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October 5, 2010 - NIDCR Completes Its Commitment of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds

For Immediate Release
October 5, 2010

Contact: Bob Kuska
(301) 594-7560

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The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today it has completed its commitment of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.  The institute’s two-year Recovery Act funding totaled $101.8 million and provided support for:

  • 141 new or competing two-year research and research training grants;
  • 128 administrative supplements to scientists with active NIDCR grants; and
  • Research projects in 33 states throughout the country.

In FY 2009, NIDCR committed $98.8 million, or 97.8 percent of its Recovery Act funds to bolster the nation’s science and economy.  In FY2010, the institute issued about $3 million, primarily to support smaller research grants at institutions or areas of the country that historically have not been major recipients of NIH funding.  The institute’s final Recovery Act grant was awarded on September 27, 2010.

Dental, oral and craniofacial research also benefited from $10.8 million provided by NIH Recovery Act central funds to support or co-fund 29 NIDCR-issued awards.

 “Biologists have been laying the scientific foundation for personalized dentistry and medicine,” said Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., NIDCR acting director.  “The Recovery Act funds not only have helped to push the science forward, they have enabled laboratories across the country to hire new staff and bolster their local economies.”

Dr. Garcia said the ARRA funds have allowed NIDCR to make strategic investments in virtually all areas of dental, oral, and craniofacial research.  Some of the institute’s signature investments include:

Oral Cancer:  About 7,500 Americans will die this year from oral and pharyngeal cancers.  The challenge is to detect these conditions earlier when they are most amenable to treatment.  Recovery Act funds were instrumental in establishing the Oral Cancer Genome Project, a collaborative research effort that has great potential to identify the early genetic changes that drive tumor development.  The project will do so by first comprehensively defining the genetic changes that occur in oral squamous cell carcinoma, the most common oral cancer, thus facilitating follow-on studies to validate the best leads as warning signs of a developing tumor.  Another Recovery Act grant will allow a research team to further develop a programmable nano-biochip for rapid detection of premalignant and malignant oral cancers.

Sjögren’s Syndrome:  This chronic autoimmune disorder affects an estimated five million Americans.  The exact number is difficult to determine, in part because Sjögren’s Syndrome is a complex diagnosis.   With its Recovery Act funding, NIDCR is supporting a multi-stage project to better define the genetic components of these conditions.  Several new projects will study the molecular and cellular changes that underlie the onset and development of Sjögren’s Syndrome, seeking new ways to rescue damaged salivary glands.

Restorative Materials:  Millions of Americans this year will have fillings placed into a decayed tooth.  Although many fillings will last for decades, others will fail after a few years.  Recovery Act funds are helping to create more durable, longer-lasting dental restorative materials.  One study will attempt to develop a high-strength tooth-colored composite material with a self-healing capacity to extend the filling’s lifespan.  Two other grants will develop novel, nano-sized dental materials.  Because of their minute size and high bioactivity, these materials have great potential to improve the composition of dental restoratives and also to help remineralize early decay before a filling is needed.

Faculty Recruitment:  Tremendous opportunities now exist in oral and craniofacial research.  To ensure that they are fully pursued, NIDCR collaborates with schools of dentistry to help students and faculty explore careers in research.  Recovery Act monies have allowed seven dental schools each to hire two new faculty members and prepare them for a research career at their institutions.

Oral Health Behaviors:   A variety of behavioral, lifestyle and social factors affect oral health. Building on past research successes that link primary care physicians and specialty care, Recovery Act funds support the testing of effective ways for oral health providers to link patients with specialty substance abuse care.  Three grants are testing methods to screen for substance use in general dental clinics, equipping providers to give brief advice about quitting, and making appropriate referrals for treatment.  Two of these grants target adult patients, and one focuses on adolescent patients.  Two other grants are testing methods to use electronic medical records to facilitate better screening, brief interventions, and referral to substance abuse treatment in dental offices. Another grant evaluates methods to connect oral health services and state tobacco quitlines, or toll-free telephone cessation services.

The NIDCR committed its Recovery Act funds in the following categories:  Payline extensions to support additional grant applications (31.5 percent), NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research (23.2 percent), NIH Research and Research Infrastructure Grand Opportunities (12.3 percent), administrative supplements (12.4 percent), faculty recruitment (10.3 percent), and competing revisions to active NIDCR grants (8.7 percent).  Other smaller areas of investment include research management and support (0.9 percent), NIDCR intramural research (0.5 percent), small business innovation research (0.4 percent), and training (0.1 percent).

“The NIDCR balanced two primary objectives in committing the Recovery Act funds,” said Pamela McInnes, D.D.S., M.Sc. (Dent.), director of NIDCR’s Division of Extramural Research.  “The first objective was to invest the money wisely to move the science forward, while simultaneously pursuing the intent of the Recovery Act to stimulate the economy.  The institute took both objectives very seriously.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law February 17, 2009 to help stem the current economic crisis.  It aims to create and save millions of jobs, advance American innovation, and lay a stronger economic foundation to grow the economy in the 21st century. 

The Recovery Act made $10.4 billion available to NIH through September 2010 to expand public support for the most promising research ideas, construct and improve laboratory facilities, and purchase needed scientific equipment to enable the work. 

Of the $10.4 billion, NIH has transferred $7.4 billion directly to its 27 institutes and centers and the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting research programs that involve multiple institutes. Based on its percentage of the total annual NIH budget appropriation, NIDCR received a two-year allocation of $101.819 million. 

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is the Nation’s leading funder of research on oral, dental, and craniofacial health.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The Nation’s Medical Research Agency – includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases.  For more information about NIH and its programs, visit


The activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit To track all federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014