Summer 2022

NIDCR News
Oral Health in America Editors Issue Recommendations

Drawing on findings from the Oral Health in America report, NIDCR Director Rena D’Souza, DDS, PhD, and editors of the report have authored a series of perspective papers and accompanying editorials to propose strategies for addressing the nation’s oral health challenges. The papers offer recommendations focusing on changes needed in dental health care, education, research, and policy to adapt to a changing oral health landscape that includes an older and more diverse population.

Webinar Highlights NIDCR’s Research and Training Priorities

In a webinar on May 10 attended by nearly 400 participants, NIDCR Deputy Director Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, DDS, PhD; Division of Extramural Research Director Lillian Shum, PhD; and Division of Extramural Activities Director Lynn King, PhD, discussed NIDCR’s strategic priorities through the lens of the Oral Health in America report, providing an overview of the institute’s ongoing and upcoming research and training opportunities. A recording of this free online event is available on NIDCR's YouTube channel.

Dr. Rena D'Souza, NIDCR Director

Dr. D’Souza and Rebecca Baker, PhD, the director of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative, discussed NIDCR’s HEAL-related efforts to find new, non-addictive treatments for orofacial pain. Dr. D’Souza also discussed the role dentists can play in helping to combat opioid addiction, as well as the oral health consequences of overuse of opioids and other substances.

NIDCR Joins EDI to Kick off AANHPI Heritage Month

NIDCR joined NIH’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in kicking off 2022 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month in May with a virtual conversation with Asian American actor Utkarsh Ambdukar. Along with his mother, NIDCR researcher Indu Ambudkar, PhD, MSc, he discussed his experience growing up in a STEM-focused family and diversity in Hollywood. NIDCR Director Dr. D’Souza provided opening remarks for the event.

NIDCR Plans for 75th Anniversary in 2023
In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill establishing the National Institute of Dental Research. That name was amended in 1998 to include “Craniofacial” to better reflect the breadth of the institute’s research.

An NIDCR steering committee has begun discussing plans to commemorate the institute’s 75th anniversary. Under consideration are various scientific symposia and seminars, including a training and career development symposium featuring current and past trainees. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill establishing the National Institute of Dental Research. That name was amended in 1998 to include “Craniofacial” to better reflect the breadth of the institute’s research.

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NIH/HHS News
NIH Acting Director Testifies Before Congress

NIH Acting Director Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, PhD, and several NIH institute directors appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies on May 11 and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies on May 17 to discuss the fiscal year 2023 NIH budget request. The proposed budget will support science that helps tackle national health challenges, including health disparities, the rise of addiction, nutrition science, as well as operationalize the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health—a new agency to drive transformational, high-risk research.

NIAAA Launches the Healthcare Professional’s Resource on Alcohol

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism launched the Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol, which serves as a one-stop center for information and resources to help health care professionals provide evidence-based care for patients affected by alcohol problems. The resource provides the opportunity to earn free continuing medical education and continuing education credits.

NIH HEAL Initiative Releases 2022 Annual Report

From understanding the biological and socioeconomic factors underlying pain and opioid use disorder to implementing safe and effective therapies for the conditions, the HEAL initiative details its research progress in its recently released 2022 annual report. NIDCR participates in this initiative, which also highlights novel technologies for interventions, the need to address health inequities, and connecting with individuals and communities affected by pain and opioid misuse.

NIH’s All of Us Research Program Releases Nearly 100,000 Whole Genome Sequences

Nearly 100,000 highly diverse whole genome sequences, each providing information about almost all of an individual’s genetic makeup, are now available to researchers through NIH’s All of Us Research Program. About 50% of the data is from participants who identify with racial or ethnic groups that have historically been underrepresented in research. The data could enable researchers to address questions about health and disease and advance discoveries to reduce health disparities.

NIH Experts Pen Commentary on COVID-19 Herd Immunity

In a recent perspective published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, leaders from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases write that achieving classical herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2 may not be attainable. However, controlling COVID-19 without major disruptions to society is now achievable because of immunity via prior infection or vaccination, drugs and therapies for COVID-19, and diagnostic tests. Research to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine remains crucial.

Adam H. Russell named Acting Deputy Director of ARPA-H

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, JD, announced the formal establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and appointed Adam H. Russell, DPhil, as acting deputy director. Russell currently serves as the chief scientist at the University of Maryland’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security. He begins his new role in June as President Biden searches for an inaugural director.

Norman Sharpless, MD

Norman Sharpless, MD, stepped down in April as the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a position he held since 2017. During his leadership, Sharpless championed health equity by developing the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative and advocating for policies to support diversity in the cancer research workforce. NCI principal deputy director Douglas Lowy, MD, is serving as acting director until a permanent director is appointed by President Biden.

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Science Advances
Taste Nerve Reveals Coronavirus Entryways

A research team led by NIDCR researcher Eva Mezey, MD, PhD, found that the outer surfaces of axons—electrical signal-transmitting nerve cell fibers—are studded with protein “entry factors” used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to invade cells. The findings point to the possibility that the virus could infect taste-sensing nerves and may explain the taste loss that affects about 39% of those who have COVID-19.

Facial Pain Comes to Light

Using imaging techniques to visualize pain signals in facial nerves, NIDCR researchers Ashok Kulkarni, PhD, Kenneth Yamada, MD, PhD, and colleagues identified a protein called Cdk5 that enhances neurons’ responses to painful stimuli. Blocking the protein in mice blunted pain signaling, suggesting the results could inform the development of safer, more effective, non-opioid pain therapies.

The Gut’s Role in Oral Bone Health

Certain gut bacteria trigger an immune response that prompts loss of tooth-supporting bone in mice, akin to the type of bone loss that can result from periodontal disease, according to a recent NIDCR-funded study. The findings challenge previous notions that bone loss in the mouth is regulated solely by oral microbes and point to a role for gut microbes in oral health, suggesting treatments that modulate gut bacteria may support oral bone health.

Equalizing Access to Dental Care

Recent NIDCR-funded research found that expanding public coverage of dental care was linked to reduced racial and ethnic disparities in the use of dental services. However, despite lessened disparities, overall use of dental care remained low across racial and ethnic groups, indicating that insurance coverage is one of multiple factors that could improve access to care.

Your Mouth on a Chip

From a tooth-on-a-chip to a salivary gland chip and more, scientists are developing microchips that mimic parts of our mouths to better treat oral diseases. These NIDCR-supported studies are testing dental materials, repurposing drugs for salivary gland dysfunction in head and neck cancer patients, peering into the inner workings of the oral cavity, and opening doors to personalized medicine.

Vaping Alters Mouth Microbes

A recent study, funded in part by NIDCR, found that people who used electronic cigarettes—also called vaping—had unique oral microbial communities that more closely resembled those of smokers than of nonsmokers. These findings may signal an increased risk of gum disease for e-cigarettes users.

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Funding Opportunities & Related Notices
Title Opportunity number Extramural Scientific Topics Release Date Expiration Date
RFA-RM-22-022
Common Fund Programs
RFA-RM-22-023
Common Fund Programs
NOT-OD-22-106
Dental Caries
Epidemiology
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
Mucosal Diseases
Oral Health Disparities & Inequities
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
Orofacial Pain, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Neurobiology
Periodontal Diseases
Salivary Biology & Dysfunction
Women's Health
NOT-OD-22-107
Dental Caries
Epidemiology
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
Mucosal Diseases
Oral Health Disparities & Inequities
Oral, Oropharyngeal & Salivary Gland Cancers
Orofacial Pain, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Neurobiology
Periodontal Diseases
Salivary Biology & Dysfunction
Women's Health
NOT-DA-22-068
Oral Health Disparities & Inequities
RFA-NS-22-052
Orofacial Pain, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Neurobiology
PAR-22-151
Career Development
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
Training & Fellowships
PAR-22-152
Career Development
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
Training & Fellowships
PAR-22-153
Career Development
HIV/AIDS & Oral Health
Training & Fellowships
RFA-RM-22-024
Common Fund Programs
RFA-RM-22-018
Common Fund Programs
RFA-RM-22-014
Common Fund Programs
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
Technology Development
RFA-RM-22-015
Common Fund Programs
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-RM-22-016
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
Common Fund Programs
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-RM-22-017
Common Fund Programs
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-RM-22-019
Common Fund Programs
RFA-OD-22-009
Dissemination & Implementation Science
PAR-22-104
Global Health
RFA-RM-22-009
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Common Fund Programs
Craniofacial & Dental Development, Disorders
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-RM-22-010
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Common Fund Programs
Craniofacial & Dental Development, Disorders
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-RM-22-011
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Common Fund Programs
Craniofacial & Dental Development, Disorders
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-RM-22-012
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Common Fund Programs
Craniofacial & Dental Development, Disorders
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
RFA-RM-22-013
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Common Fund Programs
Craniofacial & Dental Development, Disorders
Gene Discovery, Genomics & Multi-Omics Analysis
NOT-DE-22-009
Dental Materials & Biomaterials
NOT-DE-22-010
Dental Materials & Biomaterials
NOT-DE-22-011
Dental Materials & Biomaterials
NOT-OD-22-140
Behavioral & Social Science
NOT-OD-22-123
Parent Announcements & Trans-NIH Announcements
NOT-OD-22-124
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
RFA-RM-22-020
Common Fund Programs
PAR-22-105
Dissemination & Implementation Science
PAR-22-106
Dissemination & Implementation Science
PAR-22-121
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
PAR-22-160
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Epidemiology
PAR-22-167
Parent Announcements & Trans-NIH Announcements
NOT-DE-22-008
Behavioral & Social Science
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Data Science
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
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
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
Periodontal Diseases
Salivary Biology & Dysfunction
Statistical Analysis & Data Science
Technology Development
Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine
Women's Health
NOT-HG-22-017
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
NOT-GM-22-005
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 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
Women's Health
NOT-DE-22-007
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
NOT-DE-22-001
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
NOT-RM-22-011
Common Fund Programs
NOT-DE-22-006
Career Development
Training & Fellowships
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Last Reviewed on
June 2022