News & Events

Shorttakes

September 2008 (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 . . .

It has been over 10 years since the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA) was passed. The Act, which called for the registration of clinical trials conducted with individuals having serious or life-threatening conditions, resulted in the creation of ClinicalTrials.gov, the invaluable registry that gives information about federally and privately supported trials both in the U.S. and around the world.

However, over the past few years, there have been several reports in the scientific literature about the risks or lack of effectiveness of some commonly used drugs. Part of the problem has been that some of the data analyses of human volunteers have never been subject to public scrutiny, including by the scientific community. To improve public reporting of trial data, an FDAMA update—Title VIII of the FDA Amendment Act—was passed in September 2007. Among other provisions, the new Act:

  • Expands the scope of trials that must be registered and requires more information for each trial.
  • Requires a "basic results" database for trials of FDA-approved drugs and devices (to be launched September 27, 2008), that would include demographic data and baseline characteristics of the groups in the trials, as well as information on sponsor agreements, such as publication restrictions for the investigators leading the trials.
  • Calls for adverse event reporting to be added to the database.

NIAMS, along with NIH's other Institutes and Centers, wholeheartedly supports this new law, and is committed to accurate and complete data entry. The Institute will also be taking part in NIH efforts to update clinical trials data, and to help test and modify the results reporting system. To learn more about Title VIII of the FDA Amendment Act, go to http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/HR3580.pdf.

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

Research Watch . . .

NIH scientists, including NIAMS' Scientific Director John O'Shea, M.D., have discovered a novel mechanism that controls the development of autoimmunity. The mechanism involves the protein, furin, an enzyme that plays an important role in the functioning of T cells.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2008/08_13b.asp

A research team, including NIAMS' Scientific Director John O'Shea, M.D., has discovered how a cell-signaling protein, a cytokine called interleukin 10 (IL-10), is secreted to suppress the immune system in response to the inflammation produced by autoimmune diseases.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2008/Pathway_for_Inflam.asp

Aiming for a better understanding of Vitamin A's anti-inflammatory activity, a research team, including NIAMS' Scientific Director John O'Shea, M.D., and Arian Laurence, Ph.D., learned that retinoic acid signaling can promote or suppress the activity of helper T cells, a class of immune cells involved in inflammatory responses.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2008/VitaminA_Anti_Inflam.asp

Genetic research supported by NIAMS and the Muscular Dystrophy Association is providing new insights into polymyositis and dermatomyositis, two related inflammatory muscle diseases. This research could help diagnose the diseases and monitor their treatment.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2008/gene_express_muscle.asp

A research team, led by NIAMS' Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., has identified a promising new target for autoimmune disease treatment - a cell-surface receptor called DR3. The research suggests that blocking this receptor could slow or stop the damaging inflammation characteristic of autoimmune diseases, potentially without leaving the body vulnerable to serious infections, as many current therapies do.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2008/06_19.asp

NIAMS-funded researchers have discovered components and steps in a cell-signaling system that influences skin tissue development.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2008/Cell_Signaling_Skin_Devel.asp

U.S. Bone and Joint Decade organizations, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), have published an update on The Burden of Musculoskeletal Disease in the United States.

See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Announcements/2008/Musculoskeletal_Diseases_US.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:

Translation of Common Disease Genetics into Clinical Applications (R21), RFA-DK-08-004. Issued: July 9, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: October 24, 2008; application receipt date: November 25, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DK-08-004.html

Implementation Planning Grants for Educational, Behavioral, or Social Studies for Translation of Genetic Factors in Common Diseases (U34), RFA-DK-08-003. Issued: July 16, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: October 24, 2008; application receipt date: November 25, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DK-08-003.html

Ancillary Studies in Immunomodulation Clinical Trials (R01), RFA-AI-08-011. Issued: August 27, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: thirty days prior to application receipt date; application receipt date/initial due date: November 9, 2008. Applications will then be accepted monthly on the ninth of each month.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-08-011.html

Requests for Applications (Roadmap):

Centers for Innovation in Membrane Protein Production for Structure Determination (P50), RFA-RM-08-019. Issued: June 13, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: September 21, 2008; application receipt date: October 21, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-019.html

Molecular Libraries Screening Instrumentation (R01), RFA-RM-08-020. Issued: July 14, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: September 2, 2008; application receipt date: October 2, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-020.html

Development of New Technologies Needed for Studying the Human Microbiome (R01), RFA-RM-08-026. Issued: July 15, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: September 2, 2008; application receipt date: October 2, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-026.html

Development of New Technologies Needed for Studying the Human Microbiome (R21), RFA-RM-08-027. Issued: July 15, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: September 2, 2008; application receipt date: October 2, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-027.html

Renewal of the National Technology Centers for Networks and Pathways Program (U54), RFA-RM-08-021. Issued: July 15, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: September 28, 2008; application receipt date: October 28, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-021.html

Epigenomics of Human Health and Disease (R01), RFA-RM-08-017. Issued: July 16, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: September 28, 2008; application receipt date: October 28, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-017.html

Roadmap Transformative R01 Program (R01), RFA-RM-08-029. Issued: September 9, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: December 29, 2008; application receipt date: January 29, 2009.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-029.html

Studies of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Human Microbiome Research (R01), RFA-RM-08-030. Issued: September 18, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: November 3, 2008; application receipt date: December 3, 2008.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-030.html

Program Announcements:

Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers, PA-08-191. Issued: July 1, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: not required; application receipt dates: applications may be submitted at any time.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-08-191.html

Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, PA-08-190. Issued: July 2, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: not required; application receipt dates: applications may be submitted at any time.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-08-190.html

Technological Innovations for Interdisciplinary Research Incorporating the Behavioral and Social Sciences (SBIR [R43/R44]), PAR-08-202. Issued: July 15, 2008; letters of intent receipt dates: August 17, 2008, December 15, 2008, and April 1, 2009; application receipt dates: September 17, 2008, January 15, 2009, and May 1, 2009.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-08-202.html

Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (R03), PAR-08-214. Issued: July 22, 2008; letters of intent receipt dates: 30 days prior to standard application due dates; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-08-214.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32), PA-08-226. Issued: August 1, 2008; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-08-226.html

Exploratory/Developmental Projects in Translational Research for Neuromuscular Disease (R21), PAR-08-228. Issued: August 5, 2008; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-08-228.html

Cooperative Program in Translational Research for Neuromuscular Disease (U01), PAR-08-229. Issued: August 5, 2008; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-08-229.html

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Pathophysiology and Treatment (R01), PA-08-246. Issued: August 21, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-08-246.html

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Pathophysiology and Treatment (R21), PA-08-247. Issued: August 21, 2008; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-08-247.html

Program Announcements (Roadmap):

Exploratory Collaborations with National Centers for Biomedical Computing (R21), PAR-08-183. Issued: June 24, 2008; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-08-183.html

Collaborations with National Centers for Biomedical Computing (R01), PAR-08-184. Issued: June 24, 2008; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-08-184.html

Highlights From the Hill, DHHS and NIH . . .

Comparative Effectiveness Research

On July 31, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced S. 3408, the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Act of 2008. The bill would establish a nonprofit corporation called the Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute to contract with appropriate Federal agencies or the private sector to conduct comparative effectiveness research. The Institute would be responsible for:

  • Establishing and carrying out a research project agenda. In doing so, the Institute must give preference to contracts with Federal government agencies experienced in conducting CER.
  • Establishing a methodology committee to develop scientifically-based methodological standards for comparative clinical effectiveness research. The Institute would be required to consult or contract with one or more of the following: the Institute on Medicine (IOM), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and NIH.
  • Ensuring that there is a process for peer-review of the research. The Institute would be authorized to use existing peer-review processes used by entities with which the Institute contracts.

Provisions would also establish a Board of Governors comprising 21 members, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Director of AHRQ, and the Director of NIH, to oversee the Institute's activities. The legislation would create the Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund in the U.S. Treasury. Total funding for the first year (FY 2009) would be $5 million, and funding would increase to $300 million a year by the year 2013. Funding for the Institute would sunset after 10 years. S. 3408 was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. There is currently no companion bill in the House.

Orthopaedics

On July 10, Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) introduced H.R. 6478, the Access to America's Orthopaedic Services (AAOS) Act of 2008. The bill contains the following NIH provisions of interest:

  • The Secretary of HHS, in consultation with NIH, would be required to establish, by regulation, criteria for accounting and reporting the percent of effort expended by researchers and funded by NIH and AHRQ on musculoskeletal research.
  • The Secretary, in consultation with NIH, would be required to prepare a report on the number of new investigators awarded grants for musculoskeletal research, the total amount awarded to those investigators, the percentage of NIH's budget for musculoskeletal research, race and ethnicity of new investigators, and a description of NIH efforts to encourage minority groups to apply for grants.
  • The Secretary, in consultation with AHRQ, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), would be required to conduct a cost effectiveness study on bone mass measurements.
  • The Secretary of HHS, acting through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and in consultation with NIH, would be required to conduct a third longitudinal study on aging in the United States.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. There is currently no companion bill in the Senate. For more information see: http://olpa.od.nih.gov/tracking/110/house_bills/session2/hr-6478.asp.

Pain Research

On July 31, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced for himself and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) S. 3387, the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2008. Among other provisions, the bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to require the Director of the NIH to establish a new office to be known as the Pain Consortium. The Consortium would be required to:

  • Establish and maintain a national agenda for basic and clinical research on the causes and treatments of pain,
  • Coordinate pain research and related training and other activities across programs at the NIH,
  • Convene an annual conference, and
  • Undertake other appropriate actions.

The bill would also require the NIH Director to establish an advisory committee to the Consortium, known as the National Pain Care Research Advisory Committee. S. 3387 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. There is currently no companion bill in the House.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

On July 30, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Senator John Kerry [D-MA], Chairman) held a mark up hearing on S. 3362, the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act, a draft bill to reauthorize and improve the SBIR and STTR programs. The Committee members voted 19-0 to adopt the measure (9 by proxy vote) and reported S. 3362 favorably out of the Committee. S. 3362 would reauthorize SBIR until 2022 and STTR until 2023. It would increase the set-aside for SBIR by 0.1% each year to 3.5 percent by 2022 for all participating agencies except for the NIH, and double the set-aside for STTR from the current 0.3% to 0.6% by 2014 for all agencies, including the NIH. The bill differs substantially from its House companion, H.R. 5819, passed in April 2008.

On April 23, the House, by a vote of 368 to 43, passed H.R. 5819, the SBIR/ STTR Reauthorization Act. The bill would reauthorize the programs until 2010 with allocation levels remaining at 2.5 percent for SBIR and 0.3 percent for STTR of the NIH extramural budget. H.R. 5819 would increase the award levels for SBIR and STTR Phase I to $300,000, and Phase II to $2,200,000. The measure would require the establishment of an advisory board at each participating agency to review quarterly reports and make necessary recommendations. Additionally, the bill would expand the eligibility criteria to allow small business concerns with multiple venture capital investments and ownership to apply for awards. Further, H.R. 5819 would provide flexibility to applicants for crossover between the programs and opportunity to apply directly for Phase II awards. In total, 15 amendments were adopted, some of which would provide for a preference in awarding grants to: businesses owned by veterans; applicants who are located in areas with high unemployment; applicants working on rare disease or nanotechnology-related research topics; or applicants who have taken steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Finally, the bill would require rendering final decisions on applications within 90 days after closing the solicitation, with some exceptions. H.R. 5819 was introduced on April 17 by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business.

Budget Update

On June 30, the President signed into law H.R. 2642, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008. This provided NIH with $150 million in supplemental funds, including $2.7 million for NIAMS. The Institute used these funds to support four new competing Research Project Grants (RPGs) and to increase our investment in the intramural research and management support programs.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies (Senator Tom Harkin [D-IA], Chairman) held an NIH Overview Hearing on July 16. Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director, NIH, testified. He was accompanied by John E. Niederhuber, M.D., Director, NCI; Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, NIAID; Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., Director, NHLBI; and Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NHGRI. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies (Representative Dave Obey [D-WI], Chairman) held its hearing on March 5. Dr. Zerhouni's testimony and PowerPoint presentation from both hearings can be viewed at: http://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/UI/HomePage.htm. Dr. Katz's statement to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees is available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/2009open.asp.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Appropriations Committee have marked up their respective FY 2009 appropriations bills. The House bill includes $30.4 billion for NIH, which is $1.2 billion more than the President's request and $1.2 billion over the FY 2008 comparable amount. The Senate mark provides $30.3 billion for NIH, an increase of $1 billion above the President's request and $1 billion above the comparable FY 2008 level. The allocation for NIAMS proposed by the House is $527 million, which is an increase of $18 million and 3.5 percent over FY 2008. The amount proposed by the Senate for NIAMS is $523 million, which represents an increase of $15 million and 2.9 percent over FY 2008.

House and Senate conferees must now reconcile the differences between the two bills before the final appropriations bill can be passed. It is anticipated that we will begin FY 2009 with a continuing resolution.

NIAMS Faces . . .

Four members of the National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Advisory Council are leaving the council after four years of service: Gena R. Carter, M.D., Bevra H. Hahn, M.D., Martin J. Kushmerick, M.D., Ph.D., and Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. The Institute thanks them for their many contributions, and wishes them well in future endeavors.

The Institute welcomes Robert H. Carter, M.D., as the new NIAMS Deputy Director. Dr. Carter will be assuming his official responsibilities as of October 1, 2008. Dr. Carter is Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and has most recently served as Director of the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology. Dr. Carter received his bachelor's degree from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., in 1978, Magna cum Laude, in biology. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1982 and trained in internal medicine at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville. Dr. Carter was a fellow in rheumatology and immunology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and in molecular and clinical rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. See full story at: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/aug2008/niams-12.htm.

The Institute has named two staff members to top leadership positions within the NIAMS. Joan A. McGowan, Ph.D., has been named as Director of the NIAMS Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases and Susana A. Serrate-Sztein, M.D., has been named as Director of the NIAMS Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases. As directors of the two scientific divisions within the Extramural Program, Drs. McGowan and Serrate-Sztein will advise the NIAMS Director and will serve on the NIAMS executive leadership team. Dr. McGowan also serves as the Director of the Bone Diseases Program, overseeing a broad portfolio of clinical research on osteoporosis and related bone diseases. She has been very active in bone health and women's health issues at the NIH, including serving as a project officer for the Women's Health Initiative and co-chairing the Federal Working Group on Bone Diseases. Dr. Serrate-Sztein also serves as the Director of the Rheumatic Diseases Genetics and Clinical Studies Program, overseeing a broad portfolio of grants and contracts dealing with the genetics of rheumatic diseases and clinical studies of skin and rheumatic diseases. On behalf of the HHS Secretary, she co-chairs the Lupus Federal Working Group, which promotes collaborations and information sharing across federal agencies with programs and activities related to lupus.

Robert A. Colbert, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the Intramural Program at NIAMS as the Chief of the Pediatric Translational Research Branch in the Office of the Clinical Director. Dr. Colbert comes to NIAMS from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center where he served as the director of the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Colbert earned his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from the University of Rochester's Medical Scientist Training Program in the mid-1980s. After his pediatric residency and serving as chief resident for outpatient services at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, he went on to clinical and research fellowships in pediatric rheumatology at Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

William "Phil" Tonkins, Ph.D., joined NIAMS as a Program Director in the NIAMS Extramural Program's Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases. Prior to joining NIAMS, he worked in the Office of Policy and Program Development at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and was also a Scientific Program Analyst at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Tonkins will work as part of the team on the management of the PROMIS network. He will also manage a portfolio of applied clinical rheumatology and exercise physiology as it relates to improvements in rheumatic diseases.

Faye H. Chen, Ph.D., accepted a detail with the NIAMS Extramural Program's Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases. Previously she was a Staff Scientist in the IRP Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch at NIAMS. Before arriving at NIH, she was an assistant professor and head of biochemistry at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of Columbia University. Dr. Chen obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her postdoctoral training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School.

Melanie Martinez, M.P.A., joined the NIAMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison as a Writer/Editor and as the new Public Liaison Officer working with the NIAMS Coalition. She comes to NIAMS after 2½ years in the Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison and the Outreach Partnership Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Ms. Martinez was a presidential management fellow at NIH in 2004, and in 2005, she served a one-year detail with the U.S. House of Representatives. Ms. Martinez graduated from New Mexico State University with a master's degree in public administration with an emphasis in program policy and evaluation.

We acknowledge with sadness the death of our colleague, Madeline Turkeltaub, R.N., Ph.D., C.R.N.P., F.A.A.N., Director of the NIAMS Division of Extramural Research Activities (DERA). She was much beloved by her family, institute colleagues and many other professionals and friends, and she leaves behind a considerable scientific and personal legacy. http://nihrecord.od.nih.gov/newsletters/2008/08_08_2008/milestones.htm

The Institute has appointed Glen Nuckolls, Ph.D., as the Acting Director of the NIAMS DERA until January 2009 or until the position is filled.

The Institute bids farewell to Cheryl Lapham, Ph.D., who accepted a position at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Kudos . . .

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, has been nominated to serve as a member of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB). The SMRB will examine the NIH's organizational structure and balance and will provide recommendations for enhancing the agency's mission through greater agency flexibility and responsiveness.

Seventeen people from NIAMS were recognized for outstanding achievements at the annual NIH Director's Award Ceremony on July 16. The honorees were:

  • Paul Plotz, M.D., Acting Deputy Director of NIAMS and Chief of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch in the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP), for exemplary performance and significant leadership, skills, and ability as a mentor to the next generation of scientists in rheumatology and immunology;
  • Glen Nuckolls, Ph.D., Acting Director of the NIAMS Division of Extramural Research Activities (DERA), for sustained creative and collaborative leadership and energy devoted to the promotion of research opportunities in muscular dystrophy;
  • Madeline Turkeltaub, R.N., Ph.D., C.R.N.P., F.A.A.N., Director of the NIAMS Division of Extramural Research Activities, for exemplary leadership during the transition of the NIAMS extramural programs to a new organizational structure;
  • Sirinee Chiamvichitr, M.B.A., Secretary, Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch, IRP, for outstanding administrative support of NIAMS research activities;
  • John O'Shea, M.D., Scientific Director of NIAMS, and Chief of the Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, Laurence Arian, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Fellow, Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, Kevin Elias, Special Volunteer, Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, and Yuka Kanno, M.D., Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, as part of a group award recognizing the team's effort to elucidate the mechanisms of pathogenesis of Job's Syndrome;
  • Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Autoimmunity Branch, IRP, as part of a group award recognizing extraordinary leadership and vision in founding and directing the NIH Oxford-Cambridge and M.D./Ph.D. Partnership Training Programs and enhancing the NIH IRP scientific environment;
  • Susana Serrate-Sztein, M.D., Director of the Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases, and James Witter, M.D., Ph.D., Health Science Administrator, Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases, as part of a group award for outstanding collaborative work in the scientific management of the NIH PROMIS initiative;
  • Sara Rosario Wilson, Writer/Editor, Office of Communications and Public Liaison, OD, as part of a group award recognizing contributions to the HBO Addiction Project;
  • Luis Arvelo, IPMA-CP, Management Analyst, Management Policies, Programs and Initiatives Branch, OD, as part of a group award recognizing the exceptional, coordinated response to the NIH Building 29A fire;
  • Nancy Longo, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Autoimmunity Branch, IRP, as part of a group award recognizing the advances made in immunoglobin gene sequence analysis through the development of Join Solver;
  • William Sharrock, Ph.D., Health Science Administrator, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, as part of a group award recognizing outstanding team work, skill, and dedication in the development of the landmark NIH GWAS data sharing policy;
  • Fei Wang, Ph.D., Health Science Administrator, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, as part of a group award for the development of the MATES Strategic Plan that charts a course for an integrated federal effort in tissue science and engineering; and
  • Wilma Peterman Cross, M.S., Deputy Director, Office of Science Policy and Planning, as part of a group award for conceptualizing and producing the first of the new NIH Biennial Reports, mandated by the NIH Reform Act of 2006.

Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Autoimmunity Branch, IRP, received the 2008 Young Investigator's Award from the International Cytokine Society.

Seth Masters, Post-doctoral Fellow, Genetics and Genomics Branch, IRP, received the 2008 Post-doctoral Fellow's Award from the International Cytokine Society. A major goal of the International Cytokine Society is to promote interactions between scientists performing cutting-edge studies of the molecular mechanisms of cytokine function, signal transduction, and gene expression, and those working to translate this knowledge into novel therapies for human disease.

Susana Serrate-Sztein, M.D., Director of the Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases, received the Healthy People 2010 Midcourse Review Team Award for exemplary teamwork in the production of the Healthy People 2010 Midcourse Review.

Melinda Nelson, Chief Grants Management Officer, Grants Management Branch, received an Excellence in Leadership Award for encouraging teamwork and fostering cooperation on issues faced by changes in the NIH grants stewardship.

Robyn Strachan, Chief, Financial Management Branch, OD, received the Outstanding Rotational Supervisor Award for providing interns and fellows oversight and guidance during rotational assignments in the NIAMS Budget office.

Stephanie Kreider, Budget Analyst, Financial Management Branch, OD, received the Outstanding Intern Award for sustained service, leadership and significant contributions to the NIH and HHS goals and programs in a way that reflects positively on NIH Administrative Internship Programs.

Alexander Matsche, Summer Intern (biological research), Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch, IRP, received the Outstanding Student Award in the government-wide Workforce Recruitment Program.

NIAMS Communications Update

  1. Health Partnership Program (HPP) Update

    NIAMS continues to disseminate information on rheumatic diseases and clinical studies at health fairs within the Tri-state area. In the past quarter, the Institute participated in and/or sent health materials to 17 community events. Recent exhibits included: the D.C. Office on Latino Affairs ~ Verano Latino Family Fair, the Progressive National Baptist Convention Health Fair, the D.C. Baby Boomers Health Fair, and the Vietnamese Community Health Fair at Our Lady of Vietnam. In August, NIAMS presented an osteoporosis workshop to lay health promoters of Montgomery County's Asian American Health Initiative.

    NIAMS has recruited more than 1,700 patients into the Natural History Study of Rheumatic Diseases in Minority Communities since July 2001, when the study began. A survey is currently in progress at the Community Health Clinic (CHC) to assess patients' satisfaction with clinical services. In July, the CHC welcomed three new fellows, Anthony Ippolito, Christine Castro, and Kalonji Collins, into the NIAMS Rheumatology Fellowship Program. They will be joining the second-year fellows at the CHC.

    Outreach to American Indians and Alaska Natives
    NIAMS continues to lead the Trans-NIH American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Health Communications and Information Workgroup, composed of representatives from 16 NIH ICs. The Workgroup's main purpose is the coordination of efforts in developing and disseminating health information to AI/AN communities. Currently, the Workgroup is partnering with the Indian Health Service to distribute quarterly NIH information kits to approximately 1700 Community Health Representatives (CHRs). CHRs are tribal employees who live and work in AI/AN communities nationwide and who serve as health educators and patient liaisons. In July, at the National Community Health Representatives Conference in Las Vegas, NIAMS represented the NIH Workgroup, sponsoring an exhibit and conducting a workshop called "Knowledge is Power: Science-based Health Information from the NIH." In September, at the annual National Indian Council on Aging Conference, NIAMS conducted a workshop featuring NIAMS' bone health information.

    Exploring Opportunities for Multicultural Outreach
    On June 23, NIAMS sponsored a brainstorming meeting with 33 NIAMS Coalition members in Rockville, Md., to explore opportunities for multicultural outreach. This meeting is a critical step in a process NIAMS is undertaking to establish a national multicultural outreach initiative. The goal of the initiative is to improve access to research-based and culturally relevant health information that aids people in making wise choices for healthy bones, muscles, joints, and skin.

  2. 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, muscles, joints, skin, and connective tissues. NIAMS Coalition organizations are listed on the NIAMS Web site at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Mission_and_Purpose/outside_org.asp.

    NIAMS Coalition Teleconference
    NIAMS is committed to fostering active dialogue and engaging the NIAMS Coalition and other interested stakeholders in the future directions of NIAMS-funded research. The Coalition will host a teleconference featuring Dr. Stephen I. Katz and the Coalition Co-chairs, Sheila Rittenberg and Amy Melnick, on November 3, 2008. Dr. Katz will be discussing NIAMS and NIH items of interest to the Coalition members. An open question and answer session during the call will provide Dr. Katz and other staff the opportunity to hear directly the views and concerns of Coalition representatives.

  3. Publication Information

    NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center (NRC) The National Resource Center, which is managed by NIAMS, provides patients, health professionals, and the public with resources and information on metabolic bone diseases, including osteoporosis, Paget's disease of bone, osteogenesis imperfecta, and hyperparathyroidism. Several NIH Institutes (NIA, NIDCR, NICHD, and NIDDK), the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, and the DHHS Office on Women's Health contribute to the overall contract funding.

    The NRC is currently developing a 2009 Bone Health Pocket Appointment Book with tips for improving bone health. The appointment book will promote NIH and DHHS resources available on the bone resources Web pages (www.niams.nih/health_info/bone) and will highlight how to order free publications on bone health and osteoporosis. Heath care professionals may request bulk quantities of the appointment book for distribution to their patients.

  4. Media Highlights

    Health Day, 6/19/08
    Autoimmune Disease Treatment May Not Dampen Immune System: Targeting a key protein might reap rewards for people with asthma, MS, scientists say
    Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D. of the NIAMS' Immunoregulation Group was featured in this widely circulated article that focused on the identification of a promising new target for autoimmune disease treatment - a cell-surface receptor called DR3.

    Lupus Now, Summer 2008
    Redesigned NIAMS Web Site - Now Better Than Ever!
    This quarterly publication from the Lupus Foundation of America featured NIAMS' new Web site design.

    CNN.com, 7/31/08
    'Exercise Pill' Burns Fat - If You're A Mouse
    This article was one of several focusing on NIAMS research that revealed that two drugs mimicked some effects of exercise.

    Wired.com, 8/18/08
    Injured? Horsing Around With Stem Cells May Get You Back in the Saddle
    Rocky Tuan, Ph.D., Chief, Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch, discussed NIAMS/NIH research efforts related to stem cells, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.

    New York Times, 9/11/08
    A Study Revives a Debate on Arthritis Knee Surgery
    This article featured a NIAMS-funded study that found that meniscal tears are increasingly common with age and don't necessarily cause knee pain.

Update on Equal Employment Opportunity . . .

The 2008 NIAMS Summer Internship Program ended August 7 with a farewell social for 27 students. Highlights of the summer included: a tour to the Capitol; a meeting and question and answer session with Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); and a visit to the Department of Vertebrate Zoology/Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Sixteen 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.

Two interns from the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) worked with NIAMS this summer. Mr. Alex Matsche worked in the Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch of the Intramural Research Program, and Ms. Candice Williams returned for her second 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 February 2009 issue:

  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 9-12
  • American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR/ARHP), San Francisco, Calif., Oct. 24-29
  • American Public Health Association (APHA), San Diego, Calif., Oct. 25-29
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Boston, Mass., Oct. 27-28
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Anaheim, Calif., Oct. 30-Nov. 1
  • Association Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Orlando, Fla., Nov. 5-8
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR), San Diego, Calif., Nov. 20-23

Publications . . .

New booklets:
Bone Health for Life
Osteogenesis Imperfecta Guide for Pediatricians and Family Practice Physicians

Revised booklet:
Questions and Answers About Scoliosis in Children and Adolescents

New brochure:
Getting Good Health Care for You and Your Family

New easy-to-read fact sheets (Spanish):
¿Qué es la alopecia areata? (What Is Alopecia Areata?)
¿Qué es la osteonecrosis?(What Is Osteonecrosis?)
¿Qué es el reemplazo de cadera? (What Is A Hip Replacement?)
¿Qué es el síndrome de Behçet? (What Is Behçet's Disease?)
¿Qué es el síndrome de Sjögren? (What Is Sjögren's Syndrome?)
¿Qué es la osteogénesis imperfecta? (What Is Osteogenesis Imperfecta?)

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: https://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: https://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