March 29, 2018


Letter From Dr. Stephen I. Katz: Communicating Science to the Public: Context and Curiosity

Dear Colleagues,

We all share our research progress each day, whether through peer-reviewed journal articles, lectures, tweets or dinner table chats. In our interactions, it is important that we use clear language to convey the exciting advances we are achieving in arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases.

Read more.

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


Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Funding Plan

The NIAMS is operating under the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The funding plan for research and training grants represents the most current information as of March 26, 2018; however, many factors occurring throughout the fiscal year can affect the operating policies, and thus they are subject to change.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Program To Accelerate Therapies for Arthritis, Lupus Releases First Datasets

Datasets characterizing individual cells in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus disease tissue from the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (AMP RA/SLE) Phase I study are now available to the research community. Scientists from across the biomedical research community can access the AMP RA/SLE datasets to explore important research questions about these autoimmune conditions.



The Role of the Microbiota in Eczema: Findings Suggest That Striking the Right Balance Keeps the Disease at Bay

Two new studies focus specifically on the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus as playing a role in driving the skin disorder eczema. The studies—one from the NIAMS and the other from the University of California, San Diego, with NIAMS support—appeared in Science Translational Medicine.

NIH Pilot Project Will Match Researchers to Genes, Gene Variants of Interest

NIAMS Clinical Director Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., and other NIH Intramural scientists have developed a pilot program called The Genomic Ascertainment Cohort to help investigators study the phenotypic consequences of genetic variants.

NIH Common Fund’s Genome Editing Research Program Funding Opportunities

Many common and rare diseases are caused by changes to the genetic code. Genome editing technologies present an exciting prospect for treatments and possibly even cures for these diseases. The NIH launched the Genome Editing Research Program to foster research collaboration and the acceleration of genome editing tools and techniques. The first six funding announcements are accepting applications until April 3, 2018.

Image: Illustration depicting genome editing.

Photo credit: vchal/

Preclinical Collaboration Enables Gene Therapy for Rare Muscle Disease To Advance to Clinical Trial

Research at Duke University in mouse models of Pompe disease, funded by the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), has advanced the science to the point of readiness for clinical trials in humans. The NIAMS will fund the clinical studies, which will begin this fall with Dwight Koeberl, M.D., Ph.D., at Duke as the principal investigator.

Image: The gene therapy approach for Pompe disease, a deadly, inherited muscle disorder caused by a faulty gene.

Photo credit: Laura Hughes, Duke University.

NIAID, NHGRI, NIAMS, NCI, NIDDK: Microbes on the Skin of Mice Promote Tissue Healing, Immunity

Beneficial bacteria on the skin of lab mice work with the animals’ immune systems to defend against disease-causing microbes and accelerate wound healing. Untangling similar mechanisms in humans may improve approaches to managing skin wounds and treating other damaged tissues. (On the webpage, scroll down to the 6th story.)

Image: Immunofluorescent image of immune cells surrounding a skin wound, enriched in the beneficial bacteria S. epidermidis.

Photo credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).


Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Restoration of Dystrophin in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Cells With Gene Editing

This image shows the restoration of dystrophin (stained green) in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) muscle cells derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells. DMD is caused by mutations in the DMD gene that affect the production of dystrophin, a protein involved in muscle cell membrane structure. Researchers used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology to correct a mutation, resulting in dystrophin restoration. This technology could be therapeutic in up to 60 percent of DMD patient mutations. Nuclei in the muscle cells are stained blue and the contractile protein myosin is stained red.

Photo credit: Courtney Young, M.S., Melissa Spencer Lab, University of California, Los Angeles.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Care Considerations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently updated a webpage about clinical care considerations for DMD. The updated care considerations come from a set of three articles published in Lancet Neurology, which are posted as PDF files. The information-rich webpage has links to other resources as well—including several from nonprofit organizations.

Photo credit: CDC.

Beyond Pain Relief: Total Knee Replacement Surgery

NIAMS-supported research on total knee replacement surgery is spotlighted in the current issue of the NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. NIAMS grantees Joshua Jacobs, M.D., of Rush University Medical Center, and Elena Losina, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, comment respectively on research to improve knee implant technology and physical activity to improve total knee replacement outcomes.



All of Us Research Program Scientific Priorities Workshop Videocast Availability

On March 21–22, the All of Us Research Program held a workshop to identify key research priorities and requirements for future versions of the All of Us protocol. The workshop’s plenary sessions videocasts (Day 1 and Day 2) are available. Results of the workshop will be available on the All of Us Research Program website.


We invite you to subscribe to the NIAMS Community Outreach Bulletin, which is an online digest designed to inform community advocates and health professionals about resources for diverse audiences on conditions of the bones, joints, muscles and skin and ways to stay healthy. The NIAMS also publishes the Honoring Health: Resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives e-newsletter, which is distributed three times per year and highlights a different health topic for each issue, along with helpful resources for community members and health professionals.


June NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting

The NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held June 12, 2018, in Building 31, 6th Floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus. A meeting agenda will be posted as soon as it is available. The Council meeting will be available for live viewing via the NIH videocasting service as well. You can now view the February Council meeting here.

13th Annual NIH Pain Consortium Symposium on Advances in Pain Research

May 31–June 1, 2018
Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland
The event will be videocast.

NIH 2018 Rare Disease Day Video Available

Each year, the NIH joins other members of the medical research community around the world to help raise awareness about rare diseases. This year’s event took place on March 1. You can watch a video of the event here.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series

The NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3:00 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:

April 11, 2018
G. Burroughs Mider Lecture
Sriram Subramaniam, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute (NCI)
The Cryo-EM Revolution
April 25, 2018
Rolla E. Dyer Lecture
Katherine A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School
Sensing From Within: How the Immune System Discriminates Friend From Foe

NIH Science Lectures and Events Available via Internet

The NIH hosts a number of science seminars and events that are available online through real-time streaming video (videocast). The NIH calendar notes these videocast events with a video icon .

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