Director's Report to Council: September 2005
ACTIVITIES OF THE NIDCR DIRECTOR
NIDCR Director Lawrence Tabak briefed members of Congress about NIDCR research, spoke at meetings sponsored by national dental organizations, and delivered presentations at international scientific conferences since the last meeting of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council (NADCRC). He also continued to co-chair the NIH Pain Consortium and the NIH Information Technology Working Group and to be actively involved with the NIH Steering Committee that oversees governance issues at NIH
On June 16, the NIDCR Director provided an update on NIDCR’s research agenda at a Congressional breakfast briefing attended by Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Charlie Norwood (R-GA), and John Linder (R-GA). All three Congressmen were practicing dentists. Later that day, Dr. Tabak gave an update on NIDCR activities at the annual meeting of NIDCR’s Centers for Research to Reduce Oral Health Disparities (see story on p.12). In July, he participated in the opening ceremonies of the American Dental Association National Fluoridation Symposium held in Chicago. As the invited keynote speaker at the European Research Group for Oral Biology meeting on “Facing the Challenges in Oral Biology,” held in Geneva, Switzerland on September 1-4, Dr. Tabak delivered a talk entitled, “Facing the Challenge: A Systems View of Oral Biology.”
During the month of September, Dr. Tabak also gave an address at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Leadership Institute Fellows Conference in Washington, D.C. The ADEA Leadership Institute is a year long program designed to develop the nation's most promising individuals at academic dental institutions to become future leaders in dental and higher education. In addition, later this month he will speak about NIDCR’s research initiatives at the meeting of ADEA’s National Oral Health Advocacy Committee and will serve as a panelist at the World Leadership Summit on Chronic Pain to be held in Atlanta, GA, September 26-27. Dr. Tabak is a member of the panel that is examining the state of pain treatment in the U.S., cost and impact on productivity. The panel also will look at initiatives on pain coming from the government.
ACTIVITIES OF THE ACTING NIDCR DEPUTY DIRECTOR
Dr. Henning Birkedal-Hansen, acting NIDCR Deputy Director, continued the editing and vetting of the implementation plan for the NIDCR Strategic Plan with broad input from NIDCR staff and leadership. The draft Implementation Plan is now available on the NIDCR web site. NIDCR is seeking public input on the plan through October 31.
Dr. Birkedal-Hansen was appointed to the Office of Research Services (ORS) Advisory Committee and continued to represent the NIDCR Director and the Institute at several functions on the NIH campus including the NIH Directors Award Ceremony and the NIH Merit Award Ceremony.
In addition, over the summer he gave a presentation on “Biomedical Research in the 21st Century” at a National Student Leadership Conference convened at the University of Maryland, College Park. He also moderated a “Careers in Dentistry” session at NIDCR that included participants from the NIDCR summer program as well as students from Howard University College of Dentistry and the University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.
ACTIVITIES OF THE CHIEF DENTAL OFFICER, USPHS
RADM Dushanka Kleinman continued to oversee the activities of the Dental Category of the USPHS Commissioned Corps and to work with the Surgeon General on issues related to oral health and the ongoing transformation of the Corps.
Since the last NADCRC meeting, Dr. Kleinman was involved in numerous professional and public health activities. She provided an update to the Indian Health Service (IHS) Area Dental Officers and explored the possibilities for collaboration between NIDCR and the IHS in Franklin, TN, on June 21. She presented at the 60th anniversary celebration of water fluoridation, attended the 2005 National Fluoridation Symposium, and presented an oral report at the annual meeting of the National Fluoridation Advisory Committee (NFAC) in Chicago, IL, on July 13-16. On July 30, she served as a panelist at the symposium "Organizations Working Together to Eliminate Oral Health Disparities," at the Annual Convention of the National Dental Association (NDA) in Las Vegas, NV. In addition, she was invited to attend the “Global Challenge on Child Oral Health” conference and the meeting of the Chief Dental Officers of the G-8 countries hosted by the Ministry of Health, UK, called “Dentistry--Meeting the Challenges of Change," that took place in London, England on September 5-6. However, because she was needed to coordinate dental deployments in the U.S. in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Lois K. Cohen, associate director for international health, presented at the meetings on Dr. Kleinman's behalf. Dr. Cohen also participated in the 8th World Congress on Preventive Dentistry held September 7-10 in Liverpool, England and presented the paper, "Building Healthy Public Policy: Developments from the Call to Action after the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health." CAPT James Lipton, senior advisor to the Chief Dental Officer, represented RADM Kleinman at the annual meeting of the Academy of General Dentistry in Washington, D.C., July 14-16, and served on a panel of the lead dental officers from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs.
The USPHS has been involved in major dental meetings and activities as well. CDR Renee Joskow represented the Public Health Service at the annual meeting of the American Association of Women Dentists and CDR. Robin Scheper was the PHS representative at the ADA Committee for the New Dentist meeting. LCDR Scott Trapp serves on the ADA Task Force on the National Health Information Infrastructure and the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics. Alternate members to these ADA committees from the PHS are CAPT George Chiarchiaro and Dr. A. Conan Davis. CAPT Kevin Hardwick represented the PHS at the FDI World Dental Congress in Montreal, Canada.
The FY 2006 President’s budget request for the NIDCR is $393.3 million, including $3.5 million for support of NIH Roadmap projects. The request represents an increase of $1.44 million--or 0.4 percent--over the FY 2005 appropriation of $391.8 million. The FY 2006 President’s budget request for the NIH is $28.7 billion, an increase of $146 million--or 0.5 percent--over the FY 2005 estimate.
Exclusive of Roadmap-associated funding, the FY 2006 request for NIDCR provides support for an estimated 186 competing research project grants (RPGs) and 495 non-competing RPGs--a total of 681 awards. The FY 2006 request also includes funding for 7 research centers. NIDCR will support approximately 87 Research Career Development Award (RCDA) awards and 344 full-time training positions.
See NIDCR’s Congressional Justification narrative.
The Fiscal Year 2006 House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on NIH’s budget request was held on March 9; the Senate hearing was held April 6. At both the House and Senate hearings, Dr. Zerhouni testified on behalf of the entire NIH.
See the NIDCR Director’s Statement for the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees.
The House would provide NIDCR $393.3 million, the same level as the President’s Request, but would direct a significant reduction in the level of funds that NIDCR and the other NIH components pass through to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NIDCR would therefore redirect approximately $4.3 million into competing research project grants. Otherwise, the House concurred with the President’s Request.
The Senate would provide NIDCR $405.3 million, a $12 million increase over the President’s Request. The Senate did not concur with the policy to fund non-competing RPGs below committed levels, nor to budget less than forecasted inflationary increases for competing RPGs. All National Research Service Award trainees would be provided a 4 percent stipend increase; other funding mechanisms would be provided a modest budget increase.
Reauthorization of NIH
On July 12, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced a draft bill to amend title IV of the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the authorities of the NIH. NIH has not been re-authorized since 1993. NIH Director Elias Zerhouni attended a hearing convened before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss the draft legislation on July 19. The proposed legislation contained provisions that would group existing Institutes and Centers (ICs) into two major categories: mission specific and science enabling; delineate new authorities for the NIH Director; establish four specific authorizations of appropriations; establish the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI); establish an electronic coding system and require a biennial report to Congress; and authorize grants for demonstration projects for research at the interface between biological and physical sciences.
Dr. Zerhouni discussed the NIH mission, key authorities, structure, and the committee’s proposal for NIH, including the establishment of DPCPSI, which would create a priority setting process for trans-NIH initiatives such as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, the NIH Strategic Plan for Obesity Research, and the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint. Members of both parties expressed support for general concepts while expressing a desire to further consider particular provisions. A revised draft bill is expected sometime in September.
President Nominates HHS Assistant Secretary
The President has nominated John O. Agwunobi of Florida to be Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (Health). Dr. Agwunobi currently serves as Secretary and State Health Officer at the Florida Department of Health. He previously served as Vice President of Medical Affairs and Patient Services at the Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. As a pediatrician, Dr. Agwunobi has practiced medicine in rural, inner city and suburban communities. He received his medical degree from the University of Jos, Nigeria. He received his first master's degree from Georgetown University and a
second master's degree from Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. Surgeon General Issues Health Tips for “Year of the Healthy Child”
As part of “The Year of the Healthy Child,” U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., has issued a series of “Healthy Dozen” health tips for mothers, toddlers and fathers, including tips on oral health. For example, one tip is “Begin a habit of good oral health. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush. Begin brushing for your child when his or her teeth first appear and continue until age 3 or 4 when you can start teaching your child how to brush. Introduce fluoridated toothpaste at age 2.” Another tip is: “Encourage good oral health. Cavities are the second-most common chronic disease among U.S. children. Supervise your child’s toothbrushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush. As he or she gets older, teach your child to floss and brush his or her teeth unsupervised. Talk with your dentist about fluoride and dental sealants. Make sure your child has dental appointments on a regular basis, and learn dental emergency care.” Reference was made to health information on the NIDCR web site.
Surgeon General Issues First Call to Action on Disability
In August, Dr. Carmona released “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities,” appealing to all Americans to help increase the quality of life for people with disabilities through better health care and understanding. The Call to Action describes the particular challenges to health and well being faced by persons of all ages with disabilities. It identifies goals that can help people with disabilities experience rewarding and healthy lives as contributing members of their communities.
Healthy People 2010 Activities
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Federal agencies, and other experts are conducting a mid-course review of Healthy People 2010. The purpose of the review is to assess data trends during the first half of the decade, consider new science and available data, and make changes to ensure that Healthy People 2010 remains current, accurate, and relevant. The NIDCR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Indian Health Service, as well as the Office of the Secretary, are responsible for reviewing the Oral Health focus area. The draft of the Oral Health focus area was made available for public review for a 30-day period, beginning August 15. Public comments will be reviewed and incorporated into the draft prior to final approval of the document.
Childhood Immunization Rates Surpass Healthy People 2010 Goal
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the nation’s childhood immunization coverage rates continue at record high levels, with about 81 percent of the nation’s 19-to-35-month-old children receiving all the vaccinations in the recommended series. This is the first time that coverage for the base line series of vaccines has exceeded 80 percent, which also represents the Healthy People 2010 goal.
NIH Response to Hurricane Katrina
NIH is responding to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort by providing help both on-site and on the NIH campus. On September 5, NIH deployed the first wave of medical staff from the NIH Bethesda campus and Duke Medical Center to begin work in NIH’s assigned field hospital in Key Field at the Air National Guard Base in Meridian, Mississippi. An advance team was sent on September 4 to begin set up of the 250-bed hospital. The Clinical Center on the NIH campus has made 100 beds available for accepting patient transfer should the need arise. Over the Labor Day weekend, NIH created and activated a national coordination and referral center for specialty medical consultation. The NIH Katrina Call Center is staffed 24 hours a day and provides telephone consultation services for primary care providers of patients in the Katrina disaster zone in the following medical areas: environmental/toxic concerns, infectious diseases and tropical/geographical medicine, ophthalmology, oral medicine, and psychiatry.
NIH to Hold Director’s Pioneer Award Symposium
An NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (NDPA) Symposium will be held September 29 on the NIH campus. The NDPA is intended to support individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research. The 2005 NPDA competition will provide approximately five to ten new awards of up to $500,000 direct costs per year for five years. Attendance at the symposium is free and pre-registration is not required. See the Pioneer Award symposium agenda. Also see the webcast of the Pioneer Award symposium.
Meeting Held on NIH Roadmap Interdisciplinary Research Consortium Program
On September 19, NIH sponsored a meeting on the NIH Roadmap Interdisciplinary Research Consortium Program to enable potential applicants to ask questions about the program. As part of the NIH Roadmap, more than $36 million was awarded over three years to fund 21 Exploratory Centers for Interdisciplinary Research. NIH intends to announce a follow-on program for Interdisciplinary Research Consortia in FY 2007, as described in NOT-RM-05-006. Also see the meeting web cast.
NIH Opens Safra Family Lodge
On June 1, NIH opened its doors to guests at the new Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge on the NIH campus. The new addition offers a temporary residence for families of adult patients who are receiving care at the NIH Clinical Center. Built in the style of an English Arts and Crafts manor, the Safra Family Lodge provides space for solitude, family meetings, and fellowship. The project, from design conception to completion, has taken more than six years. The Foundation for NIH, a private non-profit organization, received contributions to fund most of the facility’s construction, including nearly $5 million from Mrs. Lily Safra and The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation and significant contributions from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the Merck Company Foundation, and GlaxoSmithKline.
Approval Granted for Reorganization of NIDCR’s Extramural Programs
The reorganization of NIDCR’s extramural programs has been approved by the Office of the Director, NIH. As a result, extramural programs are now organized within the following Centers:
Center for Integrative Craniofacial Research - Acting Director, Ann Sandberg
Center for Biotechnology and Innovation - Acting Director, Eleni Kousvelari
Center for Infectious Diseases and Immunology - Acting Director, Dennis Mangan
Center for Clinical Research - Acting Director, Bruce Pihlstrom
Center for Health Promotion and Behavioral Research - Acting Director, Dushanka Kleinman
The Centers will go into full operation on October 1 with the start of the new fiscal year. Searches are ongoing for permanent directors of the Center for Biotechnology and Innovation and the Center for Infectious Diseases and Immunology.
Dr. Charles N. Serhan to Deliver NIDCR 2005 Seymour J. Kreshover Lecture
Dr. Charles N. Serhan, Director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, will deliver the 2005 NIDCR Seymour J. Kreshover Lecture on Friday, September 23. The lecture will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Lipsett Amphitheater in Building 10 on the NIH campus. The title of his lecture is, “The Role of Novel Anti-Inflammatory and Pro-Resolving Lipid Mediators in Oral Inflammation and Resolution." Also see the the lecture webcast.
Dr. Rita Colwell to Deliver Barmes Lecture
Dr. Rita Colwell has been selected as the 2005 NIH David E. Barmes Global Health Lecturer. Dr. Colwell is a former Director of the National Science Foundation and is currently Distinguished University Professor at the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland. Her lecture, which will be given on November 15 at 3:30 p.m. in the Natcher Auditorium, is entitled “Global Climate, Environmental Pathogens, and Human Health: a New Paradigm.” The NIDCR and the Fogarty International Center jointly sponsor the annual Barmes Lecture.
Scientists Find Cell Surface Enzyme Matriptase Causes Cancer
NIDCR scientists and colleagues report in animal studies that a single, scissor-like enzyme called matriptase, when left to its own devices, can cause cancer. The finding, published in the August 15 issue of the journal Genes and Development, marks the first report of a protein-cleaving enzyme, or protease, on the cell surface that can efficiently trigger the formation of tumor cells. The authors also note that matriptase is the first known cell-surface protease that can act as an oncogene, an umbrella term for mutated genes and their proteins that prompt cells to divide too rapidly, a hallmark of tumor cells. Matriptase is potentially a good molecular target to treat cancer because of its accessibility on the cell surface. Drs. Thomas Bugge, Karin List, Roman Szabo, Alfredo Molinolo, Virote Sriuranpong, Vivien Redeye, T. Murdock, B. Burke, B. S. Nielsen, and Silvio J. Gutkind in the NIDCR Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch and the Finsen Laboratory, Copenhagen, Denmark collaborated on the research.
New Lead in Tumor Angiogenesis
Scientists supported by NIDCR have added a key new piece to the puzzle of how tumor cells induce new blood vessels to form and fuel their abnormal growth, a well-known process called angiogenesis. As published in the July issue of the journal Cancer Cell , the scientists found that in addition to the well-known strategy of secreting proteins to trigger angiogenesis, tumor cells also physically attach to a protein displayed on the surfaces of cells that line the walls of our blood vessels. This physical interaction, like a finger pushing a button, sends a signal within these cells to grow and sprout new capillaries. The finding, while technical in nature, has potentially major implications for anti-angiogenic therapy, one of the hottest areas in cancer research. Dr. Cun-Yu Wang, a scientist at the University of Michigan and senior author on the paper, said the finding suggests a future anti-angiogenic strategy of blocking not only the secreted molecules but also the cell-to-cell contact. Wang said these early data also suggest the intriguing possibility of directing growth-inhibiting drugs at the normal blood vessel cells to stop angiogenesis. In addition to Dr. Wang, the authors on the study are Qinghua Zeng, Shenglin Li, Douglas B. Chepeha, Jong Li, Honglai Zhang, Peter J. Polverini, Jacques Nor, and Jan Kitajewski from the University of Michigan, Peking University School of Stomatology in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Important Early Advance in Coaxing Muscle-Derived Stem Cells to Regenerate Bone
Adult stem cells come in many varieties, but none hold greater promise than muscle-derived stem cells, or MDSCs, to heal bone fractures and/or repair severe craniofacial wounds. These cells can be readily harvested from the skeletal muscles and genetically engineered in the laboratory to produce bone-forming osteoblasts. Preliminary work with rodents demonstrates that these genetically engineered MDSCs will produce ample amounts of bone-forming cells when implanted into large skull wounds. The big challenge facing researchers is to learn how to best engineer the MDSCs at the front end, and thus optimize the ensuing bone formation. That, in part, entails learning which combinations of genes to transfer into the MDSCs in the laboratory to mimic the natural response that occurs during fracture healing. In the August issue of the journal Molecular Therapy, NIDCR grantees and colleagues report results from mouse studies that constitute a major step in this direction. They tested the hypothesis that transferring the pro-growth bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) and its biochemical nemesis, or antagonist, called Noggin, would provide a more dynamic, stop-and-go healing process to repair large skull wounds. That's precisely what they found. The combination of genes whose proteins act concurrently and interactively in nature to form bone prevented resting levels of unwanted bone regeneration and overgrowth, but, more importantly, generated bone that more closely resembled normal bone. The authors believe that this regulatable tissue engineering strategy, enhanced by utilizing a specific antagonist, constitutes a new paradigm for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Drs. H. Peng, P. Usas, D. Hannallah, A. Olshanski, G.M. Cooper, and J. Huard conducted the study at the Growth and Development Laboratory, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA.
Important Clue in How Certain Oral Bacteria Might Contribute to Heart Condition
Endocarditis is a sometimes life-threatening infection of the inner surface of the heart and/or its valves. Of the approximately 15,000 cases of endocarditis reported each year in the United States, many likely arise when bacteria that naturally attach to our teeth are displaced and pass into the bloodstream during a dental procedure, flossing, or even chewing food. These microbes, while relatively harmless in the mouth, have an affinity for damaged endothelial cells or blood clots in the heart, where they attach, multiply, and form larger bacterial colonies that trigger the endocarditis. Scientists have shown that immune cells called monocytes are prominently found in early inflammatory lesions linked to endocarditis. What's been puzzling is the monocytes tend to disappear from the lesions over time without becoming macrophages, a scavenging immune cell formed from monocytes that removes debris from tissues, such as the damaged, bacteria-laden cells linked to endocarditis. In the August issue of the journal Infection and Immunity , NIDCR grantees show that the usual monocyte-macrophage transformation rarely occurs because monocytes infected in studies with the well-known oral bacterium Streptococcus mutans instead become dendritic cells, a type of immune cell that initiates an inflammation-producing immune response upon interaction with this bacterium. This finding indicates that oral streptococci mediated changes in a person's normal immune response can contribute to endocarditis. It also suggests that an effective future strategy to treat endocarditis might involve learning to turn off the destructive immune response and/or reprogram the monocytes to produce macrophages to clear away the disease-causing bacterial colonies from the heart. Drs. C.L. Hahn, H. A. Schenkein, and J.G. Tew in the Department of Endodontics, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, co-authored the study.
Study Reappraises Periodontal-Cardiovascular Disease Link
Over the last few years, researchers have gathered a growing but somewhat circumstantial body of evidence suggesting that people who have chronic and/or severe periodontal disease may be at greater risk for coronary heart disease. The evidence remains circumstantial for two reasons: One, most studies have employed clinically defined measures of periodontal disease to make the link, which assumes conditions in the mouth directly influence those in the heart; and, two, most studies have not properly accounted for the effects of smoking, which is strongly associated with both conditions. With these concerns in mind, a team of NIDCR grantees and colleagues recently looked again at the possible periodontal-cardiovascular disease link in almost 7,000 adult participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. This time, the scientists examined the relationship between coronary heart disease and two measures of periodontitis: (1) clinically defined periodontal disease and (2) serum antibody levels to 17 oral microbes. As a key component of their analysis, the scientists carefully stratified participants based on their smoking habits and histories. As published in the July 5 issue of the journal Circulation , the scientists found that serum antibody levels were indeed associated with coronary heart disease, suggesting the quantity and quality of the immune response against oral bacteria may provide a more relevant measure of the association. Interestingly, the group found that clinical signs of periodontal disease were not associated with coronary heart disease. The authors conclude that these findings are relevant for future research in that they indicate that clinical measures of periodontitis may not adequately represent the systemic burden of periodontal disease. Instead, future researchers may want to use measures that better capture the interplay of the infection, the host immune and inflammatory responses, and resulting clinical signs of this complex exposure that may affect general health. Drs. J. D. Beck, P. Eke, G. Heiss, P. Madianos, D. Couper, D. Lin, K. Moss, J. Elter, and S. Offenbacher at the University of North Carolina conducted the study.
Promising New Polymer and Dental Material Reported
Most dentists today use commercial dental composites that still utilize Bowen’s original, now 40-year-old Bis-GMA monomer as the matrix-forming resin. Thus, despite steady progress over the past several years in learning how best to fill and cure these composites in decayed teeth, dentists still run into the same basic laws of chemistry that Bowen confronted. That is, because the curing process involves free-radical initiation for monomer polymerization, a bonded posterior composite will lose some volume, shrink, and over time stress the patient’s tooth. In the June 10 issue of the journal Science, NIDCR grantees and colleagues demonstrated a cross-linked polymer mixture that, when exposed to light during the curing process, reversibly cleaves its chemical backbone to allow monomer chain rearrangement for rapid stress relief. Remarkably, the polymer does so without any degradation of its mechanical properties. The polymer mixture consists of pentaerythritol tetra (PETMP) and triethyleneglycol divinylether (TEGDVE), which produced a rubbery network with a glass transition temperature of about -25 degrees Celsius. The authors note that although their study involved model rubbery networks, this process may also be applied to other applications for which the control or elimination of stress is critical. The work was conducted in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, by T. F. Scott, A.D. Schneider, W.D. Cook, and C.N. Bowman.
Chemo Drug Shows Preclinical Promise Against Head and Neck Cancer
A hallmark of cancer cells is that their internal wiring has been modified to prompt their abnormal growth. This has led some cancer researchers to suspect the most effective chemotherapeutic drugs might be those that target proteins influencing not one but multiple wires within the tumor cells. One such protein is called heat shock protein 90, or Hsp90, a so-called “molecular chaperone” that helps to fold various cancer-causing proteins into their proper three-dimensional configurations. Studies indicate Hsp90 is present at two to 10-fold higher levels in tumor cells than in normal cells. They also show Hsp90 is found in tumor cells in a distinct molecular form that has a 100-fold higher affinity for ansamycin antibiotics, natural compounds that microbes produce to protect themselves from disease causing substances, than the Hsp90 present in normal cells. The challenge has been to synthesize an ansamycin-derived compound that kills tumor cells but which also is relatively straightforward to formulate. In the May 15 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research , NIDCR grantees report promising early results with such a compound called EC5. It is a novel dimerized, or two headed, form of geldanamycin, an ansamycin-derived compound. As reported in their paper, EC5 proved more effective at inhibiting the growth of eight head and neck cancer cell lines than the related compound 17-AAG, which is already in clinical trials. In addition, EC5 shrunk a type of head and neck tumor in mice that 17-AAG proved ineffective against. Collaborators on the study are X. Yin, H. Zhang, F. Burrows, L. Zhang, and C.G. Shores from the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Conforma Therapeutics, San Diego, CA.
MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS
Meeting of Federation Dentaire Internationale (FDI) World Dental Congress
Dr. Lois K. Cohen, associate director for international health, Dr. Kevin Hardwick, extramural training officer, and Dr. Maria Canto, director of the Epidemiology Research Program, Division of Clinical Research and Health Promotion, attended the FDI World Dental Congress in Montreal, August 22-27. While there, they participated in meetings on oral-systemic health relationships, assistance to developing nations, global promotion of fluoride for caries prevention, international dental education, women in dentistry, and public health.
3rd International Women’s Leadership Conference
NIDCR co-sponsored the 3rd International Women’s Leadership Conference, held August 28-30 in Montreal, called “Global Health Through Women’s Leadership.” Dr. Cohen served on the planning committee for the event and spoke via videotape; Dr. Canto served as the NIDCR representative and resource person. Dr. Vivian Pinn, Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, also attended the meeting.
NIDCR Participates in IADR Division Meetings
Dr. Dennis Mangan, director of the Mirobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program, represented the NIDCR at the Joint Meeting of the Continental European (CED) and Scandinavian (NOF) Divisions of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), September 14-17 in Amsterdam. He staffed the NIDCR information booth and discussed training opportunities for students and funding for established investigators.
Meeting of Centers for Research to Reduce Oral Health Disparities
The annual meeting of the NIDCR Centers for Research to Reduce Oral Health Disparities was held at NIH on June 16. Each center presented an update on current research projects, including clinical trials that are underway. The centers also provided posters for discussion with attendees from other agencies, universities, and NIH Institutes and Centers. NIH and NIDCR staff, including Dr. Tabak, Kireille Kanda (NCMHD), Dushanka Kleinman, Bruce Pihlstrom, Lois Cohen, Rosemarie Hunziker, Clifton Poodry (NIGMS), Shawn Drew (NIGMS), and Mr. Diana Rutberg provided updates to the center representatives about NIH initiatives and opportunities for leveraging resources for science and training activities.
National Conference on Access to Quality Testing for Rare Diseases
As the NIDCR representative to the Office of Rare Diseases, Dr. Rochelle Small, director of the Developmental Biology and Genetics Program, participated in the planning of an NIH conference on “Access to Quality Testing for Rare Diseases: A National Conference,” to be held September 26-27 in Rockville, MD. The conference aims to establish processes to enhance the genetic testing for rare diseases. The majority of rare diseases are genetic conditions that require genetic testing for diagnosis and management. There are several hundred rare genetic conditions that affect the oral cavity and craniofacial development. Unfortunately, the development of genetic tests for rare diseases has not kept pace with gene discoveries and genetic testing is available for only a small portion of rare diseases. In addition, testing may only be available from a few laboratories worldwide, or from a single research laboratory. This two-day conference will discuss ways to establish an efficient process to move potential tests from the research phase to the clinical setting.
Other Meetings Attended by Staff:
3rd International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment
10th Annual International Meeting on the Institute of Human Virology
12th International Congress of Mucosal Immunology
13th Specialized Program of Scientific Excellence (SPORE) Investigators’ Workshop
American Psychological Association Meeting
From Genomics to Disease: A Symposium of High Throughput Biology
Metabolomics Standards Workshop
Meet the NIH: Research and Training for New Investigators
International Society for Clinical Biostatistics
Mid-Atlantic Venture Association’s BioConnection ‘05
National Academies of Sciences’ National Clinical Trial Registry Workshop
Structural Analysis of Large Macromolecular Assemblies: Sizing Up the Challenges
RESEARCH TRAINING, CAREER DEVELOPMENT, RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
Loan Repayment Program Awards
NIDCR has completed the review process for the Clinical Research and Pediatric Research Loan Repayment Programs (LRP). For the 2005 extramural LRP cycle, NIH received and reviewed approximately 3,195 applications. NIDCR received 32 applications for the two programs. Sixteen contracts were made to individuals conducting oral health research—11 for clinical research projects and 5 for pediatric research projects. In addition, renewal applications represented half of the total contracts funded. Since FY 2002, NIDCR has provided 52 individuals with funding towards their educational debt.
In an effort to increase awareness of these programs and encourage individuals to submit applications, NIDCR recently added “Loan Repayment Program Success Stories” to its Web site. Two recipients—Dr. Jessica Lee and Dr. Sylvia Frazier-Bowers—share information about they have benefited from receiving NIH support. The NIH Loan Repayment Program pays up to $35,000 per year for two years towards educational debt. See information about the loan repayment programs. The next extramural cycle for the LRPs is open September 1, 2005 to December 1, 2005.
Applications Reviewed for NIDCR Ruth Kirschstein-NRSA Institutional Clinical Research Training Award
Twelve applications were received in response to RFA-DE-05-008, the NIDCR Kirschstein-NRSA Institutional Clinical Research Training Award. The applications were reviewed June 8 and were presented for secondary review and concurrence during the August electronic council meeting. The Institute plans to fund two applications during this fiscal year. Because of the high level of interest in the community, NIDCR is considering plans to reissue this RFA in FY2006.
NIDCR Issues Revised T32 Program Announcement
This past May, NIDCR issued a revised program announcement for the comprehensive T32 training program. While the revised PAR-05-101 is fundamentally similar to the previous announcement in terms of comprehensiveness and breadth of training opportunities, there are two significant changes. The new PAR allows only one integrated, comprehensive training program funded by NIDCR in a single institution and it sets a budgetary ceiling of $1 million per year. In addition, some of the allowable costs were modified to make the NIDCR T32 program consistent with other NIH T32 programs. Approximately 15 Letters of Intent were received in advance of the September 10 application due date.
Ms. Lorrayne Jackson visited New York University (NYU) to speak to students in NYU’s Short-Term Training for Minority Students and Comprehensive T32 programs about opportunities for research and research training support. In addition, she represented NIDCR at the annual convention of the National Dental Association (NDA), held July 29-August 2 in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. George Taylor, NADCRC member, also attended the meeting and conducted a session on “Oral Health: Its Role in the Diabetes Epidemic.” During the NDA meeting, Dr. Dennis Mitchell from Columbia University and Dr. Darnell Kaigler from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, received awards for “Developing Underrepresented Minority Dental Faculty in Research.” Dr. Mitchell is a recipient of a NCRR K23 award and is currently a co-investigator on a large clinical trial. Dr. Kaigler received funding from NIDCR for a F30 award that enabled him to pursue a DDS/PhD in tissue engineering.
Dr. Albert Avila has moved from the Division of Intramural Research, where he served as director of the Office of Education, to the Extramural Training Office. In his new role, Dr. Avila will provide assistance in program planning, consultation to potential career award and fellowship applicants, and technical assistance to individual and institutional grantees.
DIVISION OF BASIC AND TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCES
Recently Released Requests for Applications (RFAs)
Since the last meeting of the NADCRC, the following RFAs were released:
Completion of a Comprehensive Mouse Knockout Resource
Biology of RNA Interference: Stability, Delivery and Processing by Tissues
Report on Metagenomics: Challenges and Functional Applications
Dr. Dennis Mangan is coordinating an NIH-supported report from the National Academies of Science on “Metagenomics: Challenges and Functional Applications.” The report is designed to evaluate the new approach of metagenomics, which studies the totality of all microbial genes in an ecological niche. The approach is unique in that bacteria that cannot be cultivated are included in the analyses, thereby providing a comprehensive genomic window into microbial physiology and virulence. It is expected that the report will be released in early 2007.
NIDCR co-sponsored the 2005 Gordon Research Conference on Bones and Teeth, held July 10-15 at the University of New England, Biddeford, ME. The conference brought together investigators to discuss late-breaking discoveries in mineralized tissue biology, including growth and transcription factor regulation, mineral homeostasis and calcification, skeletal anabolic agents, and stem cells. Dr. Lillian Shum, director of the Physiology, Pharmacogenetics and Injury Program, attended the conference.
NIDCR also co-sponsored the 2005 Gordon Research Conference on Small Integrin-Binding Proteins held in Big Sky, MT, September 11-16. This is a new conference in the Gordon Research Conference series and seeks to bring together investigators who are engaged in research concerning a group of matrix proteins that includes the recently coined “small integrin-binding ligand N-linked glycoprotein (SIBLINGS)” family. Although some of these proteins were initially discovered in bones and teeth, recent evidence suggests that they are present in non-skeletal tissues and may function to regulate the activities of matrix metalloproteinases.
CENTER FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
Recently Released RFAs
The following RFA has been released since the last meeting of the NADCRC:
Development and Validation of Technologies for Saliva-Based Diagnostics
Applications Received in Response to RFA
Nine applications were received in response to RFA-DE-06-002, “Planning Grants (P20) for U54 Specialized Center-Cooperative Agreement.” The review of these applications is scheduled for October 14.
This RFA solicits applications for planning grants that will support planning activities for groups of researchers to develop interdisciplinary research strategies for the development of a U54 (Specialized Center-Cooperative Agreement). Planning activities are intended to lay the foundation and prepare investigators for submitting a subsequent application for a U54. Therefore, only applicant teams who have been awarded a P20 and have written a Concept Development Plan (CDP) will be eligible to apply for funding for a U54 in FY 2007.
NIDCR Grantee Receives Prestigious Award
Dr. Paul Yager, a Center grantee and scientist at the University of Washington, recently was awarded a $15.4 million grant from the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative to develop a small, easy-to-use device to test for health conditions common in developing countries. These conditions include various bacterial infections, nutritional status, and HIV-related diseases. Dr. Yager and colleagues envision that health care workers would load a small blood sample onto a disposable test card, about the size of a credit card, which would contain all of the necessary test reagents. The test would be inserted into a small device, and the results would be available in 10 minutes. Launched in 2003, the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with NIH, to harness the power of science and technology to dramatically improve health in the world’s poorest nations. In addition to the above-mentioned blood-based test, Dr. Yager continues to receive support from the NIDCR to develop a portable, hand-held device for saliva-based diagnostic tests.
DIVISION OF CLINICAL RESEARCH AND HEALTH PROMOTION
Recently Issued RFAs
Since the last meeting of the NADCRC, two RFAs have been issued:
Clinical Research on Osseointegrated Dental Implants (RFA-DE-06-007)
Validation of New Technologies for Clinical Assessment of Tooth Surface Demineralization (RFA-DE-06-008)
Responses to RFA
NIDCR received three applications in response to the NIH Roadmap Initiative on Administrative Supplements to Support Interdisciplinary Research in the Behavioral/Social and Biological Sciences (NOT-RM-05-007). The applications were recently reviewed; funding will occur this fiscal year. Several behavioral science applications received in response to earlier solicitations also were funded in this program.
Report Issued on Oral Health of the U.S. Population
Staff completed work with colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the oral health of the U.S. population using data from the 1988-1994 and 1999-2002 NHANES.
NIH Community Hispanic HANES Planning Committee
Dr. Jeffrey Hyman is the NIDCR representative to the NIH Community Hispanic HANES planning committee and has been participating in the planning and development of the survey. The design of the proposed dental component has been finalized and cost estimates have been updated. The Request for Proposals for the study contracts was issued in August; proposals are due November 22, 2005.
Rudd, RE & Horowitz, AM: Health and Literacy: Supporting the Oral Health Research Agenda. J. Public Health Dent 2005;65:131-132.
Report of Workgroup: The Invisible Barrier: Literacy and its Relationship with Oral Health. J. Public Health Dent. 2005;65:174-183.
Kingman A. Acceptance criteria for clinical caries models. (in press) In: Stookey GW, Editor. Early Detection of Dental Caries IV. 2005.
Susin C, Kingman A, Albandar JM. Effect of Partial Recording on Estimates of Prevalence of Periodontal Disease. J Periodontol 2005; 76(2):262-267.
Beltran-Aguilar ED, Barker LK, Canto MT, Dye BA, Gooch BF, Griffin SO, Hyman J, Jaramillo F, Kingman A, Nowjack-Raymer R, Selwitz RH, Wu T. Surveillance for dental caries, dental sealants, tooth retention, edentulism, and enamel fluorosis – United States, 1988-1994 and 1999-2002. MMWR 2005; 54(03); 1-44.
DIVISION OF INTRAMURAL RESEARCH
IDCR Scientists Contribute to Continuing Education
Dr. Thomas Hart, NIDCR's Clinical Director and Dr. Pamela Gehron Robey, chief of the Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch, presented a continuing education course at the Academy of General Dentistry's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. During his presentation on dental genetics, Dr. Hart emphasized how recent technological advances have important implications for the future of health care and provided examples of the relevance and clinical impact of genetic research on dental practice. Dr. Robey reviewed current understanding of post-natal stem cells that form hard tissue and their potential use in dental reconstruction in the future.
Board of Scientific Counselors Reviews Craniofacial and Skeletal Biology Branch
The Board of Scientific Counselors reviewed the Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch on May 25-27. Based on input from the Chair of the Board and its Executive Secretary, as well as from the NIDCR Director and Scientific Director, information supplied for review was expanded to include a staff listing, detailed descriptions of budget, space allocation and utilization, and resources available to investigators for clinical research and animal studies. In addition, the cumulative bibliography for the Branch (arranged alphabetically) and the cumulative list of publications for each Section/Unit (arranged chronologically) were expanded to include citations from the last 8 years (two BSC cycles), and the organization of curricula vitae was modified to better capture the activities of Branch staff, both extramurally and intramurally. Research summaries were presented orally on May 26 by principal investigators, followed by poster presentations by junior staff. The review concluded on May 27 with interviews of all staff by the BSC and ad hoc reviewers. This format will likely be adopted for all subsequent BSC reviews.
DIR Fellows Present Their Research to the NADCRC
Twelve DIR fellows presented and discussed their posters with NADCRC members on June 10. The topics demonstrated the breadth and importance of intramural research at NIDCR and included 3-D imaging in diagnosing Fanconi’s anemia; molecular–genetic mechanisms of pain and analgesia mediated by cyclooxygenase-2; microvessel injury and irradiation damage in salivary glands; activation of store-operated Ca2+ entry; the relationship of over-expression of transforming growth factor–beta1 in teeth to enamel defects and cysts; role of fibroblast growth factors in branching morphogenesis of submandibular glands; induction of angiogenesis by Semaphorin 4D in head and neck carcinomas; molecular characterization of the microflora during initial bacterial colonization of enamel; the structural basis for streptococcal receptor polysaccharide function; postnatal salivary stem cells; use of selective venous catheterization to localize phosphaturic tumors; and isolation and characterization of postnatal stem cells from human dental pulp.
NIDCR Post-Baccalaureate Trainees Complete Research Training
The NIDCR post-baccalaureate trainees completed a successful year of research and will be attending various professional programs throughout the country. The trainees were: Peter Cervenka, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (Mentor: Dr. Jay Chiorini); Julian Stewart, Howard University College of Dentistry (Mentor: Dr. Matt Hoffman); Marissa Kuhnen, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (Mentor: Dr. Thomas Bugge); Alice Goodwin, University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry (Mentors: Drs. Sharon Wahl/Nancy Vasquez); Stacie Kahan, St. George’s University Medical School (Mentor: Dr. Kenn Holmbeck); Kedesha Sibliss, Georgetown University Medical School (Mentors: Drs. Hynda Kleinman/Deborah Phelp); Adrian Wilson, Howard University College of Dentistry (Mentor: Dr. Matt Hoffman); Etin Osa-Osa, New York University (Mentor: Dr. Hynda Kleinman); and Sherilyn Vanosdol, University of California, San Diego Pharmacy School (Mentors: Drs. Hynda Kleinman/Jennifer Koblinski).
2005 Summer Research Training Program
Thirty-three individuals--including high school, college, dental and medical students--participated in the 2005 DIR Summer Research Training Program. Ten students were recipients of the NIDCR Summer Dental Student Award, created to attract dental students into research. These students were Elaine Chow, University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry; Steve Deglman, University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Dentistry; LaTrice Foster, Howard University College of Dentistry; Kraig Kottemann, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health; Elizabeth Leddy, Baylor College of Dentistry; Frederick Liu, Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery; Ali Pourmohamadian, Louisiana State University School of Dentistry; Jessica Shireman, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine; Vanessa Williams, Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry; and Anne Yoon, University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry.
Among the highlights of the summer were a summer student orientation and welcome party, an educational dental program that included visits to the University of Maryland, Baltimore Dental School and the National Museum of Dentistry, a career panel discussion on “Future Careers in Science in Dentistry,” information sessions on the Howard Hughes research program and the Clinical Research Training Program, an NIDCR summer student poster session and awards ceremony, and an NIH poster presentation session. In addition, the students toured the U.S. Capitol and met with Craig Higgins, Clerk, and David Reich and Cheryl Smith, Minority staff, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education. Also in attendance were Shalanda Young, NIDCR detailee to the Minority Staff, Albert Avila, director of the DIR Office of Education, and Melanie Martinez, NIH Presidential Management Intern detailed to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education.
National Black Nurses Association Conference
NIDCR supported the National Black Nurses Association Conference by providing NIDCR training and research opportunities materials. The major goal was to reach out to nurses at all career levels and inform them about research training programs at the NIH. The conference was held July 20-24 in Chicago.
Dr. David W. Bradley Joins DIR as Technology Development Coordinator
Dr. David W. Bradley has joined the DIR as the new technology development coordinator. He replaces Dr. Jacob Donkersloot, who served the DIR in this capacity since 1988. Dr. Donkersloot will continue to work with Dr. Bradley over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition. Dr. Bradley was selected from a group of highly qualified candidates after a nationwide search. He obtained his doctorate in cell and developmental biology from Harvard in 1992, where he studied under Arthur Pardee. Prior to joining the NIDCR, Dr. Bradley held positions with several small biotech companies in the New England area and had started his own consulting and manufacturing company, BenchMark Science, in Manchester, NH.
Teng J, Rai T, Tanaka Y, Takei Y, Nakata T, Hirasawa M, Kulkarni AB, Hirokawa N. The KIF3 motor transports N-cadherin and organizes the developing neuroepithelium. Nat Cell Biol. 7:474-482, 2005.
Voutetakis A, Bossis I, Kok MR, Zhang W, Wang J, Cotrim AP, Zheng C, Chiorini JA, Nieman LK, Baum BJ. Salivary glands as a potential gene transfer target for gene therapeutics of some monogenetic endocrine disorders. J Endocrinol. Jun;185(3):363-72, 2005.
Di Pasquale G, Rzadzinska A, Schneider ME, Bossis I, Chiorini JA, Kachar B. A novel bovine virus efficiently transduces inner ear neuroepithelial cells. Mol Ther. Jun;11(6):849-55, 2005.
Padron E, Bowman V, Kaludov N, Govindasamy L, Levy H, Nick P, McKenna R, Muzyczka N, Chiorini JA, Baker TS, Agbandje-McKenna M. Structure of adeno-associated virus type 4. J Virol. Apr;79(8):5047-58, 2005.
Kim JW, Simmer JP, Hart TC, Hart PS, Ramaswami MD, Bartlett JD, Hu JC. MMP-20 mutation in autosomal recessive pigmented hypomaturation amelogenesis imperfecta. J Med Genet. Mar;42(3):271-5, 2005.
Ryu OH, Choi SJ, Firatli E, Choi SW, Hart PS, Shen RF,
Wu WW, Hart TC. Proteolysis of macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha isoforms LD78beta and LD78alpha by neutrophil-derived serine proteases. J Biol Chem. Apr 29;280(17):17415-21, 2005
ing H, Wu X, Bostrom H, Kim I, Wong N, Tsoi B, O'Rourke M, Koh GY, Soriano P, Betsholtz C, Hart TC, Marazita ML, Field LL, Tam PP, Nagy A. A specific requirement for PDGF-C in palate formation and PDGFR-alpha signaling. Nat Genet. Oct;36(10):1111-6, 2004.
Harashima S, Clark A, Christie MR, Notkins AL. The dense core transmembrane vesicle protein IA-2 is a regulator of vesicle number and insulin secretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. Jun 14;102(24):8704-9, 2005.
Vazquez N, Greenwell-Wild T, Marinos NJ, Swaim WD, Nares S, Ott DE, Schubert U, Henklein P, Orenstein JM, Sporn MB, Wahl SM. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1-induced macrophage gene expression includes the p21 gene, a target for viral regulation. J Virol. Apr;79(7):4479-91, 2005.
List K, Szabo R, Molinolo A, Sriuranpong V, Redeye V, Burke B, Murdock T, Nielsen BS, Gutkind JS., and Bugge T H. Deregulated matriptase proteolysis causes ras-independent multistage carcinogenesis and promotes ras-mediated malignant transformation. Genes & Dev 19:1934-50, 2005.
Basile JR, Afkhami T, and Gutkind JS. Semaphorin 4D/Plexin-B1 induces endothelial cell migration through the activation of PYK2, Src and the PI3K-Akt pathway. Mol Cell Biol 25:6889-98, 2005.
Curino AC, Engelholm LH, Yamada SS, Holmbeck K, Lund LR, Molinolo AA, Behrendt N, Nielsen BS, and Bugge TH. Intracellular collagen degradation mediated by uPARAP/Endo180 is a major pathway of extracellular matrix turnover during malignancy. J Cell Biol 169:977-85, 2005.
Associate Director for International Health Briefs Ambassador of Malaysia
Dr. Lois K. Cohen, associate director for international health, met with His Excellency Dato Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid, Ambassador of Malaysia to the U.S., when he visited the NIH and NIDCR on July 20. The Director of Malaysian Students and the Director of the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council accompanied the Ambassador. The visitors received a briefing on NIH and NIDCR’s global health research activities. Malaysia has three dental schools that are interested in enhancing their research capacity. The Ambassador emphasized some ongoing work involving development of health education/promotion materials for various ethnic populations--Malay, Tamil Indians and Chinese.
Dr. Cohen attended the Advisory Board meeting and strategic planning retreat for the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health & Arthritis of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, held in Fredericton, New Brunswick on August 28-31. In early September, she presented a paper on “International Collaboration for Oral Health Research” at the celebratory symposium, Oral Health Through Public Health, honoring the career contributions of Professor Aubrey Sheiham, at University College London. Following the symposium, she chaired a workshop on International Collaborations for Preventive Dentistry at the 8th World Congress on Preventive Dentistry, held September 7-10 in Liverpool, England.
IDCR's Inside Scoop Talks with Dr. Charles Serhan
“Meet the 2005 Kreshover Lecturer: Dr. Charles Serhan” is the latest in a series of Inside Scoop interviews with prominent researchers about hot topics in the oral health field. This most recent interview gives readers the opportunity to hear about Dr. Serhan’s work on inflammation and about the evolution of his research career. NIDCR Office of Communications and Health Education (OCHE) staff created The Inside Scoop in 2002 for the media, but interview topics may also be of interest to the public, health care practitioners, and researchers. Other recent Inside Scoop titles include “Looking at the Periodontal-Systemic Disease Connection,” “Building a Dental Practice-Based Research Network,” and “Looking to the Future: Systems Biology.”
NIDCR Oral Health Information Now More Accessible to Spanish Speakers
OCHE recently improved Spanish-speakers' access to NIDCR oral health information by: 1) adding a dedicated phone line for inquiries and publication requests from Spanish speakers; 2) hiring a Spanish language information specialist at NIDCR's National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse; and 3) improving the usability of on-line Spanish-language publications. Next steps are to translate on-line and print publication order forms into Spanish. Once the publication order forms have been translated, OCHE will begin marketing its Spanish-language health information (which has been going out primarily through English speaking gatekeepers) directly to Hispanic community-based organizations. NIDCR's on-line Spanish-language publications are already available on the NIDCR Spanish-language web page, and on health information gateways like NIH's salud.nih.gov web site and MedlinePlus en español.
New Dry Mouth Section on NIH Senior Health Web Site
A new section on dry mouth will be added to NIH’s Web site for seniors on September 30. Adapted by OCHE staff from NIDCR's Dry Mouth booklet, the dry mouth section of NIHSeniorHealth covers causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options. Video interviews with NIDCR researcher Dr. Bruce Baum and a dry mouth patient will be added in the future. The National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine sponsor NIHSeniorHealth, which is for people 60 and older and is based on the latest research on cognition and aging. The site features short, easy-to-read segments of information in a variety of formats, including large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos, and an audio version.
Oral Cancer Education Messages Tested with African American Men at Risk for Oral Cancer
OCHE staff recently directed two focus groups with African American male smoker/drinkers in Washington, D.C., to test a set of oral cancer education messages with this high-risk population. Specific goals of the study were to explore: 1) what types of appeals will and will not work with this population (e.g. fear/threat appeals, factual appeals, and positive affect appeals); 2) how this audience reacts to risk reduction vs. early detection messages; 3) the benefits this audience can or does associate with taking action to reduce risk for or detect oral cancer; and 4) how this audience reacts to messages about the synergistic relationship between tobacco and alcohol use, i.e. whether they interpret such information to mean they are not at risk if they use only one or the other substance. Study results--in addition to results from previous focus groups in Washington, D.C., to better understand the oral cancer knowledge and perceptions of African American men--will be used to inform the development of oral cancer education materials specifically for African American men.
Dissemination of Patient and Health Professional Education Publications
OCHE staff exhibited and distributed NIDCR patient and health professional education materials at the following meetings: American Dental Hygienists' Association annual session in Las Vegas, June 24-25; Academy of General Dentistry annual meeting in Washington, D.C., July 14-17; and the National Dental Association annual meeting in Las Vegas, July 30-August 1. NIDCR materials were also displayed at the following conferences: National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Fort Worth, June 15-18; Blacks in Government National Training Conference in Orlando, August 1-5; HHS Health Expo at the Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando, September 1-3; and the Black Family Reunion in Washington, D.C., September 10-11.
Dr. Robert Selwitz retired from the PHS Commissioned Corps effective July 1, 2005. Since his arrival at the NIDCR in 1988, he served in a variety of capacities in the former Division of Epidemiology and Oral Disease Prevention, the Office of Science Policy and Analysis, and the Division of Population and Health Promotion Sciences (now the Division of Clinical Research and Health Promotion [DCRHP]). In 2003, he was appointed chief of the Population Research and Health Promotion Branch, DCRHP. Dr. Selwitz also served as co-director of the NIDCR Dental Public Health Residency Program. Over the course of his tenure, he provided leadership on behalf of the Institute for several key global initiatives related to the detection of dental caries in epidemiological surveys and clinical trials. He is well known throughout the world in the dental public health community. Recently he moved to Florida where he will continue his involvement in relevant issues both at the Duvall County Health Department and as a clinical professor at the University of Florida, School of Dentistry.
Ms. Rebecca Roper recently joined the Division of Clinical Research and Health Promotion, assisting Dr. Bruce Pihlstrom with the programmatic implementation and oversight of the Practice-Based Research Networks. Prior to this assignment she served as a scientific review administrator in the Scientific Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities.