Message from Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., Acting Director, NIDDK As the NIDDK's Deputy Director and Acting Director, I want to reaffirm the Institute's commitment to vigorous, multi-pronged research efforts while the search is under way for a permanent Institute Director. In particular, I want to respond to two questions I have been asked in recent meetings with NIDDK constituency groups: How will NIDDK research move forward during this transitional leadership period? How will the Institute meet the challenges of the current budget landscape?
Clearly, at all levels of the NIDDK organization, we will continue to pursue the most compelling research to combat the many debilitating and costly chronic diseases within our mission: diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases, liver and other digestive diseases, nutritional disorders, obesity, kidney and urologic diseases, and hematologic diseases. Moreover, we will remain firmly committed to basic, translational, and clinical research; research training and career development; and the dissemination of health information to improve the lives of patients, their families, and those at risk for these diseases.
Together, we in NIDDK will build upon the emerging opportunities that are the fruits of past research investments. Through careful planning and analysis, we will meet the challenge of deploying our precious budgetary resources in the most effective and efficient ways to sustain research momentum and fully capitalize on research achievements. In moving research forward, several overarching principles will guide my leadership and that of the NIDDK extramural division directors during this transitional period.
- Maintain a Vigorous Investigator-Initiated Research Portfolio:
The innovativeness and problem-solving of individual investigators are crucial for research progress. Therefore, the NIDDK will maintain funding of investigator-initiated grants at the highest possible level. We will also maximize our investments by supporting cross-cutting science that is broadly applicable to many disease-specific research issues. Examples include identification of biomarkers that can aid in the diagnosis of disease and in the assessment of new treatments in clinical trials; the development of cell-based therapeutic approaches for repairing damaged tissues; and the use of cutting-edge research methods--such as high throughput analysis--for identification of new candidate drugs.
- Support Pivotal Clinical Studies and Trials:
Clinical studies will continue to be an integral component of research on the broad spectrum of diseases for which NIDDK has research responsibility. Because many of these diseases disproportionately affect minority populations, we will continue to seek insights and answers to health disparities. For example, we will continue to ensure substantial minority participation in clinical trials relevant to these diseases. We are also maximizing our investments by expanding the investigative community's access to very valuable research resources accrued in our major clinical trials. We are doing this by funding ancillary studies to these trials and by supporting a central repository for biologic materials from clinical trials.
- Preserve a Stable Pool of Talented New Investigators:
The ideas and fresh perspectives of new investigators invigorate the research community. Thus, we will strive to ensure that new investigators can realize their potential for contributing to biomedical research, and that today's generation of young scientists will view research as a viable career. We will foster mentorship of new investigators, and promote special consideration for funding of talented new investigators.
- Foster Exceptional Research Training and Mentoring Opportunities:
Maintaining an NIDDK-focused pipeline of outstanding investigators is critically important to our research progress. We will continue to support significant opportunities at the graduate-student and postdoctoral levels, as well as through research career development awards, and undergraduate research educational opportunities. To ensure that we are deploying our research training resources most productively, we are analyzing data to determine the most effective aspects of training programs so that we can share them with our entire community.
- Ensure Knowledge Dissemination Through Outreach and Communications:
We are continuing efforts to ensure that the science-based knowledge gained from NIDDK-funded research is imparted to health care providers and the public for the direct benefit of patients and their families. Examples include the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), and new programs to promote celiac disease awareness, and women's urologic health.
Importantly, as we plan for the future, we will continue to seek and value external advice from investigators, professional scientific organizations, patient advocates and the public. Key sources of input will continue to be our National Advisory Council, Interagency Coordinating Committees, strategic planning processes, ad hoc planning groups, and scientific conferences and workshops. This input will provide a useful scientific guidepost as we make resource allocation decisions. Active collaboration with other components of the NIH and other federal agencies will also remain a cornerstone of NIDDK planning efforts.
Ever-increasing knowledge and the advent of new technologies bring new scientific opportunities for alleviating and conquering the many chronic diseases within the NIDDK's mission. Our continuing goal will be to seize and exploit these opportunities to reduce the burden of disease and improve the public health. To this end, I look forward to working with the NIDDK's many stakeholders during this transitional period.
Updates from NIDDK and NIH
Dr. Josie Briggs to Leave NIDDK for HHMI Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) at the NIDDK, has accepted a position at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Dr. Briggs will become a Senior Scientific Officer in HHMI's science department, where she will participate in the leadership of the HHMI Investigator program. During her nine years as KUH director, Dr. Briggs has been a strong, active leader for the division, for NIDDK and for NIH. She established the National Kidney Disease Education Program, advocated rigorously and effectively for KUH programs, and recruited top-notch scientists to guide education and research programs. She has been an active participant in a number of trans-NIH activities, such as the Trans-NIH Zebrafish Committee and the Roadmap NIH-RAID program. Her last day at NIH will be August 18.
With the departure of Dr. Briggs, Robert A. Star, M.D., will be Acting Director of the KUH division until a permanent division director is appointed. Dr. Star is a nephrologist and has been a Senior Scientific Advisor for Translational Biology in the KUH division since 1999. His intramural research is aimed at earlier diagnosis and management of acute renal failure. In addition, Dr. Star has been Senior Advisor for Clinical Research in the NIH Office of Science Policy and Planning and has been actively engaged in NIH Roadmap initiatives for “Re-Engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise.”
NIH Budget Appropriations FY 2007 NIH Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., presented the FY 2007 Director's Budget Request to the House Subcommittee on Labor–HHS–Education Appropriations on April 6. He requested for NIH $28.4 billion in FY 2007, the same as the FY 2006 level for the agency. More information is available on the NIH Office of Budget web page: www.nih.gov/about/director/budgetrequest/fy2007directorsbudgetrequest.htm
Dr. Rodgers presented the FY 2007 President's budget request for the NIDDK to the House Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations on April 6. He requested for the NIDDK $1,844,298,000, which includes $150,000,000 for the Special Appropriation for Research on Type 1 Diabetes. Adjusted for mandatory funds, this is a decrease of $10,627,000 from the FY 2006 enacted level of $1,854,925,000 comparable for transfers proposed in the President's request. More information is available on the NIDDK website: www.niddk.nih.gov/federal/planning/FY2007-Budget-Testimony.htm
NIH at the Crossroads: Strategies for the Future Dr. Zerhouni has recently presented a plan for transforming medicine through the implementation of a fundamentally new paradigm for biomedical research in the 21 st century. He dubs the new paradigm the three P's: Predicting vulnerability to disease and response to treatment; Personalizing prevention and treatment strategies; and Preempting disease before symptoms and damage occur. Dr. Zerhouni believes that strategic investments in advanced technologies and their applications will result in drastic improvements in health care.
More information is available on the NIH Research Results for the Public web page: www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/index.htm
NIH OPASI Update The NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI) website is on-line and available to the public. The website contains frequently asked questions and updated information on OPASI. The purpose of OPASI is to identify and integrate information to support the planning and implementation of trans-NIH initiatives. OPASI consists of three branches: the Division of Resource Development and Analysis; the Division of Strategic Coordination; and the Division of Evaluation and Systematic Assessments.
More information is available on the OPASI website: opasi.nih.gov/
NIH Roadmap for Medical Research Update Dr. Zerhouni has asked Dr. Rodgers to serve as co-chair of the NIH Roadmap Building Blocks, Pathways, and Networks Committee.
The NIH will accept multiple Principal Investigators (PI) on a selected set of grant programs beginning in September 2006, according to a notice in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts dated May 11. The multiple PI option will be available only for programs involved in the pilot, all participating PIs must be registered on the NIH Commons prior to submission, and Multiple PI applications must include a leadership plan. The notice also describes the management strategies for Multiple PI projects that are in place for the pilot initiatives and special review criteria that will be used for the pilots.
The NIH posted a notice in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts on May 10 to announce the NIH's intention to reissue a Request for Applications (RFA) soliciting applications for Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) with a receipt date of January 17, 2007. The RFA is expected to be published after August 14 of this year. The intent of the CTSA program is to enable institutions to engage in innovative and transformative efforts that will develop and advance clinical and translational science as a distinct discipline within a definable academic home and for institutions to work together at a national level to advance clinical and translation science.
The 2006 winners of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award program will be announced on September 19, in conjunction with a symposium featuring last year's recipients. A call for 2007 applicants will also go out later in the fall.
More information is available on the NIH Roadmap website: nihroadmap.nih.gov/
Dr. Roger I. Glass Selected as Fogarty International Center Director Dr. Zerhouni announced on March 31 his selection of Roger I. Glass, M.D., Ph.D., to be the director of the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and Associate Director of NIH for international programs. Dr. Glass, formerly the chief of the Viral Gastroenteritis Section at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, joined the NIH in May. The FIC promotes and supports scientific research and training internationally to reduce disparities in global health.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2006/od-31.htm
Dr. John Niederhuber Designated as Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute Dr. Zerhouni announced on May 31 the designation of John Niederhuber, M.D., to serve as Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), effective June 11. Dr. Niederburger joined the NIH in September 2005 as NCI's Deputy Director for Translational and Clinical Sciences. Immediately before his recruitment to NCI, he chaired the National Cancer Advisory Board. His extensive academic and research career in the cancer field included positions at the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University before his most recent position at the University of Wisconsin, where he was Director of the University's Comprehensive Cancer Center.
More information is available on the NCI website: www.cancer.gov/aboutnci/acting-director-appointed
NIH Appoints Members to the National Commission on Digestive Diseases Dr. Zerhouni announced on April 18 the appointment of 16 members to the National Commission on Digestive Diseases. The Commission is charged with conducting an overview of research in digestive diseases and developing a strategic plan for the next 10 years of NIH digestive diseases research. The 16 members, who serve for the duration of the Commission, have broad expertise as members of academic or medical research and practice communities involved in digestive diseases research, patient-oriented organizations or have close personal or family experience with digestive diseases. In addition to the 16 appointed members, the Commission includes several nonvoting ex officio members from the NIH and other federal government agencies involved in digestive diseases research. The Commission held its first meeting on June 12.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/apr2006/niddk-18.htm
NIH Launches Clinical Studies Nationwide to Investigate Rare Diseases The NIH's Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN) announced the launch of its first clinical studies on May 5. The RDCRN has received five-year funding awards totaling $71 million and is coordinated primarily by two NIH components – the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) – although five other NIH institutes, including the NIDDK, contributed funding to the project. A central data and technology coordinating center and 10 research consortia will investigate a variety of diseases including several vasculitides; urea cycle disorders; antiphospholipid syndrome and other rare thrombotic diseases; rare pediatric liver diseases; and rare genetic steroid defects.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/may2006/ncrr-05.htm
NIH Expands Initiative to Encourage Bench-to-Bedside Research The NIH has awarded nearly $4 million to fund 19 bench-to-bedside medical research projects designed to speed translation of promising laboratory discoveries into new medical treatments. The program was created within the NIH Clinical Center as a way to encourage collaborations among basic scientists in the laboratories and clinical investigators who work with patients. For the first time, applications for these awards, first given in 1999, were open to research teams made up of NIH intramural and extramural collaborators from medical schools, health-care organizations, and private industry. Awardees from the NIDDK Intramural Research Program include Francesco S. Celi, M.D.; Oksana Gavrilova, Ph.D.; Allan D. Kirk, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S; Jeffrey Kopp, M.D.; Mark A. Levine, M.D.; Dr. Rodgers; and Alan Schechter, M.D.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/jun2006/cc-07.htm
MRI Provides an Early Alert to Progression of Polycystic Kidney Disease A new method using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) accurately tracks structural changes that predict functional changes earlier than standard blood and urine tests in people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (PKD), according to a study in the May 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The NIDDK-funded study, the Consortium for Radiological Imaging Studies of Polycystic Kidney Disease (CRISP), found that both small and large cysts and both kidneys grew continuously at steady rates, seemingly tailored to the individual with PKD, regardless of patient age. These structural changes correlate with losses in kidney function, suggesting that MRI can be used to track the major contributor to the progression of PKD, an advance that could speed the discovery of new therapies.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/may2006/niddk-17.htm
One-Third of Adults with Diabetes Still Don't Know They Have It The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in U.S. adults age 20 and older has risen from about 5.1 percent to 6.5 percent, according to researchers at the NIDDK and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who analyzed national survey data from two periods – 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2002. However, the percentage of adults with undiagnosed diabetes did not change significantly over the years studied. About 2.8 percent of U.S. adults – one-third of those with diabetes – still don't know they have it. The study, published in the June 2006 issue of Diabetes Care, notes that type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 95 percent of all diabetes cases and virtually all undiagnosed diabetes cases.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/may2006/niddk-26.htm
Studies Aim to Preserve Insulin Production in Type 1 Diabetes The 18 medical centers that comprise the NIDDK-funded type 1 diabetes TrialNet network in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia have launched new clinical studies in type 1 diabetes. The studies seek to slow or stop the immune system's attack on insulin-producing cells in two groups of people: those newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and those at risk for developing it.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/jun2006/niddk-09.htm
In Drug Design, a Loose Fit May Be Best Bet Chemical knockoffs resembling a key thyroid-related hormone are, in certain cases, more effective than the real thing at activating the target receptor. The improved performance is related to how closely coupled the chemical and receptor are, the scientists conclude, with a loose connection being more effective than a tight one. The findings are at odds with the widely held notion that the stronger the association between a hormone and its receptor, the more effective its cellular signaling. If the findings hold true for similar hormone-receptor reactions, they could help change the way that drug therapies are designed for a host of health problems. The study, conducted in part by researchers at the NIDDK and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), was published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/may2006/niddk-12.htm
History of Gestational Diabetes Raises Lifelong Diabetes Risk in Mother and Child The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is reaching out to women with a history of gestational diabetes to spread the word about the risk for type 2 diabetes faced by these women and their children. Women with a history of gestational diabetes have a 20 to 50 percent chance of developing diabetes in the future and their children are at increased risk for obesity and diabetes during childhood and adolescence compared to other children. On April 25, the NDEP joined Deputy Surgeon General, RADM Kenneth P. Moritsugu and Dr. Rodgers in Washington, D.C., to announce It's Never Too Early to Prevent Diabetes – the latest message from the NDEP's campaign, Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/apr2006/niddk-25.htm
NIH Encourages African Americans to Make Health A “Family Reunion” Affair The National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) urges African Americans attending reunions this summer to reach out to relatives who have diabetes and/or high blood pressure about their increased risk for kidney disease. All of these diseases disproportionately affect African Americans. Diabetes and high blood pressure account for 70 percent of kidney failure and African Americans are nearly four times more likely than Caucasians to develop kidney failure. To help families talk about kidney disease, the NKDEP has created a free Kidney Connection Guide containing fact sheets about diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.
More information is available on the NIH News Page: www.nih.gov/news/pr/jun2006/niddk-13.htm
Dr. Eaton Elected to National Academy of Sciences William A. Eaton, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Physics in the NIDDK Division of Intramural Research, was recently named to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Dr. Eaton's research focuses on fundamental aspects of the mechanism of protein folding. More information is available on the NIH Record web page: www.nih.gov/nihrecord/06_30_2006/briefs.htm
Pima Indians of Arizona Visit NIH and Receive NIH Plain Language Awards Representatives of the O'odham Nation and the communities of Gila River and Salt River, Arizona attended the sixth annual NIH Plain Language Awards ceremony at NIH on April 19. The representatives of these American Indian communities won awards for their collaboration with NIDDK staff in the development of award-winning communication products, including a video on slowing kidney disease and a calendar for people with diabetes. More information is available on the NIH Record web page: www.nih.gov/nihrecord/06_02_2006/story02.htm
Dr. Hubbard Promoted to Rank of Rear Admiral in U.S. Public Health Service Van S. Hubbard, M.D., Ph.D., has been promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), effective April 1, 2006. RADM Hubbard is one of only eight individuals currently at the level of Flag Officer at the NIH. He is the director of the Division of Nutrition Research Coordination and Associate Director for Nutritional Sciences at the NIDDK. In these roles, he is responsible for the development of research initiatives and management of research programs related to the nutritional sciences and obesity.
In addition to these duties, RADM Hubbard serves as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of HHS on obesity. He was the co-lead for The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity and for the Nutrition and Overweight Focus Area of Healthy People 2010. He also has been an active participant in the U.S. Public Health Service's Disaster Medical Assistance Team since 1987 and currently serves as commander of this PHS resource. For his efforts, RADM Hubbard has been awarded the USPHS Outstanding Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, and the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal.
RADM Hubbard joined the NIH in 1976 as a research fellow and quickly rose to prominence and a position of leadership at the NIDDK. RADM Hubbard is internationally recognized for his research on the nutritional and gastrointestinal aspects of cystic fibrosis, as well as for studies on nutritional status and obesity in both children and adults. He is professor of pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where he serves as adjunct faculty to the Tri-Service Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition fellowship program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and as staff physician within the Department of Pediatrics, National Naval Medical Center and serves as attending staff of the tri-service cystic fibrosis clinic.
Dr. Harlan Named Research Physician of the Year The Public Health Service has presented Capt. David M. Harlan, M.D., with its Research Physician of the Year Award for work representing the highest traditions of the service. The award recognizes him for “creativity, initiative, and accomplishment in performing research into the pathogenesis and treatment of diabetes mellitus.” Harlan was recently appointed chief of NIDDK's Diabetes Branch after heading the institute's Islet and Autoimmunity Branch since 1999. A leader in the immunobiology of type 1 diabetes, he served on the NIDDK advisory council from 1996 to 1999 while directing the immune cell biology program of the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI). From 1996 to 1998, he headed the NMRI's combat casualty care department. He also serves as a professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, where he has been on the faculty since 1992.
New NIDDK Staff Appointments NIDDK welcomes several new members to the staff. Lucy Greene, Ph.D., joins the Office of the Director, NIDDK, as Deputy Executive Officer. Suellen Jeffress has been selected as Director, Office of Acquisitions, NIDDK. Daniel G. Wright, M.D., joins the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases as a program director for hematology research, succeeding David Badman, Ph.D.
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