December 20, 2012


Letter from Dr. Stephen I. Katz: NIAMS Develops Mobile Website

 Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues:

In an effort to meet the needs of those who derive much of their online information from mobile devices, the NIAMS has developed a mobile version of its website at We have employed what is known as “responsive design” to provide optimal viewing and easy navigation of health information across a wide range of mobile devices. Now visitors using smart phones or tablets can more easily view our content on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin with minimal resizing and scrolling. Mobile device users are increasingly accessing information, about health in particular, using a variety of electronic tools. We have seen the same trend among visitors to the NIAMS website. In June 2011, mobile devices accounted for 10 percent of traffic to the NIAMS website. By September 2012, that figure had risen to 24 percent.

Read more.

Image: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.


New Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Targets NIH-Discovered Protein

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new oral medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis that represents a new class of drugs for the disease. The drug, tofacitinib (Xeljanz), provides a new treatment option for adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to, or who are intolerant of, methotrexate, a standard therapy for the disease.

NIH Names Dr. Richard Nakamura Director of the Center for Scientific Review

NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the selection of Richard Nakamura, Ph.D., as the new director for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR). Dr. Nakamura has been serving as the acting director since September 2011. He leads the CSR’s 450 scientists and administrative staff, overseeing their efforts to manage 80,000 incoming NIH grant applications a year and review the majority of them in CSR peer review groups. The CSR holds 1,600 review meetings a year, involving about 18,000 reviewers from the scientific community.

Statement by NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins on the Future of Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction-Related Research at NIH

Two years ago, the NIH’s Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) issued a report recommending that the NIH move to establish a new institute focused on substance use, abuse and addiction-related research to optimize NIH research in these areas. Another option strongly considered by the SMRB was the functional integration of existing research resources, rather than creation of a new institute.

Deadline Approaching for Public Input on Evaluation of NIAMS Centers Programs

We would like to hear your forward-thinking ideas for our Evaluation of the NIAMS Centers Programs. More information can be found in a published Request for Information: Evaluation of NIAMS Centers Programs (NOT-AR-13-007). We also encourage you to submit your comments on the NIAMS website by January 15, 2013.

NIH Director Launches Blog, Expands Social Media Reach

To blog or not to blog? That was the question. On November 1, NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins decided it was “nobler in the mind” to launch the NIH Director’s Blog. “I’m starting this blog to highlight new discoveries in biology and medicine that I think are game changers, noteworthy or just plain cool,” he wrote in a welcome message. Subscribe to the NIH Director’s Blog.

Research Breakthrough Selectively Represses the Immune System: NIH-Funded Scientists Develop New Treatment To Combat Autoimmune Disease in Mouse Model

In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, researchers funded by the NIH have developed innovative technology to selectively inhibit the part of the immune system responsible for attacking myelin—the insulating material that encases nerve fibers and facilitates electrical communication between brain cells.

NIH BrIDGs Program Helps Overcome Research Roadblocks: Studies Launched To Advance Therapeutics Targeting Cancers, Spinal Cord Injury and a Rare Disease

Potential new treatments for a variety of cancers, spinal cord injury and a rare disease that can lead to kidney failure are targets of a program called Bridging Interventional Development Gaps (BrIDGs) that provides eligible scientists with no-cost access to NIH therapeutic development contractor resources.

Other Federal News

Hands with arthritis

HHS HealthBeat: Heading Off Arthritis

People can reduce their risk of the most common form of arthritis—and can reduce the risk that the condition will get worse if they have it. That form is osteoarthritis, where the cartilage at the ends of bones breaks down, so the bones can rub against each other.


NIH Research Matters

NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.

Gene Therapy for Salivary Gland Shows Promise

A mouse embryonic salivary gland. Credit: Melinda Larsen et al., Developmental Biology 255: 178-191, 2003. An experimental trial showed that gene therapy can be performed safely in the human salivary gland. The accomplishment may one day lead to treatments to help head and neck cancer survivors who battle with chronic dry mouth.



Technique Selectively Represses Immune System

yelin (green) encases and protects nerve fibers (brown). A new technique prevents the immune system from attacking myelin in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Credit: Dr David Furness, Wellcome Images. All rights reserved by Wellcome Images. Researchers devised a way to successfully treat symptoms resembling multiple sclerosis in a mouse model. With further development, the technique might be used to treat multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.



A Little Exercise Might Lengthen Life

Photo of women walking and talkingA little physical activity can go a long way toward extending your life, regardless of your weight, a new study found. People who walked briskly or did other activity at only half the recommended amount gained nearly 2 years in life expectancy compared to inactive people. Those who exercised even more gained up to 4.5 years of life.


NIH News in Health

Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by the NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by the NIH’s own scientists or by its grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

Don’t Just Sit There! Move for Your Health

Illustration of a woman wearing a pedometer and walking along a trail

Had an exhausting day? Think you deserve to kick back and relax? You might want to think again. If you’re like most people nationwide, you’ve spent more than half of your waking hours sitting or inactive for long stretches of time—at work, at school, in the car or watching TV or another type of screen. Maybe it’s time to try standing up instead of putting your feet up.



Save the Date: NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting

The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held February 5, 2013, in Building 31, 6th floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus.

NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series

The NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are continuing medical education certified, open to the public and available live via webcast.

Upcoming lectures:

January 9, 2013
Barry Freedman, Wake Forest University
“Genomic Factors Impacting Health in Peoples of African Descent”

January 16, 2013
Margaret McFall-Ngai, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Living in a Microbial World: Deciphering the Molecular Language of Partnership”

January 30, 2013
Eva Nogales, University of California at Berkeley
“Molecular Visualization of the Process of Gene Transcription Initiation in Eukaryotes: A cryoEM Perspective”

The NIAMS Exhibit

NIAMS Exhibit Schedule

The NIAMS exhibit is traveling to several events. See the schedule of health fairs and exhibits.

Image: The NIAMS Exhibit


NIH Common Fund Initiative Announcements

Enhancing GTEx With Molecular Analyses of Stored Biospecimens (U01)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: February 28, 2013
Application Receipt Date: March 28, 2013

Coordinating Center for an Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) (U01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: January 2, 2013
Application Receipt Date: February 1, 2013

Evaluation of Multi-omic Data in Understanding the Human Microbiomes Role in Health and Disease (U54)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: January 8, 2013
Application Receipt Date: February 8, 2013

Diffusion of Medical Technology and Effects on Outcomes and Expenditures (U01)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: January 28, 2013
Application Receipt Date: February 28, 2013

Determinants and Consequences of Personalized Health Care and Prevention (U01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: January 28, 2013
Application Receipt Date: February 28, 2013

Other Funding Announcements

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Funding Announcement [PDF - 780 KB]

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) released a funding announcementto support research that addresses methodological gaps in patient-centered outcomes research. PCORI plans to award $12 million under this funding announcement for up to 14 contracts for studies that will address knowledge gaps and advance the field of comparative clinical effectiveness research. This PCORI Funding Announcement corresponds to PCORI’s fifth priority area, “Accelerating Patient-Centered and Methodological Research,” from its National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda.

Download application materials for this opportunity.

A January-February webinar about this opportunity will be announced on the webinar page of the PCORI website.

Letters of Intent Receipt Date: January 15, 2013
Application Receipt Date: March 13, 2013
Awards Announced: May/June 2013
Earliest Start Date: June 2013

Administrative Supplements for Research on Sex/Gender Differences (Admin Supp)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Date: January 11, 2013

Opportunities for Collaborative Research at the NIH Clinical Center (U01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: 30 days before application receipt date
Application Receipt Dates: March 20, 2013; March 20, 2014; and March 20, 2015

Annual Reports to OLAW Due January 31, 2013

Upcoming Changes to Public Access Policy Reporting Requirements and Related NIH Efforts To Enhance Compliance

Advance Notice: Revised Policy for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Initial Peer Review of NIH Grant and Cooperative Agreement Applications

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.
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