NIGMS Announces New Website

We’re pleased to announce the launch of our redesigned website, https://www.nigms.nih.gov. Among the site’s new and improved features:

  • Easier navigation with fewer clicks
  • Modern, visually appealing look
  • Enhanced science education pages
  • Improved search functionality
  • Format that’s both computer- and mobile-friendly
  • And more!

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Your Perspectives: Strategies for Enhancing Postdoctoral Career Transitions to Promote Faculty Diversity

Continuing our longstanding commitment to train the next generation of biomedical scientists and support the careers of students and postdoctoral scientists from diverse backgrounds, for example groups underrepresented in biomedical research, we sought input from the community through a request for information (RFI) on strategies to enhance successful postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity, specifically in research-intensive institutions. The RFI was open May 24 to July 20, 2018, and received a total of 89 unique responses from stakeholders including postdoctoral scientists, faculty members, and professional societies.

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Updated Focus of NIGMS-Supported Predoctoral Training in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, and Biomedical Data Science

Modern biomedical research is becoming increasingly quantitative and reliant on computational methods, with growing use of large and complex datasets to address biomedical research questions and advance human health. To help address the need for biomedical researchers with cutting-edge computational and quantitative skills, we have updated the focus areas of our Predoctoral T32 Training Program in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, and Biomedical Data Science (formerly called Bioinformatics and Computational Biology). In doing this, we aim to better integrate training in data-science approaches throughout the curriculum and during the mentored research period. We are now placing a strong emphasis on programs that:

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New T32 Medical Scientist Training Program Funding Opportunity Announcement

We’ve just released a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Through this FOA, we intend to encourage changes in integrated medical and graduate research training to keep pace with the rapid evolution of a research environment that is increasingly complex, interdisciplinary, quantitative, and collaborative.

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Two NIGMS Grantees Among Winners of 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

I’m very pleased to announce that two long-time NIGMS grantees are among today’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Link to external web site. They include:

  • Frances H. Arnold, Ph.D., of the California Institute of Technology, “for the directed evolution of enzymes”
  • George P. Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri, Columbia, who shares the prize with Sir Gregory P. Winter of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K., “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies”

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NIH Statement: Changing the Culture of Science to End Sexual Harassment

Last week, NIH Director Francis S. Collins issued a statement about the pervasive problem of sexual harassment in science and reaffirmed NIH’s commitment to address it. He noted that NIH is working to bolster its policies and practices to foster a culture of respect wherever NIH research activities are conducted, and to ensure that sexual harassment is not tolerated or ignored.

NIH has launched a new website on anti-sexual harassment activities. I encourage you to explore the site and become familiar with NIH’s policies, practices, and initiatives.

Consistent with NIGMS’ strong commitment to research training, the Institute recently announced that applications for our predoctoral T32 training programs must include in their required institutional support letters information about the institution’s policies and procedures to prevent discriminatory harassment and respond appropriately to allegations or findings of discriminatory harassment. Moving forward, NIGMS will require this information in institutional support letters for applications for all of our training programs.

Lasker Awards Honor Three NIGMS Grantees

We are delighted that three long-time NIGMS grantees have been recognized by the 2018 Lasker Awards Link to external web site. The awards highlight fundamental biological discoveries to draw attention to the importance of public support of science.

  • Michael Grunstein of the University of California, Los Angeles, and C. David Allis of Rockefeller University, received the 2018 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for “discoveries elucidating how gene expression is influenced by chemical modifications of histones—the proteins that package DNA within chromosomes.” NIGMS funded Grunstein’s work on the establishment and spreading of silent chromatin from 1977 to 2012. His research led to the generation of the first histone mutations in yeast and the first demonstration that chemical modification of specific ends of histones could turn gene expression on or off. Allis identified and characterized enzymes that add, remove, and read histone modifications. His work led to the hypothesis of a histone code that, when mis-read, can lead to disease. NIGMS has funded Allis since 1988.
  • Joan Argetsinger Steitz of Yale University received the 2018 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for “four decades of leadership in biomedical science—exemplified by pioneering discoveries in RNA biology, generous mentorship of budding scientists, and vigorous and passionate support of women in science.” Steitz’s pioneering research helped reveal the function of small pieces of RNA that are not used for making proteins. These molecules, including small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), help regulate gene activity. In doing so, they—like histone modifications—have a major impact on health and disease. NIGMS funded her research from 1975 to 2014. The Lasker-Koshland Award further recognizes Steitz’s long record of mentoring the next generation of scientific leaders and her effective and tireless work as an advocate for women in science.

We congratulate all of the recipients on these well-deserved honors.

Wanted: Program Director, Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences Branch

We’re recruiting for an accomplished scientist with experience in the pharmacological sciences to join the Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences (PPS) Branch of the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry. The successful applicant will have responsibility for scientific and administrative management of a portfolio of grants, both research and training, in the Division.

The PPS Branch supports research studies ranging from the molecular to cellular to organismal, which can be basic or clinical in nature. This position offers stewardship of grant awards related to modern approaches to examining the effects of drugs on the body and the body’s effects on drugs, as well as how these effects vary from individual to individual. This includes investigations of the absorption, transport, distribution, metabolism, biotransformation, toxicity, and excretion of drugs, as well as determinants and models of pharmacokinetics. The portfolio also includes investigation of drug delivery strategies and the packaging and delivery of molecules and biologics, with an emphasis on drug release and kinetics.

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Revised Instructions for Predoctoral T32 Applicants

Are you applying for the NIGMS Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) – PAR-17-341? If so, it’s important you note revisions to our FOA instructions that clarify application requirements. We have also added a new requirement concerning institutional responsibilities related to harassment. We encourage you to read the full NIH Guide notice, published on August 23, 2018. Key points include:

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Webinar for Bridges Applicants

UPDATE: The slides from the Bridges Applicants webinar have been posted.

Are you preparing an institutional Bridges to the Baccalaureate or Bridges to the Doctorate grant application? If so, you may have questions about the funding opportunity announcements, data tables, and FORMS-E application package required for the upcoming September 25 receipt date.

We’re offering a webinar to discuss these topics:

Thursday, August 16, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET

You may send questions to us (Mercedes Rubio or Patrick H. Brown) before the webinar or post them live in the chat box during the event. If you’re away from your computer, you can access the webinar from a mobile device or listen to a voice-only option by dialing 1-800-857-5163 from anywhere in the United States or Canada and entering the participant passcode 2222558.

NIGMS Staff Participating in the August 16 Webinar:

Mercedes Rubio, Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program Director
Patrick H. Brown, Bridges to the Doctorate Program Director
Rebecca Johnson, Scientific Review Officer
Justin Rosenzweig, Grants Management Specialist

We look forward to talking to you about the Bridges programs. Slides will be posted on the Bridges to the Baccalaureate and Bridges to the Doctorate websites following the event.