News & Events

Shorttakes

June 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 . . .

The NIAMS is excited about its participation in a new program involving several other NIH Institutes and Centers, to increase clinical research collaborations between scientists in the United States and developing countries. More and more, populations in Asia, Africa, and South America are burdened by debilitating, chronic diseases, such as the rheumatic, musculoskeletal, and skin disorders in the NIAMS mission areas, and their biomedical research and health care systems are in need of better resources to respond to these problems. On a personal note, my first substantive exposure to medical research was in Uganda, East Africa, where I studied the effect of urbanization on marginal malnutrition. This was a life-changing experience.

The International Clinical Research Fellows (ICRF) Program supports one year of mentored clinical research in a developing country setting for medical residents and fellows, as well as Ph.D. scientists in health-related fields from the United States and developing countries. Funding is available for multiple areas of clinical research (http://www.fogartyscholars.org/fellows-OLD/icrf-rfa), such as the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and rheumatic, musculoskeletal and skin diseases, including those found in HIV/AIDS populations. These experiences will leverage future, long-term collaborations, which will enhance the foreign site’s clinical research capacity for addressing the specific diseases affecting its population.

The ICRF program is managed by the NIH’s Fogarty International Center, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health. Application information for 2011 will be available in July 2010 at the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Web site: http://www.fogartyscholars.org/fellows/the-fellows-program.

We hope that the NIAMS scientific community will take advantage of this important opportunity to expand innovative collaborations and broaden the NIH’s global health research efforts.

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 . . .

A NIAMS-funded 3-year clinical trial, “Bone Response to Soy Isoflavones in Women,” did not support the conclusion that soy isoflavones protect against bone loss in postmenopausal women.

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

NIAMS’ American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding contributed to the establishment of the Dermatology Clinical Effectiveness Research Network, which will be conducting comparative clinical effectiveness research on treatments for moderate-to-severe psoriasis.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/Chronicles/chronicle_psoriasis_network.asp

With the help of ARRA funds, a common surgical procedure for relieving pain in the patellofemoral joint (behind the kneecap) is being evaluated for effectiveness.

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

ARRA funds helped a first-time grantee identify mechanisms that turn muscle precursor cells into skeletal muscle fibers.

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

New techniques that analyze cartilage by layers may one day help scientists predict which patients are most likely to have progressive cases of osteoarthritis.

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

Two separate research teams discovered that the molecule, EGR-1 (early growth response 1), plays a central role in the development of fibrosis, a condition in which tissue becomes thick, hard, and rigid, hindering normal tissue and organ function.

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

Scientists supported by NIAMS have found that mouse odorant receptor 23 (MOR23), a protein involved in odor recognition, also affects the ability of muscle cells to grow, migrate, change and fuse to form muscle fibers.

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

Recent research resolves two longstanding controversies about Merkel cells: where they come from and their role in sensory perception.

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

New research directly examining the joint tissue of people with rheumatoid arthritis has given investigators a better understanding of the antibodies involved in joint tissue damage.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/anti-CCP_RA.asp

Research has revealed that staphylococcus epidermidis, the most common bacteria on human skin, helps us by triggering a pathway that prevents excessive inflammation after injury.

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

Scientists have identified 20 genetic variations associated with the development of osteoporosis.

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

Findings from the NIAMS-supported National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) suggest that the number of older adults with osteoporosis, a disease that makes bone less dense and prone to fracture, is declining in the United States.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/lower_osteoporosis.asp

The first genome-wide association study for ankylosing spondylitis showed two genes and two non-gene regions newly associated with increased risk for the disease.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/genetic_loci_as.asp

NIAMS and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are launching a five-year, $7.5 million natural history study of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a degenerative genetically-linked neuromuscular disease.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Announcements/2010/duchenne.asp

Researchers at NIAMS discovered a new mechanism of inflammation in the TNF receptor 1(TNFR1)-associated periodic fever syndrome (TRAPS), concluding that mutant TNFR1 and normal TNFR1 must both be present to cause an increased inflammatory response in TRAPS.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/TRAPS.asp

NIH scientists discovered that the activation of immune cells called basophils causes kidney damage in a mouse model of lupus nephritis. The team’s research may lead to new treatments for the type of systemic lupus erythematosus that affects the kidneys.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2010/06_01.asp

In a study examining mouse immune cells, NIH researchers examined the types, amount, and activity of microRNAs, genetic components that help regulate the production of proteins. The results provide a map to the variety of microRNAs within mouse immune cells and reveal the complexity of cellular protein regulation.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2010/06_03.asp

Media Availability: A Clinical Perspective of Autoinflammatory Diseases - Daniel L. Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., NIAMS Clinical Director and Director of Translational Research, is available to discuss the topic of autoinflammatory diseases upon request.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2010/03_22.asp

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $1 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds have been awarded to construct, repair, and renovate scientific research laboratories and related facilities across the country.

See: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2010/ncrr-14.htm

NIH has initiated a Web site to provide information on objectivity in research and financial conflict of interest. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which proposed a general revision to existing regulations, was released on May 20, 2010. It is open for public comment for 60 days (until July 20, 2010).

See: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/ and http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2010/od-20.htm

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health announced an initiative designed to accelerate the process from scientific breakthrough to the availability of new, innovative medical therapies for patients.

See: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/feb2010/od-24.htm

Thirteen additional human embryonic stem cell lines were approved for federal funding and added to the NIH Stem Cell Registry.

See: http://grants.nih.gov/stem_cells/registry/current.htm

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

Centers of Research Translation (P50), RFA-AR-11-002. Issued: February 3, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: May 10, 2010 and May 10, 2011; application receipt dates: June 10, 2010 and June 11, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-11-002.html

NIAMS Accelerating Research Translation (ART) in Musculoskeletal and Skin Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Competitve Revision Award (R01), RFA-AR-11-004. Issued: February 26, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: July 5, 2010 and July 5, 2011; application receipt date: August 4, 2010 and August 4, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-11-004.html

NIAMS Accelerating Research Translation (ART) in Musculoskeletal and Skin Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Competitive Revision Award (P01 and P50), RFA-AR-11-005. Issued: February 26, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: July 5, 2010; application receipt date: August 4, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-11-005.html

Ancillary Studies in Immunomodulation Clinical Trials (R01), RFA-AI-10-014. Issued: March 18, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: April 9, 2010; application receipt date: June 9, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-10-014.html

Development and Translation of Medical Technologies that Reduce Health Disparities (SBIR [R43/R44]), RFA-EB-10-002. Issued: March 19, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: April 20, 2010, August 22, 2010; application receipt dates: May 20, 2010, September 22, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-EB-10-002.html

Limited Competition: Strengthening Behavioral and Social Science in Medical School Education (R25), RFA-OD-10-014. Issued: May 7, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: May 21, 2010; application receipt date: June 21, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-10-014.html

Rheumatic Diseases Research Core Centers (P30), RFA-AR-11-001. Issued: May 14, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: July 27, 2010; application receipt date: August 27, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-11-001.html

Skin Diseases Research Core Centers (P30), RFA-AR-11-010. Issued: May 14, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: September 1, 2010; application receipt date: October 1, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-11-010.html

Core Centers for Musculoskeletal Biology and Medicine (P30), RFA-AR-11-011. Issued: May 26, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: September 1, 2010; application receipt date: October 1, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-11-011.html

Requests for Applications (ARRA):

ARRA OS Recovery Act 2009 Limited Competition: Comparative Effectiveness Delivery System Evaluation Grants (R01), RFA-HS-10-012. Issued: February 12, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: March 18, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HS-10-012.html

Recovery Act Limited Competition: The NIH Directors ARRA Funded Pathfinder Award to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce (DP4), RFA-OD-10-013. Issued: March 4, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: April 5, 2010; application receipt date: May 4, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-10-013.html

Requests for Applications (Roadmap):

Science of Behavior Change: Finding Mechanisms of Change in the Laboratory and the Field (R01, RFA-RM-10-002. Issued: February 4, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: March 29, 2010; application receipt date: April 26, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-002.html

Advancing Regulatory Science through Novel Research and Science-Based Technologies (U01), RFA-RM-10-006. Issued: February 24, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: March 27, 2010; application receipt date: April 27, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-006.html

Large Scale Production of Perturbagen-Induced Cellular Signatures (U54), RFA-RM-10-003. Issued: February 26, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: April 1, 2010; application receipt date: April 27, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-003.html

Production of Human Proteins To Be Used for Generating Affinity Reagents (U01), RFA-RM-10-007. Issued: February 26, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: March 26, 2010; application receipt date: April 26, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-007.html

Program Announcements:

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31 - Diversity), PA-10-109. Issued February 16, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-109.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows (Parent F32), PA-10-110. Issued February 16, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-110.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual Senior Fellows (Parent F33), PA-10-111. Issued February 16, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-111.html

SHIFT Award: Small Businesses Helping Investigators to Fuel the Translation of Scientific Discoveries [SBIR: R43/R44], PA-10-122. Issued: March 5, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-122.html

Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities (R01), PAR-10-136. Issued: March 18, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-136.html

Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities (R21), PAR-10-137. Issued: March 18, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-137.html

Transforming Biomedicine at the Interface of the Life and Physical Sciences (R01), PAR-10-141. Issued: March 18, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: April 18, 2010; April 18, 2011; April 18, 2012; application receipt dates: May 18, 2010; May 18, 2011; May 18, 2012.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-141.html

New Biomedical Frontiers at the Interface of the Life and Physical Sciences (R01), PAR-10-142. Issued: March 18, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: April 18, 2010; April 18, 2011; April 18, 2012; application receipt dates: May 18, 2010; May 18, 2011; May 18, 2012.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-142.html

Bioengineering Nanotechnology Initiative (STTR [R41/R42]), PA-10-149. Issued: April 6, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-149.html

Bioengineering Nanotechnology Initiative SBIR [R43/R44], PA-10-150. Issued: April 6, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-10-150.html

Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Cooperative Research Projects (U01), PAR-10-180. Issued: April 29, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: August 14, 2010, August 14, 2011, and August 14, 2012; application receipt dates: September 14, 2010, September 14, 2011, and September 14, 2012.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-180.html

Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Research Centers of Excellence (U54), PAR-10-181. Issued: April 29, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: August 14, 2010, August 14, 2011, and August 14, 2012; application receipt dates: September 14, 2010, September 14, 2011, and September 14, 2012.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-181.html

Program Announcements (Roadmap):

Assay Development for High Throughput Molecular Screening (R21), PAR-10-182. Issued: April 30, 2010; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: June 29, 2010 and October 29, 2010.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-182.html

Highlights From the Hill, DHHS and NIH . . .

Congressional Staff Meeting on Epidermolysis Bullosa

At the request of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., and Carl Baker, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the NIAMS Keratinocyte Biology and Disease Program, discussed the state of the science and potential opportunities related to epidermolysis bullosa research. Participants included Sherrod Brown’s Legislative Director, Ellie Dehoney, NIAMS legislative liaison, Dr. Branden Brough, and several epidermolysis bullosa advocates.

Congressman Obey to Retire

Congressman David Obey (D-WI) has announced that he will not seek re-election at the end of his term this year. Representative Obey is the current Chair of the full House Appropriations Committee, and of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies which oversees the NIH budget.

Senator Specter Loses Pennsylvania Primary

Longtime appropriator Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) was defeated in the state’s Democratic primary, losing to Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA). For years, Specter was the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, where he was a powerful advocate for health care funding.

Health Care Reform

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, becoming P.L. 111-148. The bill was passed by the House on March 21, by a vote of 219-212. The Senate passed the measure on December 24, 2009, by a vote of 60-39. NIH provisions of interest include the creation of a Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) for translational research, as well as emphasis on comparative effectiveness and pain research, among other areas.

CAN would expand NIH authorities to advance new therapies, technologies, and pharmaceuticals in order to bridge the gap between research discoveries and the manufacture of new drugs, vaccines, and devices. More details about the implementation of these items will be provided as they become available.

Public Access

On April 15, Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced H.R. 5037, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2010. H.R. 5037 would require each Federal agency with extramural research expenditures of over $100 million annually to develop a specified Federal research public access policy that is consistent with and advances the purposes of the agency. H.R. 5037 would also require annual reports from each agency on its Federal research public access policy. The measure was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations. An identical bill, S. 1373, was introduced on June 25, 2009, by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT).

Small Business Programs

Congress has passed a series of bills that temporarily extend 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 April 30, provides an extension to July 31, 2010.

As of June 14, 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.

Stem Cell Research

On March 10, Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced H.R. 4808, the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act of 2010. Similar to the bill passed by the 110th Congress, H.R. 4808 would authorize HHS to conduct and support human embryonic stem cell research, as long as certain ethical criteria are met. HHS, in consultation with the NIH Director, would be required to maintain guidelines governing such research and review those guidelines at least every 3 years, updating them as warranted scientifically. The bill also includes a ban on human reproductive cloning. This bill would put into law the current stem cell policy that was created through the Executive Order on March 9, 2009. H.R. 4808 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 Web page of the NIH’s Office of Legislative and Policy Analysis at http://olpa.od.nih.gov/.

Budget Update

FY 2010

The NIAMS Web site provides current and historical budget-related data and the latest funding plan. Recent updates made to the NIAMS funding plan for fiscal year 2010 can be found at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/funding_plan_fy2010.asp.

FY 2011

The FY 2011 President’s Budget request was released on February 1, 2010. The request provides $32 billion for NIH, an increase of approximately $1 billion, or 3.2 percent over the FY 2010 level. The proposed funding level for NIAMS under the request is $555.7 million, which is approximately $16.9 million or 3.1 percent over FY 2010 Enacted level. The FY 2011 Congressional Justification (CJ) document is available on the NIAMS Web site at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/2011cj_full.asp. In addition to budget tables, the CJ document includes narrative sections about the Institute’s programs and how funds will be allocated.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies (Representative David Obey [D-WI], Chairman) held a hearing on April 28 on the President’s FY 2011 budget proposal. NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., was the primary witness. Dr. Collins was accompanied by Griffin P. Rodgers M.D., Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Thomas R. Insel, M.D., Director, National Institute of Mental Health. The questions that followed were mostly about the funding “cliff” following ARRA, translational research, clinical trials, stem cells, and, comparative effectiveness research. Dr. Collins’ testimony can be found at: http://www.nih.gov/about/director/budgetrequest/fy2011testimony.pdf.

On May 5, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies (Senator Tom Harkin [D-IA], Chairman) held a hearing on the FY 2011 budget. Dr. Collins was the primary witness. Questions received by Dr. Collins included: the burden of disease, the funding “cliff” following ARRA, the Cures Acceleration Network, FDA/NIH collaborations, stem cells, and health disparities. Dr. Collins’ testimony can be found at: http://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/pdfs/FY11/Final%20Collins%20Senate%20LHHS%20Written%20Testimony%20with%20bio%204-30-10.pdf.

NIAMS Faces . . .

The Institute bids farewell to Elijah Weisberg, M.S.E., a Research Program Analyst in the Musculoskeletal Diseases Branch, Extramural Program.

Kudos . . .

Stephen I. Katz, MD., Ph.D., was honored at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology by the National Psoriasis Foundation for his work and dedication in expanding research for chronic diseases, including psoriasis. In addition, he received the 2010 Dr. Tovi Comet-Walerstein Science Award by the Cancer, AIDS and Immunology Research (C.A.I.R.) Institute in Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences in Ramat Gan, Israel. The award honors scientific excellence and was established in memory of Dr. Tovi Comet-Walerstein.

Daniel L. Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Director, NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP) and Chief of the Genetics and Genomics Branch, IRP, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Members are elected annually in recognition of their distinguished achievements in original research. Dr. Kastner’s work exemplifies the integration of basic research and clinical medicine, as he has translated research findings into effective new treatments for people with autoinflammatory diseases.

Juan Rivera, M.Sc., Ph.D., Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Immunogenetics, has been appointed the Deputy Scientific Director of the NIAMS Intramural Research Program. Dr. Rivera is well-known as an outstanding mast cell biologist. He has served NIAMS previously as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology. He was also appointed by Dr. Zerhouni as the leader of the task force that evaluated Trans-NIH Initiatives, which led to the creation of the Center for Human Immunology. In addition to his other responsibilities, Dr. Rivera will assist with the creation of the NIH iPS Center and will lead us in the generation of a new strategic plan for NIAMS-IRP.

NIAMS Communications Update. . .

Multicultural Outreach

NIAMS continues to move forward steadily on its plans for the National Multicultural Outreach Initiative. The Multicultural Initiative will develop and disseminate culturally and linguistically appropriate messages and materials for racial and ethnic populations to help address disparities in access to health information regarding bone, joint, muscle and skin health. Four work groups have been convened to offer feedback on communications to each of the target audiences: African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians. NIAMS will hold a strategic planning meeting in Rockville, Maryland on June 16-17 to begin developing the Initiative’s messages and materials.

Public Liaison

NIAMS continues to work with the NIAMS Coalition to share the latest research advances and related developments, and to foster dialogue on the future paths and directions of NIAMS-funded research. On May 20, 2010 NIAMS hosted its 2010 Coalition Teleconference: Creating Connections to Science, which brought together 70 NIAMS coalition members representing more than 40 organizations. Institute Director, Stephen Katz, M.D., Ph.D., and Institute Deputy Director, Robert Carter, M.D., gave a “State of the Institute” address, highlighting the Healthcare Reform Act, the 2010 budget, clinical trials, and the American Recovery and Investment Act (ARRA), after which Coalition Members had an opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions regarding activities at NIAMS and at the National Institutes of Health. The teleconference is an important component of the Public Liaison’s larger program of activity to foster active communication and engage the NIAMS Coalition and other interested stakeholders in the future directions of NIAMS-funded research.

Public Information

Award for NIAMS Bilingual Publication

NIAMS’ newest Spanish/English bilingual publication, Cirugía de reemplazo articular: Información para Comunidades Multiculturales/Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities, won a 2010 NIH Plain Language Award. This award, part of NIH’s Clear Communication Initiative, recognizes excellence in NIH Plain Language communications. To increase awareness about this publication, NIAMS released an article in January 2010 through the North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS), which distributes information to news media outlets nationwide. The article generated over 200 news articles in Spanish and English newspapers across the United States, many of which are weekly and community newspapers.

NRC Web Site

NIAMS’ Office of Communications and Public Liaison plans to launch the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center (NRC) Web site early this summer. The new URL, www.bones.nih.gov, reflects the trans-NIH nature of the clearinghouse and recognizes the contributions from each of the NRC partners: the National Institute on Aging, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the HHS Office on Women’s Health.

Media Highlights

NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., was the focus of a story on NIAMS/NIH research initiatives in the Summer issue of Scleroderma Voice. Dr. Katz will serve as the keynote speaker for the Scleroderma Foundation’s 2010 National Conference in July.

NIAMS Scientific Director John O’Shea, M.D., was featured in the March issue of The Rheumatologist regarding his receipt of the Arthritis Foundation’s Lee C. Howley, Sr. Prize for Research in Arthritis.

Robert Colbert, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the NIAMS Pediatric Translational Research Branch, served as a guest author for an article on the classification of pediatric spondylarthritis for the April issue of The Rheumatologist.

Update on Equal Employment Opportunity . . .

Approximately 25 students from multicultural and geographically-diverse backgrounds have been selected to participate in the 2010 NIAMS Summer Internship Program. The summer internship program provides a unique opportunity for talented students to come to NIAMS for training and mentoring. This program is designed to encourage students to work in the field of biomedical research, and, in particular, in the disease areas of NIAMS.

NIAMS is hosting two interns from the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) this summer. The WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private-sector employers with highly motivated post-secondary students with disabilities who are eager to gain experience in the workplace through summer employment. One student is working with the Flow Cytometry Group in the Office of Science and Technology, and the other student is working in the Office of Communications and Public Liaison.

On April 16, the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch participated in the annual Wheaton High School Biosciences Academy Career Day in Wheaton, Maryland. The personal connection with students inspires them to stay focused on their studies, encourages them to pursue internships and summer programs in health science, and introduces them to biomedical science careers.

NIAMS staff members are planning for this summer’s annual NIH National Minority Youth Initiative in Biomedical Research. The Native American, African American, and Hispanic students who will be coming to NIH will partake in a program focused on health and career information. Included in the activities will be a presentation by the Chief of the Career Development and Outreach Branch on how to get the most out of a research experience. Tours of NIAMS’ intramural facilities will also be provided.

NIAMS continues its leadership of the NIH Warriors Transition Program, an initiative designed to provide wounded service members the opportunity to transition back into the civilian workforce. During treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, several participants signed up to work at NIAMS under the direction of NIAMS’ Career Development and Outreach Branch. These individuals will train at NIH on a part-time basis until they are prepared to seek full-time permanent employment. In conjunction with this program, NIAMS attended four career fairs at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in March and April.

Upcoming Events . . .

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

  • Organization of Chinese Americans Conference, Houston, TX, June 17-20, 2010
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Conference, Phoenix, AZ, June 23-27, 2010
  • 2010 Nurse Leaders in Native Care Conference, Washington, D.C., July 19-23, 2010
  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses Conference, Washington, D.C., July 21-24, 2010
  • Juvenile Arthritis Conference, Philadelphia, PA, July 29-August 1, 2010

Publications . . .

Revised Publication

Questions and Answers About Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis

New Fact Sheets:

Understanding Pompe Disease
Understanding Autoinflammatory Disorders

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

What Is Reactive Arthritis?

New easy-to-read fact sheet (Spanish):

¿Qué es la Artritis Reactiva? (What Is Reactive Arthritis?)

New Spanish audio files:

Ten NIAMS Esenciales Spanish-language fact sheets are available in MP3 audio format.

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:

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