News & Events

Shorttakes

September 2009 (historical)

A compilation of news from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Published three times a year. Just scan these "shorttakes" for information on what's happening at NIAMS, or access the complete articles for viewing or use in your own newsletter or other publication.

From the Director . . .

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been delighted by the robust response to the many funding initiatives supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). We are very excited about our research community's participation in these unprecedented opportunities, and we want to share the impact that ARRA support is having on biomedical research.

The NIH received approximately 20,000 applications in response to the RC1 Challenge Grant Request for Applications (RFA), and more than 2,500 applications in response to the RC2 Grand Opportunities RFA. In addition, supplement awards for students and educators were distributed in time for them to have enriching laboratory experiences this summer. There may be additional deadlines for this opportunity in summer 2010, to encourage students to seriously pursue research careers in the health-related sciences, as well as provide science educators with short-term research experiences in NIH-funded laboratories.

We are grateful to those who heeded the call and volunteered their valuable time to participate in peer review of ARRA applications. It was a monumental task, in terms of the volume of applications and the short time frame for reviewing the submissions. We feel assured that these applications received the high standard of NIH peer review, to identify the best science for support with federal funds, which is the cornerstone of the NIH's national and global reputation.

As you know, the central goal of the NIH's ARRA-associated programs is the rapid distribution of funds, to stimulate the economy, create and preserve jobs, and advance biomedical research. Please tell us about jobs retained or created; enhancement of your research by allowing new efficiencies, new directions, or additional resources; or expansion of your scientific team through new personnel or collaborations. We want to hear your stories of impact that is immediate or long-term, large or small. We invite you to share your ARRA stories using a Web form available from our new Web page, NIAMS ARRA Chronicles (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/Chronicles/default.asp). You will also see a sampling of what you send us.

Once again, we are very grateful to President Obama and the U.S. Congress for this unprecedented opportunity. We welcome your questions and comments and, most importantly, your participation!
More information is available at the following websites:

http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/default.aspx  
http://www.niams.nih.gov/ http://www.nih.gov/recovery/index.htm

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Director
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health

Research Watch . . .

Scientists confirm the involvement of an X-chromosome gene, IRAK1, in lupus.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/x_chromosome_lupus.asp

A Knee Pain Map is a reliable way to identify pain location and pattern in knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/knee_pain_mapping.asp

When knee osteoarthritis severely impacts quality of life, total knee replacement is a highly cost-effective treatment option, and when knee replacement is performed at a medical center that does more procedures than others, cost-effectiveness is even greater.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/knee_OA_replacement.asp

Hydroxychloroquine, originally developed to fight malaria, has the potential to retard the development of renal damage in lupus nephritis patients.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/lupus_nephritis.asp

Researchers have identified a new genetic risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The gene, dubbed REL, is involved in the signaling pathway that can lead to RA.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/RA_gene_REL.asp

Researchers at NIAMS recently confirmed that a substantial subset of people with Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) carry only one Mediterranean fever gene mutation (MEFV). Previously, the condition had always been considered a recessively inherited disease occurring when a person inherited two of the Mediterranean fever gene mutations — one from each parent.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/MEFV_gene_mutation.asp

A new study revealed some of the complexities of skeletal muscle wasting. It is a regulated, programmed, biochemical process in which distinct muscle components are broken down in an ordered manner.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/muscle_wasting.asp

New research showed accelerated skin differentiation and development in mice born without the enzyme, Ezh2. These mice had thicker skin than mice with the enzyme. Although much additional research is needed, this finding could lead to ways to speed skin maturation in premature babies at risk for medical complications such as dehydration, body temperature, infection, and skin breakdown.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/skin_maturation.asp

Gene therapy may be possible for a potentially severe form of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD).

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/limb_girdle_md.asp

Researchers have identified a cell that contributes to heterotopic ossification, a condition in which bone grows within soft tissue, impeding the normal function of muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/bone_formation.asp

Two analyses from the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS) have made important contributions to the understanding of osteoporosis and its consequences in men.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/mr_OS.asp

Researchers have discovered genetic clues in the most common form of blood vessel malformations.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2009/bloodves_malform.asp

The NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health's most recent monthly podcast (a digital recording of a radio broadcast) is an interview with Robert H. Carter, M.D., Deputy Director of NIAMS. The program focuses on lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and other autoimmune diseases.

Full story:
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2009/od-03.htm

Scientists have discovered gene expression differences that could lead to better ways to classify, predict outcome, and treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Full story:
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2009/niams-29.htm

NIAMS researchers have discovered a rare, genetic autoinflammatory disorder, DIRA (deficiency of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist) — and a viable treatment.

Full story:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2009/06_03.asp

Summary reports from two NIAMS meetings about Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants are available on the NIAMS Web site.

See:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Meetings_and_Events/Reports/2008/SBIR_STTR_tiseng_regenmed.asp

The International Clinical Research Fellows (ICRF) Program, sponsored by the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and collaborating institutes at NIH (including NIAMS), is currently accepting applications for one year of mentored clinical research in a developing country. The program is managed by the Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health (VIGH). Applicants for the fellowship must develop a collaborative research proposal with an eligible institution overseas. Applications are due December 4, 2009.

See: http://www.fogartyscholars.org/fellows/the-fellows-program and http://www.fogartyscholars.org/fellows/icrf-rfa

NIH announced a new funding information system for NIH grants and contracts. The system, RePORT Expenditures and Results, or RePORTER, combines NIH project databases and funding records, PubMed abstracts and articles, and information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with a robust search engine. RePORTER is the newest tool on the RePORT Web site, NIH's comprehensive online repository of reports, data, and analyses of research-related funding.

See: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2009/od-04.htm, http://report.nih.gov/, and http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm

The findings of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)/Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) 2008 Research Symposium, "Molecular Biology and Therapeutics in Musculoskeletal Oncology," were published in March 2009 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS). The symposium, the first AAOS research event to focus solely on musculoskeletal oncology, was funded in part by NIAMS.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Announcements/2009/Oncol_Symposium.asp

NIAMS-supported researcher, Helen H. Lu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Assistant Professor of Dental and Craniofacial Bioengineering at Columbia University in New York, was chosen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to be among the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) winners for 2008.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Announcements/2009/Pecase_Lu.asp

NIAMS-supported researcher, Jeremy F. Reiter, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, has been selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to be among the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) winners for 2008.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Announcements/2009/Pecase_Reiter.asp

Grants and Contracts . . .

The following announcements related to the NIAMS appeared in recent issues of the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. These announcements are made to the research community to express our interest in funding specific areas of research. For more information on NIAMS grants and contracts, visit the NIAMS Web site at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Funding/ and the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html.

Requests for Applications

Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (K12), RFA-OD-09-006. Issued: July 17, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: August 19, 2009; application receipt date: September 18, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-09-006.html

NIAMS Building Interdisciplinary Research Team (BIRT) Revision Awards (R01), RFA-AR-10-001. Issued: July 28, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: October 14, 2009; application receipt date: November 13, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-10-001.html

Requests for Applications (ARRA)

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Biomedical Research, Development, and Growth to Spur the Acceleration of New Technologies (BRDG-SPAN) Pilot Program (RC3), RFA-OD-09-008. Issued June 2, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: August 3, 2009; application receipt date: September 1, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-09-008.html

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Small Business Catalyst Awards for Accelerating Innovative Research (R43), RFA-OD-09-009. Issued June 2, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: August 3, 2009; application receipt date: September 1, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-09-009.html

Requests for Applications (Roadmap)

Development of New Technologies Needed for Studying the Human Microbiome (R01), RFA-RM-09-008. Issued: July 16, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: July 17, 2009; application receipt date: September 14, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-008.html

Development of New Technologies Needed for Studying the Human Microbiome (R21), RFA-RM-09-009. Issued: July 16, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: August 17, 2009; application receipt date: September 14, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-009.html

2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Award Program (DP1), RFA-RM-09-010. (This is a reissue of RFA-RM-09-001). Issued: August 18, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: October 20, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-010.html

2010 NIH Director's New Innovator Award Program (DP2), RFA-RM-09-011. Issued: August 26, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: October 27, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-011.html

Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Award (U54), RFA-RM-09-019. Issued: August 27, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: May 3, 2010; application receipt date: June 1, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-019.html

Program Announcements

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (F31) to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, PA-09-209. Issued: June 11, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-09-209.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows (F32), PA-09-210. Issued: June 12, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-09-210.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual Senior Fellows (F33) PA-09-211. Issued: June 12, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-09-211.html

Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology (R01), PAR-09-218. Issued: August 5, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-218.html

Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology Initiative (SBIR [R43/R44]), PAR-09-220. Issued: August 5, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-220.html

Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology Initiative (STTR [R41/R42]), PAR-09-221. Issued: August 5, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-221.html

Exploratory Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology (R21), PAR-09-219. Issued: August 17, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-219.html

Limited Competition for Research Centers in Minority Institutions Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research (RCTR) [U54], PAR-09-261. Issued: August 28, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: November 18, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-261.html

Highlights From the Hill, DHHS and NIH . . .

Director of the National Institutes of Health

On August 17, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., was officially sworn in as the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Collins was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 8, and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 7. Dr. Collins is the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and led the Human Genome Project. More information on Dr. Collins is available at: http://www.nih.gov/about/director/directorbio.htm.

Stem Cell Research

On March 9, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) lifting the limitations on Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and charging the NIH to produce specific implementation guidelines. Draft guidelines were developed and released for public comment before put into effect on July 6, 2009. The guidelines include standards for use of stem cells and the creation of a committee to evaluate eligible cell lines. A public registry will also be established. The NIH Stem Cell Policy can be viewed at: http://stemcells.nih.gov/.

Small Business Programs

On July 24, the Senate passed S. 1513, a bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 that authorizes Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs. The bill would provide an extension from July 31 to September 30, 2009.

As of September 15, several bills involving SBIR/STTR were at various stages of the legislative process. The primary issue of disagreement involves the increase of the SBIR set-aside from 2.5 to 3.5 percent of the extramural budget and the increase of the STTR from 0.3 to 0.6 percent. While most of the proposed legislation would increase the maximum award levels, there is still debate over the level of allowable venture capitalist involvement. Bills of note include H.R. 2965 and S. 1233, as well as the Defense Authorization Bill, H.R. 2647, which was amended to include SBIR/STTR issues.

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)

NIH received a $400 million allocation of the $1.1 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for comparative effectiveness research (CER) projects. For the purpose of ARRA-funded projects, CER is defined as a rigorous evaluation of the impact of different options that are available for treating a given medical condition for a particular set of patients. Such a study may compare similar treatments, such as competing drugs, or it may analyze very different approaches, such as surgery and drug therapy.

Many different pieces of CER legislation have since been introduced. The subjects of these bills vary from establishing new CER organizations to terminating the Coordinating Council that was established by ARRA.

The Institute of Medicine's Report on CER is available at: http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3809/63608/71025.aspx

Orthopaedics - H.R. 2813

On June 10, Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), introduced H.R. 2813, the Knee and Hip Replacement Act of 2009. The bill would require the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish a national knee and hip replacement registry to identify predictors that may lead to poor outcomes in knee and hip replacement surgeries. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would be required to establish policies and procedures to develop and maintain the registry. In developing these procedures, CMS must consult with AHRQ, FDA (Food and Drug Administration), NIH, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The head of the registry: 1) must coordinate and avoid duplicative comparative effectiveness research efforts conducted by AHRQ, NIH, and the Office of the Secretary; 2) may request data from Federal departments and agencies; and 3) must consult with CMS, FDA, AHRQ, the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, and NIH when seeking feedback from the public. H.R. 2813 was jointly referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means. No further action has occurred.

Orthopaedics - S. 1548

On July 30, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), introduced S. 1548, a companion bill to H.R. 1021, the Access to America's Orthopaedic Services Act of 2009, that was previously introduced by Representative Gene Green (D-TX). Of interest to NIH are provisions that would require the HHS Secretary: 1) in consultation with NIH, to establish criteria for accounting and reporting the percent of effort expended by researchers funded by NIH or the AHRQ on musculoskeletal health; 2) in consultation with NIH, to submit a report that contains information on the number of new investigators awarded musculoskeletal health research grants and recommendations concerning additional resources that NIH or other entities could use to increase the number of new investigators; 3) in consultation with AHRQ, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and the CMS, to conduct a study on the cost-effectiveness of all available methods for measuring the bone mass of beneficiaries of the Medicare program; and 4) acting through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and National Institute on Aging (NIA), to conduct a third longitudinal study on aging in the United States. A similar bill was introduced in the 110th Congress. S. 1548 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. No further action has occurred.

Scleroderma

On July 30, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), introduced S. 1545, a companion bill to H.R. 2408, the Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act, that was previously introduced by Representative Lois Capps (D-CA). The bill would: 1) require the Director of NIAMS to expand, intensify, and coordinate the activities of the Institute regarding scleroderma; 2) require the status of scleroderma research to be included in the NIH Biennial Report; and 3) authorize the appropriation of $25 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, $30 million in FY 2011 and $35 million in FY 2012. Additionally, the CDC would be required to carry out a public awareness campaign. S. 1545 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. No further action has occurred.

Other Legislative Highlights

For other related legislative highlights including those involving arthritis, autoimmunity, osteoporosis, pain, and psoriasis, please refer to the Web page of the NIH's Office of Legislative and Policy Analysis (OLPA) at: http://olpa.od.nih.gov/.

Budget Update

FY 2010

On July 24, the House passed H.R. 3293, the FY 2010 appropriations bill. The bill includes $31.3 billion for NIH, which is $500 million more than the President's request and $942 million above the FY 2009 comparable amount. The allocation for NIAMS proposed by the House is $543.6 million, which is an increase of approximately $19 million and 3.6 percent over FY 2009.

On July 30, the Senate companion bill, bearing the same number, was reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee. Floor action in the Senate will occur after the August recess. The Senate bill provides $30.8 billion for NIH, equivalent to the President's request and $442 million above the comparable FY 2009 level. The amount proposed by the Senate for NIAMS is $533.8 million, which represents an increase of approximately $9 million and 1.7 percent over FY 2009.

Once the Senate passes its bill, a Conference Committee, made up of members of both houses of Congress, will work to reconcile the differences between the two bills. If a final bill is not passed and signed by the beginning of FY 2010 which begins October 1, it is likely that a continuing resolution will be enacted.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

NIH and the Institutes are working on funding plans for the various ARRA initiatives. When decisions have been finalized, they will be shared with the community. In the meantime, the latest information can be found on the NIAMS website at: www.niams.nih.gov/recovery.

Faces . . .

Four members of the National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Advisory Council are leaving the council after four years of service: Carmen Cheveres, B. Lee Green, M.Ed., Ph.D., Joshua J. Jacobs, M.D., and Patricia A. McCabe. The Institute thanks them for their many contributions, and wishes them well in future endeavors.

Faye Chen, Ph.D., has joined the NIAMS' Extramural Program (EP) as a Health Science Administrator in the Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases. Dr. Chen received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Bimolecular Chemistry followed by a postdoctoral position at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/ Harvard Medical School. She served as an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Columbia University before joining the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP) in 2004, focusing on research in stem cell biology and tissue engineering.

Xibin Wang, Ph.D., has joined NIAMS' Extramural Program as a Health Science Administrator in the Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases. Dr. Wang received his doctorate degree in 2002 from Penn State University, with a major in Nutrition. Since then, he has obtained postdoctoral training and has worked as a research fellow in NIAMS' Intramural Program, doing research on cartilage biology and osteoarthritis.

Ricardo Cibotti, Ph.D., has joined NIAMS as the Director of the Skin Diseases Program in the Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases, Extramural Program. Dr. Cibiotti comes to NIAMS after 6 years at Medimmune in Gaithersburg, MD, where he led a team that achieved the pre-clinical characterization of the Interferon-alpha and Type-I Interferon Receptor human antibodies that are currently tested in Lupus, Psoriasis and Dermatomyosities Clinical Trials. Dr. Cibotti received his doctorate degree from the University of Orleans, France at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and subsequently completed his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Alfred Singer at the National Cancer Institute.

Kudos . . .

Twenty-one people from NIAMS were recognized for outstanding achievements at the annual NIH Director's Award Ceremony on July 29, 2009.

Mario Cerritelli, Ph.D., Chief, Career Development Section, IRP, was recognized for exemplary performance while demonstrating significant leadership, skill, and ability in serving as a mentor;

Carl Baker, M.D., Ph.D., Health Science Administrator, Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases, EP, was recognized for outstanding scientific leadership in advancing skin research through Trans-NIH Initiatives;

Ruth Fritz, Secretary to the Deputy Director, Office of the Director, was recognized for exceptional support of the NIAMS Ethics Program in addition to supporting the NIAMS Deputy Director and the Executive Officer;

Joan McGowan, Ph.D., Director, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, EP, Fei Wang, Ph.D., Health Science Administrator, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, EP, Anita Linde, M.P.P., Director, Office of Science Policy and Planning, Jonelle Drugan, Ph.D., Science Policy Analyst, Office of Science Policy and Planning, Wilma Cross, M.S., Deputy Director, Office of Science Policy and Planning, Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S., Writer/Editor, Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and Elijah Weisberg, Research Program Analyst, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, EP, received a group award in recognition of sustained, exceptional efforts in facilitating novel collaborations between NIH and NASA;

Laura Spears, Carrie Watkins, Lisa Poe, Iris Pratt, Nicole Plass, Nea Dam, Pilseditas Sayther, Pamela Williams, and Tracy Goss, all in the IRP Administrative Management Branch, were part of a group award recognized for exceptional teamwork in support of the meeting on Chronic Recurrent Osteomyelitia (CRMO), Synovitis, Acne, Pustulosis, Hyperostosis and Osteitis Syndrome (SAPHO) and Beçhet's Disease;

Glen Nuckolls, Ph.D., Health Science Administrator, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, EP, was part of a group award recognized for their dedication to the goals of the Enhancing Peer Review Initiative as well as their enthusiasm for the ideals of peer review;

Dan Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the NIAMS Office of the Clinical Director, and Chief, Genetics and Genomics Branch, IRP, was part of a group award recognized for distinguished leadership in identifying, assessing, and streamlining processes that will improve the conduct of clinical research in the NIH Intramural Research Program.

NIAMS Communications Update. . .

Multicultural Outreach

The Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) created the NIAMS Multicultural Outreach News, a quarterly electronic update that provides up-to-date information on initiatives, meetings, training opportunities, publications, and other resources related to multicultural outreach at NIAMS and across the Federal government. This electronic digest, for NIAMS' Health Partnership Program members and other community organizations and individuals interested in minority health and multicultural outreach at NIAMS, uses advanced technology to offer readers an engaging and user-friendly experience. The NIAMS Multicultural Outreach News is an essential tool in OCPL's science-to-service mission by ensuring transparency of Institute priorities, encouraging partners to stay abreast of the latest NIAMS news and resources, and promoting collaboration. The NIAMS Multicultural Outreach News is posted on the NIAMS Web site at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/MCI_News/2009/MayNews.asp.

Public Liaison

NIAMS Coalition Activities

NIAMS continues to work with the NIAMS Coalition to share the latest research advances and related developments, and to foster dialogue on the future path and directions of NIAMS-funded research. The NIAMS Coalition, a group of more than 65 professional and voluntary organizations, leads the Federal advocacy effort on research into the basic understanding, causes, incidence, treatment and prevention of diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, skin, and connective tissues.

NIAMS Coalition Teleconference

One of the Institute's goals is to foster active dialogue and engage the NIAMS Coalition and other interested stakeholders in the future direction of NIAMS-funded research. To that end, NIAMS, along with Coalition co-chairs Sheila Rittenberg and Amy Melnick, hosted its second teleconference on July 23, 2009. The teleconference, featuring Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., and Robert H. Carter, M.D., provided Coalition members with an overview of topics currently impacting the Institute and NIH such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, stem cell guidelines, comparative effectiveness research, and the NIAMS budget. A question and answer session at the end of the call gave members an opportunity to discuss any items of concern to their organization.

NIAMS Coalition 2009 Outreach Meeting

NIAMS will host its second NIAMS Coalition Outreach Meeting: Creating Connections for Science, on November 3, 2009, in Bethesda, Maryland. This one-day meeting will provide the NIAMS Coalition members with an opportunity to network and share best practices on the importance of connecting science to the public while learning more about the future directions of NIAMS-funded research.

Media Highlights

NIAMS Scientific Director John O'Shea, M.D., was recently featured in Nature Biotechnology in a story on regulatory T cells and T helper 17 (Th17) cells in autoimmune disease. The article questioned whether activated CD4+ T cells are firmly fixed or plastic.

NIAMS Clinical Director Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., recently appeared in a story on periodic fever syndrome on WLS-TV News Channel 7, Chicago. Kastner addressed genetic aspects of these disorders in the segment, which was filmed at the NIH Clinical Center.

Raphaela Goldbach-Manksy, M.D., M.H.S., Acting Chief, Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Section, Intramural Research Program, was interviewed by Arthritis Today regarding her team's discovery of the new autoinflammatory disorder DIRA (deficiency of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist). The feature, which appeared in the online edition of the magazine, chronicled the story of the first DIRA patient to be diagnosed and successfully treated.

NIAMS is partnering with CBS Cares and the producers of the Tony-award winning Broadway show HAIR on an osteoporosis initiative. Three public service announcements (PSAs) featuring HAIR cast members have been developed and will be aired on CBS stations throughout the country. An October launch is planned. The PSAs direct viewers to the CBS Cares Web site which will recognize NIH as the leading resource for research and information on osteoporosis, and will feature an essay by Joan McGowan, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, NIAMS Extramural Program. The CBS site will include a live link to the NIAMS-operated NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ˜ National Resource Center for additional information.

Joan McGowan, Ph.D., served as a spokesperson for the recently launched Best Bones Forever campaign. The campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, encourages girls to choose bone-healthy foods and activities. Dr. McGowan conducted a radio media tour on September 1, with twelve back-to-back interviews for such outlets as CNN Radio Network, American Urban Radio Network, WCBS-AM, and WAMU-FM.

NIAMS-funded research published in the New England Journal of Medicine that raised questions about the use of vertebroplasty in the treatment of spinal compression fractures was recently featured in the New York Times and U.S. News and World Report, as well as multiple online media outlets. NIAMS Advisory Council member James Weinstein, D.O., shared his perspectives in an accompanying editorial in the journal.

Update on Equal Employment Opportunity . . .

The 2009 NIAMS Summer Internship Program ended August 6 with a farewell social for 35 students. Highlights of the summer included: a tour of the Capitol; a meeting and question and answer session with Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); and a visit to the Division of Medicine and Science at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Fifteen students from the diverse group prepared and presented posters at the NIH Summer Poster Day. The summer internship program provides a unique opportunity for talented students to come to NIAMS for training and mentoring, as well as encouragement to work in the field of biomedical research — in particular, in the disease areas of NIAMS.

One intern from the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) worked with NIAMS this summer. Ms. Candice Williams returned for her third summer with the Office of Communications and Public Liaison. The WRP supports the President's New Freedom Initiative, the goal of which is to increase employment of people with disabilities in the public and private sectors.

Upcoming Events . . .

Look for the NIAMS exhibit at the following events between now and the January 2010 issue:

  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Dallas, Texas, Oct. 15-18, 2009
  • American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR/ARHP), Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 16-21, 2009
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Washington, D.C., Oct. 17-20, 2009
  • Bone and Joint Decade Global Network Conference, Washington, D.C., October 21-24, 2009
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Portland, Ore., Oct. 29-31, 2009
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Phoenix, Ariz., Nov. 4-7, 2009

Publications . . .

Revised booklets:

¿Tengo lupus?/Do I have Lupus?
Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities
Questions and Answers About Alopecia Areata
Questions and Answers About Behcet's Disease
Questions and Answers About Fibromyalgia
Questions and Answers About Raynaud's Phenomenon
Questions and Answers About Spinal Stenosis
Questions and Answers About Psoriasis
Questions and Answers About Reactive Arthritis
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Handout on Health

New easy-to-read fact sheets (English):

What Is Juvenile Arthritis?
What Are Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases?

New easy-to-read fact sheets (Spanish)

¿Qué es el pénfigo? (What Is Pemphigus?)
¿Qué son la bursitis y la tendinitis? (What Are Bursitis and Tendinitis?)
¿Qué es la artritis juvenil? (What Is Juvenile Arthritis?)

For information on arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, including copies of the publications listed above, contact:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health

1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Phone: 301-495-4484
Toll free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267)
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-718-6366
Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov

If you need more information about available resources in your language or another language, please visit our website or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov.

For information on osteoporosis and other bone diseases, contact:

NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center

2 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3676
Phone: 202-223-0344
Toll free: 800-624-BONE (2663)
TTY: 202-466-4315
Fax: 202-293-2356
Email: NIHBoneInfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.bones.nih.gov

If you need more information about available resources in your language or another language, please visit our website or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov.

For general information on NIAMS and its research programs, contact:

Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institutes of Health

Building 31/Room 4C02
31 Center Drive, MSC 2350,
Bethesda, MD 20892-2350
Phone: 301-496-8190
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-480-2814
Email: niamsinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov/

If you need more information about available resources in your language or another language, please visit our website or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov.

For information on NIAMS Research Registries:

NIAMS' research programs include 8 patient research registries. For information on these, please visit: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Funding/Funded_Research/registries.asp.

Compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, NIAMS; phone: (301) 496-8190; e-mail: NIAMSInfo@mail.nih.gov