To address questions that investigators frequently ask about the review of their applications and the next steps after review, NIH recently created an online resource, titled Next Steps. It has also added a link to this new Web site on summary statements, just below the impact score and percentile.
The FAQs do not cover all scenarios, but they do provide the basis for discussion with your program director.
NIGMS information on summary statements and just-in-time actions is posted for research grant, fellowship and training and workforce development applications.
We welcome structural biologists and biologists engaged in functional investigations that benefit from structural data to participate in our PSI:Biology Technologies Workshop at NIH on December 12, 2012.
The workshop will focus on new technologies for high-throughput protein structure determination developed within our Protein Structure Initiative, which is now in a phase called PSI:Biology. Investigators from the initiative will present their latest data and highlight problems and solutions specifically related to protein-protein, protein-ligand, protein-nucleic acid and other macromolecular complexes. In addition to exchanging ideas, workshop participants will have the opportunity to meet potential collaborators.
This meeting is the latest in a series of popular and very productive annual events, dubbed “bottlenecks” and “enabling technologies” workshops. Registration (no longer available), which is now open, is free. If you have questions, especially as we build the agenda, or require any other assistance, please e-mail me or Alexandra Ainsztein or call us at 301-594-4428 or 301-594-0828, respectively.
Natural products have been a prolific source of therapeutic drugs because they have been selected through evolution to be biologically active. New opportunities for natural products development are being made by genomic discoveries and are poised to reinvigorate this critically important area.
At its September meeting, the NIGMS Advisory Council approved a new initiative that will use the cooperative agreement (U01) mechanism to support collaborative and multidisciplinary research aimed at developing high-throughput, broadly applicable approaches for natural products discovery that integrate genomics, synthetic biology and bioinformatics. Research under this initiative will provide the scientific community with tools and knowledge for inferring the basic structure of natural products and for producing natural products, regardless of whether the source is cultivable or the biosynthetic operon is expressed in cultures.
We expect the funding opportunity announcement to be published in the NIH Guide early in 2013. In the meantime, I encourage you to start talking with potential collaborators and thinking about applying.
For more on the current challenges of natural products discovery, read a Nature Chemistry article written by NIGMS Advisory Council member Scott Miller of Yale University and Jon Clardy of Harvard Medical School that summarizes discussions during our 2009 Natural Products and Biomedical Science symposium.
One of our 50th anniversary scientific society symposia took place last month at the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting in Philadelphia. The day-long event highlighted the fundamental role of chemistry in biomedical science and demonstrated that NIGMS is a major supporter of the field.
Titled “50 Years of NIGMS-Supported Chemistry Enabling Biomedical Research,” the symposium featured distinguished speakers who collectively represent the broad range of medically important chemistry we support. Abstracts of their talks are available online. The speakers were:
- Carolyn Bertozzi, University of California, Berkeley
- Stephen Buchwald, MIT
- Linda Hsieh-Wilson, Caltech
- Anna Mapp, University of Michigan
- Thomas O’Halloran, Northwestern University
- Smita Patel, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
- Daniel Romo, Texas A&M University
- Melanie Sanford, University of Michigan
- Vern Schramm, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
- Brian Shoichet, University of California, San Francisco
Tom Wandless of Stanford University and JoAnne Stubbe of MIT moderated the symposium.
The theme of the entire ACS meeting, “Materials for Health and Medicine,” reinforced the importance of chemistry to many types of biomedical research, including the structural and functional characterization and manipulation of biological molecules; the characterization of metabolic pathways; the discovery, development and manufacture of therapeutics and diagnostics; and the design and construction of biocompatible materials and nanoscale devices.
It would be an understatement to say that there was a high degree of interest at the meeting in these aspects of chemistry research. Among the evidence is the enthusiastic participation in the symposium by so many leading scientists, co-sponsorship by five ACS divisions (biological, organic, inorganic, carbohydrate and medicinal chemistry), designation as an ACS Presidential event , and excellent attendance.
For more on our support of chemistry research, see the Feedback Loop post by Mike Rogers, the recent Chemical & Engineering News feature article, and the video of a press conference with chemical scientists whose careers were aided by our support.
So far, NIGMS has funded the work of 36 chemistry Nobel laureates. We’ll find out on October 10 if that number increases this year.
You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements:
Bridges to the Doctorate Program (R25)
Purpose: Promote partnerships/consortia between colleges or universities granting a terminal master’s degree and institutions that offer the doctorate degree, with the goal of increasing the pool of master’s degree students from underrepresented backgrounds who pursue research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and who are trained and available to participate in NIH-funded research
Application due date: October 26, 2012
NIGMS contact: Michelle R.J. Hamlet, 301-594-3900
Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program (R25)
Purpose: Promote partnerships/consortia between community colleges or other 2-year post-secondary educational institutions granting the associate degree and colleges or universities that offer the baccalaureate degree, with the goal of increasing the pool of community college students from underrepresented backgrounds who pursue research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and will be available to participate in NIH-funded research
Application due date: October 26, 2012
NIGMS contact: Michelle R.J. Hamlet, 301-594-3900
As I discussed in an earlier post, the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program supports the development of infrastructure and capacity to enable investigators in IDeA-eligible states to become more competitive for NIH and other biomedical research funding opportunities.
While the program has led to significant progress in the basic sciences, clinical and translational research in IDeA states has, for the most part, remained underdeveloped. To spur greater clinical and translational research in these states, NIH issued the IDeA Program Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) funding opportunity announcement last year.
We have just awarded the first grants, to the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (lead institution: West Virginia University) and the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (lead institution: Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center).
Among the activities these centers will pursue are partnerships and collaborations within and across IDeA states; clinical and translational pilot grants; clinical research education, mentoring and career development; clinical research design, epidemiology and biostatistics; and projects related to the specific health and research needs of their states.
For more information on the IDeA-CTR initiative, please contact me by
e-mail or call 301-435-0832.
The National Research Council of the National Academies has released a report titled Transforming Glycoscience: A Roadmap for the Future . The report was sponsored by several NIH institutes, including NIGMS, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. It was prepared by the Committee on Assessing the Importance and Impact of Glycomics and Glycosciences , chaired by David Walt of Tufts University.
The committee was charged to “articulate a unified vision for the field on glycoscience and glycomics” and to “develop a roadmap with concrete research goals to significantly advance [them].”
Their major recommendations are that NIH, NSF, DOE and other relevant stakeholders place a high priority on the development of:
- Transformative methods for the facile synthesis of carbohydrates and glycoconjuates;
- Transformative tools for the detection, imaging, separation and high-resolution structure determination of carbohydrate structures and mixtures; and
- Transformative capabilities for perturbing carbohydrate and glycoconjugate structure, recognition, metabolism and biosynthesis.
The report also supports the development of:
- Robust, validated informatics tools to enable accurate carbohydrate and glycoconjugate structural prediction, computational modeling and data mining. This capability will broaden access of glycoscience data to the entire scientific community.
- A long-term-funded, stable, integrated, centralized database that includes mammalian, plant and microbial carbohydrates and glycoconjugates and has links to other databases. The deposition of new structures using a reporting standard should be required.
- Integration of the glycosciences into the science curriculum.
While NIGMS has a long history of investment in the glycosciences, including funding for the Consortium for Functional Glycomics glue grant and the development of methods and tools required for a full glycomics effort, the report sets an ambitious pace that would require a broad, multidisciplinary, multi-agency effort. It’s possible that the report may help guide the development of future NIH initiatives in the areas identified.
Gerald Hart, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the committee that prepared the report, will brief the NIGMS Advisory Council of its findings at its September meeting. NAS staff involved in developing the report will also be in attendance to respond to questions.