News & Events

NIAMS Update March 2015

An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleagues
March 19, 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: The Value of Clear Science Communications

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

A key part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mission is to communicate research results in ways that scientists and non-scientists alike can understand and appreciate. The NIAMS, like all of the federal government, is committed to using clear language in our communications, regardless of the topic and the target audience. Some people have the misconception that plain language appears unprofessional or is less accurate. On the contrary, it tells your audience exactly what they need to know without using unnecessary scientific or technical jargon. Most of us already do this when talking to patients who may not have the same scientific knowledge as we do, or to colleagues outside of our area of expertise.

Read more.


Fiscal Year 2016 NIAMS Congressional Justification
When the President submits his budget to Congress each year, the executive branch agencies provide a document called the Congressional Justification. The Congressional Justification submitted by the NIAMS complements the President’s budget request by explaining the Institute’s mission, highlighting recent research accomplishments and future initiatives and providing comparative budget data for the previous, current and upcoming fiscal years. Brief descriptions of the Institute’s Extramural and Intramural Research Programs are also included, along with overviews of key research support activities. Additionally, a series of Program Portraits are included that highlight accomplishments and future directions of selected activities funded by the Institute.

NIH Seeking Applications for Validation of Pediatric Patient Reported Outcomes in Chronic Diseases Consortium
The NIH is pleased to announce the release of a funding opportunity announcement titled, “Validation of Pediatric Patient Reported Outcomes in Chronic Diseases (PEPR) Consortium (U19).” This Consortium will capitalize on recent advances in the science of Patient Reported Outcomes to assess the health of children with a variety of chronic diseases and conditions in clinical research and care settings. The PEPR Consortium will feature the use of the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) pediatric self-report and parent proxy instruments. Letters of intent are due May 2, 2015, and applications are due June 2, 2015.

Precision Medicine Initiative logo

Precision Medicine Initiative
Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each person. While significant advances in precision medicine have been made for select cancers, the practice is not currently in use for most diseases. Many efforts are underway to help make precision medicine the norm rather than the exception. To accelerate the pace, President Obama has now unveiled the Precision Medicine Initiative—a bold new enterprise to revolutionize medicine and generate the scientific evidence needed to move the concept of precision medicine into every day clinical practice.

Research team behind the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for Spaceflight-Induced Osteoporosis Research team behind the study. Photo credit: Peter Bracke.

Research With Space Explorers May One Day Heal Earth’s Warriors
Growing bone on demand sounds like a space-age concept—a potentially life changing one. Such a capability could benefit those needing bone for reconstructive surgery due to trauma, such as combat injuries, or those waging a battle with osteoporosis. Related research is hardly science fiction, as a study into a key bone-growing protein was recently funded to take place in orbit aboard the International Space Station.

Screencap of T-Cell Activation in Aging video

T-Cell Activation in Aging—Studying Immune Function in Microgravity (video)
This video provides an overview of an investigation focused on T-cell (immune) function in older adults funded by the NIH, NASA, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. The research, led by former astronaut Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford, is being conducted on the International Space Station. Microgravity offers unique conditions that mimic aging for immune cells.

Shared Pathways: Innovative Studies of Cherubism May Aid Development of Therapies for Common Inflammatory Bone Diseases
Long-term research supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and focused on a rare inflammatory bone condition known as cherubism has led to discoveries that apply to more common diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Related research on cherubism also has led to preclinical development of potential therapies for the condition.

illustration of epigenomic signature An epigenomic signature. Image courtesy of John Stamatoyannopoulos and Rae Senarighi.

NIH-Supported Researchers Map Epigenome of More Than 100 Tissue and Cell Types
Much like mapping the human genome laid the foundations for understanding the genetic basis of human health, new maps of the human epigenome may further unravel the complex links between DNA and disease. The epigenome is part of the machinery that helps direct how genes are turned off and on in different types of cells. Researchers supported by the NIH Common Fund’s Roadmap Epigenomics Program have mapped the epigenomes of more than 100 types of cells and tissues, providing new insight into which parts of the genome are used to make a particular type of cell. The data, available to the biomedical research community, can be found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website.

Meet Experts in NIH Peer Review: Webinars for Applicants
Did you miss the Meet the Experts in NIH Peer Review webinars? If you did, you have a second chance to learn how to put your best submission forward when applying for an NIH grant. The NIH Center for Scientific Review has posted its webinar videos online.

Screencap of RePORT's Matchmaker tool

Make the Match with RePORTER
Since 2008, the NIH’s Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools, better known as RePORT, has provided easy access to information on NIH-funded research. The NIH continues to look at new ways to enhance access to important information through robust search tools, data visualization dashboards and more. One of the newer tools available is called Matchmaker, which allows researchers to enter manuscript abstracts, research bios or other scientific text, and retrieve a list of similar projects from the RePORTER database. Watch a video on how Matchmaker works.

Nationwide Study Reports Shifts in Americans’ Use of Natural Products and Mind/Body Practices
A nationally representative survey shows that natural product use in the United States has shifted since 2007, with some products becoming more popular and some falling out of favor. Overall, natural products (dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals) remain the most common complementary health approach. The same survey reported that Americans have increased their use of mind and body practices.

NIH Director’s Blog

Silhouette of people

Genetic Studies Yield New Insights Into Obesity
We hear a great deal about which foods to eat and which to avoid to maintain a healthy body. Though we know that one of the strongest contributors to body weight is heredity, there has been less specific information available about the genetics underlying obesity. Research in this area is progressing at a phenomenal pace. Two studies, funded in part by the NIAMS and recently published in Nature, provide fresh clues into the genetic factors involved in predisposing to obesity.

Other Federal News

Shedding Some Light on FDA’s Review of Sunscreen Ingredients and the Sunscreen Innovation Act
With recent record snowfalls in many parts of the country, the use of sunscreens may not have been on many people’s minds. But at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sunscreens have been a front-and-center issue.

2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Submits Report: HHS, USDA Now Begin Process of Developing Updated Guidelines; Public Comments Sought
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of prestigious outside experts, submitted its recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, in order to inform the 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Secretaries have released the advisory committee’s recommendations report [PDF - 10.8 MB] online, making it available for public review and comment. HHS and the USDA will consider this report, along with input from other federal agencies and comments from the public, as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, to be released later this year. The public is encouraged to view the Committee’s Advisory Report and provide written comments by April 8, 2015.

New Publications and Products

reconstruction of the outside surface (left) and the structure (right) of the protein shell (capsid) of bacteriophage Phi-6

Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Protein Shell of Bacteriophase Phi-6
This image is a high-resolution reconstruction of the outside surface (left) and the structure (right) of the protein shell (capsid) of bacteriophage Phi-6, which is a virus that infects bacteria. The capsid (outer shell) is the structure surrounding the genomic material of the virus. This bacteriophage is a model system for human pathogens like rotavirus that cause more than half a million pediatric deaths every year. Understanding the different stages in virus formation and how it packs its genetic material within the capsid may help us develop therapies against the virus. This image is courtesy of Alasdair Steven, Ph.D., chief of the NIAMS Laboratory of Structural Biology Research, and is in the public domain.

Infographic: How Sex and Gender Influence Health and Disease
The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) has created an infographic about how sex and gender influence health and disease. It educates about the difference between sex and gender, and also provides examples of sex and gender differences between men and women that are indicative of our different biology and health concerns. Examples include: osteoporosis and osteoarthritis of the knee, mental health, smoking cessation and cardiovascular risk. The graphic can be printed as an 11x17-inch poster.

Cover for Strengthening Collaborations with the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Verterans Affairs: Effectiveness Research on Mind and Body Interactions

NCCIH Working Group Recommends Large-Scale Collaborative Research Into Pain Management: Proposed Research To Focus on Nondrug Approaches To Help Active Military and Veterans
The feasibility of conducting large-scale research studies on nondrug approaches for pain management in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should be assessed by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the NIH. This recommendation was delivered in a report by a working group of the Center’s Advisory Council.

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.

twin sisters

Immune System Shaped by Environment More Than Genes
The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect our bodies from infection. The system must fight off invading microbes, infected cells and tumors while ignoring healthy tissues. By analyzing twin pairs, researchers determined that most of the variability in the immune system is due to environmental factors, rather than genes. The findings highlight the reactive and adaptive nature of the immune system in healthy people.

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.


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:

March 25, 2015
J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture
Sanjay Gupta, M.D., CNN, Emory University School of Medicine
“Medicine and the Media: A Morning With Sanjay Gupta, M.D.”

April 15, 2015
Amy Paller, M.D., Northwestern University
“Use of Spherical Nucleic Acid Nanoconjugates To Accelerate Closure of Diabetic Wounds”

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.

Funding Announcements

NIAMS Announcements

Validation of Pediatric Patient Reported Outcomes in Chronic Disease (PEPR) Consortium (U19)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: May 2, 2015
Application Receipt Date: June 2, 2015

Request for Information: Core Centers for Clinical Research (CCCR)

Notice of Correction to Earliest Start Dates in PA-15-109 “Supplements to Advance Research (STAR) From Projects to Programs (Admin Supp)”

Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Advancing Biomedical Science Using Crowdsourcing and Interactive Digital Media (UH2)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: May 3, 2015
Application Receipt Date: June 3, 2015

NIH Common Fund Initiative Announcements

Exploratory Technologies To Understand the Control of Organ Function by the Peripheral Nervous System for SPARC (U18)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: March 14, 2015
Application Receipt Date: April 14, 2015

Notice of Availability of Administrative Supplements To Extend the Scope and Reach of LINCS Datasets

Other Funding Announcements

Reinforcing Service to the Biomedical Research Community

Registration Open for the 2015 NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration - Baltimore, MD

NIH Interim General Grant Conditions Implementing New HHS Grants Regulations (Uniform Guidance)

Notice of Extension of the Public Comment Period for NOT-OD-15-019 “NIH Request for Public Comments on the Draft NIH Policy on Dissemination of NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Information”

Announcement of Anticipated Availability of Funds for Research and Research Conferences on Research Integrity

Request for Information (RFI): The Impact of Environmental Lead Exposure on Cognition and Bone Function

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.