August 1, 2013

A compilation of news from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Published three times a year. Just scan these "shorttakes" for information on what’s happening at the NIAMS, or access the complete articles for viewing or use in your own newsletter or other publication.

From the Director . . .

Since 2010, NIAMS’ current Long-Range Plan has been informing the Institute’s priority setting process and enabling the Institute to adapt to the rapidly changing landscapes in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Originally intended to be a 5-year planning document, it is slated to expire at the end of the next fiscal year (FY). We have begun framing the process by which we will be updating this important document, and I’d like to share our next steps with you.

We will be discussing this activity with our Advisory Council during its September meeting and soliciting public comments via a Request for Information. This input will be combined with the numerous scientific opportunities that our communities have identified, and are continuing to identify, through NIAMS-sponsored roundtable discussions, scientific planning retreats, and listening sessions. We expect to share an early draft version with our Advisory Council next spring and, after incorporating Council members’ feedback, will make the draft available for public comment during the summer.

When complete, our Long-Range Plan for FY 2015-2019 will outline the Institute’s perspective on research needs and opportunities within NIAMS’ mission, and will serve as a resource for all who are interested in NIAMS’ activities. Because we will continue to devote the majority of our extramural budget toward funding the best investigator-initiated research ideas, the new Plan will continue to encourage creative approaches for generating the scientific discoveries that will ultimately improve the health of the American public.

Please take a few moments to review the current Plan and reflect on what research opportunities should be modified due to progress over the past five years, and new areas that have emerged. Soon, we will invite you to share your ideas through the NIAMS website, and we will announce this opportunity through all of our communications channels. We welcome your thoughts as researchers, patient and health advocacy organizations, professional societies, academic departments, clinicians, and individuals and families affected by the diseases and conditions within NIAMS’ mission.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and
Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Research Watch and Announcements . . .

Research supported by the NIAMS has identified 14 genes linked to juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), the most common type of arthritis affecting children.

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have lower thresholds for pain and may have deficits in a central nervous system (CNS) mechanism that helps to modulate how the body experiences pain.

Administering the drug rituximab once weekly for one month provides the same benefits as 18 months of daily immunosuppressive therapy in people with severe forms of vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels.

Many people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) and a meniscal tear may be able to avoid surgery and achieve comparable relief from physical therapy.

A drug delivery system using nanoparticle technology that allows for better targeting of specific immune cells can potentially improve treatment approaches for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Altering a key protein involved in the development of vitiligo may protect against—or even reverse—the pigmentation loss associated with the skin disorder in mice.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited the NIH and the Children’s Inn where she met with a young patient who has neonatal onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID), as well as the patient’s family. She also met the patient’s physician, Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky, M.D., M.H.S., who is the Acting Chief of the Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Section in the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP).

Grants and Contracts . . .

For information on NIH Funding Opportunities related to the NIAMS, please subscribe to the monthly NIAMS Update or visit the Funding Opportunities List on the NIAMS website and the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

Highlights From the Hill, DHHS and NIH . . .

Congressional Briefing — Women and Rheumatic Diseases

On July 10, 2013, at the request of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR), NIAMS Deputy Director Robert H. Carter, M.D., provided remarks regarding NIH research and the etiology and treatment of rheumatic diseases in women. Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) sponsored the briefing. The SWHR and the American College of Rheumatology hosted the briefing.

Pending Legislation — Scleroderma

On June 27, 2013, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S. 1239, the Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act. The bill would 1) require the Director of the NIAMS to expand, intensify, and coordinate the activities of the Institute regarding scleroderma; 2) require the status of scleroderma research to be included in the NIH Biennial Report; and 3) authorize the appropriation of $25 million in FY 2014, $30 million in FY 2015 and $35 million in FY 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be required to carry out a public awareness campaign on scleroderma. A similar bill, H.R. 1429, sponsored by Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) and introduced in April, would authorize the Director of the NIAMS to increase scleroderma research activities and authorize the HHS Secretary to carry out a public awareness campaign. S. 1239 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

For More Information

For other related legislative highlights, please refer to the NIH Office of Legislative and Policy Analysis website.

Budget Update

FY 2014

On July 11, 2013, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies marked up and reported on the FY 2014 Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill that would provide $31 billion for the NIH, which is essentially flat with the President’s Budget request. The Senate has proposed $537 million for the NIAMS, which represents an increase of approximately $32 million over the FY 2013 level. The FY 2014 House markup has been postponed, and has not been rescheduled. It is expected that NIH will begin FY 2014 with a continuing resolution.

NIAMS Faces . . .

Five members of the NIAMS Advisory Council are leaving the Council after four years of service: Harry C. Dietz lll, M.D., Regis J. O'Keefe, M.D., Ph.D., Jean R. Pickford, Bradley R. Stephenson, J.D., and Julio L. Vergara, Ph.D. The Institute thanks them for their many contributions, and wishes them well in future endeavors.

James D. Katz, M.D., has joined the NIAMS as the Director of the Rheumatology Fellowship and Training Branch in the Intramural Research Program. He will oversee the NIH Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program, and will also serve as the Director of the NIAMS Community Research and Care Branch. Dr. Katz received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1986, and completed a rheumatology fellowship at the University of Connecticut Health Center in 1991. Most recently, he served as the Director of the Division of Rheumatology at the George Washington University, where he led the Rheumatology Fellowship Program from 2001 to 2007.

Reaya Reuss, M.S., has joined the NIAMS Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications as a Science Policy Analyst and the Institute’s Legislative Liaison. A graduate of the NIH Management Intern Program in 2007, Ms. Reuss has focused on congressional relations for the past two years, first with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Legislation, and most recently with NIAID’s Legislative Affairs and Correspondence Management Branch. She earned her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and received her M.S. in Biotechnology from the Johns Hopkins University.

Eric H. Brown, Ph.D., retired in June 2013 after serving as a Scientific Review Officer at NIH for 25 years. He spent the last nine years at the NIAMS, where he was responsible for the review of applications to the NIAMS Small Grant Program for New Investigators. He also managed a major ARRA review activity, as well as the review of program project grant applications.

Gerda Gallop-Goodman, M.P.H., a Writer-Editor at the NIAMS since 2009, has joined the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), Office of Communications and Public Liaison.

NIH Faces . . .

The NIH has selected Jeremy Brown, M.D., to be the first permanent director of its Office of Emergency Care Research (OECR). Established in 2012 and housed in NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, OECR is a focal point for basic, clinical and translational emergency care research and training across NIH.

NIAMS Communications and Outreach Update. . .

Multicultural Outreach

Earlier this year, the NIAMS concluded a nationwide distribution of four multicultural health planners and an electronic toolkit as part of its National Multicultural Outreach Initiative (NMOI). The purpose of the health planners is to increase awareness among adults with conditions of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin about the availability of resources from the NIH and other Federal agencies. The NIAMS conducted an evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the distribution effort. Data indicated that planner recipients and organizations that helped distribute them reacted positively toward the planners, and regarded them as informative, culturally appropriate, patient-centric educational tools. The NIAMS partnered with six other HHS agencies and several community-based organizations to promote and disseminate the health planners, which resulted in greater outreach to multicultural communities. Planners will be available and distributed again in 2014. The 2014 electronic toolkit will feature several enhancements, including additional multicultural photos for the Image Gallery, downloadable fact sheets on topics covered in the health planners, and access to newly translated fact sheets in Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.

Public Liaison

NIAMS Coalition Activities

The Institute continues to work with the NIAMS Coalition to share the latest research advances and related developments, and to foster dialogue on the future path and directions of NIAMS-funded research. The NIAMS Coalition, a group of 90 professional and voluntary organizations, raises awareness about research into the basic understanding, causes, incidence, treatment and prevention of diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, skin, and connective tissues.

NIAMS is currently working with the Coalition to plan the "NIAMS Coalition 2013 Outreach and Education Day: Creating Connections for Science," which will take place on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. The biannual, day-long meeting provides Coalition organizations with the opportunity to learn more about the most recent initiatives and latest scientific advances of the NIAMS and NIH. In addition, dedicated sessions allow the organizations to explore opportunities for collaboration with the NIAMS, as well as with colleagues.

The Institute also continues to regularly engage with Coalition members to facilitate presentations at professional and voluntary meetings, and provide opportunities to meet with Institute leadership.

Media Highlights

NIAMS Scientific Director John O’Shea, M.D., was interviewed by Arthritis Today about the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of tofacitinib for adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. The story, "Game Changers," was published in the July/August issue of the magazine, and focused on drug development in rheumatic disease. Dr. O’Shea was also featured in MedPage Today on July 25 regarding salt and autoimmune disease.

Mahendra Rao, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the NIAMS Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, spoke with Nature Biotechnology for the story "Inducing Translation," published in June. Dr. Rao discussed translational efforts related to iPSC-derived cells. Dr. Rao also appeared in the PBS NewsHour feature "Liver Buds Show Promise, but Growing New Organs Is Still a Long Way Off" which aired on July 3.

Gayle Lester, Ph.D., Director of the NIAMS Clinical Osteoarthritis and Diagnostic Imaging Program, was featured on the Academy of Women’s Health blog, MP Post, on July 3. The story focused on non-pharmacologic management of knee osteoarthritis.

NIAMS Senior Advisor Robyn Strachan participated in an AARP video showcasing the NIH as the #1 Winner of the 2013 AARP Best Employers For Workers Over 50 Award.

Upcoming Events

Look for the NIAMS exhibit at the following events between now and the February 2014 Shorttakes issue:

  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, San Antonio, TX, October 3-6
  • American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Baltimore, MD, October 4-8
  • American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, San Diego, CA, October 27-29
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Denver, CO, October 31- November 2
  • Association for Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, Nashville, TN, November 13-16

NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Update. . .

Approximately 20 students from diverse backgrounds participated in the 2013 NIAMS Summer Internship Program. On August 8, the students presented their research at the annual NIH Summer Poster Day, followed by a farewell reception given by the NIAMS for the students and their mentors. Highlights of the summer included a meeting with NIAMS Deputy Director Robert H. Carter, M.D., Scientific Director John J. O’Shea, M.D., and Clinical Director Richard M. Siegel, M.D., Ph.D. The summer internship program provides a unique opportunity for talented students to come to the NIAMS for training and mentoring. The students gain experience in the field of biomedical research, especially in the diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and skin.

On June 28, as part of the NIH National Native American Youth Initiative in Biomedical Research Program, Robert Walker, Ph.D., Interim Chief of the Career Development and Outreach Branch, gave a presentation, "What the Future Holds: Opportunities for Students at the NIH." Mimi Lising, M.P.H., Multicultural Health Educator in the NIAMS Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications, was a panelist for the discussion topic, Personal Perspective Panel Discussion: My Journey to the NIH.

For information on arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, including copies of NIAMS publications, contact:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health

1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Phone: 301-495-4484
Toll free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267)
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-718-6366

If you need more information about available resources in yourlanguage or another language, please visit our website or contactthe NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at

For information on osteoporosis and other bone diseases, contact:

NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center

2 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3676
Phone: 202-223-0344
Toll free: 800-624-BONE (2663)
TTY: 202-466-4315
Fax: 202-293-2356

If you need more information about available resources in yourlanguage or another language, please visit our website or contactthe NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at

For general information on NIAMS and its research programs, contact:

Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institutes of Health

Building 31/Room 4C02
31 Center Drive, MSC 2350,
Bethesda, MD 20892-2350
Phone: 301-496-8190
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-480-2814

If you need more information about available resources in yourlanguage or another language, please visit our website or contactthe NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at

For information on NIAMS Research Registries:

Compiled by the Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications, NIAMS; phone: (301) 496-8190; e-mail:

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