News & Events

Shorttakes

February 2010 (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 . . .

NIAMS is pleased to announce the release of its new Fiscal Year 2010-2014 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.

Although it was not possible to include reference to every disease or condition within our broad mission, the Fiscal Year 2010-2014 Long-Range Plan covers numerous research areas, including:

Five tissue- and disease-specific areas

  • Arthritis and rheumatic diseases
  • Skin biology and diseases
  • Bone biology and diseases
  • Muscle biology and diseases
  • Musculoskeletal biology and diseases

Four cross-cutting areas

  • Health disparities
  • Training and career development
  • Infrastructure
  • Information dissemination

Finally, we extend our gratitude to those who contributed to the plan. We received extensive input throughout the development process from members of both the scientific and lay communities concerned with programs of the NIAMS. We now encourage you to share the plan with your colleagues to facilitate the dissemination of this valuable resource.

The FY 2010-2014 NIAMS Long-Range Plan is available at http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Mission_and_Purpose/draft_long_range_plan.asp.

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

Research Watch and Announcements . . .

Scientists supported by NIAMS have discovered how a protein called transforming growth factor-ß1 (TGF-ß1) links bone formation with bone resorption, two processes that must work in concert to remodel healthy bone.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/bone_protein.asp

Researchers have found new evidence concerning the role of the body’s innate immune system in lupus. The findings suggest the involvement of certain receptors called endosomal TLRs (eTLRs) in the production of autoanitbodies, and could eventually lead to ways to block the components of the immune system that initiate or perpetuate the disease.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/lupus_receptors.asp

Research supported by NIAMS raises questions about the efficacy of a routine surgical treatment –vertebroplasty – for vertebral spine fractures.

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

In a study with mice, researchers discovered itch-specific neurons in the spinal cord. The neurons produce a protein called gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR). Without GRPR-expressing neurons, there is no sensation of itch.

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

Circulating levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are inversely associated with bone mass in women.

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

Scientists have found that dystrophin, the large protein absent from people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, plays a direct role in properly aligning microtubules, the muscle cell components that provide structure and organization.

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

Researchers from NIAMS have discovered a new mechanism for cell differentiation in mouse embryonic and skeletal muscle stem cells.

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

Scientists at NIAMS, working with researchers at sites across the country, have employed a new statistical method to identify predictors of spine damage severity in people with ankylosing spondylitis.

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

New research suggests that the appetite-regulating hormone leptin may play a role in the long-recognized connection between obesity and osteoarthritis.

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

Researchers have gained new insights into value of certain muscle performance measurements in predicting the therapeutic effects of exercise in people with osteoarthritis of the knee.

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

A protein that normally mutates antibody genes in B cells triggers resistance to the drug Gleevec in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.

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

A new confocal microscope attachment called FLIM, purchased with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will allow scientists in the NIAMS Intramural Research Program to probe biomedical images with increased precision.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/chronicles/chronicle_microscope_flim.asp

NIAMS recently acquired a genome analyzer with ARRA funds. This instrument performs large-scale DNA processing which results in billions of bases of high-quality gene sequences.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/chronicles/chronicle_genetic_analyzer.asp

NIH launched the second phase of Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS).

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2009/10_16.asp

In 2009, the NIAMS hosted a series of roundtables to solicit input that would help inform the Institute as to the clinical trials that it will undertake. Roundtable summaries are available on the NIAMS Web site.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Meetings_and_Events/Roundtables/2009/default.asp

NIAMS partners with CBS Cares and the producers of HAIR on an Osteoporosis Prevention Initiative.

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

Dr. Katz’s article, “Training at the NIAMS: Ensuring a Vibrant Future for Musculoskeletal Research,” was published in the November issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

See: http://www.ejbjs.org/cgi/content/full/91/11/2743

NIAMS’ IRPartners Fall/Winter 2009 issue is available on the NIAMS Web site.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/IRPartners/Fall_Winter2009/default.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

NCMHD Health Disparities Research on Minority and Underserved Populations (R01), RFA-MD-10-003. Issued: December 10, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: January 26, 2010; application receipt date: February 26, 2010. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MD-10-003.html

Requests for Applications (ARRA):

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Building Sustainable Community-Linked Infrastructure to Enable Health Science Research (RC4), RFA-OD-09-010. Issued: September 18, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: November 12, 2009; application receipt date: December 11, 2009.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-09-010.html

Recovery Act Limited Competition: NIH Directors Opportunity for Research in Five Thematic Areas (RC4), RFA-OD-10-005. Issued: December 28, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: February 15, 2010; application receipt date: March 15, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-10-005.html

Recovery Act Limited Competition: NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) Short-term Mentored Career Development Awards in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences for Mid-career and Senior Investigators (K18), RFA-OD-10-003. Issued: January 5, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: January 20, 2010; application receipt date: February 18, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-10-003.html

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Institutional Comparative Effectiveness Research Mentored Career Development Award (KM1), RFA-OD-10-011. Issued: January 13, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: March 25, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-10-011.html

ARRA OS: Recovery Act 2009: Accelerating Adoption of Comparative Effectiveness Research Results by Providers and Patients (R18), RFA-AE-10-001. Issued: January 8, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: March 11, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AE-10-001.html

Requests for Applications (Roadmap):

Roadmap Transformative Research Projects Program (R01), RFA-RM-09-022. Issued: October 23, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: December 22, 2009; application receipt date: January 22, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-022.html

National Centers for Biomedical Computing (U54), RFA-RM-09-002. Issued: November 10, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: December 9, 2009; application receipt date: January 08, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-002.html

Membrane Protein Production for Structure Determination (R01), RFA-RM-09-012. Issued: December 3, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: January 11, 2010; application receipt date: February 11, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-012.html

Developing Technologies for Improved In Vivo Epigenetic Imaging or Analysis (R01), RFA-RM-09-016. Issued: December 3, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: January 4, 2010; application receipt date: February 03, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-016.html

Development of New Tools for Computational Analysis of Human Microbiome Project Data (R01), RFA-RM-09-020. Issued: December 3, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: January 4, 2010; application receipt date: February 01, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-020.html

Development of New Tools for Computational Analysis of Human Microbiome Project Data (R21), RFA-RM-09-021. Issued: December 3, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: January 4, 2010; application receipt date: February 01, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-021.html

Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Award (U54), RFA-RM-10-001. Issued: January 26, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: September 14, 2010; application receipt date: October 14, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-001.html

Program Announcements:

Bioengineering Nanotechnology Initiative (STTR [R41/R42]), PA-09-266. Issued: October 2, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-09-266.html

Bioengineering Nanotechnology Initiative (SBIR [R43/44]), PA-09-267. Issued: October 2, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-09-267.html

Mechanisms, Models, Measurement, and Management in Pain Research (R01), PA-10-006. Issued: October 5, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-006.html

Mechanisms, Models, Measurement, and Management in Pain Research (R21), PA-10-007. Issued: October 5, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-007.html

Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Exploratory/Developmental Projects in Translational Research (R21), PAR-10-019. Issued: November 2, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: January 4, 2010, January 4, 2011, and January 4, 2012; application receipt dates: February 1, 2010, February 1, 2011, and February 1, 2012.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-019.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32), PA-10-036. Issued: November 27, 2009; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-036.html

Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01), PA-10-056. Issued: December 16, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-056.html

Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (Parent K08), PA-10-059. Issued: December 16, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-059.html

Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (Parent K24), PA-10-061. Issued: December 16, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-061.html

NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00), PA-10-063. Issued: December 16, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-063.html

Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (Parent K23), PA-10-060. Issued: December 17, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-060.html

Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award (Parent K25), PA-10-062. Issued: December 17, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-062.html

Research Project Grant (Parent R01), PA-10-067. Issued: December 17, 2009; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-067.html

NIH Exploratory Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21), PA-10-069. Issued: December 24, 2009; letters of intent: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-069.html

Academic Research Enhancement Award (Parent R15), PA-10-070. Issued: December 24, 2009; letters of intent: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-070.html

NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13/U13), PA-10-071. Issued: January 4, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-071.html

PHS 2010-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44]), PA-10-050. Issued: January 15, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-050.html

PHS 2010-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications (Parent STTR [R41/R42]), PA-10-051. Issued: January 15, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-051.html

Notice

Announcement of NIAMS Revised Procedure for Acceptance of Applications Requesting $500,000 or More Direct Costs in any Grant Year, NOT-AR-10-025. Issued: January 15, 2010. This announcement does not apply to applications submitted in response to Requests for Applications (RFAs) or in response to Omnibus Solicitations for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-AR-10-025.html

Highlights From the Hill, DHHS and NIH . . .

Senate Hearing on Human Space Flight

On October 21, 2009, NIAMS Director, Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., testified in front of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Science and Space at a hearing entitled, “The Case for Space: Examining the Value.” Dr. Katz’s testimony centered on the biomedical research advances and opportunities that are available through the International Space Station (ISS).

Dr. Katz’s testimony is available at:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Legislation/NIAMS_NASA.asp. A video of the hearing can be found on the Subcommittee’s website: http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Subcommittees.Subcommittee&Subcommittee_ID=f37a9835-d7d5-4d9d-9394-210b787fbc31.

Health Care Reform

On December 24, 2009, the Senate passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The House measure, H.R. 3962, passed on November 7, 2009. Both versions of the bill include similar research provisions of interest to the NIH, such as the administration of competitive effectiveness research. Further information will be provided once a final bill is produced.

Small Business Programs

Congress has passed a series of bills that temporarily extended the 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 current extension bill, signed into law on January 29, provides an extension to April 30, 2010.

As of February 1, 2010, 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.

Bone Health

On October 20, Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) introduced H.R. 3856, the Bone Health Promotion and Research Act of 2009. The bill would require the NIH to expand and intensify osteoporosis and related bone diseases programs. The bill would also authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish a National Bone Health Program and an Education and Outreach program. The CDC would also be required to establish an Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disease Advisory Committee that would include NIH representatives. Finally, it would authorize an osteoporosis and related bone diseases surveillance program at CDC. H.R. 3856 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

For More Information

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

Budget Update

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), NIAMS is investing its $132.7 million of economic stimulus funds into a wide range of arthritis, musculoskeletal, and skin diseases research. With this funding, the scientific community has an extraordinary opportunity to advance biomedical research while creating jobs in local communities. The NIAMS Recovery Act Funding Plan includes: expanded paylines in several budget activities, administrative supplements, competitive revisions, Challenge grants (RC1), Grand Opportunity (“GO”) grants (RC2), and Core Centers for new faculty recruitment (P30). With the completion of funding decisions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, most, but not all, of the dollars allocated to NIAMS through ARRA have been committed. Certain initiatives are available for FY 2010 funding, and details can be found on the NIAMS Web site at http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/default.asp.

FY 2009

In FY 2009, the NIAMS funded 238 new and competing continuation applications for a success rate of 19.9 percent—a figure slightly lower than last year’s rate of 20.9 percent. The overall NIH success rate is estimated to be 20.6 percent. Additional details about the distribution of the FY 2009 appropriation are provided on the NIAMS Web site at http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/09_budget_detail.asp.

FY 2010

On December 16, 2009, the President signed into law the Consolidated Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 111–117). The measure was used as a vehicle for providing FY 2010 funding for several agencies, including the NIH. This law provides $31 billion for NIH, an increase of approximately 2.3 percent over the FY 2009 enacted level (not including ARRA funds). The funding level for NIAMS in FY 2010 under this bill is $539.1 million, which is approximately 2.7 percent over the FY 2009 enacted level (not including ARRA funds).

In accordance with NIH policy, a two percent inflation allowance is provided for NIH investments in research supported by research grants. Implementation of this policy requires a reduction to previously established commitments, which were based on a three percent inflation allowance. This means most noncompeting commitments for research project grants will be reduced by approximately one percent from the FY 2010 committed level. This reduction will be applied to all remaining years of the grant. Projects supported by ARRA, SBIR/STTRs, Research Careers, and Ruth L. Kirschstein-National Research Service Award (NRSA) and Individual Fellowships and Institutional Training Grants are not included in this policy.

All established paylines and funding policies for NIAMS are available on the NIAMS Web site at http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/funding_plan_fy2010.asp.

As has been the case in previous years, funding priority will be given to new investigators. The NIH goal is to equalize the success rates between new and experienced investigators submitting type 1 (new) R01 grant applications, and each Institute has been asked to fund a target number of new investigators to help reach that goal. The numeric target for NIAMS in FY 2010 is 46. To help improve our new investigator success rate and reach our goal, the NIAMS new investigator payline has been set at 5 percentile points above the regular R01 payline for FY 2010.

The second NIH-wide new investigator emphasis area is increasing the numbers of Early Stage Investigators (ESIs). An ESI is an individual who is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent) without NIH support. The goal is to encourage early transition to independence, and the target is for ESIs to constitute a majority of new investigators.

FY 2011

The President’s Budget request for FY 2011 is scheduled to be released the first week of February; details will be shared after that time.

NIAMS Faces . . .

Lawrence E. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., NIAMS Director from 1986 to 1994, passed away in October at the age of 90. Dr. Shulman was a world-renowned leader in the field of rheumatology research, and a greatly admired mentor and teacher of many of today's leading rheumatology investigators, both in the United States and abroad. Dr. Shulman made many pivotal contributions to rheumatology research, including the discovery in 1974 of eosinophilic fasciitis, a connective tissue disorder that is known today as Shulman's syndrome. He served in leadership positions in a number of professional organizations, and was passionate about serving patients and families affected by diseases within the NIAMS mission. He received many awards and honors from both scientific societies and patient organizations for his unwavering support of research to reduce the heavy burden of these conditions. Upon Dr. Shulman’s retirement in 1994, then-NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus conferred the title of Director Emeritus on him, in recognition of Dr. Shulman’s distinguished service to the NIH. We at NIAMS will always be indebted to Dr. Shulman for his tremendous vision and dedication to the Institute and its public health mission, and he will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues.

The NIAMS Advisory Council welcomes five ad hoc members: Harry C. Dietz, M.D., is the Victor A. McKusick Professor of Medicine and Genetics at the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Since 1994, he has been the Director of the Marfan Syndrome Clinic at Johns Hopkins, and since 1999, he has also been a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurosurgery. He is widely published in human genetics and pediatrics, and is a member of numerous professional associations, including the American Society of Human Genetics, Society for Pediatric Research, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation; Regis J. O’Keefe, M.D., Ph.D., is the Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He is a national leader in the field of orthopaedic oncology, and is a member of several national organizations including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and is past President of the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade; Jean Pickford is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types, Inc. (F.I.R.S.T.). This organization represents individuals and families affected by a set of rare genetic skin diseases. Over the past ten years, Ms. Pickford has grown F.I.R.S.T. from a very small, grassroots organization to a much stronger patient advocacy group in the dermatology community. Prior to her position with F.I.R.S.T., Ms Pickford worked for the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association of the Delaware Valley, and for the American Heart Association’s chapter in Southeastern Pennsylvania; Bradley R. Stephenson, is founder of the firm Bradley R. Stephenson, Attorney at Law, where his practice focuses on estate planning and probate law. Mr. Stephenson received his juris doctor degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. He is an advocate for muscular dystrophy patients, and, in 2003 was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee at the NIH. Mr. Stephenson is the founder of a Web site dedicated to Becker Muscular Dystrophy, and he serves on the advisory board of Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research; Julio L. Vergara, Ph.D., is the Distinguished Professor of Physiology in the Department of Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine. He is an internationally renowned expert in the field of muscle physiology, and is a national leader in training the next generation of physiology researchers and physician-scientists. Dr. Vergara is a member of numerous professional societies, including the Biophysical Society and the Society of General Physiology. He serves on several scientific editorial boards and is a recent member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the NIAMS Intramural Research Program.

Laura Moen, Ph.D., has joined the NIAMS’ Extramural Program (EP) as the Director of the Division of Extramural Research Activities (DERA). She comes to NIAMS from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), where she has served as a Program Official in the Division of Extramural Research since 2008. She has also worked at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Dr. Moen received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Virginia Medical Center. She held postdoctoral positions at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, and at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including NIH Director’s Awards for her exceptional contributions to the Roadmap Molecular Libraries Initiative, and the agency-wide restructuring of the Division of Extramural Activities Support.

The Institute is grateful to Melinda Nelson, as Acting Director, DERA and Andy Jones, as Acting Grants Management Officer, for their leadership in EP in 2009. Their vision, hard work, and collegial spirit helped greatly during an exciting and challenging time.

The Institute welcomes Leon J. Nesti, M.D., Ph.D., as a Guest Researcher in the Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch, NIAMS’ Intramural Research Program. Dr. Nesti has recently served as a fellow in Hand and Upper Extremity Reconstructive Surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Nesti received his M.D. from the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, and his Ph.D. from the College of Graduate Studies of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow with NIAMS from June 2004 to June 2005.

Louise Rosenbaum, Ph.D., Science Policy Analyst, Office of Science Policy and Planning, is on assignment with the U.S. Department of State’s Embassy Science Fellows Program from February 1 to March 31. During her fellowship, Dr. Rosenbaum will be working with the Moroccan government’s Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, Training, and Scientific Research to identify research areas that are poised for international collaboration and potential commercialization. While Louise is on assignment, Teresa Bernaciak, Ph.D., will be joining the Office of Science Policy and Planning to assist with a variety of projects and will work closely on issues related to NIAMS’ skin and rheumatic diseases programs. Dr. Bernaciak is an NIH Presidential Management Fellow, whose Ph.D. is in microbiology from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Gerda Gallop-Goodman, B.A., has joined the NIAMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) as a Writer/Editor. Ms. Gallop-Goodman has been a writer and editor for the American Association for Cancer Research and several media outlets, including Black Enterprise magazine, Child magazine, and the Battle Creek Enquirer. She has community outreach experience in cancer education and support for minority populations in the greater Philadelphia area. She obtained her B.A. degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and will complete her M.P.H. degree from George Washington University in May.

Kudos . . .

John O’Shea, M.D., NIAMS’ Scientific Director and Chief of the Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, Intramural Program (IRP), was awarded the 2009 Lee C. Howley, Sr., Prize for Arthritis Research. The Arthritis Foundation award recognizes researchers whose contributions during the previous five years have represented a significant advance in the understanding, treatment or prevention of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. The Arthritis Foundation recognized Dr. O’Shea for his work on cytokine signal transduction and the roles of Janus kinases (Jaks) and STAT (signal transducers and activators of transcription) family transcription factors in immune cell development and differentiation.

Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the NIAMS Office of the Clinical Director, and Chief of the Genetics and Genomics Branch, IRP, was awarded the NIH Astute Clinician Lectureship, and presented “Fevers, Genes, and Histories: Adventures in the Genomics of Inflammation” on November 18, 2009. The Astute Clinician Lecture honors a U.S. scientist who has observed an unusual clinical occurrence and by investigation of this occurrence has opened a new avenue of research.

Five scientists from NIAMS have been featured in a newly launched Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) publication, Women in Science at the National Institutes of Health 2007-2008. The publication features stories about Joan McGowan, Ph.D., Director, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, Extramural Program (EP), Susana Serrate-Sztein, M.D., Director, Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases, EP, Ivona Aksentijevich, M.D., Staff Scientist, Genetics and Genomics Branch, IRP, Elaine Remmers, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Genetics and Genomics Branch, IRP, and the late Madeline Turkeltaub, R.N., Ph.D., C.R.N.P., F.A.A.N., previous Director of the NIAMS Division of Extramural Research Activities.

NIAMS Communications Update. . .

Multicultural Outreach

NIAMS continues to move forward steadily on its plans for the National Multicultural Outreach Initiative. The Multicultural Initiative will help address disparities in access to health information regarding bone, joint, muscle and skin health among racial and ethnic minority populations by developing and disseminating culturally and linguistically appropriate messages and materials. The plan was introduced to the NIAMS Coalition members at the 2009 Outreach and Education Meeting in November. NIAMS is now inviting the Coalition and other partners to nominate individuals for four work groups representing each of the Initiative’s target audiences: African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives. The four work groups will serve in an advisory capacity to provide direction on communications to each of the target audiences. Work group members will have experience in any of the following: research, education, outreach, patient perspectives, communications expertise, and experience working with the target audience they represent. NIAMS plans to convene the work groups in early 2010.

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 Coalition is an external group of professional and voluntary organizations concerned with the programs of the NIAMS.

NIAMS hosted its second Coalition Outreach and Education Meeting on November 3, 2009, “Creating Connections for Science,” at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The meeting brought together approximately 70 NIAMS Coalition members representing more than 50 Coalition organizations. The purpose of the meeting was to provide the NIAMS Coalition members an opportunity to network and share best practices on the importance of connecting science to the public, while learning more about the inner workings of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NIAMS.

Keynote speaker Honorable John Edward Porter, former U.S. Representative and current chair of Research!America, emphasized the importance of building bridges between the public and the scientific community. Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., and Robert H. Carter, M.D., addressed the audience with a State of the Institute presentation. Presentations followed on the NIAMS grant mechanisms and peer review process, the NIAMS long-range plan, the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT), the Institute’s outreach and information efforts, and the NIAMS National Multicultural Outreach Initiative. Coalition members shared best practices on collaborating and communicating the message of public awareness about diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. At the end of the day, the group’s co-chairs celebrated the Coalition’s successful collaboration and support of NIAMS.

Public Information

In 2009, the NIAMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison responded to more than 26,000 inquires through the NIAMS Information Center (NIC) and more than 13,000 inquires through the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center (NRC). The NRC is managed by NIAMS and funded by several NIH Institutes (the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the DHHS Office on Women’s Health. Also in 2009, viewers accessed NIAMS health information through the NIAMS Health Information Web page (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/default.asp) 6,228,860 times.

Media Highlights

Fei Wang, Ph.D., Director of the NIAMS Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Program, was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article on cartilage regeneration techniques. The story highlighted the work of NIAMS grantee Constance Chu, M.D., who recently received stimulus funds for an equine cartilage repair preclinical trial.

Raphaela Goldbach-Manksy, M.D., M.H.S., Acting Chief, Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Section, Intramural Research Program, was interviewed for a story in Nature Reviews Rheumatology regarding her work related to thunder god vine root in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

NIAMS Deputy Director Robert Carter, M.D., was featured in a story on ARRA funding of rheumatology-related research for a fall 2009 issue of The Rheumatologist. The current issue of the publication includes an article on autoinflammatory diseases that is based on 2009 American College of Rheumatology annual meeting presentations by NIAMS Clinical Director Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., and Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky, M.D., M.H.S.

Update on Equal Employment Opportunity . . .

The NIH Summer Internship in Biomedical Research for 2010 is accepting applications via the Web site at http://www.training.nih.gov/student. The Institute has already begun to receive applications for these positions. For additional information specifically concerning research training opportunities within the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP), please visit http://www.careers.niams.nih.gov.

NIAMS is planning to take part in the Maryland Hispanic Youth Symposium, a Hispanic College Fund event that will take place this summer in Towson, Maryland. More than 200 local Hispanic high school students will come together in a program that is designed to equip students with the essential skills and means to graduate from high school and prepare for college, as well as to develop leadership and other professional skills that will serve them in their chosen careers.

NIAMS has begun to develop and implement three new outreach initiatives that target community college students who have an interest in biomedical fields:

  1. A new joint partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to provide outreach, education, and training to community college students in the local area. NIAMS postdoc and postbac fellows, as well as Career Development Section staff members will visit the schools and invite students to the NIH campus for tours, etc;
  2. Mario E. Cerritelli, Ph.D., Chief of the Career Development and Outreach Branch, IRP, has developed and been appointed Co-Director of a recently funded program: the NIH Community College Summer Enrichment Program. This new program’s purpose is to increase the number of community college students who participate in the NIH Summer Internship Program, and to provide a special academic curriculum which assists these students in pursuing four-year college degrees and careers in the biomedical sciences;
  3. On September 25, 2009, NIAMS, along with NHGRI and the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education, sponsored the first annual NIH Community College Day. This event provided community college students and faculty with an opportunity to visit the NIH campus and to learn about careers and training programs in biomedical and health care fields. Plans are underway for additional Community College Days at NIH, with the next one scheduled for October 1, 2010.

Since the last NIAMS Advisory Council, Institute staff participated in the following career events:

  • NIH Community College Day (September 2009)
  • Aberdeen Proving Ground Disability Job Expo (October 2009)
  • Professional Development Day—Woodrow Wilson’s Senior High School SciMaTech Academy (October 2009)
  • Montgomery County High Schools’ Career Fair (October 2009)
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) annual conference (October 2009)
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) annual conference (October 2009)
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) (November 2009)

Upcoming Events . . .

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

  • American Academy of Dermatology 68th Annual Meeting, Miami, Fla., March 5-9, 2010
  • Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Conference, New Orleans, La., March 6-9, 2010
  • Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging, Chicago, Ill., March 15-19, 2010
  • Dermatology Nurses Association Annual Conference, Orlando, Fla., March 25-28, 2010
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Clinical Meeting, San Francisco, Calif., May 15-19, 2010
  • National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses Annual Conference, Seattle, Wash., May 15-19, 2010
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants Annual Conference, Atlanta, Ga., May 29-June 3, 2010
  • Association of Women’s Health Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses Annual Conference, Nashville, Tenn., June 12-16, 2010

Publications . . .

New bilingual booklet:

Cirugía de reemplazo articular: Información para Comunidades Multiculturales /Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities

Revised booklets:
Handout on Health: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Handout on Health: Back Pain
Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis
Questions and Answers About Osteonecrosis
Questions and Answers About Epidermolysis Bullosa
Questions and Answers About Rosacea

New easy-to-read fact sheets (English):
What Are Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases?

New easy-to-read fact sheets (Spanish):
¿Qué son la artritis y otras enfermedades reumáticas? (What Are Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases?)

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 12 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