Fall 2021

NIDCR News
Q&A stock image

NIDCR issued a brief Q&A regarding details of the forthcoming report Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges, which will be published in Fall 2021. This comprehensive report will examine improvements in oral health over the past two decades, describe challenges and opportunities that affect oral health, and articulate a vision for the future, calling upon all Americans to take action. The report will provide key insights into the importance of oral health research and its impact on public health, including the importance of equitable delivery of oral health care.

NIDCR at IADR/AADOCR/CADR General Session
Dr. Lois Cohen

NIDCR leadership, program staff, investigators, and trainees were among the presenters and honorees at the 2021 virtual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR); American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR); and Canadian Association for Dental Research:

  • In a virtual interactive session with more than 100 participants, NIDCR Director Rena D’Souza, DDS, MS, PhD, provided an overview of NIDCR’s current programs and activities. She described her vision for achieving the institute’s mission to advance fundamental knowledge about dental, oral, and craniofacial health and disease and translate these findings into prevention, early detection, and treatment strategies that improve overall health for all individuals and communities across the lifespan. Recordings of this session and other NIDCR-related events can be viewed by registered meeting attendees on the IADR virtual platform. 
  • Lois Cohen, PhD, received the 2021 IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Global Oral Health Research for her contributions to the field of social and behavioral research in dentistry.
  • Rei Sekiguchi, DDS, PhD, and Ken Yamada, PhD, received The Journal of Dental Research Cover of the Year Award in recognition of their paper, "Single-Cell RNA-seq Identifies Cell Diversity in Embryonic Salivary Glands."
  • Former NIDCR director and current investigator at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, Martha Somerman, DDS, PhD, received the AADR Jack Hein Public Service Award, which honors service in promoting oral health research interests and activities to the public.
  • Clinical research fellow Joshua Emrick, DDS, PhD, won first place among more than 20 contestants in the AADR Hatton Competition for his presentation at the meeting.
  • Predoctoral fellow Jeremie Oliver, MS, received the Craniofacial Biology Group Award (Junior Category) for his presentation; Oliver works in the lab of Dr. D’Souza.
NASEM VIrtual Workshop

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will host a two-day virtual workshop titled “Understanding the Role of the Immune System in Improving Tissue Regeneration” on November 2-3, 2021. Co-organized by NIDCR, the free workshop will explore promising approaches to improve clinical outcomes of tissue repair and regeneration in patients. This workshop is part of NASEM’s Forum on Regenerative Medicine. Register here.

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NIH/HHS News
Lander, Collins Set Forth Vision for ARPA-H

In a commentary published in Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric S. Lander, PhD, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, and other leaders describe a vision for a new science entity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Proposed as a distinct division within NIH, ARPA-H would embrace a culture and strategies that encourage bold advances, aiming to accelerate biomedical innovation and adopt technologies and approaches to revolutionize health care and medicine. In one of a series of listening sessions convened by NIH and OSTP, NIH leadership, including NIDCR Director Dr. D'Souza, gave presentations and gathered feedback from stakeholders in several disease-related areas, including dental and craniofacial disorders.

Oral & Pharynx Cancer Death Rates Increase in Men

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, released in July by the National Cancer Institute and collaborating organizations, found that overall cancer death rates have continued to decline in men and women for all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. However, oral cavity and pharynx cancer death rates increased for men from 2014 to 2018. The overall cancer incidence rates continue to increase among females, children, and adolescents and young adults.

Student working at a desk

Nicotine vaping in American high school seniors declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to results from the annual Monitoring the Future survey of substance use behaviors among US adolescents. The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, suggested that a dip in the perceived supply of vaping devices, the rise of minimum age for vaping product purchases, and news reports on vaping-induced lung injuries may have contributed to the decline. Meanwhile, adolescent marijuana use and binge drinking did not significantly change during the same period.

Michael M. Gottesman, MD

After 28 years of service, Michael M. Gottesman, MD, will step down as the NIH deputy director of intramural research and will turn his focus to his work at NCI, where he is chief of the Laboratory of Cell Biology. During his leadership, Gottesman has coordinated activities and facilitated cooperation to improve research integrity, recruitment, and foster a diverse scientific workforce across NIH. Gottesman will remain in the position while NIH undertakes a nationwide search for his replacement.

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Science Advances
COVID-19 Sensor

In a preliminary study funded by NIDCR, researchers developed a hand-held device that rapidly and reliably detects SARS-CoV-2 in artificial saliva. The portable sensor could eventually be used for low-cost COVID-19 testing in a variety of locations, including dental and health care settings, schools, the travel industry, and at home.

In mice, corticospinal neurons mainly govern voluntary movements. But Liu discovered that a subset of the neurons (above) amplifies touch signals and plays a role in mechanical allodynia, where gentle touch is perceived as pain.

NIDCR Stadtman investigator Yuanyuan “Kevin” Liu, PhD, is decoding brain-spinal cord conversation to understand how the brain perceives touch and pain. His research revealed a brain area in mice that acts as a volume control for mechanical allodynia, a neuropathic pain condition where light touch is perceived as painful. The findings could have broader implications for other pain disorders and reveal potential treatment targets.

Artificial Buds

A video on NIDCR’s website shows a salivary gland growing into a mature organ and features NIDCR scientists as they describe how they achieved the first key step in creating an artificial salivary gland. The researchers are exploring ways to restore or replace damaged salivary glands to help patients who have lost salivary function from certain conditions, such as Sjögren's disease or radiation therapy for head and neck cancer.

Pediatric endocrinologist Alison Boyce, MD

Pediatric endocrinologist Alison Boyce, MD, is looking for better ways to treat and diagnose fibrous dysplasia/McCune Albright Syndrome (FD/MAS), a disorder of the bones, skin, and endocrine system. In a video, she emphasizes the importance of engaging the FD/MAS patient community to understand their hopes and needs, which can inform research efforts to tackle the condition.

New treatment to prevent scarring

Scientists supported by NIDCR and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences discovered how to reprogram certain mouse skin cells with a topical treatment to make them respond to injuries more like fetal skin cells, which patch up wounds without leaving a mark. The findings suggest it may one day be possible to allow wounds to heal without compromising the integrity of the skin. The findings also may have implications for other medical afflictions that involve scarring, such as liver and lung fibrosis, burns, scleroderma, and scarring of heart tissue after a heart attack.

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Funding Opportunities & Related Notices
Title Opportunity number Extramural Scientific Topics Release Date Expiration Date
RFA-DE-22-005
Craniofacial Skeletal Biology & Pathobiology
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-HL-22-014
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine
RFA-RM-21-025
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
PAR-21-280
Behavioral & Social Science
PAR-21-281
Behavioral & Social Science
PA-21-259
Parent Announcements & Trans-NIH Announcements
Small Business (SBIR/STTR)
PA-21-262
Parent Announcements & Trans-NIH Announcements
Small Business (SBIR/STTR)
PAR-21-253
Oral Microbiota and Bacterial Disease
PA-21-268
Behavioral & Social Science
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Career Development
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
Common Fund Programs
Conferences & Meetings
COVID-19
Craniofacial & Dental Development, Disorders
Craniofacial Skeletal Biology & Pathobiology
Dental Caries
Dental Materials & Biomaterials
Dissemination & Implementation Science
Epidemiology
Fluoride & Fluorosis
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
Global Health
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
International Research Activities
Mineralized Tissues & Mineralization
Mucosal Diseases
National Dental Practice-Based Research Network
Oral & Comprehensive Health
Oral Health Disparities & Inequities
Oral Immunology, Immunopathology & Immunotherapy
Oral Microbiology & Metagenomics
Oral Microbiota and Bacterial Disease
Oral Opportunistic Pathogens and Viral Disease
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
Orofacial Pain, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Neurobiology
Parent Announcements & Trans-NIH Announcements
Periodontal Diseases
Salivary Biology & Dysfunction
Small Business (SBIR/STTR)
Statistical Analysis & Data Science
Technology Development
Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine
Training & Fellowships
RFA-DE-22-003
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
RFA-DE-22-004
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
RFA-NS-21-029
Orofacial Pain, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Neurobiology
NOT-DE-21-011
Behavioral & Social Science
NOT-AT-21-012
Orofacial Pain, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Neurobiology
Technology Development
NOT-DE-21-009
Behavioral & Social Science
Oral Health Disparities & Inequities
NOT-OD-21-092
Behavioral & Social Science
Technology Development
NOT-OD-21-127
Mucosal Diseases
Oral Immunology, Immunopathology & Immunotherapy
Oral Microbiology & Metagenomics
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
NOT-OD-21-137
Epidemiology
Mucosal Diseases
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
NOT-AG-21-018
Parent Announcements & Trans-NIH Announcements
NOT-HD-21-027
Behavioral & Social Science
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
Dissemination & Implementation Science
NOT-DE-21-005
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
NOT-DE-21-006
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
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Last Reviewed on
August 2021