News & Events

NIAMS Update September 2015

An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleagues
September 17, 2015

The NIAMS Update is produced and distributed monthly by the NIAMS Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications.


Letter from Dr. Stephen I. Katz: NIAMS Launches New Spanish-language Website

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

Dear Colleagues:

Many diseases in our scientific portfolio, including lupus, arthritis and osteoporosis, have profoundly negative effects among Hispanics/Latinos and other minority groups, in terms of prevalence and poor health outcomes. We are committed to providing quality health information to all people, no matter what language they speak or what culture they identify with. For this reason, the NIAMS has launched a new Spanish-language website that provides free health information on conditions of the bones, joints, muscles and skin. The site is being launched to coincide with National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Read more.

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


NIAMS Requests Information on Strategies to Strengthen High-Impact Clinical Trials

The NIAMS is seeking information on ways the Institute’s clinical trials funding opportunity announcements can be improved, including types of funding support that are necessary for the different stages of clinical trials implementation, ways that NIAMS can optimize the early review of a concept of a future trial and other relevant areas. Organizations are strongly encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the views of their organization and membership as a whole. Responses are due October 15, 2015.

Discovery Opens Door to New Class of Medicines for Rheumatoid Arthritis

treatment with a molecular decoy

Research funded in part by the NIAMS has identified an enzyme that modulates inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. The results, which appeared in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, suggest that targeting this enzyme could be an effective strategy for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Image: Treatment with a molecular decoy cuts down on inflammation in the joints of an arthritic mouse (upper panel), as indicated by the blue staining. The red and yellow staining represents high levels of inflammation in joints of a control arthritic mouse (lower panel). Photo credit: Nunzio Bottini, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Diego.

NIAMS Interns Share Their 2015 Summer Experiences


The NIAMS Intramural Research Program offers a Summer Internship Program that provides outstanding opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students contemplating a career in biomedical research or academic medicine. This year’s 16 summer interns describe their experiences.

NIAMS Awards Supplements To Advance Research To Support Early-Stage Scientists

In February 2015, the NIAMS launched the Supplements to Advance Research, or STAR, awards program to provide additional support for early career-stage investigators. Supplemental funding provided by the STAR awards allows early-established investigators who have renewed their first NIAMS-funded R01 grant to pursue innovative and high-risk research within the broader scope of a current NIAMS-funded, peer-reviewed research project. The award also helps investigators to expand a single, structured research project into a broader, multi-faceted research program. The NIAMS has awarded STAR supplements to three investigators.

NIAMS To Host Psoriasis Twitter Chat on World Psoriasis Day External Web Site Policy

In recognition of World Psoriasis Day, the NIAMS will host a Twitter chat on the topic of psoriasis on Thursday, October 29, 2015, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. Co-hosts for the chat will include the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); the National Psoriasis Foundation; and the American Academy of Dermatology. The chat will focus on the symptoms and impact of psoriasis, available treatments and current research. Followers will also learn how they can participate in National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical studies. Experts from the hosting organizations will answer questions from the audience.

NIH Analysis Shows Americans Are in Pain: Report Examines the Prevalence, Severity and Duration of Pain

Pain in US infographic

A new analysis of data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey has found that most American adults have experienced some level of pain, from brief to more lasting pain, and from relatively minor to more severe pain. The analysis helps to unravel the complexities of a nation in pain. It found that an estimated 25.3 million adults (11.2 percent) had pain every day for the preceding 3 months. Nearly 40 million adults (17.6 percent) experience severe levels of pain. Those with severe pain are also likely to have worse health status. The analysis was funded by the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and was published in The Journal of Pain.

Paralyzed Men Move Legs With New Non-Invasive Spinal Cord Stimulation: After Training, Men Move Legs Independently, Without Stimulation

paralyzed men move legs

Five men with complete motor paralysis were able to voluntarily generate step-like movements, thanks to a new strategy that non-invasively delivers electrical stimulation to their spinal cords, according to a new study funded in part by the NIH. The strategy, called transcutaneous stimulation, delivers electrical current to the spinal cord by way of electrodes strategically placed on the skin of the lower back. This expands to nine the number of completely paralyzed individuals who have achieved voluntary movement while receiving spinal stimulation, even though this is the first time the stimulation was delivered non-invasively. Previously, it was delivered via an electrical stimulation device surgically implanted on the spinal cord.

In Uveitis, Bacteria in Gut May Instruct Immune Cells To Attack the Eye: NIH Scientists Propose Novel Mechanism To Explain Autoimmune Uveitis

The inflammatory eye disorder autoimmune uveitis occurs when a person’s immune system goes awry, attacking proteins in the eye. What spurs this response is a mystery, but now a study on mice suggests that bacteria in the gut may provide a kind of training ground for immune cells to attack the eye. The study was conducted by researchers at the NIH’s National Eye Institute.

Spotlight on a Modality: Tai Chi

woman doing tai chi

Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.” Practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently, and with awareness, while breathing deeply. Tai chi appears to be a safe practice. Scientific research on the health benefits of tai chi is ongoing, but several prior studies have focused on benefits in older adults, including tai chi's potential for preventing falls and improving cardiovascular fitness, symptoms of pain associated with rheumatologic diseases (e.g., fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) and overall well-being. A 2007 study on the immune response to varicella-zoster virus suggested that tai chi may enhance the immune system and improve overall well-being in older adults.

Statement on NIH Efforts To Focus Research To End the AIDS Pandemic

Extraordinary progress has been made in HIV/AIDS research over the last 34 years, transforming what was once a terrifying and almost inevitably fatal disease into a treatable disorder. People with HIV/AIDS can now experience an almost normal life expectancy if antiretrovirals are started promptly and continued for life. But the disease remains a significant public health concern, with approximately 50,000 new infections per year in the United States and 2 million new infections worldwide. The global human and economic costs continue to be staggering.

Welcoming the Inaugural Director of the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce Programs

In August, Dr. Kay Lund joined the NIH as the inaugural Director of the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce Programs. The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director’s Biomedical Workforce Working Group recommended that the NIH recruit a leader and establish a dedicated office to guide the NIH’s training and development of a well-prepared biomedical workforce.

NIH Director’s Blog

LabTV: Curious About the Microbiome

screenshot of Keisha Findley

When people think about the human microbiome—the scientific term for all of the microbes that live in and on our bodies—the focus is often on bacteria. But Keisha Findley, the young researcher featured in this video, is fascinated by a different part of the microbiome: fungi.

LabTV: Curious About Bacteria

screencap of Robert Morton III

Other than wondering what might be lurking in those leftovers stashed in the back of the fridge, you probably don’t think much about bacteria. But Robert Morton III—a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University, Bloomington, and the focus of our latest LabTV profile—sure does. He’s fascinated by the complicated and even beautiful ways in which bacteria interact with their environments. In fact, scientists can learn a whole lot about biology by studying bacteria and other single-celled organisms.

Other Federal News

PCORI Board Approves $142.5 Million To Fund Expansion Phase of PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network External Web Site Policy

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors approved nearly $142.5 million to support the ongoing development and expansion of the new resource for health research known as the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet). The new partner networks bring additional expertise, resources and patient participation. The list of Clinical Data Research Networks and Patient-Powered Research Networks includes the Arthritis Partnership with Comparative Effectiveness Researchers; the DuchenneConnect Registry Network; the Patients, Advocates, and Rheumatology Teams Network for Research and Service; and the Vasculitis Patient-Powered Research Network.

FDA Approves New Treatment for Most Common Form of Advanced Skin Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Odomzo (sonidegib) to treat patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma that has recurred following surgery or radiation therapy, or who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy.

FDA Director’s Corner with Dr. Janet Woodcock: Working with Patient Advocacy Groups

In this podcast, Dr. Woodcock, Director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, discusses regulatory guidance drafted and submitted to the FDA by patient advocacy groups. She highlights the 2014 submission of a draft guidance by the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, an advocacy group for children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

New Publications and Products

Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Bone Loss in Spondyloarthritis


NIAMS scientists have found evidence that elevated numbers of osteoclasts, a type of cell that degrades bone, may contribute to bone loss in people with spondyloarthritis. Osteoclasts, like the one shown here, contain multiple nuclei (clear circles) because they are formed by fusion of precursor cells. This image is courtesy of Gerlinde Layh-Schmidt, Ph.D., NIAMS Pediatric Translational Research Branch, and is in the public domain.

LabTV: Highlighting Careers in Science External Web Site Policy

Screencap of Daphney Clermont

For the past year, LabTV External Web Site Policy has been working with the NIH to produce a series of mini-documentary videos featuring promising young researchers at the NIH. This month, we are introducing Daphney Clermont External Web Site Policy, former Postbac Fellow in the NIAMS Laboratory of Muscle Stem Cells and Gene Regulation.

National Health Observances and Related NIAMS Resources

The NIAMS National Multicultural Outreach Initiative webpage highlights upcoming national health observances and related NIAMS resources. October is National Physical Therapy Month, and October 12 to 20 is Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week.

NIH SeniorHealth Topic: Psoriasis

screencap of psoriasis diagram, the NIH health and wellness website for older adults, now features information on psoriasis, a skin disorder affecting greater than 3 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 5 million adults.

Disability and Health Website Updated

group of people cheering

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently updated its Disability and Health website, with helpful information about disability inclusion, increasing physical activity among adults with disabilities, resources, articles of interest, partners and programs, and more.

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.

Muscle Mitochondria May Form Energy Power Grid

Muscle mitochondria

Skeletal muscles are made of long, thin cells that are packed with highly organized proteins and organelles. During strenuous exercise, the rate of energy use in skeletal muscles can increase by more than 100-fold almost instantly. To meet this energy demand, muscle cells contain mitochondria. These organelles, commonly referred to as the cell’s “power plants,” convert nutrients into the molecule ATP, which stores energy. In this process—known as cellular respiration or oxidative phosphorylation—the mitochondria act like small cellular batteries, using an electrical voltage across their membranes as an intermediate energy source to produce ATP.

Image: This high-resolution 3-D microscopic image shows a network of interconnected mitochondria within a mouse muscle cell. Photo credit: Brian Glancy, Ph.D., and Chris Combs, Ph.D., NHLBI.

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.

Positive Emotions and Your Health: Developing a Brighter Outlook

Illustration of man on mountain

Do you tend to look on the sunny side, or do you see a future filled with dark, stormy skies? A growing body of research suggests that having a positive outlook can benefit your physical health. NIH-funded scientists are working to better understand the links between your attitude and your body. They’re finding some evidence that emotional wellness can be improved by developing certain skills.

Join the Fight Against Superbugs

screencap of scientists working

Can you imagine a world where antibiotics didn’t work anymore? You shouldn’t have to. But over the past few decades, they’ve been losing their punch. Bacterial strains that are resistant to many types of antibiotics are called superbugs. Sadly, our excessive use of antibiotics is partly to blame. A new video from the NIH, Fighting Superbugs, can help you learn more about what you can do to help win this battle.

Featured Website: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

This website provides accurate, up-to-date information about thousands of rare and genetic diseases. Learn about symptoms, treatment options and current research. Information specialists are available to discuss questions online, by mail, or by phone (888-205-2311) in English or Spanish.


The September 8 NIAMS Advisory Council Archived Videocast Now Available

The September 8 NIAMS Advisory Council archived videocast is now available in the Past Events section of the NIH Videocasting website.

NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Annual Research Conference

October 4–6, 2015
Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202
Registration information and agenda External Web Site Policy

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) First Annual Meeting External Web Site Policy

October 6–8, 2015
Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202
Registration information and agenda External Web Site Policy

National Institute of Nursing Research’s (NINR) 30th Anniversary Scientific Symposium and Poster Session

NINR Scientific Symposium logo

October 13, 2015
8 a.m.–3:45 p.m.
NIH Campus, Natcher Auditorium (Building 45)
Cost: Free
View the draft agenda
Registration is available here.

NIH Digital Summit: Optimizing Digital Media To Reach Scientists, Clinicians, Patients and the Public

October 19, 2015
8 a.m.–3 p.m.
NIH Campus, Lipsett Amphitheater (Building 10)
Cost: Free
Registration is now full, but the meeting will be available via videocast.

NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series

The 2015–2016 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) starts on September 2 with neuroscientist Edward Boyden, the founder of and principal investigator at MIT’s synthetic neurobiology group. The 2015–2016 WALS schedule will be posted on the WALS website.

Upcoming Lecture:

October 14, 2015
Thomas Tuschl, The Rockefeller University
“Challenges and Promises of RNA Diagnostics”

NIH Science Lectures and Events Available Online

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

Centers of Research Translation (P50)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: November 11, 2015
Application Receipt Date: December 11, 2015

Research Supplements To Promote Re-Entry Into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers (Admin Supp)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: NIAMS accepts and reviews applications on a continuous basis until June 30 of each fiscal year. See additional NIAMS-specific information.

Research Supplements To Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: NIAMS accepts and reviews applications on a continuous basis until June 30 of each fiscal year. See additional NIAMS-specific information.

Administrative Supplements for Research on Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Populations (Admin Supp)

Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Date: November 30, 2015

NIH Common Fund Initiative Announcements

Notice To Modify RFA-RM-13-006 “NIH Pioneer Award Program (DP1)” Regarding the Award Budget, Biographical Sketch and Research Strategy


Notice To Modify RFA-RM-13-007 “NIH Director's New Innovator Award Program (DP2)” Regarding Biographical Sketch and Research Strategy


Other Funding Announcements

Preliminary Guidance Related to Informed Consent for Research on Dried Blood Spots Obtained Through Newborn Screening


Guidance on Changes That Involve Human Subjects in Active Awards and That Will Require Prior NIH Approval: Updated Notice


Prior NIH Approval of Human Subjects Research in Active Awards Initially Submitted Without Definitive Plans for Human Subjects Involvement (Delayed Onset Awards): Updated Notice


HHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Contract Solicitation (PHS 2016-1) Now Available


Subscribe To Receive NIH eRA Service Information


Request for Information (RFI): Strategies for Simplifying NIH’s Grant Application Instructions


Grant Closeout: Deadlines for Financial Drawdowns and Reporting in PMS


Impact of Discrepancies Between Final Financial Reports for Grant Closeout


NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities and Guidelines for Determining AIDS Funding


Notice of Memorandum of Understanding Between NIH and NSF Concerning Laboratory Animal Welfare


Reminder of Legal Requirements Regarding the Acquisition and Use of Human Fetal Tissue for Research Purposes


NIH Offers Assistance to Phase II HHS SBIR and STTR Awardees Through the NIH Commercialization Accelerator Program (CAP)


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.

Read More At NIAMS