NIDDK Director's Update (December 1, 2006) : NIDDK

NIDDK Director's Update (December 1, 2006)

Welcome to the NIDDK Director's Update, a periodic electronic newsletter with information about NIH and NIDDK activities.  To comment on this newsletter or to unsubscribe, send an email to Marcia Vital in the NIDDK Office of Communications and Public Liaison at

NIH Budget Update

The NIH is acting under a continuing resolution through December 8, with funding at fiscal year 2006 levels.  The Senate cleared a stopgap measure September 29 to fund programs covered by appropriation bills not enacted by the start of fiscal year 2007, October 1.  NIH programs are funded through the Labor-HHS-Education spending measure, which did not pass the House or the Senate by October 1.  Congress is back in session as of November 13.  NIH released on October 6 a Notice (NOT-OD-07-004) stating that NIH institutes and centers will issue non-competing research grants at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award until the final fiscal year 2007 appropriation is enacted.

NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts Notice NOT-OD-07-004:

NIH Office of Budget:

Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., NIH Director, “NIH in the post-doubling era: realities and strategies.”  Science Magazine, 17 November 2006; Vol 314; pp. 1088-1090.

NIH Roadmap for Medical Research Update

The NIH posted a Notice, “Request for Information (RFI): To Solicit Input and Ideas for Roadmap Trans-NIH Strategic Initiatives,” on the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts website October 20.  The Notice (NOT-OD-07-011) states that the NIH is seeking input on innovative and cross-cutting initiatives that will improve and accelerate biomedical research and its impact on the health of the Nation.  The RFI invites input and ideas from the scientific community, health professionals, patient advocates, and the general public on ways to address specific barriers to basic, translational, or clinical research through development of novel tools, technologies, and services; or on ways to fill knowledge gaps that impede research across a broad spectrum of health science.  The RFI is available on the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts website:

The NIH director announced the 2006 Pioneer Award recipients on September 19.  The NIH Pioneer Award, a key component of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, is in its third year and supports exceptionally creative scientists who take highly innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical research.  The 13 awardees will each receive $2.5 million in direct costs over five years.  More information is available on the NIH News page:

The NIH director announced the launch of 2007 Pioneer Award competition on October 12.  The application period opens on December 1 and closes on January 16.  Scientists at all career levels and engaged in any field of research exploring biomedically relevant topics may apply for the Pioneer Award.  More information on the 2007 Pioneer Award competition is available on the NIH News page:
Application instructions are available on the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts website:

More information on the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research is available on the NIH website:

Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS)

NIH is seeking input from the public on a proposed repository for genetic information.  A Request for Information appeared in the Federal Register on August 30 and NIH accepted public comments through October 31.  In addition, NIH has planned a Town Hall Meeting for December 14 to discuss the policy in a public forum.  The draft policy seeks to harmonize the policies of the many NIH institutes and centers regarding the way in which results from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are made available to the scientific community.  The draft policy proposes terms and conditions for investigators to access GWAS data for research purposes, while preserving the privacy and confidentiality of research participants.  More information is available on the NIH News page, , and on the Genome-Wide Association Studies web page, .  Comments are submitted via email to .

Electronic Submission of Grant Applications Update

NIH is transitioning from paper submission of grant applications to electronic submission via the web portal, while simultaneously phasing out the PHS398 grant application form and replacing it with the SF424, Research and Research-related (R&R), application.  This staged transition began in December 2005 and will run through September 2007.  NIH updated the timeline for e-submission of grants in October 2006, postponing the first receipt date for e-submission of R01s to 5 February 2007.  More information about electronic submission of grant applications is available on the NIH website:

NIDDK Exploratory Research Grant (R21) Program

The R21 grant program provides a mechanism dedicated to the promotion of highly innovative research if the proposed research holds promise for a major advance in biomedical research.  NIDDK uses the R21 to support projects within its research mission that are innovative, high pay-off, paradigm-shifting projects; novel technology and tool development projects; applications of existing methods, technologies, or conceptual approaches from outside biomedical science to a problem in the NIDDK mission; or pilot clinical trials or clinical studies.  Potential applicants are strongly advised to discuss a prospective proposal with a member of the NIDDK Program Staff in order to determine whether it is appropriate to submit as an R21 applications.  More information is available on the NIDDK website:

Resources for New NIDDK Investigators

NIH has policies and resources designed to assist new investigators in establishing their research programs and careers.  In addition, NIDDK has created a number of special new investigator opportunities and Frequently Asked Questions for new investigators.  More information is available on the “Resources for New NIDDK Investigators” web page on the NIDDK website:

Recent Notices in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

Establishment of Multiple Principal Investigator Awards for the Support of Team Science Projects (NOT-OD-07-017)
Release Date:  20 November

Limits on Resubmission of an Application: Clarification of NIH Policy (NOT-OD-07-015)
Release Date:  13 November

Request for Information (RFI):  Possible Page Limit Reduction For the Research Plan Section of the Research Project Grant (R01) Application (NOT-OD-07-014)
Release Date:  9 November
Response Date:  5 January 2007

In the News

October 17:  NIDDK Debuts New Website

October 11:  Plan Will Guide NIH Research in Type 1 Diabetes

October 10:  Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN) Announces Genotyping Awards for Six Common Diseases: First round of whole genome association studies focuses on disorders of the brain, skin, and kidney

October 5:  Public-Private Partnership Forms The Biomarkers Consortium to Advance the Science of Personalized Medicine: Lung cancer and lymphoma set for initial investigations, prospective projects in major depression and diabetes cited

September 27:  Clinical Trial Shows Islet Transplantation is a Promising Procedure For Certain Patients with Severe Type 1 Diabetes

September 19:  Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health, Endorses National Academy of Sciences Report: Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Dream of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

September 14:  Countdown Continues: Final Forty Chosen in National Challenge to Name America's “Top Young Scientist of the Year” 8 th Annual Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge Welcomes “Disease Detectives” to Washington DC, National Institutes of Health to Collaborate in this Celebrated Program

September 11:  NIH Offers $35,000 in Annual Student Loan Repayment

September 5:  Overweight in Early Childhood Increases Chances for Obesity at Age 12

August 31:  Obesity in Men Linked to Infertility

August 28:  New Study Seeks to Lower Diabetes Risk in Youth

July 19:  Gene Variant Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: But Healthy Lifestyle Changes Reduce Genetic Risk

July 18:  NIH Launches Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign for Health Care Providers and Public

NIDDK Staff News

Dr. Philip Anfinrud, Chief of the Ultrafast Biophysical Chemistry Section in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics, Division of Intramural Research, NIDDK, has been elected as a Fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.  Dr. Anfinrud was elected for distinguished contributions to understanding the relationships between protein structure, dynamics, and function using ultrafast time-resolved laser spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography.  More information is available on the NIH News page of the NIH website:

Dr. Daniel H. Appella, an investigator in the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, Division of Intramural Research, NIDDK, recently received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).  This award program recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership in scholarship, service, and education.  The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Dr. Andrew Narva recently joined the NIDDK to become the Director of the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP).  Dr. Narva comes to NKDEP from the Indian Health Service, an agency of the Public Health Service that provides health care to approximately two million American Indians and Alaska Natives, including communities with the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease in the United States .  He succeeds Dr. Thomas Hostetter, who is now with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York .

We are saddened by the loss of Dr. Nancy G. Nossal, Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Division of Intramural Research, NIDDK.  Nancy died September 28 from cancer.  Nancy joined the NIDDK in 1964 and distinguished herself in the field of DNA replication.  She became Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1992.  She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005 for her identification and characterization of the phage T4 proteins essential to DNA synthesis in vitro and the elucidation of their functions at a molecular level.  Nancy was a dedicated and caring colleague, whose courage was an inspiration to all of us.  NIDDK has established the Nancy Nossal Scientific Mentorship Award in her honor.

I look forward to continued interaction with those of you who have an interest in the programs of NIDDK.

Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., Acting Director


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