The NIAMS Update is produced and distributed by the NIAMS Science Communications and Outreach Branch. It is an online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleagues.


NIAMS Director’s Letter: NIAMS, NIH Seek to Better Understand Arthritis in Native American Communities

Photo of Dr, Lindsay Criswell

The recent observance in May of National Arthritis Awareness Month offered us a chance to reflect on a sizable component of the NIAMS mission area. Arthritis impacts the lives of nearly 60 million Americans. However, a recent conversation with David R. Wilson, Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tribal Health Research Office, reminded me that arthritis hits some communities harder than others.

Read more.

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


Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Funding Plan

NIAMS is operating under the FY 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The interim funding plan for research and training grants represents the most current information as of the date cited on the web page.

COVID-19 Updates

Get the latest public health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the latest funding opportunities and research news from NIH. Additional news and resources include:

NIH Health Disparities in Osteoarthritis Workshop to Take Place July 12‒13


NIAMS, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) are sponsoring a virtual Health Disparities in Osteoarthritis Workshop on July 12‒13, 2022. The workshop will begin each day at 11 a.m. (ET). Registration is required to participate. The deadline to register is June 24, 2022, at 5 p.m. (ET). Registration is not required to watch the workshop by videocast on Tuesday and/or Wednesday.


NIH Director’s Blog: A More Precise Way to Knock Out Skin Rashes

Man with pain in arm

While more research is needed to further refine the approach, researchers have reported that it’s possible to extract immune cells from a patient’s rash, read each cell’s exact inflammatory features, and relatively quickly match them online to the right anti-inflammatory treatment to stop the rash.


Study Adds to Debate About Screening for Melanoma

Isaac Brownell, M.D., Ph.D.

In this article, NIAMS’ Isaac Brownell, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Intramural Research Program’s Cutaneous Development and Carcinogenesis Section, weighs in on the merits of routine skin cancer screening. The article cites a recent study where people who were screened for skin cancer during a 5-year period were more likely to be diagnosed with very early-stage melanoma than those who were not screened.


Recharging Cartilage After Knee Damage: Study in Rabbits Uses Biodegradable Piezoelectric Film to Aid in Growth of New Cartilage

A person holding a pill

Scientists supported in part by NIAMS are developing an implantable, biodegradable film that helps to regenerate damaged cartilage using an electrical charge. Results in rabbits are promising; important next steps will include the evaluation of these films in larger animals.

Photo credit: Thanh lab at the University of Connecticut


How the Nervous System Perceives Pleasant Touch

Mouse grooming pups

In a study funded by NIAMS and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), scientists identified a signaling pathway in the spine used by the nervous system to process the sensation of pleasant touch. Nerve-cell signaling using this pathway reduced stress in the mice, and may help ease social isolation, anxiety, and other mental health issues.


Obesity Alters Response to Anti-Inflammatory Treatment

Dermatologist wearing gloves examines the skin of a patient with eczema

Research funded by NIAMS and other NIH components established that mice with obesity develop more inflammation and more severe eczema than lean mice. In addition, the team discovered that a treatment that works well in lean mice makes the condition worse in mice with obesity—due to immune cell changes that occur in obesity. The results suggest that treatments for inflammation that are tailored to metabolic differences may improve outcomes.


Genetic Driver of Some Cases of Lupus Identified

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a B cell

An NIH-supported international research team discovered a gene mutation responsible for a young girl’s lupus autoimmune attack. In an associated experiment in mice, blocking a protein controlled by this gene stopped lupus from developing in those mice. These discoveries may lead to new treatments for some people with lupus.

Photo credit: NIAID


NIH MedlinePlus Magazine: Gene Therapies Are a Promising Path to Treating Rare Diseases

The referenced media source is missing and needs to be re-embedded.

This article describes two rare diseases—spinal muscular atrophy and Duchenne muscular dystrophy—and how NIH supports research and development on gene therapies to treat them.


NIH News in Health: Understanding Autoimmune Diseases—When Your Body Turns Against You

illustration of adults in a water aerobics class

Three NIAMS Intramural researchers—Mariana J. Kaplan, M.D., Andrew Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., and Peter Grayson, M.D., M.Sc.—help to explain what is known and becoming better understood about autoimmune diseases in the context of each one’s research specialty.


From the NIAMS Extramural Program: We Thought You'd Never Ask—NIH Loan Repayment Program FAQs

In the May 2022 issue of We Thought You’d Never Ask, the NIAMS Extramural Program describes the NIH Loan Repayment Program, which is designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers.

FDA Approves First Systemic Treatment for Alopecia Areata

FDA approved Olumiant (baricitinib) oral tablets to treat adult patients with severe alopecia areata, a disorder that often appears as patchy baldness and affects more than 300,000 people in the United States each year. This marks the first FDA approval of a systemic treatment (i.e. treats the entire body rather than a specific location) for alopecia areata.

A Wearable Device Helps Make Back Pain Bearable

Some researchers supported by the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, specialize in developing soft “exosuits”—wearable devices that help people with muscle weakness (for example, after a stroke) so they can regain movement and muscle strength. Sort of like Ironman, but with a lightweight suit made of a special fabric that supports specific parts of the body.



Notice of Special Interest: Administrative Supplements to Advance Precision Medicine Using the All of Us Research Program’s Data (NOT-PM-22-002)

Application due date: July 5, 2022

NIH HEAL Initiative®: Planning Studies for Initial Analgesic Development [Small Molecules and Biologics] (R61 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-NS-21-029)

Next application due date: October 11, 2022

HEAL Research Dissemination and Engagement Center (R-DEC) (OTA-22-005)

Application due date: July 18, 2022

Immune Drivers of Autoimmune Disease (IDAD) (U01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-AI-22-012)

Application due date: July 1, 2022

NIAMS Rheumatic Diseases Research Resource-based Centers (P30 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-AR-23-002)

Application due date: September 13, 2022

Notice of Special Interest: Promoting Research on COVID-19 and Rheumatic, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases (NOT-AR-22-012)

Multiple due dates through January 7, 2023

Limited Competition: Promoting a Basic Understanding of Chemical Threats to Skin (R34 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (PAS-21-245)

Next application due date: October 16, 2022

Inviting Comments and Suggestions on the Development of a Prize Competition for Institutional Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (RFI) (NOT-OD-22-109)

Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium: Seeking Submissions of Nominations on Selection of Rare Diseases for Pilot Gene Therapy Clinical Trials


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.



Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Keratin Skin Tumors

Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Keratin Skin Tumors

This image shows Keratin 5 (red) and Keratin 1 (green) expression in skin tumors. Keratins are fibrous structural proteins present in epithelial structures, such as skin, hair, and nails. They form filaments that give strength and toughness to the structures. Keratins are often used to assist in the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.

Photo credit: Elisabetta Palazzo, Ph.D., NIAMS Laboratory of Skin Biology


Discussing Bone, Muscle, Skin, and Autoimmune Diseases: Info for American Indians, Alaska Natives—Audio

David R Wilson, PhD. , Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D.,M.P.H.,D.Sc.

Listen to the audio recording of a conversation between Dr. David R. Wilson, director of the NIH Tribal Health Research Office, and Dr. Lindsey A. Criswell, director of NIAMS, about information and resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives related to bone, muscle, skin, and autoimmune diseases.


NIAMS Coalition Gathers Virtually for Eighth Biennial Meeting

Collage of participant photos

A group of more than 90 professional and voluntary organizations concerned with diseases in the NIAMS portfolio gathered virtually last fall for the Coalition Outreach and Education Meeting: Creating Connections for Science. The biennial event brings together NIH staff and NIAMS Coalition members to discuss what’s happening at NIH and NIAMS, network with colleagues, and exchange ideas about how to best collaborate. Read more.



June NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting Available on Videocast

A video recording of the June 7, 2022, NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting is available. The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held virtually on September 14, 2022.


FDA Advisory Committee Meeting: Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies

June 29‒30, 2022
Start time is 10 a.m. (ET) each day.
June 29 Link
June 30 Link

Cartilage Preservation and Restoration in Knee Osteoarthritis: Challenges, Gaps, and Opportunities Roundtable

September 22, 2022
Start time is 11 a.m. (ET).

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.