Recommendations of the NIGMS Working Group on Sepsis

Sepsis is a serious condition that affects about 1.7 million people and causes about 270,000 deaths annually in the U.S. Because it involves multiple organ systems, it is also one of the clinical research areas supported by NIGMS. Despite decades of research, sepsis remains a poorly understood condition with limited diagnostic tools or therapeutic interventions.

Nearly a year ago, we established a working group of our Advisory Council to advise us on how best to advance sepsis research. At last week’s Council meeting, Dr. John Younger and Dr. Monica Kraft, co-chairs of the working group, presented the group’s recommendations:

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Does your application fit the scientific mission of NIGMS?

Prospective applicants frequently ask us whether their application ideas fit within our mission. NIGMS supports basic research that increases our understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. We also support research in some specific clinical areas that affect multiple organ systems, including anesthesia, sepsis, wound healing, and trauma. In addition, we’re committed to training the next generation of scientists, enhancing the diversity of the scientific workforce, and developing research capacity throughout the country.

Not all applications for fundamental biomedical research projects will ultimately be assigned to NIGMS.  Other NIH institutes and centers (ICs) also have strong commitments to basic research that underlie an understanding of their own particular organ systems, diseases, or treatments. Each NIH IC is different and supports distinct research areas, so it’s wise to seek advice from the program where your science best fits. Before submitting an application to NIGMS, we strongly recommend that you contact the program director whose portfolio most closely matches your area of research.

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Funding Opportunity: Methods to Improve Reproducibility of iPSC Derivation, Growth, and Differentiation

NIGMS, along with 11 other NIH institutes and centers, is seeking Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) applications to develop methods that improve the reproducibility of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derivation, growth, and differentiation (RFA-GM-19-001). Human iPSCs are mature cells that have been reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state and are able to differentiate into any cell type in the body. iPSCs are increasingly important research systems with a wide variety of applications, including studies of human development, tissue regeneration and repair, disease processes, and the development of new therapeutics. iPSCs and other regenerative technologies also have potential to transform clinical practice by creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissues or organs lost due to age, disease, damage, or congenital defects. Realizing the full potential of human iPSCs for both research and clinical practice has been limited by the significant variability in reprogramming efficiency, differentiation potential, and cell growth and stability. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will support SBIR projects to develop novel, reliable, and cost-effective methods to standardize and increase the utility and reproducibility of iPSCs at all stages, from their derivation to their research and clinical applications.

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NIGMS-Managed HIV/AIDS Research Transitioning to NIAID

For the past few months, NIGMS has been reviewing its HIV/AIDS grant portfolio. As the HIV/AIDS field has matured and the necessary research directions have become clearer, the HIV/AIDS-related grants we’ve supported have, appropriately, become more narrowly focused. Because of this, and after close consultation with leadership at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), we’ve concluded that it’s in the best interest of the research to transition NIGMS’ HIV/AIDS portfolio to NIAID to allow improved scientific coordination, prioritization, and efficiency of management.

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NIH Global Recruitment for Health Scientist Administrators

UPDATE: The vacancy announcement for this position is now available and is open through May 29.

On May 20, NIH will open a global recruitment for Health Scientist Administrators. A global recruitment is a way NIH hires for common positions by creating a single announcement in USAJobs.gov Link to external web site, which can be used by any Institute or Center with an approved vacancy. Applying to a global recruitment means that, with a single announcement, hiring officials throughout NIH will have access to your application.

We’re currently recruiting for a Program Director. However, we may have additional vacancies in the future. If you are interested in serving as a Health Scientist Administrator at NIGMS but the current vacancy does not fit your area of expertise, we encourage you to apply to the global announcement. If your application is determined to be qualified for the recruitment, it may remain active for at least 3 months. This means that if NIGMS receives approval to recruit for additional positions in the near future, our selecting officials will be able to view your application.

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Wanted: Program Director, Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences Branch

UPDATE: The vacancy announcement for this position is now available and is open through May 29.

We’re recruiting for an accomplished scientist with interest and experience in inflammation, innate immunity, and the physiological responses to injury, to join the Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences (PPS) Branch of the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry (PPBC). The successful applicant will have responsibility for scientific and administrative management of a portfolio of research, career development, and training grants.

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Funding Opportunity: NIGMS Technology Research and Development

UPDATE: The slides [PDF, 1.42MB] and video Link to external web site from the R01/R21 Webinar have been posted.

We’ve just re-issued two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for technology research and development grants that support biomedical research areas within the NIGMS mission.

They are:

Exploratory Research for Technology Development (R21)
PAR-19-254
Two-year grants that support innovative, high-risk concepts for developing a new technology or radically improving an existing one. The R21 supports only novel concepts that haven’t yet been tested for feasibility. Thus, unpublished data are not allowed. Because proof of concept must not already be developed, NIGMS expects the projects to be high risk.

Next application receipt date: June 16, 2019


Focused Technology Research and Development (R01)

PAR-19-253
Four-year grants that support development projects to validate and optimize a new technology. The R01 is for technologies that already have been shown to be feasible but need further technical work to produce a useful prototype. Projects with partial demonstration of feasibility but with substantial risk remaining could be submitted as a 3-year R01 with a reduced budget under this FOA.

Next application receipt date: June 5, 2019

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Change in NIGMS Phone System

Like most organizations, NIGMS has been modernizing many of its systems. One recent change is our phone system. To increase efficiency and to enable our support staff to handle higher-level responsibilities, we want you to know that the best way to now reach a program director or scientific review administrator is to send him or her an email. If you want the person to call you back, please provide your contact information and grant or application number. If you don’t know the email address of the NIGMS staff member, it can be found easily by entering the name in our Staff Directory. This directory also provides direct phone numbers of each staff member where you can leave a voicemail message.

The NIGMS website provides information that you may find helpful in determining the staff member you want to contact. If you are still uncertain about whom to contact, you may call the main NIGMS phone number (301-496-7301) and leave a message.

NIGMS’ program staff are, as always, interested in hearing from you, answering your questions, and addressing your concerns.

Application and Funding Trends in Fiscal Year 2018

On September 28, 2018, the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 Link to external web site was signed into law. The law includes an NIGMS budget of $2,872,780,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019—a 3.1% increase from FY 2018. This budget increase follows a 5.1% rise in funding in FY 2018.

NIGMS is committed to ensuring that taxpayers get the best possible returns on their investments in fundamental biomedical research [PDF, 702KB] . As part of this commitment to stewardship [PDF, 7.89MB], we regularly monitor trends in our funding portfolio.

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