News from NIDCR (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIH)

8th Edition: July 28, 2004

In This Issue:

1) Funding Opportunities
2) NIDCR News
3) DHHS/NIH News
4) Science Advances
5) Meetings and Conferences
6) Personnel News  


Program Announcements

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (RO1)

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (RO3)

Requests for Applications

Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)
The National Center for Research Resources at NIH invites applications for Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence from investigators at biomedical research institutions that award doctoral degrees in the health sciences or sciences related to health or at independent biomedical research institutes within Institutional Development Award (IdeA)-eligible states.   The purpose of the IdeA program is to foster health-related research and increase the competitiveness of investigators at institutions located in states with historically low aggregate success rates for grant awards from the NIH.   Collaboration with other non-doctoral-degree-granting and research-performing institutes or institutions is encouraged.   However, funds for research activities cannot be used at collaborative institutions in non-IdeA states.   Applications must have a thematic scientific focus in a specific research area such as oral microbiology, immunology, or infectious diseases, and may use basic, clinical, or both research approaches to attain the goals of the proposed center.  

Applications are encouraged from dental schools in IdeA states.   For purposes of this RFA, dental school components of institutions will be treated as separate eligible entities and will be allowed to submit applications in addition to the parent institution.

NIH Roadmap Initiatives

Nanomedicine Center Concept Development Award


NIH Policy on Sharing of Model Organisms for Biomedical Research (NOT-OD-04-042)

Clarification of Request for Applications RFA-DE-05-007

Recently Cleared Concepts:

The following concept clearance was approved at the May 2004 meeting of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council.   Concepts represent early planning stages for initiatives in which NIDCR seeks to support research in an understudied and significant area of science.

Metagenomics Analyses of the Oral Microbiome


NIDCR Director Speaks at Capitol Hill Briefing on Oral Health Disparities

Congressional staff and dental advocates packed a Capitol Hill meeting room on June 4 when a panel of experts that included NIDCR Director Lawrence Tabak discussed research-based findings on disparities in oral health.   The briefing focused on racial and ethnic disparities in oral health within the U.S. population.   Reps. John Linder (R-GA), Charlie Norwood (R-GA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Donna Christian-Christensen (D-VI), Hilda Solis (D-CA), and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH) sponsored the briefing.   In addition to Dr. Tabak, the speakers included Dr. Burton L. Edelstein, founding director of the Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP); Dr. Richard Haught, president-elect of the American Dental Association; Dr. Raul Garcia, representing the Hispanic Dental Association and director of an NIDCR disparities research center; Dr. Marcia Irving-Ray, board member, National Dental Association; and Dr. Frank Catalanotto of the American Dental Education Association.   The presentations and additional information about the briefing are available on the CDHP web site.

NIDCR Participates in NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Initiative Workgroup

Dr. John Kusiak, director of the molecular and cellular neurobiology program in the Division of Basic and Translational Sciences, is representing the NIDCR on the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Initiative Work Group.   The workgroup is formulating a blueprint to coordinate large-scale neuroscience resources and tools among the neuroscience-related institutes at NIH to accelerate research.   The three themes of common interest to the institutes are 1) neural development, 2) neurodegeneration and repair, and 3) neuroplasticity.   A meeting of the workgroup together with institute-nominated outside consultants is scheduled for early August on the NIH campus to prioritize the resources and tools, identify gaps and new opportunities, and further define the blueprint.    NIDCR participation in this initiative underscores the Institute's commitment to accelerating the pace of neuroscience research.      

Three NIDCR Grantees Receive Merit Awards

The National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council approved NIH Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) awards for three NIDCR grantees.   These prestigious awards provide an opportunity for NIDCR to extend grants for an additional three to five years beyond the support that was originally approved without requiring the submission of a traditional competing renewal application.   The selection of the MERIT award recipients was based on their exceptional records of scientific achievement, their leading roles as mentors, and their many contributions to the NIDCR and dental-craniofacial biomedical communities.   The awardees are:

*Dr. Jeffrey Murray-- "Molecular Genetic Epidemiology of Cleft Lip and Palate."   The award recognizes his outstanding scientific achievements, his sustained productivity and leadership in the area of genetic and environmental contributions to cleft lip and palate.

*Dr. David Sidransky--"Molecular Progression Model for HNSCC."   The award recognizes Dr. Sidransky's outstanding research record and scientific achievements in the field of molecular pathogenesis of head and neck cancers.

*Dr. David Mooney--"Polymeric Matrices With Defined Cell Adhesion."   The award recognizes Dr. Mooney's outstanding contributions to the development of novel biomaterials for the regeneration of dental and craniofacial bony tissues, his productivity, and prominent role as a teacher and mentor.   


HHS Issues Final Guidelines on Conflict of Interest

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued final guidelines to institutions dealing with financial conflicts of interest that may affect human subjects research.   These final guidelines evolved from an initial document published one year ago.  

HHS Extends Use of Rapid Oral HIV Test to New Sites Nationwide

HHS has extended the availability of a recently approved rapid oral HIV test from the current 38,000 laboratories permitted to perform the test to more than 100,000 sites, including physician offices, HIV counseling centers and community health centers.   In addition, the Department is funding a $4.8 million effort to add the rapid test to HHS-funded programs aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS among injection drug users.   The Food and Drug Administration approved the OraQuick â ADVANCE Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test, manufactured by OraSure Technologies, Inc., of Bethlehem, PA, in March 2004.     

NIH to Establish a Stem Cell Bank

On July 14, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson announced in a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) that NIH will establish a National Embryonic Stem Cell Bank to provide a readily available source of human embryonic stem cells to scientists.   The stem cell bank will gather in one location many of the stem cell lines eligible for funding, Thompson revealed.   In addition, NIH will create Centers of Excellence in Translational Stem Cell Research with the goal of exploiting new discoveries in basic embryonic and stem cell biology.   Funded through $18 million in grants over four years, the centers will consolidate stem cell and disease experts to explore ways stem cells may be used to treat a wide range of illnesses.   NIH hopes to fast track the creation of the centers in this calendar year.   See additional information about stem cell research

NIH Roadmap: Regional Translational Research Centers Initiative

One of the proposed NIH Roadmap initiatives is the establishment of Regional Translational Research Centers. The Centers will increase interactions between basic and clinical scientists and accelerate the translational development of new drugs, biomarkers, and treatment strategies from the laboratory bench to clinical testing.   New centers will provide essential core infrastructure and support, including specialized cores that provide expertise in biostatistics, clinical pharmacology, pharmacogenetics, and genetics.   The Regional Translational Research Centers Working Group has posted an interim report outlining the implementation of regional centers (PDF, 0.3KB) that would provide NIH-funded investigators with the resources needed for state-of-the art, safe, and cost-effective translational research.

New Photo Exhibit and Video Available on Peer Review at NIH

To show investigators who have never served as reviewers what actually happens at a study section meeting, the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) at NIH produced an exhibit entitled " Images of Peer Review."   The photos show reviewers in action, studying and debating the applications.   The exhibit is available on the CSR web site by clicking on the "Images of Peer Review" link under the What's New section.

CSR also has produced a video of a mock study section meeting to provide an inside look at how NIH grant applications are reviewed for scientific and technical merit.   The video shows how outside experts assess applications and how review meetings are conducted to ensure fairness.   The video also includes information on what applicants can do to improve the chances their applications will receive a positive review.   To view the video, please go to:  A list of useful web site links to information about the NIH grants program and the peer review process also is available at the above link.

NIH Launches Expanded Health Information Web Site

NIH has launched a newly expanded health information web site to provide users of all backgrounds and interests with more information, more feature sections, and more useful tools.   Visitors can still access the popular A to Z listing of health topics, browse topics by body location/systems, or use the main Search box.   The web site now includes three new feature sections.   Healthy Lifestyles highlights links to topics such as seasonal health concerns, nutrition and weight loss.   Research In Action links users to cutting-edge scientific information on topics such as stem cells and genetics.   Now Online emphasizes interactive features and web exhibits.    Educators, clinicians, and researchers may find the site a valuable resource of tools and guidelines: NIH Pain Consortium Creates Web Site

The NIH Pain Consortium has created a web site featuring pain information currently available at NIH.   The consortium, a group made up of the many NIH Institutes and Centers with programs and activities addressing pain, was established to enhance pain research and promote collaborative efforts among pain programs.   The web site features pain-related health information, clinical trials, conference proceedings, funding opportunities, resources such as an interactive textbook on pain and symptom research, and news releases.    See the NIH Pain Consortium web site .


Scientists Discover Role of Bone Sialoprotein in Tumor Cell Invasion

Human Periodontal Ligament Stem Cells Isolated for the First Time

Oral Bacterium Linked to Preterm Births in Mice


BECON/BISTIC Symposium 2004: Biomedical Informatics for Clinical Decision Support: A Vision for the 21st Century

The NIH Bioengineering Consortium (BECON) and the Information Science and Technology Initiative Consortium (BISTIC) held a symposium on Biomedical Informatics for Clinical Decision Support: A Vision for the 21st Century, June 21-22 on the NIH campus.   The symposium focused on software tools and approaches needed to deliver biomedical information technologies to clinicians and patients at the time and place where decisions are made regarding risk, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.   It also provided a vision of the scientific future where healthcare information technologies will be fully deployed in the clinical workflow to improve efficiency and outcomes.   In addition to increasing communication among software and computer scientists, researchers, clinicians, and the device and drug industries, the symposium identified major challenges and opportunities that should be addressed by NIH policies and funding programs, including partnerships with the private sector.   See the videocast of the BECON/BISTIC symposium


*Dr. Kathy L. Hayes has been appointed NIDCR planning officer in the Office of Science Policy and Analysis (OSPA).    She brings 18 years of clinical care, public health, and program management and planning experience to the job.   Before joining the Institute, Dr. Hayes worked at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a senior program management officer in the Office of Rural Health Policy. She holds a B.S. in biology and D.M.D. from the University of Kentucky, and a M.H.S. in public health from The Johns Hopkins University.   In addition, she completed a two-year Advanced General Practice Residency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a Dental Public Health Residency at the NIDCR.   A captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, Dr. Hayes is a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Association of Hospital Dentists.

*Dr. Caswell Evans, director of the National Oral Health Initiative, left government service on June 30 to become associate dean for prevention and public health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry and director of the Oral Health Research Center, UIC School of Public Health.   Dr. Evans had been affiliated with the NIDCR for the past seven years, where he worked on the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health and the National Call to Action to Promote Oral Health.

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National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892-2190

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)   National Institutes of Health (NIH)