In this Issue: 1. NIDCR News 2. HHS/NIH News 3. Science Advances 4. Funding Opportunity News 5. NIDCR Personnel News
The NIDCR is delighted to welcome Martha J. Somerman, D.D.S., Ph.D., as the eighth Director of the Institute. Dr. Somerman began her duties as NIDCR Director on August 29, 2011. She was officially sworn in by NIH Director Francis S. Collins at noon on August 31st. Dr. Somerman comes to the NIDCR from the University of Washington School of Dentistry, Seattle, where she served as dean since 2002. After having been on the job for one month now, Dr. Somerman said she is thoroughly enjoying her new challenge as NIDCR Director. She describes the NIDCR as "a very vibrant and exciting place with incredibly committed, knowledgeable and energized staff." On September 19, Dr. Somerman led her first meeting of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council. Read her Director's Report to Council: http://go.usa.gov/8pT
Dr. Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, will present the 2011 David E. Barmes Global Health Lecture on Tuesday, December 13 at 11:00 a.m. in Masur Auditorium (Bldg. 10) on the NIH campus.
Ambassador Goosby has over 25 years of experience with HIV/AIDS, ranging from his early years treating patients at San Francisco General Hospital when AIDS first emerged, to engagement at the highest level of policy leadership. As the leader of all U.S. government international HIV/AIDS efforts, he oversees implementation of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in addition to government participation with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Together with the heads of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he also serves on the operations committee that leads the U.S. Global Health Initiative.
Jointly sponsored by NIDCR and the Fogarty International Center, the annual lecture series honors the late David E. Barmes, a longstanding World Health Organization employee, special expert for international health at NIDCR, and ardent spokesman for global health.
HHS has issued an updated Final Rule on conflict of interest that provides a framework for identifying, managing, and ultimately avoiding investigators' financial conflicts of interest. NIH staff worked with HHS to revise the 1995 regulations to update and enhance the objectivity and integrity of the research process. The Final Rule was published August 25, 2011 in the Federal Register.
The revised regulations:
--Require investigators to disclose to their institutions all of their significant financial interests (SFI) related to their institutional responsibilities. --Lower the monetary threshold at which significant financial interests require disclosure, generally from $10,000 to $5,000. --Require institutions to report to the Public Health Service awarding component additional information on identified financial conflicts of interest and how they are being managed. --Require institutions to make certain information accessible to the public concerning identified SFIs held by senior/key personnel. --Require investigators to complete training related to the regulations and their institution's financial conflict of interest policy.
Additional details about the major changes to the regulations can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/FCOI_Final_Rule_inspection_Desk.pdf Also see the Financial Conflict of Interest website: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/
Black applicants from 2000-2006 were 10 percentage points less likely than white applicants to be awarded research project grants from the NIH after controlling for factors that influence the likelihood of a grant award, according to an NIH-commissioned study in the journal Science. In an accompanying commentary, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S, Ph.D., call the findings unacceptable and commit to immediate action by the NIH.
The study is part of a larger effort by NIH to examine and improve the diversity (including race, ethnicity, gender, age, disabilities, and socioeconomic status) of its funded biomedical research workforce. Also of concern to NIH is the low number of applications for NIH R01 grants from non-white applicants. Of the 40,069 individual applicants included in the 2000 to 2006 study, 1.5 percent self-identified as black or African-American (598), 3.3 percent as Hispanic (1,319), 13.5 percent as Asian (5,402), 71 percent as white (28,456), and 11 percent as other/unknown. These figures are consistent with data showing that the number of underrepresented populations in the fields of science and medicine remains small.
NIH has developed and is implementing a framework for action to: increase the number of early career reviewers, including those from underrepresented populations; examine the grant review process for bias and develop interventions; improve support for grant applicants; and gather expert advice on additional action steps. Dr. Collins' statement about diversity is found at: http://www.nih.gov/about/director/08182011_statement_diversity.htm
The working group established by the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) to examine the future of the U.S. biomedical research workforce invites input from the extramural community to ensure a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of the issues involved. Comments are sought from students, postdoctoral fellows, scientists, scientific societies, and NIH grantee institutions, as well as from the general public, and should be submitted electronically by October 7, 2011 to: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfi_files/bmw/add.cfm Details about the request for input are available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-11-106.html
The working group, which will recommend actions to the ACD and the NIH Director, is charged with developing a model for a sustainable, diverse, and productive U.S. biomedical research workforce. The model will help inform decisions about how to train the optimal number of people for the appropriate types of positions that will advance science and promote health.
A new Medical Research Scholars Program for medical and dental students will begin in September 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland, NIH has announced. The year-long program will offer research experiences with intramural investigators from across NIH in basic science laboratories, and in clinical and translational research conducted at the NIH Clinical Center. The program is made possible through a partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health supported by a grant from Pfizer Inc and contributions from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Program applications will be accepted October 1, 2011 through mid-January 2012. About 40 students are expected to be admitted during the program's first year. The goal is to accept up to 70 students as the program grows. Support for selected students will include a stipend and resources for education enrichment, such as travel to scientific meetings. Additional details are found at: http://www.cc.nih.gov/training/mrsp/index.html
2012 NIH Director's Award Programs Now Accepting Applications Transformative Research Award Program NIH welcomes proposals for the NIH Director's Transformative Research Awards (R01). The awards provide support for individual scientists or collaborative investigative teams who propose exceptionally innovative, original, and/or unconventional research, which, if successful, would have a major impact in a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research. To be considered transformative, projects must have the potential to create or overturn fundamental scientific paradigms through the use of novel approaches, or lead to major improvements in health through the development of highly innovative therapies, diagnostic tools, or preventive strategies.
The NIH Common Fund intends to commit $25 million in FY 2012 for this initiative. Up to one-third of this budget will be reserved for projects exceeding $1 million dollars in direct costs per year. Letters of intent are due by December 12, 2011; applications are due by January 12, 2012: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-11-006.html Read more about the Transformative Research Award Program: http://commonfund.nih.gov/TRA/index.aspx Pioneer Award and New Innovator Award Programs NIH also welcomes proposals for the 2012 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards and New Innovator Awards, which support innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical or behavioral research. Pioneer Awards provide up to $2.5 million in direct costs over 5 years and are open to scientists at any career stage. New Innovator Awards provide up to $1.5 million in direct costs over 5 years and are designed specifically to support exceptionally creative new investigators at an early stage of their career when they may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant.
Applications for the 2012 NIH Director's Pioneer Award Program (DP1) are due by October 7, 2011: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-11-004.html See further details about the program: http://commonfund.nih.gov/pioneer/
Applications for the 2012 NIH Director's New Innovator Award Program (DP2) are due by October 14, 2011: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-11-005.html See more about this program: http://commonfund.nih.gov/newinnovator/
On September 20th, NIH announced the recipients of the 2011 Pioneer Awards, New Innovator Awards, and Transformative Research Project Awards. Read more about the 79 recipients: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2011/od-20.htm
Participants in NIH research with a strong history of mentoring are encouraged to apply for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Established by the White House in 1996, the PAESMEM program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is intended to identify outstanding individual and institutional mentoring efforts in all scientific fields. Awardees are selected based on their track record of enhancing participation and retention of individuals who might not otherwise have considered careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The PAESMEM is the highest national mentoring award.
Candidates can be nominated by a colleague, administrator, or a student. Self-nominations also are accepted. Individual and organizational nominees must have demonstrated outstanding and sustained mentoring for underrepresented and other students at the K-12, college, or graduate levels for periods of at least 5 years. Details about eligibility, the nomination process, review, and the nature of the award are available in the Program Solicitation: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11563/nsf11563.htm .
The NSF estimates that 16 new awards will be made in FY 2012. The application receipt date is October 5, 2011.
President Obama has announced that NIH will collaborate with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop a chip to screen for safe and effective drugs far more swiftly and efficiently than current methods, and before they are tested in humans. The chip will be loaded with specific cell types that reflect human biology and will be designed to allow multiple different readouts that can indicate whether a particular compound is likely to be safe or toxic for humans. This fall, NIH and DARPA, in coordination with the FDA, will solicit proposals from industry, government labs, academic institutions, and other research organizations on how best to develop the chip, bringing together the latest advances in engineering, biology, and toxicology to bear on this complex problem. NIH plans to commit up to $70 million to this effort over the next five years; DARPA will commit a comparable amount.
NIH has released best practices for scientists conducting mixed methods health research--research that combines the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative research. Despite the increased interest in mixed methods research in health fields and at NIH, prior to this report, there was limited guidance to help scientists developing applications for NIH funding that featured mixed methods designs, nor was there guidance for the reviewers at NIH who assess the quality of these applications. Additional information about Best Practices for Mixed Methods Research in the Health Sciences is found at: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/scientific_areas/methodology/mixed_methods_research/index.aspx
The 2nd International Human Microbiome Congress will take place March 19-21, 2012 in Paris, France. The congress is an international event organized by MetaHIT that is cosponsored by the Human Microbiome Project, of which NIDCR is a member. Topics to be discussed at this year's meeting include lessons learned from early studies in the human microbiome, microbiome composition of the healthy human, clinical and functional studies of the human microbiome, computational methods for microbiome research, and the future of microbiome research. To learn more, visit the meeting website at: http://www.metahit.eu/index.php?id=paris-2012
Researchers are making progress solving the 3-D structure of a key protein in T. denticola.
NIDCR grantees just made anaerobic bacteria a whole lot greener and easier to see in the laboratory.
Scientists report initial success using microparticles to resolve chronic inflammation.
NIH Roadmap Initiatives
Alicia Dombroski 301-594-4805
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