NIAMS Update December 2009

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
December 17, 2009
The NIAMS Update is a monthly digest published for those interested in the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. We encourage further dissemination of this resource.
Contact Information

Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Janet S. Austin, Ph.D.

Melanie M. Martinez, M.P.A.
Public Liaison Officer

Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S.
Media Liaison

NIAMS Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D.
Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Daniel Kastner Presents Annual Astute Clinician Lecture
NIAMS’ own Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., recently presented “Fevers, Genes, and Histories: Adventures in the Genomics of Inflammation,” at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. As a member of the NIH community since 1985, Dr. Kastner presented the annual Astute Clinician Lecture, which 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.

In his introductory comments, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., explained that Dr. Kastner’s work has “opened our eyes to a whole new area of the immune system.” With a long-time interest in patients suffering from hereditary recurrent fevers, Dr. Kastner discussed tools of modern genetics and genomics used to identify new genes, gene families and biochemical pathways that control inflammation. He also discussed how these tools lead to the discovery of new meaning for genes and proteins already in the inflammatory lexicon.

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

NIAMS ARRA Chronicles: ARRA-Funded Genetic Analyzer Boosts NIAMS Sequencing Efficiency
It’s roughly the size of a small copy machine, but in the minds of scientists in the IRP at NIAMS, it stands a lot taller. The Institute recently acquired a genome analyzer, an instrument that examines genes and investigates the genetic makeup (genome) of different organisms.

Appetite Hormone May Play a Role in the Development of Osteoarthritis
New research suggests that the appetite-regulating hormone leptin may play a role in the long-recognized connection between obesity and osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown and loss of cartilage and the formation of bony overgrowths in the joints.

NIAMS-Supported Scientists Identify Predictors of Ankylosing Spondylitis Severity
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. These predictors include a number of genetic markers, as well as the patient being older at disease onset, being male and being a smoker. The findings were published in the July 2009 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Information for NIAMS Investigators on Shortened and Restructured NIH Applications
The last phase of the NIH Enhancing the Peer Review Process implements shortened and restructured NIH grant applications. The page limits of the Research Plans Section for most grant mechanisms will be reduced by about one-half and the applications restructured to align contents with the enhanced review criteria. Objectives are to emphasize impact and investigator qualifications, reduce focus on methodological detail and reduce administrative burden on applicants and reviewers.

HIV/AIDS-Associated Research Supported by NIAMS
The success of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/AIDS has had a tremendous impact on the longevity of many patients. However, ART and its maintenance of HIV/AIDS as a chronic disease have given rise to several debilitating conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. NIAMS’ leadership in funding bone and muscle research provides critical resources for elucidating the mechanisms of these comorbidities of HIV/AIDS. In addition, the Institute’s support of skin and autoimmune diseases research includes projects in immune system function and structural biology of viruses. Findings from these studies contribute to the understanding of HIV infection and its prevention, as well as the effects of infection-associated inflammation on bone, muscle and other tissues.

First Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Approved for Use Under New NIH Guidelines
NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the approval of the first 13 human embryonic stem cell lines for use in NIH-funded research under the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research adopted in July 2009.

NIH Opportunity Network To Expand Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the launch of the Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet), a trans-NIH initiative to expand the Agency’s funding of basic behavioral and social sciences research.

New Publication Features Women in Science Careers at NIH
“Women in Science at the National Institutes of Health 2007–2008” is a new publication showcasing the achievements of some of the accomplished women at NIH. It is intended to inspire a diversity of girls and boys, women and men to enter or continue in science careers. Sponsored and prepared by the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health with assistance from the members of the NIH Coordinating Committee on Research on Women’s Health, the book celebrates the careers and accomplishments of 289 talented female scientists and administrators who are part of the NIH community. View the profiles of the featured NIAMS scientists Joan A. McGowan, Ph.D., Ivona Aksentijevich, M.D., Elaine Frances Remmers, Ph.D., Susana A. Serrate-Sztein, M.D., and Madeline Turkeltaub, Ph.D., R.N., in section 2, pages 92–95.

Meetings and Events
70 NIAMS Coalition members representing more than 50 different Coalition organizations
NIAMS Coalition Members

NIAMS Hosts 2009 Coalition Outreach & Education Meeting
The NIAMS Coalition 2009 Outreach & Education Meeting was held on November 3, 2009, in Bethesda, MD. The meeting brought together approximately 70 NIAMS Coalition members representing more than 50 different Coalition organizations. The purpose of the meeting was to provide 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 NIH and NIAMS.

Save the Date: NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting
The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held February 2, 2010, in Building 31, 6th floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are Continuing Medical Education-certified lectures, open to the public and available live via Webcast.

Upcoming lectures:

January 6, 2010
Dr. John Rich
“Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Understanding Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men”

January 13, 2010
Dr. George Rose
“Protein Folding: Seeing is Deceiving”

January 20, 2010
Dr. Carol Robinson
“From Rare Gases to Ribosomes”

January 27, 2010
Dr. Art Horwich
“Molecular Chaperones in Protein Folding and Neurodegeneration”

NIAMS IRPartners
The Fall/Winter 2009 issue of NIAMS IRPartners is now available. This issue highlights a recently discovered genetic immune disorder, provides a brief snapshot of the Institute’s involvement with nanobiology and nanomedicine, and features the Barney Neighborhood House, an organization that provides social services to senior residents in Washington, DC. NIAMS IRPartners is a biannual newsletter for patients of the IRP at NIAMS.

NIH Research Matters
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH. November 2009 featured a study funded in part by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “Wide Variety of Bacteria Mapped Across the Human Body.”

NIH Public Bulletin
Read about the latest public events, activities and health information resources from NIH in the latest issue of the NIH Public Bulletin.

NIH News in Health
Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by NIH’s own scientists or by our grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

Order Now! 2010 Pocket Planner With Tips and Resources for Healthy Bones for Life
The NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center (NRC) has released a 12-month pocket planner that contains tips and resources for improving bone health. Each month of the planner offers a unique strategy for enhancing bone health, such as:
  • Getting enough calcium and vitamin D.
  • Staying active for strong bones.
  • Talking to your health care provider about your bone health.
The planner also includes space to schedule activities for optimizing bone health, as well as a list of selected calcium-rich foods. Free planners are available in quantities of up to 15. To order, please contact NRC at 800-624-2663 or order online.

Revised Publications

Handout on Health: Back Pain
This booklet contains information about back pain. It describes risk factors for and causes of back pain as well as methods for preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions that cause back pain. Highlights of current research on back pain are also included.

Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis
This booklet contains information about atopic dermatitis. It describes risk factors for and causes of atopic dermatitis, as well as methods for preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions that cause atopic dermatitis. Highlights of current research on atopic dermatitis are also included.

Questions and Answers about Osteonecrosis
This booklet contains general information about osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis). It describes what osteonecrosis is, its causes and treatment options. Highlights of current research on osteonecrosis are also included.

Questions and Answers about Epidermolysis Bullosa
This booklet contains general information about epidermolysis bullosa. It describes what epidermolysis bullosa is, its causes and treatment options. Highlights of current research on epidermolysis bullosa are also included.

Funding Announcements

Other Research Announcements

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (T32)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.