February 28, 2019


NIAMS Mourns the Loss of Institute Director Dr. Steve Katz

Dr. Steve Katz

The holiday season was a somber one for the NIAMS family. Many of us can still hear echoes of the joyful voice of our Institute Director, Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., as he sang at a December staff gathering shortly before his untimely passing. His death on December 20, 2018, left all of us numb. For many, Steve was the only Institute Director we ever knew.

NIH BACPAC RFA Deadlines Approaching

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Back Pain Research Consortium (BACPAC) is a new patient-centric translational research program that will support studies to dissect the components and mechanisms of chronic low back pain and integrate this information to identify, prioritize and test new therapies targeted to specific mechanisms. NIH BACPAC is part of the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM) Initiative. Several posted BACPAC requests for applications (RFA) have deadlines of March 20, 2019.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Funding Plan

The NIAMS is operating under the FY 2019 Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act. The interim funding plan for research and training grants represents the most current information as of February 13, 2019.

RFI for Regenerative Medicine Efforts Available

The NIH has issued a Request for Information (RFI) related to regenerative medicine research efforts. The public is invited to comment on in-depth cell characterization of human adult stem cell products that have been developed for clinical application. Comments are due by April 15, 2019.

What’s New on the Horizon for Scleroderma?

There may not be a cure yet, but many scleroderma experts are optimistic about ongoing research into new treatments. MedlinePlus Magazine explores the promise of stem cell transplants and other options.

What’s New in Fibromyalgia Research?


Researchers at the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the NIAMS are investigating how to improve treatment, diagnosis and pain management for fibromyalgia patients. Read summaries of a few of these NIH-supported studies and how scientists are working to improve patients’ lives today and in the future.

Genes Linked to Abnormal Bone Density and Fracture

Bone tissue with osteoporosis has more voids than healthy bone

An international research team led by Dr. Brent Richards at McGill University analyzed hundreds of thousands of people’s genomes. The study was supported in part by the NIAMS. Results were published on December 31, 2018, in Nature Genetics.

“Exercise Hormone” Tied to Bone-Strengthening Benefits

an exerciser group

In this NIH Director’s Blog post, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., features an NIH-funded study shedding light on the mechanism behind exercise’s bone-strengthening benefits. The new work—which may lead to new approaches for treating osteoporosis, a disease that increases the risk of bone fracture—centers on a hormone called irisin that is secreted by muscles during exercise.


Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Bone Formation in Rat Spine

protein WISP-1 cell

Researchers supported by the NIAMS have found a way to manipulate the protein WISP-1 to induce stem cells to become bone tissue, rather than fat. If harnessed in humans, this process could help fractures heal faster and possibly reduce bone loss due to aging, injuries and disorders such as osteoporosis.

Photo credit: Aaron W. James, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Medicine


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.


February NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting Available on Videocast

A video recording of the February 5 NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting is available. The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held June 5, 2019.

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 Lecture:

April 3, 2019
Julie Segre, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Microbiome: Friend and 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 video icon.

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