Profile picture of Dr. Criswell
Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D.,
M.P.H., Sc.D.

Letter From the New NIAMS Director, Dr. Lindsey A. Criswell: Beginning a New Chapter in the NIAMS Story: Moving Ahead as a Community

Dear Colleagues:

Every great journey starts with a single step. I have hiked many long trails—including the High Sierra Trail that leads to the summit of California’s Mount Whitney, the tallest U.S. mountain outside Alaska—and I know the need for careful preparation that comes even before taking that first step. As I embark on my new role as the director of the NIAMS, I am ready to listen and learn from the entire NIAMS community. I am honored to be starting such an important role.

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Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Funding Plan

The NIAMS is operating under the FY 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The NIAMS FY 2021 Enacted Level is $634,292,000.

COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. Get the latest public health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the latest research information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additional news and resources include:

picture of a tree

Using Virtual Reality (VR) to Treat Real Pain: Can Immersive Experiences Provide Relief by Distracting Patients From Pain?

NIAMS grantee Brennan Spiegel, M.D., leads a team of researchers examining the effectiveness of different VR approaches to chronic low back pain. The study is part of the Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program, part of the NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM (HEAL) Initiative.


Niams award winners
NIAMS 2020 STAR awardees Jiang
Chen, M.D., and Sarah E.
Ross, Ph.D.

NIAMS Awards FY 2020 Supplements to Advance Research (STAR) to Support Early Stage Scientists

The NIAMS has awarded two FY 2020 supplements as part of the STAR awards program to provide additional support for early-career stage investigators. The funding allows early-established investigators to pursue innovative and high-risk research within the broader scope of a current NIAMS-funded, peer-reviewed research project.



FDA Authorizes Marketing of New Implant to Repair a Torn ACL

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted marketing authorization for an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) implant, intended to serve as an alternative to ACL reconstruction to treat ACL tears.

Funding Opportunities

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Promoting Research on COVID-19 and Rheumatic, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases (NOT-AR-21-012)

Through this NOSI, the NIAMS is promoting basic, translational, pre-clinical, and clinical observational research focused on COVID-19 infection and its intersection with rheumatic, musculoskeletal, and skin diseases and conditions. Apply by November 18, 2021. See also: NIAMS Guidance for COVID-19 Research and Supplemental Funding.

NOSI: Research to Address Vaccine Hesitancy, Uptake, and Implementation Among Populations That Experience Health Disparities (NOT-MD-21-008)

This NOSI highlights the need for research strategies and interventions to address vaccine hesitancy, uptake, and implementation among populations who experience health disparities in the United States.

Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Project Grant (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (PAR-21-038)

Next due date: May 26, 2021

Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Project Grant (R01 Basic Experimental Studies With Humans Required) (PAR-21-039)

Next due date: May 26, 2021

HEAL Initiative: Non-addictive Analgesic Therapeutics Development [Small Molecules and Biologics] to Treat Pain (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-NS-21-010)

Next due date: March 24, 2021

Stay Updated About Funding Announcements

If you would like information about grants and funding opportunities, subscribe to funding-dedicated email newsletters, including periodic NIAMS Funding Alerts and a monthly NIAMS Funding News email, and follow our new Twitter account (@NIAMSFunding) focused on funding opportunities. Also check out 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. In addition, the NIAMS website provides comprehensive information on NIAMS-related grants and processes.


Spotlight on Scientific

Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Human Differentiated Myotubes

Researchers have determined that the protein complex TFIID controls stem cell genes that repair skeletal muscle. This image shows human differentiated skeletal muscle fibers (myotubes, in green) expressing the protein MyoD (stained in red), which cooperates with TFIID in causing muscle stem cells to become muscle tissue. Cell nuclei are stained in blue. This discovery may help develop strategies that activate stem cells to repair muscle degenerated by aging or diseases like muscular dystrophy and cancer.

Photo credit: Alessandra Dall’Agnese, Sanford-Burnham Presbyterian Medical Discovery Institute


Inflammation: Featured Topic in NIH News in Health—From the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

NIEHS researchers and grantees are exploring ways to predict, prevent, and treat inflammatory diseases. They are studying the underlying causes of inflammatory diseases, examining the inflammatory effects of current and emerging environmental threats, and testing novel strategies to treat environmentally induced inflammation.

Niams Fiscal Year news letter

NIAMS Fiscal Years 20202024 Strategic Plan: One-Page Summaries Now Available

The NIAMS has created printable PDF files that provide an overview of the NIAMS Fiscal Years 2020‒2024 Strategic Plan.





January NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting Available on Videocast

A video recording of the January 26, 2021, NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting is available. The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held virtually on May 18, 2021.

Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day at NIH

March 1, 2021
10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST
Event is videocast.
Registration is required.


NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series

The NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research weekly on a variety of topics. The lectures are continuing medical education certified, open to the public, and available live via webcast.

For additional online science seminars and events hosted by the NIH, view the NIH VideoCast Future Events and the NIH calendar.