|New NIDCR Director Appointed|
Martha J. Somerman, D.D.S., Ph.D., has been appointed as director of the NIDCR by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. She is currently dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry, Seattle, a position she has held since 2002. She will begin her duties as NIDCR director on Aug. 29, 2011.
An internationally known researcher and educator, Somerman’s research has focused on defining the key regulators controlling development, maintenance and regeneration of oral-dental-craniofacial tissues. Her work has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, mostly recently the Paul Goldhaber Award from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Before joining the University of Washington, Somerman was on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, from 1991 to 2002. There, she served as a professor and chair of periodontics/prevention and geriatrics, and also held an appointment as professor of pharmacology at the School of Medicine. From 1984 to 1991, Somerman was on the faculty of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. See more about Dr. Somerman:
Statement to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Regarding NIDCR's FY 2012 Budget Request
Read the NIDCR Acting Director's Statement to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Regarding the FY 2012 Budget Request:
NIDCR FY 2011 Extramural Funding Plan
NIDCR's FY 2011 extramural funding plan is found at:
The Institute plan is consistent with NIH's funding policy, which is found at:
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Signed with Pan American Health Organization
The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and NIDCR have signed an agreement under which PAHO/WHO will host residents enrolled in NIDCR’s Residency Program in Dental Public Health for short-term internships in the area of international oral health. The internship program will give NIDCR dental public health residents valuable field experience while advancing global oral health through PAHO programs such as the Caries Free Communities Initiative. The establishment of this official relationship between PAHO and NIDCR also will promote awareness of the importance of oral health and community-wide efforts to prevent oral and dental diseases and conditions.
A signing ceremony for the MOU was held May 10th at PAHO's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Pictured at the ceremony are Dr. Jose Luis Di Fabio, PAHO/WHO's area manager for Health Systems Based on Primary Care, acting on behalf of PAHO/WHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses, and Dr. Isabel Garcia, NIDCR Acting Director and director of the NIDCR Residency Program in Dental Public Health.
Read about a dental student who spent a year abroad as a Fogarty International Center trainee:
NIH Establishes Working Group on the Future of the Biomedical Research Workforce
A new NIH working group will examine the future of the U.S. biomedical research workforce. The group will recommend actions to the Advisory Committee to the (NIH) Director to ensure a diverse and sustainable biomedical and behavioral research workforce. Questions they will consider include: What is the right size of the workforce? What are the appropriate types of positions that should be supported to allow people to have successful careers and to continue to advance biomedical and behavioral sciences? What is the best way to support these various positions? What types of training should be provided? The group will gather input from the extramural community, including students, postdoctoral fellows, investigators, scientific societies, and grantee institutions. See additional details:
Scientific Community Leaders Meet to Begin Advising NIH's Center for Scientific Review
Scientific experts from across the country have joined a new council that began meeting May 2nd to advise NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR) on the peer review of NIH grant applications in CSR scientific review groups. The CSR Advisory Council (CSRAC) will meet twice a year and replaces the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee. It will provide input concerning CSR’s policies and practices related to the receipt and referral of NIH grant applications to CSR review groups. CSRAC meetings are open to the public. Information about the council and its first meeting is found at:
NIH Expands National Clinical and Translational Research Consortium
NIH will provide $200 million over five years to five health research centers to speed scientific discoveries into treatments for patients. The grants were awarded as part of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program, which encourages collaborative teams of diverse investigators to tackle complex health and research challenges and then find ways to turn their discoveries into practical solutions for patients. The five new CTSA institutions are: Pennsylvania State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City; University of Kentucky, Lexington; and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Descriptions of the new CTSA awardees are found at:
With these most recent awards, NIH now funds 60 CTSA institutions.
NIH Loan Repayment Programs
NIH has announced the continuation of educational loan repayment through its extramural Loan Repayment Programs (LRP). The LRPs encourage promising researchers and scientists to pursue careers in biomedical, behavioral, social and clinical research by repaying up to $35,000 of their qualified student loan debt each year. Loan repayment benefits are in addition to the institutional salary received by recipients for their research. Applications will be accepted from September 1 - November 15 at:
Specific program objectives and eligibility criteria are contained in each of the five LRP notices:
--Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Research (LRP-CR)
--Extramural Pediatric Research Loan Repayment Program (LRP-PR)
--Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research (LRP-HDR)
--Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Contraception and Infertility Researchers (LRP-CIR)
--Extramural Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (LRP-IDB)
NIH Researchers Create Comprehensive Collection of Approved Drugs to Identify New Therapies for Rare and Neglected Diseases
Researchers have begun screening the first definitive collection of thousands of approved drugs for clinical use against rare and neglected diseases. They are hunting for additional uses of the drugs, hoping to find off-label therapies for some of the 6,000 rare diseases that afflict 25 million Americans. The effort is coordinated by the NIH's Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC).
The publicly available, Web-based application was described in a paper appearing in the April 27 issue of Science Translational Medicine. It provides complete information on the nearly 27,000 active pharmaceutical ingredients, including 2,750 small molecule drugs that have been approved by regulatory agencies from the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, as well as all compounds that have been registered for human clinical trials. See the NCGC Pharmaceutical Collection:
NIH K-12 Lab Challenge
The NIH Science Education Resource Group has launched a public competition that seeks to bring hands-on science into classrooms nationwide. The NIH K-12 Lessons About Bioscience (LAB) Challenge asks teachers, students, parents, scientists, and science enthusiasts to submit their favorite experiments for elementary, middle, and/or high school students. The best experiments will become part of an official collection that NIH will distribute for free in print and electronically.
Experiments form the basis of scientific inquiry but are not used often enough in the classroom because of expense, complexity, or time issues. The NIH K-12 LAB Challenge seeks to address this problem by identifying experiments that are engaging and inexpensive to do. The challenge runs until December 1, 2011 and is open to any resident of the U.S. or a U.S. territory. Details are found at:
Council of Public Representatives Selection Process Now Open
The NIH Director is seeking nominations to fill vacant appointments to the 2011 Council of Public Representatives (COPR). The COPR consists of 21 members of the public who have been chosen to provide input and feedback from the public's perspective on emerging health issues and research priorities as identified by the COPR and/or the NIH Director. They constitute a diverse group with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. Applications are due Friday, July 29 and are available online at:
The NIH will host a toll-free teleconference to present information on NIH and the NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives from the perspectives of the staff and current Council members. The date and time of the teleconference will be updated on the nomination webpage when available.
NIH seeks candidates who will provide the NIH with public-oriented viewpoints and perspectives, identify how the NIH might broaden its base of public input, provide a sounding board for major issues faced by the NIH, and increase public awareness of outreach activities.
New NIH Council of Council Members Named
NIH has announced the appointments of 20 individuals to the NIH Council of Councils. The council was established by the NIH Reform Act of 2006 to advise the NIH Director on cutting edge, trans-NIH priorities and matters related to policies and activities of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), also established by the act. The council is made up of 27 members selected from the NIH Institute and Center (IC) advisory councils and the Council of Public Representatives, an advisory committee to the NIH Office of the Director. See additional information about the appointments: