Fall 2015


NIDCR Forms Consortium to Reduce Childhood Oral Health Disparities


With the establishment of the Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Research Consortium to Reduce Oral Health Disparities in Children​, NIDCR will lead national research efforts in reducing childhood oral health disparities. On September 18, NIDCR awarded 10 research grants totaling more than $7 million in first-year funding. Grantees will apply holistic, population health, and other approaches at multiple levels of influence, such as families, neighborhoods, and health care systems. NIDCR Health Disparities Research Program Director Ruth Nowjack-Raymer, RDH, MPH, PhD, is the program official.

The institutions receiving awards are Boston University; Case Western Reserve University; University of California, San Francisco; University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Missouri, Kansas City; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and University of Washington, Seattle.

NIDCR Awards Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Grants

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Grants

NIDCR seeks to catalyze the preclinical and clinical development of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TE/RM) technologies for dental, oral, and craniofacial applications. In September, NIDCR awarded R34 planning grants (RFA-DE-15-005) totaling more than $2 million for projects that will help articulate a vision, roadmap, organizational structure, and operational procedures for establishing Resource Centers. These centers will provide technical support and research capacity for a future Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Tissue Regeneration Consortium (DOCTRC). The program official for DOCTRC is Nadya Lumelsky, PhD, director of the NIDCR Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Research Program.

The 10 institutions receiving grants are Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Mayo Clinic; Tufts University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Francisco; University of Michigan; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; University of Southern California; and University of Virginia.


September NIDCR Advisory Council Meeting Features FY 2017 Research Initiatives

council advisory group

On September 18, the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council convened on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and considered research initiatives for Fiscal Year 2017. Many initiatives proposed in previous years later became funding opportunities. The five research initiatives for FY 2017 are as follows:

  • Factors Underlying Differences in Female and Male Incidence Rates for Certain Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Diseases
  • Glycoprofiling HIV and HIV/AIDS-related Oral Pathogens that Persist During Antiretroviral Therapy
  • Tailoring Dental Treatment Guidelines for Patients with Genetic Disorders and Other Conditions Known to Impact Oral Health
  • Three-dimensional Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Tissue Models to Mimic Human Diseases
  • Wireless Biosensors in the Oral Cavity for Precise, Individualized Medical Care

International Experts Discuss HPV-Associated Oral Cancer


In July, NIDCR Director Martha Somerman, DDS, PhD, and NIDCR AIDS and Immunosuppression Program Director Isaac Rodriguez-Chavez, PhD, spoke at a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) international consultation that focused on the scientific gaps that exist for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer research. PAHO/WHO sponsored the meeting with support from NIDCR, the International Association for Dental Research, the American Dental Association, and the American Dental Association Foundation.

NIDCR Cosponsors Conference on Malignancies in AIDS in October


On October 26 and 27, the National Cancer Institute and NIDCR will present the 15th International Conference on Malignancies in AIDS and Other Acquired Immunodeficiencies. The conference will take place in the Lister Hill Auditorium on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Registration is free​.

NIDCR Accepting Applications for 2016–2017 Residency Program in Dental Public Health

two young women

Applications will be accepted until October 16, 2015, for NIDCR’s Residency Program in Dental Public Health. The 12-month program provides a formal training opportunity for dentists planning careers in dental public health, with an emphasis on oral and craniofacial health-related epidemiologic research. The Residency Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Program graduates receive a certificate of completion and may apply later for examination by the American Board of Dental Public Health for specialty certification.

Personnel Update

PhRMA Recognizes J. Silvio Gutkind, PhD, for Excellence in Cancer Research
On September 9, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) honored J. Silvio Gutkind, PhD, with the 2015 Research & Hope Award for Excellence in Academic Research. PhRMA is recognizing Dr. Gutkind’s discoveries of proteins, receptors, and molecular pathways that were the foundation for developing cancer treatments. The PhRMA Research & Hope Award “is a celebration of the science, achievements to date, the possibilities to come and the vital role played by members of the biomedical research ecosystem in addressing unmet medical needs and public health imperatives.” Until his recent retirement from NIH on August 31, 2015, Dr. Gutkind was chief of the Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch in NIDCR’s Division of Intramural Research. In September, he became professor in the Department of Pharmacology and associate director of basic science at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Karina Boehm, MPH, Becomes Director of NIDCR’s Office of Communications and Health Education
In August, Karina Boehm, MPH, was selected to be director of NIDCR’s Office of Communications and Health Education (OCHE). Before becoming acting communications director in 2013, she had been chief of OCHE’s Health Education Branch. Before joining NIDCR in 1999, she was the education coordinator for the Office of Policy and Communication at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

D. Jonathan Horsford, PhD, Becomes Acting Director of the Office of Science Policy and Analysis
In July, D. Jonathan Horsford, PhD, was named the acting director of the Office of Science Policy and Analysis (OSPA). Before joining OSPA as a science policy analyst, Dr. Horsford was a scientific review officer and then acting branch chief in NIDCR’s Scientific Review Branch in the Division of Extramural Activities. Before joining NIDCR in 2006, Dr. Horsford was a program director and analyst in the Neurogenetics Cluster at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Margo Adesanya, DDS, MPH, Becomes Science Policy and Planning Branch Chief
After two years as acting director of the Office of Science Policy and Analysis, Margo Adesanya, DDS, MPH, turned her full attention to her role as chief of OSPA’s Science Policy and Planning Branch, where she will continue to lead the Institute in strategic planning activities and focus on her interests in health disparities and public health. As acting director, Dr. Adesanya led the Institute in development of the 2014–2019 Strategic Plan, directed and facilitated development of fiscal year research initiatives, served as co-director of the NIDCR Residency Program in Dental Public Health, led the OSPA reorganization, and served as the Institute contact for delivering high-profile Agency-level reports about NIDCR accomplishments.

NIDCR Appoints Carol Loose as Budget Officer
In September, Carol Loose was appointed as the budget officer and chief of NIDCR’s Financial Management Branch. Ms. Loose joined NIDCR in 2001 and has been deputy budget officer since 2007. She served as NIDCR’s acting budget officer from April 2013 through January 2015.

Donald DeNucci, DDS, MS, Retires
In June, Donald Denucci, DDS, MS, retired after more than nine years as program director of the Dental Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs). Dr. Denucci demonstrated remarkable leadership in his time at NIDCR as he helped guide the regional networks and National Dental PBRN. Dena Fischer, DDS, MSD, MS, has replaced Dr. Denucci as the program director of the National Dental PBRN.

Yolanda Vallejo-Estrada, PhD, Becomes Director of NIDCR’s Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Program
In June, Yolanda Vallejo-Estrada, PhD, joined NIDCR as the director of the Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Program in the Division of Extramural Research. Previously, Dr. Vallejo-Estrada was a program director at the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities at the National Cancer Institute. Before that, she was a health program specialist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Vallejo-Estrada earned her PhD from the Department of Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Chicago.

Guo Zhang, PhD, MPH, Joins Scientific Review Branch
In June, Guo (Gary) Zhang, PhD, MPH, returned to NIDCR as a scientific review officer in the Scientific Review Branch. Previously, he was a lead scientific review officer at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. From 2000 to 2003, Dr. Zhang was a program officer overseeing the Chronic Diseases Program in NIDCR’s Extramural Programs in the Division of Basic and Translational Research. He received his MPH and PhD in nutrition and physiology from Beijing Medical University. Dr. Zhang completed postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and at the University of Rochester.

Praveen Arany, BDS, MDS, MMSc, PhD, Leaves NIDCR for University of Buffalo
In August, Praveen Arany, BDS, MDS, MMSc, PhD, became an assistant professor at the University of Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine after three years as an assistant clinical investigator in NIDCR’s Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch.

NIDCR Welcomes Two Dental Public Health Residents
Over the summer, two new residents—Dr. Steffany Chamut and Dr. Amrita Muherjee—joined NIDCR's Residency Program in Dental Public Health for the 2015–2016 year. Dr. Chamut, whose research interest is aging and oral health, received her DDS degree in 2006 from the dental school of Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. She completed post-graduate studies in advanced theoretical and clinical training in dental prosthetics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she also served as adjunct faculty at the Dental Laboratory Sciences program. She received her MPH at A.T. Still University.

Dr. Muherjee, who is interested in the impact of policies and practices on the oral health status of the underserved, finished her dental education and training in Kolkata, India in 2011. While in private practice in India, she worked for nonprofit organizations and conducted dental and medical camps. Dr. Mukherjee received her MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a concentration in epidemiology.

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NIH Preparing 5-Year Strategic Plan


In response to a request from Congress, NIH is developing a 5-year NIH-wide Strategic Plan to advance its mission of supporting biomedical research and applying that knowledge to promote health. The Strategic Plan will outline major trans-NIH themes and unifying principles to guide NIH in pursuit of its mission. The key areas of opportunity include promoting basic science, improving health promotion and disease prevention, and advancing treatments and cures.


NIH Selects Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, as Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Walter J. Koroshetz, MD

In June, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, announced the selection of Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, as the director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. Koroshetz has served as acting director of the NINDS since October 2014.


NIH Office of Extramural Research Director Sally J. Rockey, PhD, Departs NIH to Lead Foundation

Dr. Sally Rockey

In September, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally J. Rockey, PhD, left NIH to become director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, which is a nonprofit institution that fosters research and technology transfer through public-private collaborations.


NICHD Director Alan Guttmacher, MD, Retiring

Alan Guttmacher, MD

In September, Alan Guttmacher, MD, will retire as director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He has been with NICHD since 2010 and with NIH since 1999. Until a new director is selected, NICHD’s Deputy Director Catherine Spong, MD, will serve as acting director.


NIMH Director Thomas Insel, MD, Departing NIH

Dr. Thomas Insel

In September, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Thomas R. Insel, MD, announced that in November he is going to lead a new effort focused on mental health for the Google Life Sciences team at Alphabet. He has been with NIH since 2002. While NIH searches for a new NIMH Director, Bruce Cuthbert, PhD, will serve as acting director.


NIH Appoints William T. Riley, PhD, as Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

William T. Riley, PhD

In August, William T. Riley, PhD, was appointed as the new director of NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). Dr. Riley has served as acting director of OBSSR since May 2014.


NIH Precision Medicine Update

The Precision Medicine Initiative

Videos of recent public workshops regarding the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative are available on the NIH website. Three recent public workshops covered the following topics: cohorts and electronic health records (held May 28 and 29); participants and community engagement (held July 1 and 2); and mHealth (held July 27 and 28).

Concept Proposals Due October 16 for Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research

The Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research (CNIHR)—a partnership of the International AIDS Society, NIH, and the NIH-funded Centers for AIDS Research—is accepting concept proposals for research grants until October 16, 2015. Although principal investigators may be from any relevant discipline, their projects should address significant challenges such as preventing HIV transmission, improving long-term survival with HIV infection, and finding a cure. CNIHR offers this award program to attract early-stage investigators from outside the HIV research field. Since 2010, the CNIHR Program has awarded more than $16.1 million to fund 44 innovative research projects in the HIV field.

September Is Pain Awareness Month

The NIH Pain Consortium offers a calendar of events for Pain Awareness Month in September. Follow @NIHPainResearch on Twitter.

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Funding opportunities
Title Extramural Scientific Topics Opportunity number Application due date
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
Health Disparities
Dental Materials & Biomaterials
Technology Development
Dental Materials & Biomaterials
Technology Development
Career Development
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
Health Disparities
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
Health Disparities
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Last Reviewed on
February 2018