Letter From the Director: Celebrating Past Achievements and Looking Towards NIAMS’ Future

Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc.

As we look ahead and settle into the new year, I wanted to first reflect on the many achievements and milestones that NIAMS accomplished in 2022. NIAMS was part of several major National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiatives in 2022 that will advance the NIAMS mission and help improve the lives of people living with joint pain and autoimmune diseases.

Please read our recently published director’s letter.  



Treating a Mysterious Illness

A crisis while on vacation brought a Virginia man to NIAMS’ Peter Grayson, M.D., M.Sc., Chief, Vasculitis Translational Research Program. The man’s 7 years without diagnosis were over. His diagnosis: VEXAS syndrome, an autoimmune condition that results from a mutation in blood cells.


Gut Microbes May Affect Motivation to Exercise

Researchers studying exercise capacity in mice discovered a pathway by which gut microbes can affect the desire to exercise, according to work partly supported by NIAMS. The results, if confirmed in humans, suggest new ways to help encourage people to exercise.


Newly Discovered Species of Gut Bacteria May Cause Some Cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Grantees funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and NIAMS found evidence strongly suggesting that immune responses to a newly discovered species of gut bacteria may cause some cases of a common autoimmune disease called rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. The findings suggest that in some people with RA, immune responses to the new bacteria may trigger the production of antibodies and T cells that circulate throughout the body and attack the joints, leading to chronic inflammation.


Smart Bandage Improves Wound Healing in Mice

Mice wearing a smart bandage that used wireless power to protect and monitor wounds and stimulate healing healed 25 percent faster than those protected with standard wound dressings, according to a study funded partly by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).


NIH 2022 Research Highlights

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released a list putting the spotlight on human health advances, promising medical findings, and basic research insights. Notable findings ranged from work on robotic exoskeletons, to efforts to better understand the effects of sleep, to new insights into Alzheimer’s disease.

NIH HEAL Initiative Virtual Stakeholder Briefing

The NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term® (HEAL) Initiative recently held a virtual stakeholder briefing to review progress on research on addiction and pain and to describe future plans. The November 8 briefing was the first of several planned events to hear from HEAL stakeholders about gaps and potential new directions for the initiative’s research.

All of Us logo

NIH to Award up to $4.75 Million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 for Research Grants to Expand Use of All of Us Data

NIAMS is working with the All of Us Research Program, along with 26 other institutes, centers, and offices at NIH, to support new research on the All of Us Researcher Workbench. These grants will help support analysis of the Researcher Workbench data using standard tools and methods, as well as the development and use of new tools and methods. Two companion Funding Opportunity Announcements seek discrete, well-defined projects that can realistically be completed in 2 years:

NIH Requests Input on the Current State of Postdoctoral Research Training and Career Progression Within the Biomedical Research Enterprise 

NIH is seeking input from the community, particularly trainees, early-stage faculty, and others invested in the biomedical workforce, about challenges faced by the postdoctoral trainee community. An NIH Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group has posted a Request for Information (RFI) where you can share your insights on issues affecting and possible solutions to the recent decline in postdoctoral trainees. Your responses will be used to help develop recommendations to address this problem that impacts U.S. competitiveness in biomedical research and innovation. Please consider responding to the RFI, which closes on April 14, 2023.

FY 2023 Funding Plan

NIAMS is operating under the FY 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by President Biden on December 29, 2022.

COVID-19 Updates: Keep up with the latest on COVID-19 with health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and research from NIH

Funding Opportunities

NIAMS Clinical Trial Planning Grant (R34) – Clinical Trial Not Allowed (PAR-22-205)

Next application due date: March 3, 2023. See announcement for additional dates.

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 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.


Bone formation in rat spine

Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Bone Formation in Rat Spine

This image shows bone formation with blood vessels induced by a type of human stem cells (progenitor cells), as examined in a rodent spinal fusion model. Researchers altered progenitor cells so they made more of a protein known as WISP-1. This protein turns on genes that control bone formation. When the researchers injected the engineered human stem cells into a mouse model of spinal fusion surgery, they saw new bone formation and fusion.
Photo Credit: Aaron W. James, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Medicine

NIAMS Multimedia Library

NIAMS Launches Updated Scientific Multimedia Library

NIAMS has launched an updated online multimedia library showcasing nearly 200 high-quality scientific images, photos, and illustrations that are available to download free of charge. See images relating to bones, joints, muscles, skin, and systemic rheumatic or autoinflammatory conditions. You’ll also find photos of researchers working in the NIAMS intramural labs. The images are meant for use by the scientific and health care professional community, the media, educators, and organizations that produce health and science information. Explore the NIAMS Multimedia Library often, as it will continue to grow.

Summer Internship Program: Training Programs in the Biomedical Sciences—NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education

At this time, NIH expects that the 2023 NIH Summer Internship Program will be in person. Check this webpage for updates. NIH will notify applicants with any changes as they occur. Application deadline is March 1, 2023.


January NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting Available on VideoCast

Watch a video recording of the January 31, 2023, NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting. The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held on June 6, 2023.

Lindsey A. Criswell
Rare Disease Day

NIH Rare Disease Day

February 28, 2023
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
A full day of speakers will discuss rare diseases at this free event that is open to everyone. NIAMS’ Marcela Ferrada, M.D., Staff Clinician in the NIAMS Vasculitis Translational Research Program, will participate in a talk titled: “Where There is Research, There is Hope.” The event will be videocast live from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. In-person attendees must register and virtual attendees are strongly encouraged to register as well. View the agenda here.

NIH Science Lectures and Events Available via Internet

Look for past videocasts, including:

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