News & Events

NIAMS Update January 2015

An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleagues
January 22, 2015


The NIAMS Update is a monthly digest published for those interested in the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and skin. We encourage further dissemination of this resource.

Contact Information

Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
Communications and Public Liaison Branch

Anita Linde, M.P.P.

Nancy Garrick, Ph.D.
Deputy Director—CPLB

Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S.
Media Liaison

Colleen Labbe, M.S.
Public Liaison



Letter from Dr. Stephen I. Katz: NIAMS Continues Efforts to Reach Multicultural Communities

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the NIAMS have a long-standing commitment to ensure that everyone living in the United States has the same opportunity to live healthy and productive lives. One important way we achieve this goal is to make our health information culturally and linguistically appropriate for diverse populations. It is in this vein that the NIH has recently developed its Language Access Plan, which establishes the steps NIH will take to help ensure that people with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to NIH programs, activities and resources.

Read more.


Future Directions of Lupus Research
The NIAMS is leading an effort to evaluate progress on The Future Directions of Lupus Research (lupus plan) and to develop a coordinated action plan for future NIH lupus research at the request of the Congressional Lupus Caucus. To help inform this process, public comments will be accepted until February 13, 2015. Please email them to

Updated NIAMS 2015 Funding Plan
The NIAMS is operating under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 with a budget level of $521,665,000. The funding plan for research and training grants represents the most current information as of December 24, 2014; however, many factors occurring throughout the fiscal year can affect the operating policies, thus they are subject to change. For clarification it is always best to check with an appropriate Institute official.

Neurons (red) in mouse skin communicate with dermal dendritic cells (green), to drive inflammation. Neurons (red) in mouse skin communicate with dermal dendritic cells (green), to drive inflammation. Photo credit: Ulrich von Andrian, Harvard Medical School.

New Insights Into How Psoriasis Arises and How It Heals
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy red patches and silvery scales, usually on the elbows, knees or scalp. It affects about 2 percent of Americans and is sometimes associated with other health problems, such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. The causes are not fully understood, but the condition is related to an abnormal immune assault on skin cells that triggers inflammation. Scientists have been trying to understand the molecular details of what causes psoriasis. Now, two studies funded in part by the NIAMS and published in Nature and the Journal of Clinical Investigation have uncovered some contributing factors.

Red shows an over-accumulation of pyrophosphate in neurofibromatosis. Red shows an over-accumulation of pyrophosphate in neurofibromatosis. Photo credit: Florent Elefteriou, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University.

Insight Into Skeletal Features of Neurofibromatosis Suggests Treatment Approach
Correcting an imbalance between two key molecules in bone-producing cells shows promise for improving bone health in a rare genetic disease that affects skeletal integrity, according to research in mice that was funded in part by the NIAMS. The study was published in Nature Medicine. The disease, called neurofibromatosis, is a genetic disorder that usually appears in childhood. Children with neurofibromatosis typically have tumors that grow along nerves, or on or underneath the skin.

Lupus 'butterfly' rash on a person's face. Lupus “butterfly” rash.

Biomarkers for Predicting Lupus Flares Identified
A team of researchers funded in part by the NIAMS has identified a pattern of biological molecules in the blood of people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that signals the onset of a disease flare. The molecular pattern they have found may help doctors to predict oncoming flares and enable them to treat patients aggressively before symptoms become full-blown. The study appeared in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology. SLE, or lupus, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues and organs, causing inflammation. The symptoms vary, but the most common ones are sore, swollen joints, muscle aches and fatigue.

Panel Cites Need For Individualized, Patient-Centered Approach to Treat and Monitor Chronic Pain
An independent panel convened by the NIH concluded that individualized, patient-centered care is needed to treat and monitor the estimated 100 million Americans living with chronic pain. To achieve this aim, the panel recommends more research and development around the evidence-based, multidisciplinary approaches needed to balance patient perspectives, desired outcomes and safety.

NIH Complementary and Integrative Health Agency Gets New Name
The NIH agency with primary responsibility for research on promising health approaches that already are in use by the American public has a new name—the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The revision from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine was mandated as part of the omnibus budget measures signed by President Obama.

NIH Director’s Blog

Micrograph of nerve cells (green) and nerve-muscle junctions (red) in a mouse model of Pompe disease. Darin J. Falk, A. Gary Todd, Robin Yoon and Barry J. Byrne, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Snapshots of Life: Lost Connections in Pompe Disease
This image is a micrograph of nerve cells (green) and nerve-muscle junctions (red) in a mouse model of Pompe disease. Such images are helping researchers learn more about this rare form of muscular dystrophy, providing valuable clues in the ongoing search for better treatments and cures. This work was supported in part by the NIAMS.

Other Federal News

FDA Allows Marketing of the First Newborn Screening Test To Help Detect Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced permission to market the EnLite Neonatal TREC Kit, the first FDA-approved screening test for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) in newborns. SCID is a group of disorders caused by defects in genes involved in the development and function of T cells and other infection-fighting immune cells.

2015 FDA Advisory Committee Schedule Posted
The FDA advisory committee meeting schedule provides both advisory committee members and the public with the opportunity to schedule their attendance at FDA’s upcoming advisory committee meetings. Changes to the list will be posted on a monthly basis with meetings occurring over the next 6 months.

New Publications and Products

mutations in the NLRC4 gene

Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: NLRC4 Mutations Cause Macrophage Activation Syndrome
Innovative technology is allowing us to create stunning new scientific images that provide more insight into disease. Here, mutations in the NLRC4 gene cause aggregation and continual activation of a cellular sensor (red) that triggers inflammation, causing an autoinflammatory disorder called macrophage activation syndrome. This image is courtesy of Kristien Zaal, Ph.D., NIAMS Light Imaging Section.

The Science of Sex and Gender: Online Courses With CME/CNE/CPE Credit
The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) has developed courses for researchers, clinicians, health care professionals, educators and students who wish to gain a basic scientific understanding of the major physiological differences between the sexes, the influences these differences have on illness and health outcomes, and the implications for policy, medical research and health care. The series of courses is open to the public.

woman lying down and relaxing

Stress and Relaxation Techniques for Managing Health Conditions
Relaxation techniques may be helpful in managing a variety of health conditions, including anxiety associated with illnesses or medical procedures, insomnia, labor pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. For some of these conditions, relaxation techniques are used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. Relaxation techniques have also been studied for other conditions, but either they haven’t been shown to be useful, research results have been inconsistent or the evidence is limited. This resource features a section on fibromyalgia.

Effective Health Care Program Research Review: Diagnosis and Treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This systematic review was commissioned by the Office of Disease Prevention at the NIH, sponsored by the NIH ORWH, and cosponsored by the Trans-NIH Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Research Working Group to inform the NIH 2014 Pathways to Prevention Workshop, which took place Dec. 9–10, 2014. Information about the workshop, including a draft report, is available.

Statistical Brief Available: Changes in Osteoporosis Medication Use and Expenditures Among Women (Age ≥ 50), United States, 2000 to 2011
Osteoporosis, a disease that predominantly affects menopausal women, is characterized by compromised bone strength and increased risk of fracture, and if left untreated with pharmacological intervention, can impose significant clinical and economic burden for patients and society. There are several pharmacological options that are approved by the FDA for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoporosis.

NIH Research Matters
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.

NIH News in Health
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.

graphical depiction of people playing tennis

Osteoporosis in Aging
Bones feel solid, but the inside of a bone is actually filled with holes like a honeycomb. Bone tissues are broken down and rebuilt all the time. While some cells build new bone tissue, others dissolve bone and release the minerals inside. A NIAMS expert and NIAMS-funded researcher explain how osteoporosis weakens bones.

Detecting Rare Disease-Causing Glitches
For people with suspected rare genetic conditions, getting an accurate diagnosis can be difficult and frustrating. A new study funded in part by the NIAMS suggests that a fast, powerful technique called whole-exome sequencing can help doctors pinpoint the causes of many hard-to-diagnose genetic conditions.


February NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting
The NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held February 4, 2015, in Building 31, 6th Floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus. A meeting agenda has been posted.

NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting

2015 Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Festival, Science in 3D
Tuesday, January 20, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and
Wednesday, January 21, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
5601 Fishers Lane Conference Center, Rockville, Maryland
View agenda
View archived event on NIH Videocast

Rare Disease Day at NIH
Friday, February 27, 2015
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Masur Auditorium (Building 10)
Cost: free
View agenda [PDF - 173 KB]
Available by videocast.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
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.

Upcoming Lectures:

January 28, 2015
Arturo Casadevall, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
“Insights Into Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology From Cryptococcus Neoformans”

February 4, 2015
The NIH Director’s Lecture
Max Cooper, Emory University School of Medicine
“Tracing the Evolution of Adaptive Immunity”

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 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are marked as such. See additional details on events.

Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture
“When Experts Disagree: The Art of Medical Decision Making”
Jerome Groopman, M.D. and Pamela Hartzband, M.D.
Monday, January 26, 2015
10:00 a.m.
Masur Auditorium (Building 10)
Available by videocast.

Funding Announcements

NIAMS Announcement

Request for Information (RFI) on the Future Directions of Lupus Research

NIAMS Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-Based Centers (P30)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: May 11, 2015
Application Receipt Date: June 11, 2015

Empirical Research on Ethical Issues Related to Central IRBs and Consent for Research Using Clinical Records and Data (R01)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Date: February 19, 2015

NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative Research Education: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Data Management for Biomedical Big Data (R25)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: February 17, 2015
Application Receipt Date: March 17, 2015

NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative Research Education: Open Educational Resources for Sharing, Annotating and Curating Biomedical Big Data (R25)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: February 17, 2015
Application Receipt Date: March 17, 2015

NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Biomedical Data Science Training Coordination Center (U24)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: February 17, 2015
Application Receipt Date: March 17, 2015

NIH Common Fund Initiative Announcement

Request for Information (RFI): Challenges and Opportunities for Exploring and Understanding the Epitranscriptome

Other Funding Announcements

Reminder for the Extramural Scientific Community: Implementation of the Genomic Data Sharing Policy Begins January 25, 2015

Notice of Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare Policy on Shared Animal Welfare Concerns

NIH Identifies Additional Awardees Eligible for PA-12-149 “Research Supplements To Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp)”

NIH Identifies Additional Awardees Eligible for PA-12-150 “Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers (Admin Supp)”

NIH Modification to Guidance on Marking Changes in Resubmission Applications

Update: New Biographical Sketch Format Required for NIH and AHRQ Grant Applications Submitted for Due Dates on or After May 25, 2015

Notice To Extend PA-14-071 “PHS 2014-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44])”

Notice To Extend PA-14-072 “PHS 2014-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications (Parent STTR [R41/R42])”

Simplifying the NIH Policy for Late Application Submission

NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration in Baltimore, MD – Save the Date – May 6–8, 2015

ASSIST To Become an Option for Submission of Applications for Most Competing Grant Programs in 2015

Publication of Interim Final Rule Adopting OMB’s Final Guidance in 2 CFR Part 200 Into HHS’ Implementing Regulations at 45 CFR Part 75

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.