NIDDK Director's Update (October 3, 2007) : NIDDK

NIDDK Director's Update (October 3, 2007)

Featured Updates

Members of House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees for the NIH Express Interest in NIDDK Programs

Dr. Rodgers had the opportunity this summer to meet with 13 House Members, 3 Senators, and staff of the House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittee. As newly-appointed NIDDK Director, Dr. Rodgers briefed legislators and staff on the Institute’s major current research efforts and priorities, and shared with them his vision for the Institute. Representatives, Senators, and staff were particularly interested in the NIDDK’s translational and prevention research efforts and in the Institute’s information-dissemination and education programs.

Dr. Rodgers’ Vision Statement for the Institute

Dr. Rodgers Testifies on Type 1 Diabetes Research

On June 19, 2007, Dr. Rodgers testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on the subject of “Progress and Plans in Type 1 Diabetes Research.” He discussed recent NIDDK-supported advances and future opportunities in type 1 diabetes research, including research supported by the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research ( The hearing was held in conjunction with the “Children’s Congress” sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

“Progress and Plans in Type 1 Diabetes Research”  

JDRF “Children’s Congress”  

Evaluation Report on the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research

Mandated by the Congress and released in August 2007, this Report notes that the Federal Government’s investment in type 1 diabetes research through the Special Funding Program has:
  • Produced significant scientific advances
  • Yielded robust scientific output
  • Led to many issued patents and patent applications
  • Attracted new investigators to pursue research on type 1 diabetes, as well as established investigators not previously involved in diabetes research
  • Propelled progress in clinical trials research through infrastructure provided by the Program
  • Established key research programs that have provided new insights into the understanding of type 1 diabetes and its complications
  • Promoted clinical research and the translation of research from bench to bedside
  • Developed innovative funding mechanisms to bring together a diverse range of researchers to tackle interdis­ciplinary problems, and
  • Balanced a research portfolio of large-scale, collaborative projects with long time horizons with flexible, short-term projects that provide a rapid response to emerging research challenges of critical importance.
Evaluation Report on the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research:  

NIH and NIDDK Budget Update

FY 2008 Appropriations

The Congress is in the process of completing action on the NIH budget for FY 2008. The House bill for NIH, as part of the larger Labor-HHS-Education bill, passed the full House on July 19, with allowances for NIH and NIDDK of $29.650 billion and $1.732 billion, respectively. The Senate bill for NIH passed the full Senate Committee on Appropriations on June 21, with allowances for NIH and NIDDK of $29.900 billion and $1.748 billion, respectively. The full Senate has not yet considered the bill. The NIH and NIDDK appropriations for FY 2007 are $29.086 billion and $1.706 billion, respectively. These figures do not include the $150 million appropriation per year for the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research.

NIH Office of Budget web page:

NIH News and Updates

NIH Peer Review Process Update

The NIH has a history of supporting the most promising and meritorious biomedical and behavioral research using a broad range of approaches, strategies and mechanisms. A cornerstone of the NIH system is the two-tiered peer review process. The NIH is examining the current system to optimize its efficiency and effectiveness and ensure that the NIH will be able to continue to meet the needs of the research community and public-at-large.

The NIH Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., has formed the Peer Review Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of NIH. The Working Group’s charge is to gather information from the external community to explore possible enhancements to all aspects of the peer review process. The Working Group hosted a consultation meeting with professional societies on July 30 in Washington to gain input and feedback on how NIH can best meet the challenges of supporting science in the 21st century in the face of an increased load on the peer review system.

“Enhancing Peer Review at NIH” web page:

From the Desk of the NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.; Special Issue, Summer 2007; “Reviewing Peer Review: NIH needs your help!”  

NIH Roadmap for Medical Research Update

NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., announced the award recipients of the 2007 NIH Director’s Pioneer Awards and the 2007 NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards on September 19 at the Third Annual NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Symposium, held on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The recipients are the first group to receive New Innovator Awards and the fourth group to receive Pioneer Awards. Pioneer Awards support scientists at any career stage, while New Innovator Awards are reserved for new investigators who have not received an NIH regular research (R01) or similar grant. The 12 new Pioneer Award recipients will each receive $2.5 million in direct costs over five years. The 29 New Innovator Award recipients will each receive $1.5 million in direct costs over five years. Both programs are funded through the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.

“NIH Director Invests in Innovation, New Investigators”  

NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., announced the expansion of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium with the addition of 12 academic health centers to the 12 centers awarded in October 2006. When fully implemented in 2012, the CTSA Consortium will consist of 60 institutions. The CTSA program is a product of the Re-engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise initiative within the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. Led by the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), the CTSA Consortium coordinates and collaborates on diverse and innovative approaches to clinical and translational science. NCRR has issued a notice (RFA-RM-07-007) for the third round of funding opportunities. Applications will be accepted through November 7 and awards are scheduled to be announced in June 2008.

“NIH Expands National Consortium to Transform Clinical and Translational Research”  


The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research will fund nine interdisciplinary research consortia as a means of integrating aspects of different disciplines to address health challenges that have been resistant to traditional research approaches.

“NIH Launches Interdisciplinary Research Consortia”  

“NIH Roadmap for Medical Research” web page:

The NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives (COPR) Update

The application process for the NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives (COPR) was extended to Friday, September 28. On August 21, NIH held a teleconference for prospective applicants. An audio recording and a Q&A from the teleconference are available on the COPR website:

The NIH Record Now Available Via Email

The NIH employee newsletter, the NIH Record, is now available via email. Subscribers will receive an email every two weeks alerting them to the publication of the latest issue and highlighting the top stories. To subscribe, visit the NIH Listserv website:  

NIDDK News and Updates

NIDDK Current Funding Opportunities

Find the current Requests for Applications (RFAs) and Program Announcements (PAs) that communicate NIDDK’s current funding opportunities and research interests on the NIDDK website:

Recent Notices in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts

Find current NIDDK Notices in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts on the NIDDK website:

Upcoming Meetings and Workshops

NIDDK supports and participates in scientific meetings and workshops and a list of upcoming meetings and workshops is available on the NIDDK website:

NIDDK Unveils New Website Design

The NIDDK launched a redesigned website this summer to enhance the look and feel of the website. Changes to the site include graphics that help convey the NIDDK’s mission, a new layout that steers scientific and lay audiences to appropriate information, and new features that highlight timely news and events. The newest features are the second phase of a three-part plan to revamp the entire NIDDK website to improve overall use and access. The last phase of the redesign will include adding multimedia content and more data-driven tools, such as an automated event calendar and organizational chart to make finding staff contact information easier.
NIDDK website:

NIDDK news release, “NIDDK Unveils Website Makeover”

In the News

News Releases

“New Publication Helps African Americans “Make the Kidney Connection”
The National Kidney Disease Education Program Creates New Brochure for African Americans at Risk for Kidney Disease
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Release Date: September 20, 2007

“NIH Announces Plan to Implement President’s Stem Cell Executive Order”
NIH Office of the Director (OD)
Release Date: September 18, 2007

“NDEP Campaign Highlights the Link Between Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: Heart disease and stroke account for about 65 percent of deaths in people with diabetes
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Release Date: September 12, 2007  

“Strength in Numbers: NIH Debuts Campaign to Empower Individuals to Pursue Careers in Research: NIH’s Loan Repayment Program campaign, “Strength in Numbers,” aims to expand the breadth of opportunities for health professionals seeking careers in biomedical and behavioral research.”
Division of Loan Repayment, Office of Extramural Research (OER), NIH Office of the Director (OD)
Release Date: September 6, 2007

“New Study Examines Brain-Gut Relationship in those Suffering with Stomach Pain or Discomfort (Functional Dyspepsia)”
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Release Date: September 5, 2007 

“NIH Scientists Discover Novel Cause of Iron Overload in Thalassemia Disorders”
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Release Date: August 26, 2007  

“NIH Announces InCommon Interfederation”
Center for Information Technology (CIT)
Release Date: August 14, 2007  

“NCRR Launches National Network to Connect Investigators Based at Minority Institutions: Award Will Facilitate Multi-Site Collaborative Clinical and Translational Research
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Release Date: July 24, 2007  

“NIH Announces New Resource for Advancing Innovative Technologies Toward Commercialization”
NIH Office of the Director (OD)
Release Date: July 11, 2007

“NIH Awards Nearly $5 Million to Fund Knockout Mouse Repository: Increased Availability of Genetically Altered Mice Will Aid Studies of Human Diseases”
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Release Date: June 26, 2007

People in the News

NIDDK Advisory Council member, Jeffrey S. Flier, M.D., was named dean of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and assumed his new duties on September 1. Dr. Flier is the George C. Reisman Professor of Medicine at HMS. He has been a member of the HMS faculty since 1978 and has served for the past five years as chief academic officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of Harvard’s leading affiliated hospitals, where he is also the Harvard faculty dean for academic programs. Dr. Flier’s research includes investigations of the molecular mechanisms of insulin action, the molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance in human disease, and the molecular pathophysiology of obesity. Most recently, his research group has assumed a leading position in the use of transgenic models to explore the pathophysiology of metabolic disease, and in studies of the biologic role and mechanism of action of the fat-derived hormone leptin.

Harvard Medical School newsletter, Focus

NIDDK grantee, Nancy C. Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., has been named dean of the Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Andrews is the first woman to be appointed Dean of Duke’s School of Medicine and becomes the only woman to lead one of the nation’s top 10 medical schools. She has served as dean for Basic Sciences and Graduate Studies at Harvard Medical School and is an internationally renowned researcher in the fields of hematology and oncology.

Duke University School of Medicine news release

Joyce A. Hunter, Ph.D., was recently appointed Deputy Director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) at the NIH. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Hunter served as Deputy Director of NIDDK’s Division of Extramural Activities since 2002, where she coordinated scientific program policies that governed clinical research. Dr. Hunter has nearly 18 years of experience in NIH extramural policies and has an extensive career in program and scientific review administration.
NCMHD news release announcing Dr. Hunter’s appointment

Attila Szabo, Ph.D., chief of the Theoretical Biophysical Chemistry Section in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics, NIDDK Division of Intramural Research, was one of 14 recipients of the Biophysical Society 2008 Society awards. Dr. Szabo received his award for developing novel theoretical analyses for a wide variety of experiments and bringing leadership to the service of biological physics. Dr. Szabo and the other recipients will receive their awards at the Joint Biophysical Society Annual Meeting and IUPAB International Biophysics Congress Awards Ceremony on Monday, February 4, 2008, at the Convention Center in Long Beach, California.

Biophysical Society news release  

Dean Londos, D.D.S., Ph.D., chief of the Membrane Regulation Section in the Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, NIDDK Division of Intramural Research, was recently honored at the premiere Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Summer Research Conference on “Lipid Droplets: Metabolic Consequences of the Storage of Neutral Lipids.” Dr. Londos was presented with a plaque recognizing his outstanding contributions to research on lipid droplet biology and for the discovery of perilipins in 1990. Perilipins were the first identified lipid droplet-associated proteins and they function to regulate lipolysis of fats stored in adipocytes. By working to understand perilipin function using perilipin knockout mice and cell culture models, Dr. Londos has been instrumental in defining lipid droplets as organelles containing proteins that regulate energy homeostasis of animals.

Neil Musto, Ph.D., former Deputy Chief of the NIDDK Review Branch retired from government service on July 31, 2007.

Michele Barnard, Ph.D., replaced Dr. Musto as Deputy Chief of the Review Branch. Dr. Barnard came to the NIH in 1997 as a Senior Staff Fellow in the Intramural Branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, in the Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism. She joined the NIDDK Review Branch in January, 2000.

Barbara Harrison, M.S., retired on October 1, 2007. Ms. Harrison was the Director of the Obesity Special Projects Program and the Program Director for Look AHEAD, a complex 11 year clinical trial involving more than 5,000 subjects with diabetes. Ms. Harrison has been involved in Look AHEAD since its inception over nine years ago and has played a critical role in its design and management.

Carol Feld, M.S., NIDDK’s Associate Director for Scientific Program and Policy Analysis, retired on October 3, 2007. Ms. Feld headed the Office since 1984 and  worked at NIH for 30 years. She was key in developing and overseeing critical activities for NIDDK, such as the annual President’s Budget Justification, congressional testimony and reports, disease focused strategic plans and submissions required by the Government Performance Results Act and OMB’s Performance Assessment Rating Tool. Ms. Feld is an effective leader and outstanding mentor, receiving the NIH Director’s Mentoring Award this year.

I look forward to continued interaction with those of you who have an interest in the programs of NIDDK. Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. Director, NIDDK

Page last updated: October 03, 2007

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