NIAMS Update May 2009

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
May 21, 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

photo of a space shuttle
Photo credit: NASA (3/25/09)
Interested in Designing Experiments for the International Space Station (ISS)?
If you are a researcher interested in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for projects that require the unique microgravity and radiation environment of the ISS, start making plans for June 16, 2009. On that day, NIH and NASA will host a meeting in Houston, TX, to answer prospective grantees’ questions about what it takes to prepare a biomedical experiment for launch.

As stated in PAR- 09-120, Biomedical Research on the International Space Station (BioMed-ISS) (UH2/UH3), NIH Institutes and Centers are partnering with NASA to support cellular and molecular research on the ISS. Although NIH and NASA have a robust history of collaborating on research to benefit astronauts in space, this funding opportunity announcement opens the door for researchers with innovative ideas that could improve life on Earth. The pre-application meeting, which can be attended via teleconference, will give researchers a primer on ISS equipment. It also will introduce them to potential research partners who have experience preparing experiments for transportation to and implementation on the ISS. Learn more about the NIH BioMed-ISS program.


The 2009 Recovery Act is creating summer research opportunities for high school and college students and teachers at biomedical laboratories across the United States. A number of NIH-funded researchers have funds available to support a limited number of summer research interns.

NIH has developed a Web site to help you find research opportunities in your area. The details of each internship are strictly determined between the hosting scientist or institution and the individual student or teacher. There is a short window of time between when an award is funded and when an opportunity begins, so we encourage you to contact participating laboratories soon.

NOTE: Please check back often to search for opportunities as NIH grantees are currently being notified of their awards. The number of opportunities available will increase over the next few weeks.

New NIH Recovery Act Opportunity Seeks to Fund High-Impact, Large-Scale, Accelerated Research: Goal to Promote Growth and Investment in Biomedical R&D, Public Health and Health Care Delivery
NIH highlighted a new funding opportunity under the Recovery Act that will support approximately $200 million in large-scale research projects that have a high likelihood of enabling growth and investment in biomedical research and development, public health, and health care delivery. The purpose of this new program, the Research and Research Infrastructure "Grand Opportunities" (GO), is to support high-impact ideas that lend themselves to short-term funding and may lay the foundation for new fields of scientific inquiry.

A New Potential Biomarker for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the synovial joints. It affects about 1.3 million people in the United States, or 0.6 percent of the population. Autoantibodies, which attack the body's own tissues, contribute to the inflammation experienced by RA patients. Researchers supported in part by a grant from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) identified a potential autoantigen for RA in a study published recently in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

NIAMS Researchers Discover New Treatment Target for Autoimmune Blistering Skin Diseases
Researchers supported by NIAMS have identified a mechanism in mice that contributes to the development of pemphigus foliaceus, an autoimmune disease that causes skin blistering. The discovery could generate novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of the disease. The study appeared in the December 2008 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Acupuncture-Like Treatments Improve Outcomes Compared to Usual Care for Low Back Pain
People suffering from chronic low back pain who received acupuncture or simulated acupuncture treatments fared better than those receiving only conventional care according to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study highlights central questions about the mechanisms of benefit seen in acupuncture studies.

NIH Director Welcomes Three New Members to the Advisory Committee to the Director
NIH announces the selection of three individuals to serve as members of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD). Since 1966, the ACD has advised the NIH Director on policy and planning issues important to the NIH mission of conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research, research training, and translating research results for the public.

NIH Clinical and Translational Science Consortium Grows to 39 Members
NIH announced that the University of Cincinnati will become the 39th member of its Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium. Led by the National Center for Research Resources, part of NIH, this national network of medical research institutions is working together to accelerate the process of turning laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, to engage communities in clinical research efforts, and to train the next generation of clinical and translational researchers.

Five New Members Named to NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health
The NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health of the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) announces the appointment of five new members. The committee advises the ORWH on appropriate research activities to be undertaken by the national research institutes with respect to research on women's health, research on gender differences in clinical trials, and research on women's health conditions that require an interdisciplinary approach. The committee members are actively involved in reviewing NIH women's health research priorities, the women's health research portfolio for NIH, career development, and the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research. The committee is composed of up to 18 members who are appointed by the NIH director.

New Centers Begin Recruiting for National Children's Study
The National Children's Study, the Federal Government's comprehensive study of how genes and the environment interact to affect children's health, has activated five additional centers to begin recruiting prospective volunteers in five new communities. These Vanguard Centers join two other centers previously activated to recruit volunteers for the feasibility phase of the study, in which the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) will review the size, scope, and cost projections for the full study. The data gleaned from the feasibility phase will be used to inform the final research design.

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 Heath
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.

Other Federal News
Kathleen Sebelius Confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday, April 29, 2009. The Secretary governs one of the largest civilian departments in the federal government with more than 67,000 employees. HHS is the principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans by providing effective health and human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

Plain-Language Guides on Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released plain-language guides for consumers and clinicians that examine the effectiveness, safety, and adverse effects of various treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee, including glucosamine and chondroitin, fluid injections, arthroscopic surgery, pain medications, and other approaches. The guides summarize the results of a new report that addresses several questions: How effective are glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the knee? Will losing weight and staying active help the condition? Are there side effects and risks associated with shots or arthroscopic surgery? The consumer guide-Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Guide for Adults-defines this chronic and often debilitating condition. It is written to assist patients who seek answers to basic questions and to guide them when they discuss treatment options with their clinicians. The clinician guide-Three Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Evidence Shows Lack of Benefit, includes additional information, including a confidence scale that rates the available evidence. Print copies of the guides are available by sending an e-mail to

NIH's ORWH and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are convening the second in a series of public hearings and scientific workshops to update the women's health research agenda at NIH for the coming decade.

May 27–29, 2009
Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF
1675 Owens Street
San Francisco, CA 94158

Save the Date: NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting
The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held June 2, 2009, in Building 31, 6th floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus.

Workshops and Lectures
NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS)
'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 at Upcoming lectures:

Hidde Ploegh, MIT Whitehead Institute
"A Fresh Look at Host-Pathogen Interactions: New Tools"
May 27, 2009

Leon Gordis, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Lecture by expert on epidemiology of childhood and chronic diseases (title to be announced)
June 3, 2009

Susan Lindquist, MIT Whitehead Institute
"HSF and the Balancing Act between Neurodegeneration and Cancer"
June 10, 2009

Huda Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine
"Neurobiology of Rett Syndrome and Related Disorders"
June 17, 2009

Karen Hsiao Ashe, University of Minnesota
"Molecular Mechanisms of Memory Loss in Alzheimer's Disease"
June 24, 2009

A new Esenciales publication is available from NIAMS. Esenciales is a series of easy-to-read factsheets in Spanish that describe different diseases of the bones, muscles, joints, and skin, along with their causes and treatment options. The fact sheets also provide information on current research. This new fact sheet, along with more Esenciales titles and other NIAMS Spanish-language materials, are available on the NIAMS Web site.

¿Qué es el fenómeno de Raynaud? (What Is Raynaud's Phenomenon?)

Funding Announcements
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Date: September 24, 2009

Recovery Act 2009 Limited Competition: Enabling National Networking of Scientists and Resource Discovery (U24)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: May 18, 2009
Application Receipt Date: June 15, 2009

NIAMS Research Announcements

Ancillary and Complementary Research to the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: May 8, 2009
Proposal Receipt Date: July 27, 2009

NIAMS Clinical Trial Outcomes Instrument Development Grant Program (U01)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: July 30, 2009
Application Receipt Date: August 31, 2009

Ancillary Studies to Large Ongoing Clinical Projects (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: July 3, 2009; November 3, 2009; March 1, 2010
Application Receipt Dates: August 3, 2009; December 3, 2009; April 1, 2010

Ancillary Studies to Large Ongoing Clinical Projects (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: July 3, 2009; November 3, 2009; March 1, 2010
Application Receipt Dates: August 3, 2009; December 3, 2009; April 1, 2010

Multiplex Assay Development for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (SBIR [R43/R44])
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement

Other Research Announcements

NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not Applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple receipt dates, see announcement

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