September 1, 2014

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 . . .

Has your research yielded visually intriguing and compelling scientific images of which you are especially proud? Perhaps your images or videos illustrate a specific cell or structure that has previously been difficult to visualize, or they convey a complicated scientific concept in a clear and understandable way. You may have seen that NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has been featuring terrific imagery in his blog, including this recent entry, which highlighted skin cancer research conducted by NIAMS grantees Markus Schober, Ph.D., of New York University, and Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., of The Rockefeller University.

The NIAMS wants to showcase the important work that you are able to do through NIAMS funding. We are requesting that you send us your scientific visuals for possible use in several projects that aim to increase the public’s appreciation for and understanding of research in diseases related to the bones, joints, muscles and skin, including:

  • NIAMS multimedia library – visuals will help illustrate NIAMS educational materials, including our website, social media channels, publications, news articles, and other related products.
  • NIAMS traveling exhibit – multimedia materials will help us tell your stories. Our exhibit travels to conferences sponsored by health professionals and voluntary organizations throughout the United States.
  • NIH displays – images representing your research will help visitors to the NIH campus learn more about the work you do.

If you have multimedia products you would like to share, we request the following:

  • High-resolution images, suitable for printing, in jpg format.
  • Videos in HD Quicktime or MPEG-4 files are preferred.
  • A short description of your visual. The description should be written in plain language and understandable to a nonscientific audience.
  • The name of the researcher and affiliation to which the visual should be attributed.
  • The grant number under which you were working to obtain or generate the visual.
  • If previously published, the journal and issue in which your visual originally appeared, and if the visual is copyrighted.

Please send your files to

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Colleen Labbe or Richard Clark, in the NIAMS Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications.

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to receiving and featuring some stunning scientific visuals!

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

Research Watch and Announcements . . .

Research has revealed a connection between excessive activity of TGF-ß, a signaling molecule, and osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). Blocking the molecule’s activity reversed the bone abnormalities in the diseased mice, offering a possible approach for treating OI.

Observations of mice engineered to carry a mutation that causes a severe form of dwarfism have led to a better understanding of the pathology of the disease and potentially identified a window during which treatment may be most effective.

A blood thinner commonly prescribed to prevent blood clots after a hip or knee replacement is associated with an increased risk of post-surgery bleeding or infection.

NIAMS investigators identified a gene linked to a fatal inflammatory disease in children, called SAVI (STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy).

Kayla’s Story: A Bright Future Through NIH Research (video) describes how a NIAMS research team discovered an effective treatment for neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID).

Investigators have uncovered previously unknown pathways that trigger chronic itch, painting a clearer picture of the condition and suggesting novel therapeutic strategies.

The NIH and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) have joined to support a clinical trial to test individually tailored interventions to prevent fall-related injuries.

NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., introduced NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins to a welcoming crowd of NIH employees interested in learning about Colonel Hopkins’ six months aboard the International Space Station.

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 . . .

New Secretary of Health and Human Services

On June 5, 2014, the Senate voted 78-17 to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Ms. Burwell previously served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and succeeds Kathleen Sebelius to lead the Department. Secretary Burwell was sworn in to office on Monday, June 9, 2014.

Congressional Briefing: Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriation

On June 23, Adrienne Hallett, Majority Clerk, and Laura Friedel, Minority Clerk, both of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, visited NIH and met with several Institute Directors, including NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D. Other NIAMS participants included Deputy Director Robert H. Carter, M.D.; Anita Linde, M.P.P., Director, Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications; Robin DiLiello, Chief, Financial Management Branch; and Reaya Reuss, M.S., Legislative Liaison.

Congressional Briefing: Marfan Syndrome and Related Disorders

On July 9, at the request of the Marfan Foundation, NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., participated in an educational briefing titled, "Recent Advancements and Emerging Opportunities in Marfan Syndrome and Related Disorders Research." The briefing was sponsored by Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), who provided brief remarks, and Representative Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Carolyn Levering, President and CEO of the Marfan Foundation, moderated the briefing. Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., M.Sc., Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and Debbie Berkowitz, an advocate whose family members have Marfan, also participated. Congressional and NIAMS staff attended the event, as well as researchers, patients, and advocates from the Marfan community.

New Legislation: Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

On July 16, at the invitation of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., accompanied AAOS Past President, Joshua J. Jacobs, M.D., to meet throughout the day with several Members of Congress to describe the Institute’s musculoskeletal research portfolio. They met with:

  • Senator John Barasso (R-WY), accompanied by Jay Eberly, Health Legislative Assistant
  • Representative Steve Womack (R-AR), accompanied by Clair Burghoff, Communications Director
  • Representative Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD), accompanied by Chris Meekins, Health Legislative Assistant
  • Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), accompanied by Tiffany Guarascio, Legislative Director
  • J.P. Paluskiewicz, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX)
  • Monica Volante, Legislative Director, and Heidi Stirrup, Subcommittee Policy Coordinator, Office of Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA)
  • Cathy Hurwit, Chief of Staff, Office of Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
  • Karen Summar, M.D., Health Legislative Assistant, Office of Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Pending Legislation: Accelerating Biomedical Research Act

On July 24, 2014, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced S. 2658, the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act. The bill would create a budget cap adjustment over the remaining fiscal years of the Budget Control Act (BCA) to allow the Appropriations Committees to restore approximately the purchasing power the NIH would have had if funding had kept pace with inflation since 2003—the end of the doubling. The bill includes a trigger of $29.9 billion for NIH, after which appropriators can provide up to $46.2 billion at the end of the seven-year period from FY 2015-2021. The additional funding provides an initial bump of 10 percent increases in the first two years, followed by 5 percent increases each year thereafter.

For More Information

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

Budget Update

FY 2014

The NIAMS website provides current and historical budget-related data and the NIAMS FY 2014 Funding Plan.

FY 2015

On June 10, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies marked up and reported on the FY 2015 Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill that would provide $30.459 billion for the NIH, approximately $606 million more than FY 2014 and nearly $325 million more than the President’s Budget request. When combined with the $1 billion FY 2014 increase, the Senate bill would fully replace the FY 2013 sequester cut to NIH. The Senate proposed $526 million for the NIAMS, an increase of almost $8 million over FY 2014, and $6 million more than the President’s Budget request. The full Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet marked up the bill; however, the draft report and bill text were released by the Subcommittee on July 24, 2014.

The FY 2015 House markup has not been scheduled.

It is expected that NIH will begin FY 2015 with a continuing resolution that would extend until early to mid-December.

Dr. Katz’s FY 2015 Statement to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education is available on the NIAMS website.

NIAMS Faces . . .

Five members of the NIAMS Advisory Council are leaving the Council after four years of service: Lynda F. Bonewald, Ph.D., David R. Eyre, Ph.D., Gary S. Firestein, M.D., Ted Mala, M.D., M.P.H., and Alice P. Pentland, M.D. The Institute thanks them for their many contributions, and wishes them well in future endeavors.

Glen Nuckolls, Ph.D., Health Scientist Administrator and Program Director in the NIAMS Extramural Program’s (EP’s) Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, has accepted a Program Director position in the NINDS Extramural Program’s Neurogenetics Cluster. In this capacity, he will continue to work with the NIAMS on a number of collaborative activities including the Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee. Dr. Nuckolls has contributed greatly to the NIAMS for the past 19 years—eight years in the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP) and 11 years in the NIAMS EP.

NIH Faces . . .

Story Landis, Ph.D., is retiring as Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. Landis has led the NINDS since 2003, and was the NINDS Scientific Director from 1995 to 2003. Dr. Landis was integral to the launch of the BRAIN Initiative, and has co-led the NIH component of that effort. Walter Koroshetz, M.D., the Deputy Director of NINDS since 2007, will serve as Acting Director of the NINDS while the NIH conducts a national search for a new director.

Amy P. Patterson, M.D., has been appointed as NIH Associate Director for Biosecurity and Biosafety Policy, a new program in the NIH Office of the Director. David Shurtleff, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), has assumed Dr. Patterson’s former role as Acting Director of the NIH Office of Science Policy.

On July 11, Patrick White, NIH Associate Director for Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA), left the NIH to become President of a new advocacy organization, "ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today." Ms. Lauren G. Higgins is serving as Acting Director of OLPA.

Kudos. . .

Eighteen members of the NIAMS staff were recognized at the annual NIH Director’s Award Ceremony held on June 12.

Sherry Meltzer was honored for sustained superior performance in support of the NIAMS Office of the Director.

Gayle Lester, Ph.D., was honored for outstanding and collaborative leadership in promoting translational opportunities in bone imaging and biomarker development.

Melinda Nelson was honored for exemplary performance while demonstrating significant leadership, skill and ability in serving as a mentor.

Rafael Casellas, Ph.D., Vittorio Sartorelli, M.D., Kyong-Rim Kieffer-Kwon, Ph.D., Ewy Mathe, Ph.D., Steevenson Nelson, Ph.D., Nathanael Pruett, Ph.D., Jason Qian, B.S., Wolfgang Resch, Ph.D., Laura Vian, Ph.D., Hossein Zare Sangederazi, Ph.D., and Jizhong Zou, Ph.D., were honored as part of the NIH Mouse Regulome Team for their outstanding scientific vision in establishing and executing the NIH Mouse Regulome Project.

Anita Linde, M.P.P., Nancy Garrick, Ph.D., Mimi Lising, M.P.H., and Allisen Stewart, M.A., were honored as part of the Trans-NIH American Indian/Alaska Native Health Communications and Information Work Group for their outstanding dedication and sustained commitment to improving NIH’s ability to effectively reach American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Three researchers in the NIAMS IRP, John J. O’Shea, M.D., Yuka Kanno, M.D., Ph.D., and Arian Laurence, Ph.D., were highlighted in a report from Thomas Reuters: IP & Science, "Highly Cited Researchers: 2014." The honor is earned by writing the greatest number of reports that meet the criteria for "Highly Cited Papers"—ranking among the top 1 percent most cited for their subject field and year of publication.

NIAMS Communications Update. . .

Multicultural Outreach

The NIAMS has updated four booklets in its popular "Health Information Basics" series. These booklets are available in English and Spanish and present information in an easy-to-read format. The topics include:

  • Living with Lupus
  • Living with Arthritis
  • Bone Health for Life
  • Joint Replacement Surgery

The booklets are available in single and bulk quantities. Orders can be placed using the NIAMS Online Publication Ordering System or by contacting the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at 877-22-NIAMS (226-4267) (TTY 301-565-2966) or by e-mail at

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 nearly 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.

This summer, the Institute engaged with the Coalition in multiple ways. In July, we partnered with the Coalition Co-chairs to host a teleconference for all Coalition members. During the teleconference, NIAMS Deputy Director Robert H. Carter, M.D., presented information about the draft NIAMS Long-Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2019, and invited Coalition members to submit their comments and suggestions for the plan prior to the July 31 deadline. Additionally, the Institute assisted the Lupus Foundation of America and the Rheumatology Research Foundation in planning a September 9 Capitol Hill briefing about the Accelerating Medicines Partnership, and has been working with members of the NIAMS Coalition Steering Committee to plan an October NIH campus and lab tour for interested Congressional staffers.

Social Media

On September 2, NIAMS launched a Google Plus (G+) page, and a dedicated channel on YouTube, providing a single, convenient platform for NIAMS stakeholders to view NIAMS video resources and other informational content.

On June 25, NIAMS participated in a Twitter chat on mind and body approaches to fibromyalgia, hosted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). On September 16, the Institute will participate in another NCCAM-hosted Twitter chat on chronic pain.

On September 30, NIAMS will host a bilingual (Spanish/English) Twitter chat on lupus. For more information, please follow the NIAMS Twitter and Facebook pages.

Media Highlights

Keyed to the release of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s (PhRMA’s) Medicines in Development for Arthritis report, NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., participated in an online arthritis forum. Dr. Katz’s statement, which highlights several NIAMS/NIH-supported arthritis projects, can be found in the "Conversation" section of the PhRMA website. (See link on the NIAMS Director’s Page.)

In addition, Dr. Katz was interviewed about the effects of sun exposure for the July issue of NIH News In Health.

Following her New England Journal of Medicine report of a novel autoinflammatory disorder known as STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI) in July, Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky, M.D., of the NIAMS Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Section, spoke with Nature Reviews Rheumatology for the story, "A New STING-Associated Monogenic Autoinflammatory Disease."

Dr. Goldbach-Mansky and SAVI were also featured in Medpage Today ("Rare Syndrome Cranks Up Inflammation in Lungs, Vessels"), HealthDay News ("Scientists Spot Gene Behind Rare but Fatal Disease in Children"), and NIH Research Matters ("Gene Linked to Rare Inflammatory Disease in Children").

The current issue of NIH MedlinePlus magazine includes a NIAMS-supported segment, "Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)."

Upcoming Events

Look for the NIAMS exhibit at the following events between now and the February 2015 Shorttakes issue:

  • American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Houston, TX, September 12-14
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Los Angeles, CA, October 15-19
  • American Academy of Family Physicians, Washington, DC, October 21-25
  • Association for Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, San Antonio, TX, November 12-15
  • American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, Boston, MA, November 14-19

NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Update. . .

he NIAMS Intramural Summer Student Research Program has completed another successful summer of teaching and mentoring the next generation of biomedical and physician scientists. The NIAMS summer program accepted 15 highly competitive students from diverse backgrounds at various educational levels from high school through medical school. The interns gained hands-on experience in NIAMS intramural laboratories and received personalized training and mentoring from distinguished investigators. Each intern dedicated a minimum of eight consecutive weeks, during which he/she developed a research project and presented it at the NIH Summer Research Program Poster Day on August 7.

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

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

Last Reviewed: 09/01/2014