NIAMS Update October 2010

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
October 21, 2010
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


This conference will bring together internationally recognized experts in a broad range of domains in the pain field, as well as similarly esteemed faculty that represent both the rheumatology and pain fields.

December 14 to 15, 2010
Natcher Auditorium
NIH Campus, Building 45
Bethesda, Maryland 20892


Antiarrhythmic Medication Shown to Improve Myotonic Dystrophy Symptoms
New research supported by NIAMS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other funding shows that the antiarrhythmic drug mexiletine appears to be safe and effective in reducing myotonia, a prominent symptom of myotonic dystrophy type 1.

Genetic Discoveries Hold Clues to Vitiligo and Malignant Melanoma
Research supported by NIAMS has uncovered variations in at least 13 genes associated with vitiligo, a chronic disorder in which destruction of pigment-producing cells, called melanocytes, results in irregular white patches of skin and hair. The findings, say researchers, provide new clues to understanding the disease, which affects approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of the world's population. But perhaps more importantly, they provide clues into another disease, which is opposite of vitiligo—malignant melanoma. The most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma occurs when the melanocytes grow unchecked. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.

NIH Awards Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center Grants
Three grants totaling more than $4.5 million, from agencies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be used to explore novel treatment strategies for muscular dystrophy. The grants were awarded by NIAMS, NINDS, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for year one of five-year cooperative agreements.

Multimedia Page on the NIAMS Web Site
The recently launched NIAMS Multimedia Web page provides a centralized place on the NIAMS Web site where visitors can access videos, images and audio publications. It brings together three existing resources: the NIAMS Image Gallery, an online searchable database of NIAMS photos and illustrations; NIAMS audio publications in both English and Spanish; and NIAMS videos.

Featured NIAMS Interns—Summer 2010
NIAMS offers a Summer Research Program that provides outstanding opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students contemplating a career in biomedical research or academic medicine. Our interns learn new skills, receive career mentoring from NIAMS researchers, attend lectures and symposia, engage in basic and clinical research and gain credentials that help them pursue their career goals.

Post-Traumatic Osteoarthritis Meeting Summary
This meeting brought together investigators with interests and experience in various aspects of osteoarthritis research—from basic science of cartilage to clinical interventions—to identify issues that are critical for current and future research related to the treatment and prevention of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Comparing perspectives from these points of view will help NIAMS shape its plans and programmatic decisions. The breadth of NIAMS' interests in osteoarthritis research is illustrated by topics listed in the section on Musculoskeletal Biology and Diseases of the NIAMS Long-Range Plan: Fiscal Years 2010–2014.

NIH Announces Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities: Transition from Center to Institute Highlights Expanded Responsibilities
NIH announced the transition of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The transition gives the Institute a more defined role in NIH's research agenda against health disparities, which it defines as differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups.

NIH Announces New Program to Accelerate Research Independence
NIH intends to invest approximately $60 million over the next five years in the NIH Director's Early Independence Award program to help junior investigators leapfrog over traditional postdoctoral training and move into independent academic positions at U.S. institutions, directly upon completion of their graduate research degrees.

2010 NIH Director's New Innovator Awards Announced
The NIH Director's New Innovator Awards support exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact. These awards complement ongoing efforts by NIH and its Institutes and Centers to fund new investigators through R01 grants and other mechanisms.

NIH Transformative Research Project Awards Hasten Innovation
NIH will award up to $64 million over five years to encourage exploration of exceptionally innovative and original research ideas that have the potential for extraordinary impact. The NIH Director's Transformative Research Projects (T-R01) award program allows investigators to sidestep conventional stumbling blocks they often face when applying for funding for high-risk research, such as the need for preliminary data or a restriction on the amount of funds that can be requested. This year, 20 T-R01 award recipients will address challenges in basic science or clinical research.

NIH Releases Biennial Report of the Director
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., NIH Director, announced the release of the Biennial Report of the Director, National Institutes of Health, Fiscal Years 2008–2009. The report provides an integrated portrait of NIH research activities, making it easy for Congress, advocates and patient groups and the general public to understand the many activities of the Agency. This is the second report under the mandate in the NIH Reform Act, which reinvented the NIH Biennial as a consolidated report, replacing many disparate ones. Now on NIH's Web site, the report will be available in print in fall 2010.

Funds Awarded for Disease Demonstration Studies and Technology Development
NIH announced it has awarded approximately $42 million to expand the scope of eight demonstration projects designed to link changes in the human microbiome to health and disease. The funds will also support investigators to develop innovative technologies to improve the identification and characterization of microbial communities of the human microbiome.

NIH and FDA Announce Awards to Advance Regulatory Science
NIH will award $9.4 million over three years to support four research projects in regulatory science. This research is conducted in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will contribute approximately $950,000. These projects will better inform scientists and regulatory reviewers alike about medical product safety, and improve the evaluation and availability of new medical products to the community.

National Center for Biotechnology Information Launches the Database of Genomic Structural Variations: A New Tool to Aid in Understanding the Genetics of Health and Disease
NIH announced the launch of a new resource, called the Database of Genomic Structural Variation, or dbVar, to help scientists understand how differences in DNA contribute to human health and disease.

NIH Grants Will Advance Studies of the Form and Function of Proteins
NIH has awarded 23 grants for structural biology research totaling up to $290 million over five years. The projects will focus on determining the shapes and functions of proteins important in biology and medicine. The awards are part of the Protein Structure Initiative, an effort that started in 2000 with the main goal of developing highly efficient, or high-throughput, methods for revealing the structures of many different proteins. The structures help scientists answer questions about protein biology and model other structures.

NIH Launches Genotype-Tissue Expression Project: Project to Chart Influence of DNA Changes on Gene Function in Human Tissues and Organs
NIH announced awards to support an initiative to understand how genetic variation may control gene activity and its relationship to disease. Launched as a pilot phase, the Genotype-Tissue Expression project will create a resource researchers can use to study inherited susceptibility to illness and will establish a tissue bank for future biological studies.

NIH Clinical Center Offers Sabbatical in Clinical Research Management
The NIH Clinical Center is accepting applications for a sabbatical program in clinical research management. After a successful pilot, during which three experienced researchers completed their sabbaticals, the Clinical Center is now seeking additional professionals for this training to help ensure that medical research programs are safe, ethical and efficient.


Save the Date: An Update on the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS)
January 11, 2011, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Eastern Time
NIH Campus, Building 31, Room 6C6
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
For additional information on PROMIS, see Clinical Outcomes Assessment.

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:

October 27, 2010
Dr. Shiv Grewal
"Epigenetic Genome Control by Heterochromatin and RNAi Machinery"

November 3, 2010
Dr. Yuan Chang
"A New Virus as a Culprit in Human Cancer"

November 10, 2010
Dr. Catherine Dulac
"Sex Battles in the Brain"

November 17, 2010
Dr. Helen Hobbs
"Genes versus Fast Foods: Eat, Drink and Be Wary"


September Shorttakes
NIAMS Shorttakes is a compilation of news from the Institute that is published three times a year in conjunction with NIAMS Advisory Council meetings.

NIH Research Matters
NIH Research Matters is a weekly update of NIH research highlights from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.

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.

Revised Publication

Bone Health for Life
This booklet contains general information about bone health. It describes what osteoporosis is, who's at risk of getting it, and ways to know if you have it. The booklet also discusses ways to make your bones healthier and medicines you might need to take for osteoporosis. It also contains information on how to join a research study.

Funding Announcements
NIH Roadmap Initiative Announcement

NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (DP5)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: December 21, 2010
Application Receipt Date: January 21, 2011

NIAMS Research Announcements

Pilot and Feasibility Clinical Research Grants in Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: November 18, 2010

Other Research Announcements

NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) Short-term Interdisciplinary Research Education Program for New Investigators (R25)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: December 6, 2010
Application Receipt Date: January 6, 2011

Robotics Technology Development and Deployment [RTD2] (R43)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: November 20, 2010
Application Receipt Date: December 20, 2010

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.