has produced three new videos featuring information about dietary supplements and what you should know before taking them. They are:
- Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know
- Thinking of Taking a Dietary Supplement?
- ¿Debería tomar suplementos dietéticos?
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality User’s Guide on Developing Patient Registries Available in E-Book Format
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ’s) Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User’s Guide, 3rd Edition, is now available in e-book format. This user’s guide provides information on the design, implementation, analysis, interpretation and evaluation of registries for patient outcomes.
The AHRQ has made available the Evidence-Based Practice Center Systematic Review Protocol Report “Pain Management Injection Therapies for Low-Back Pain” [PDF – 114KB]. The AHRQ sponsors the development of various evidenced-based reports to assist public- and private-sector organizations in their efforts to improve the quality of health care in the United States. These reports provide comprehensive, science-based information on common, costly medical conditions and new health care technologies and strategies.
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.
Autoinflammatory diseases are conditions in which the innate immune system, for unknown reasons, becomes activated and triggers inflammation. The innate immune system is the body’s rapid first line of defense against infection. The heat, swelling and redness of inflammation are a normal part of the body’s protective response to injury or infection. However, prolonged inflammation can seriously damage the body.
Image: Blood vessels (yellow) become inflamed and damaged, indicated here in red. Credit: Dr. Manfred Boehm, NHLBI.
Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by the NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by the NIH’s own scientists or by its grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.
Many people have never heard of sepsis, or they don’t know what it is. But sepsis is one of the top 10 causes of disease-related death in the United States. The condition can arise suddenly and progress quickly, and it’s often hard to recognize.
Monday, September 29, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
NIH Campus, Natcher Auditorium (Building 45)
View Draft Agenda
Registration is available here.
To view the live videocast, register here.
NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Advancing the Research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
NIH Campus, Natcher Auditorium (Building 45)
View Draft Agenda
Registration is available here.
The NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are Continuing Medical Education-certified, open to the public and available live via webcast.
October 29, 2014
The Annual DeWitt Stetten, Jr., Lecture
Ron Vale, University of California, San Francisco
“The Mechanisms of Cytoskeletal Motor Proteins”
NIH Science Lectures and Events Available via Internet
The NIH hosts a number of science seminars and events that are available online through real-time streaming video. You can watch an event at your convenience as an on-demand video or a downloadable podcast. Most events are available to all; a few are broadcast for the NIH or the HHS and are marked as such. See additional details on events.
Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers (U54)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Optional, see announcement for additional information
Application Receipt Date: November 28, 2014
NIH Common Fund Initiative Announcement
Prize Competition: Challenges in Single Cell Analysis
Other Funding Announcements
Notice on Annual Reporting Requirements and Revised Financial Closeout Requirements for NIH Administrative Supplements Awarded to Recover Losses Due to Hurricane Sandy Under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act
Revised Policy: Descriptions on the Use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers Required in Annual Progress Reports Beginning October 1, 2014