NIDDK Director's Update (March 7, 2005) : NIDDK

NIDDK Director's Update (March 7, 2005)

Welcome to the second NIDDK Director's Update.  This periodic electronic newsletter will bring you updates on NIH and NIDDK activities and events of interest.  It will also include NIDDK-specific plans and trans-NIH issues of importance to the Institute.  Whenever possible, we will include internet links to web sites for more information.

Budget Update:

The Congress has finalized the FY 2005 appropriation for the NIH.  The increase for all of NIH is 2.1% and for the NIDDK, 2.5%.  NIDDK has received $1,713,011,000, an increase of about $42 million.  The President has proposed a budget for NIH for 2006 of $28.7 billion, an increase of 0.5% over 2005.  NIDDK's increase is also 0.5%, for a total of $1,722,146,000.  This increase is about $9 million.

Action Plan for Liver Disease Research:

On January 3, 2005, the NIDDK released the trans-NIH Action Plan for Liver Disease Research, a comprehensive plan that addresses the burden of liver disease in the United States and maps out challenges for future research.  The NIH created the Liver Disease Research Branch in 2003 to focus and accelerate research on liver disease at the NIDDK and to coordinate liver-related research across the NIH and among other federal agencies.  Heading the Branch is Jay H. Hoofnagle, M.D., former director of NIDDK's Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition (DDN) and one of the world's leading authorities in the field of liver disease.  The Branch worked with the Liver Disease Subcommittee of the congressionally authorized Digestive Diseases Interagency Coordinating Committee to coordinate the drafting of the Action Plan.  Along with introductory and summary statements, each chapter of the Action Plan includes a background section, a summary of recent advances, a central section describing important future research goals, and a final section that outlines active steps to achieve each goal.  The Action Plan also includes an implementation plan and a list of benchmark goals that will be used to gauge its effectiveness and success.

The Action Plan for Liver Disease Research:

NIDDK News Release:

Translational Research Compendium:

In December 2003, the NIDDK established a Translational Research Working Group to identify obstacles to translational research, develop a process to prioritize translational initiatives, identify areas where resources would have broad application, and develop ways to address any obstacles to moving forward.  The NIDDK has now released a Translational Research Compendium, a progress report on NIDDK efforts to promote translational research.  The compendium outlines seven newly developed initiatives designed to promote translational research into disease-specific as well as trans-Institute areas.  These initiatives focus on: 
  • Enhancing the development of biomarkers, small molecules that are indicative of a disease and readily-measured, for well-defined human diseases for which few, if any, markers exist;
  • Developing new imaging methods for the solid abdominal organs and the urinary tract;
  • Generating new animal models for preclinical research on NIDDK-related diseases;
  • Research on angiogenesis for diabetic complications and islet transplantation;
  • Research on an important effect of elevated blood sugar levels – the overproduction of reactive oxygen species in cellular components called mitochondria;
  • Developing therapeutic agents for diseases characterized by protein misprocessing and misfolding; and
  • Further research on a type of molecule called RNA interference (RNAi), which may have therapeutic potential.
Translational Research Compendium:

While these initiatives focus on “bench to bedside” translation, or the creative transition of basic research into clinical research, the NIDDK also supports efforts to translate clinical research findings into clinical practice, a process termed “bedside to practice.”  For example, the NIDDK supported a conference on the NIH campus last year on this topic specific to the fields of diabetes and obesity research.  The final report of the January 2004 meeting, From Clinical Trials to Community:  the Science of Translating Diabetes and Obesity Research, is now available on the NIDDK web site:

Appointment of Three New NIH Directors:

NIH Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.,  has announced the appointment of three new directors at the NIH.  David A. Schwartz , M.D., was named Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in October 2004.  David B. Abrams, Ph.D., was selected as Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the NIH Office of the Director in December 2004.  Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., was appointed Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in January of 2005.

Dr. Schwartz is currently director of the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Medicine at Duke University.  He will join the NIH on April 4, 2005.  Dr. Schwartz will replace Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., who announced his intention to step down in 2003 after 12 years of service as director of the Institute.  As NIEHS director, Dr. Schwartz will oversee a $711 million budget that funds multidisciplinary biomedical research programs, prevention, and intervention efforts that encompass training, technology transfer, and community outreach.  NIEHS is located in Research Triangle Park, near Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

NIEHS news release:

Dr. Abrams comes to the NIH from Brown University in Providence , Rhode Island , where he was Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Professor of Community Health, and co-director of Transdisciplinary Research at Butler Hospital , Brown Medical School .  He was also the founding Director of Brown's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at Miriam Hospital.  In his new role, Dr. Abrams will lead agency-wide initiatives in behavioral and social sciences research, and facilitate collaborations across socio-behavioral and biomedical disciplines. 

OBSSR news release:

Dr. Nabel was previously the Scientific Director of Clinical Research in the NHLBI intramural program, a position that brought her to the NIH in 1999.  She is a board certified cardiologist and a recognized expert in the development of novel genetic and cellular therapies for cardiovascular disease.  Dr. Nabel will oversee an institute that provides leadership for national research programs on heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders.  The NHLBI also has responsibility for the NIH Women's Health Initiative.  Dr. Nabel will join me as co-chair of the NIH Obesity Research Task Force, a trans-NIH effort established in April 2003 by Dr. Zerhouni for coordinating and accelerating progress in obesity research across the NIH.

The NIH Obesity Research Task Force:

NHLBI news release:

Appointment of Five New Members to the NIDDK Advisory Council:

The NIDDK welcomes five new members to the NIDDK Advisory Council:
  • Janice Lee Arnold, M.D., joins the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) Subcommittee.  She is a board certified urologist whose area of expertise is lower urinary tract disorders involving the prostate and urinary bladder.  She practices in the northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., area.
  • Janet O. Brown-Friday, R.N., M.S.N., M.P.H., joins the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases (DEM) Subcommittee.  She is Clinical Manager of the Diabetes Clinical Trials unit at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.  She was a study coordinator for the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and is currently a study coordinator for the DPP Outcomes Study.
  • Jeffrey Scott Flier, M.D., joins the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases (DEM) Subcommittee.  He is the George C. Reisman Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.  He is also the Chief Academic Officer and Harvard Faculty Dean for Academic Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
  • William L. Henrich, M.D., joins the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) Subcommittee.  He is the Theodore E. Woodward Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  He is also the Physician-in-Chief of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore.
  • Brian P. Monahan, M.D., FACP, serves as an Ex-Officio member of the Advisory Council.  He is Associate Professor of Medicine and Hematology/Oncology Division Director in the Department of Medicine at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Maryland.

Established by law and charter, the NIDDK Advisory Council meets three times annually to advise the NIDDK about its research portfolio.  Members of the Advisory Council are drawn from the scientific and lay communities, are appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for 4-year terms, and represent all areas within the Institute's research mission.

NDDK Advisory Council:

New NIDDK Staff Appointments:

NIDDK welcomes several new members to the staff.
  • Ms. Karen Salomon has joined the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases as a Program Analyst.
  • Mr. Robert Fay has joined the Office of Financial Management and Analysis as a Program Analyst.
  • Dr. Shefa Gordon is a Presidential Management Fellow who joins the Office of Scientific Program and Policy Analysis for a 2-year fellowship.  He will be working on the evaluation of the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes.

Final NIH Public Access Policy:

The NIH has finalized its Public Access policy based upon public comments received through November 16, 2004.  Notices published in the February 2, 2005, NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts and the February 9, 2005, Federal Register set out the final NIH policy on Public Access.  Complete information is available at the NIH Public Access web page:

NIH Conflict of Interest and Ethics Policies for NIH Employees:

On February 3, 2005, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published an interim final regulation in the Federal Register entitled, “Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct and Financial Disclosure Requirements for Employees of the Department of Health and Human Services,” that expands the scope of the original NIH memorandum.   The new supplemental ethics regulation is applicable to all federal NIH employees.  HHS will accept public comments on the interim final regulation through April 4, 2005.  Current information is available on the NIH Conflict of Interest Information and Resources web page:

I look forward to continued interaction with those of you who have an interest in the programs of NIDDK.  Comments about this electronic newsletter can be directed to Betsy Singer, Public Liaison for NIDDK at

Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., Director


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