Scientific Workforce Diversity Awards, Collaborative Science Supplements

You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements:

MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T34)

Purpose: Increase the number of well-prepared underrepresented (UR) students who, within 3 years of graduation, matriculate into competitive/research active Ph.D. or combined M.D.-Ph.D. programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, go on to research careers and participate in NIH-funded research
Application due dates: June 24, 2013; June 24, 2014; June 24, 2015
NIGMS contact: Shawn Gaillard, 301-594-3900

Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) (R25)

Purpose: Develop new or expand existing effective institutional developmental programs designed to academically and scientifically prepare underrepresented students for Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences
Application due date: June 20, 2013
NIGMS contact: Robin S. Broughton, 301-594-3900

Reminder: The application due date for Supplements for Collaborative Science is May 15. For details, see this related Feedback Loop post.

Reflecting on 10 Years of Modeling Disease Spread

The NIGMS Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) is a collaborative network of about 100 scientists who use computational, statistical and mathematical models to understand infectious disease dynamics.

As we mark the program’s 10th anniversary, we invite you to join us for a symposium titled “Modeling for Science and Policy” on September 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT at the Lipsett Auditorium on the NIH campus. You can also watch the symposium remotely (live or later) via the NIH Videocast Web site. The program will feature short talks by MIDAS researchers on modeling for scientific understanding, for health policy decision making and for preparedness planning. We’ll post more details about the symposium when they’re available.

We also welcome scientists to apply for grants to become part of the network. We just released funding opportunity announcements for MIDAS centers of excellence (U54), an information technology resource (U24) and research projects (U01).

Since its inception, MIDAS has pioneered the use of computational and mathematical models to prepare for, detect and respond to infectious disease threats. In addition to doing basic quantitative and computational biology, MIDAS works closely with local, state and federal public health agencies to facilitate the use of modeling in decision making.

Here are just a few examples of MIDAS activities:

  • Working with the Institute of Medicine and the National Association of County and City Health Officers, MIDAS held a workshop at the 2013 Public Health Preparedness Summit to demonstrate how modeling can be used by local public health officials to inform policy decisions.
  • The University of Pittsburgh center Exit icon has developed a software program called FRED that uses high-performance computing to create virtual outbreaks and deliver the results to a smartphone. The approach could enable public health officials to employ modeling tools even when they aren’t at their computers.
  • The Harvard School of Public Health center Exit icon is developing models for the emergence of drug resistance in influenza, tuberculosis and other diseases to study the implications for clinical decision making.
  • The University of Chicago project Exit icon uses large-scale computational modeling to explore the dynamics of MRSA among incarcerated and other communities on the south side of Chicago.
  • The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute project Exit icon is developing a computer activity to teach high school students how epidemiologists study outbreaks and use mathematics and computation to help make public health decisions about vaccine distribution and school closures, for example.
  • The MIDAS information technology resource Exit icon has developed detailed virtual human populations for many countries, including the United States, Mexico, Thailand, China and Argentina. These populations allow investigators to simulate social networks, transmission dynamics and the impact of behavior and policies on disease spread.

The network’s models, software and other resources, including information about historical epidemics, are available through the MIDAS portal Exit icon. If you’re interested in modeling and/or infectious diseases, I invite you to explore this site, and I welcome your questions.

CORRECTION: The symposium will take place in the Lister Hill Center Auditorium on the NIH campus.

Funding Opportunities for Scientists Affected by Hurricane Sandy

NIH has released two funding opportunity announcements to help restore facilities and/or research programs that were significantly disrupted by Hurricane Sandy last fall:

RFA-OD-13-199: Administrative supplements to awards that were active at the time of the storm

RFA-OD-13-005: Grants to new and early stage investigators whose pilot research and data were destroyed or damaged as a result of the storm

Eligibility is restricted to FEMA-declared major disaster states, and funds are limited to those made available by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. As discussed in a blog post from NIH’s Sally Rockey, NIH anticipates announcing additional opportunities and resources related to the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.

Undiagnosed Diseases Gene Function Research

You may be interested in this recent funding opportunity announcement from the NIH Common Fund that NIGMS will administer:

Undiagnosed Diseases Gene Function Research (R21)

Purpose: Investigate the underlying genetics, biochemistry and/or pathophysiology of newly diagnosed diseases in association with the respective gene variant(s) identified through the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network
Letter of intent due date: May 14, 2013
Application due date: June 14, 2013
NIGMS contact: Donna Krasnewich, 301-594-0943

Funding Opportunities: Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences Opportunity Network, Highly Innovative Tools and Technology for Analysis of Single Cells

You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements:

Limited Competition: Revision Applications for Basic Social and Behavioral Research on the Social, Cultural, Biological, and Psychological Mechanisms of Stigma (R01)

Purpose: Revise applications to incorporate basic research on behavioral and social mechanisms underlying stigma into active R01 research projects
Letter of intent due date: July 2, 2013
Application due date: August 2, 2013
NIH contacts:
Jennifer Alvidrez, NIMHD, 301-594-9567
Rebecca Ferrer, NCI, 301-594-0437
Enid Light, NIMH, 301-443-3599
Kathleen Michels, FIC, 301-435-6031

Development of Highly Innovative Tools and Technology for Analysis of Single Cells (SBIR) (R43/R44)

Purpose: Develop next-generation tools that distinguish heterogeneous states among cells and have commercial potential
Application due date: Standard dates apply
NIGMS contact: Stefan Maas, 301-594-0943

Genomes to Natural Products RFA

Last September, I described a concept clearance for an initiative to develop new approaches in natural products discovery that had just been approved by the NIGMS Advisory Council. The resulting request for applications on Genomes to Natural Products (U01) has now been published in the NIH Guide.

NIGMS, along with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), will support multidisciplinary research to develop high-throughput, broadly applicable approaches to natural products discovery that integrate genomics, synthetic biology and bioinformatics. We anticipate that up to four awards will be made through the cooperative agreement mechanism, totaling up to $9 million in Fiscal Year 2014. For NCCAM-specific interest areas and application requirements, see NOT-AT-13-005.

Applications are due by July 17. Potential applicants are invited to participate in an optional online Q&A session on April 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Access this event at and sign in as a “guest” to be able to submit questions.

Letters of intent are not needed, but depending on which funding component’s areas of interest are more relevant to the proposal, I strongly recommend that potential applicants e-mail me or my counterpart at NCCAM, Craig Hopp to discuss submission plans.

Macromolecular Interactions in Cells, Bioengineering Research Funding Opportunities

You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements:

These two announcements are based on a broader initiative for research on macromolecular interactions in cells in vivo. The initiative also includes an additional funding opportunity, Revisions for Macromolecular Interactions in Cells (R01).

  • Collaborations for Macromolecular Interactions in Cells (R01)

Purpose: Establish interdisciplinary collaborative projects to advance studies of macromolecular interactions and their relationship to function in cells, tissues and organisms

  • Research Networks for Macromolecular Interactions in Cells (U54)

Purpose: Establish interdisciplinary collaborative research networks to advance studies of macromolecular interactions and their relationship to function in cells, tissues and organisms

Letter of intent due date: April 30, 2013
Application due date: May 30, 2013
NIGMS contacts:
Alexandra Ainsztein, 301-594-0828
Daniel Janes, 301-594-0943
Vernon Anderson, 301-594-3827
Paul Brazhnik, 301-451-6446

Bioengineering Research Grants (BRG) (R01)

Purpose: Develop an innovative technology, model, technique, design or method that infuses principles and concepts from the quantitative sciences to increase our understanding of and solve problems in biological, clinical or translational science
Application due date: Standard dates apply
NIGMS contact: Pamela Marino, 301-594-3827

In addition, several new NIH Common Fund funding opportunities related to workforce development and diversity are listed at

Pain Research, Animal Stem Cell Funding Opportunities

You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements:

Mechanisms, Models, Measurement, and Management in Pain Research (R01)

Purpose: Conduct basic, clinical and translational studies on pain related to the missions of the participating NIH institutes and center
Application due dates: Standard dates apply
NIGMS contact: Alison Cole, 301-594-3827

Improvement of Animal Models for Stem Cell-Based Regenerative Medicine (R01)

Purpose: Propose research aimed at characterizing animal stem cells as well as improving and/or creating animal models for human disease conditions (see announcement for information on NIGMS-specific interests)
Application due dates: Standard dates apply
NIGMS contact: Susan Haynes, 301-594-0943

SBIR/STTR Program Changes

In late January, NIH issued the 2013 omnibus solicitations for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. As mandated and recently re-authorized by Congress, NIGMS and other NIH components have set aside funds for these programs focused on developing innovative technologies with commercial applications.

Starting with the April 5, 2013, receipt date, all applications must follow the instructions and guidelines in the 2013 solicitations. A few key changes are:

  1. The suggested guidelines for allowable budget requests are now $150,000 in total support for Phase I (R41/R43) and $1,000,000 in total support for Phase II (R42/R44). Note that total support includes the direct and indirect costs and fees for the entire length of the project. With appropriate justification, applicants may exceed the budget guidelines by up to 50 percent ($225,000 in total support for Phase I and $1,500,000 in total support for Phase II, a hard cap). NIH, including NIGMS, has received a limited waiver from the Small Business Administration to exceed the hard cap for specific topics.
  2. As in the past, NIH offers applicants for the SBIR and STTR programs access to various technical assistance programs to help move the funded projects toward commercialization. Alternatively, awardees may now directly request up to $5,000 to use for technical assistance of their own choosing.
  3. All applicant organizations must complete registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) Exit icon, Exit icon and eRA Commons. Soon, all small business concerns seeking SBIR or STTR funding will also need to register with the Small Business Administration Exit icon.

NIH plans to publish guidelines later this year to explain how small businesses with venture capital investors may use the SBIR and STTR funding mechanisms.

The NIH SBIR/STTR Web site has a wealth of information covering all aspects of the two programs, and additional updates will be posted there. I am happy to answer questions and discuss potential proposals with applicants. E-mail me at or call 301-594-3827.

UPDATE: NIH has reissued the SBIR and STTR funding opportunity announcements. View comments section for details.

Improving Homology Modeling

While the Protein Data Bank includes nearly 88,000 protein structures that were determined experimentally, there are millions more proteins whose structures are unknown. Comparative or homology modeling offers a powerful approach for leveraging solved structures to reveal important biological details about the others.

Two efforts, both funded through the Protein Structure Initiative, are evaluating the current state of our ability to model protein structures and complexes and seeking ways to further advance the accuracy and usefulness of homology modeling.

GPCR Dock 2013

The NIGMS-funded GPCR Network Exit icon is hosting its third round of the GPCR Docking and Modeling Assessment, GPCR Dock 2013. This assessment of homology modeling and docking methods is focused specifically on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), seven-transmembrane proteins that help transmit essential signals from a wide range of hormones and neurotransmitters in the body and that are a major target of existing drugs. Participants will submit prediction models for four target GPCR-ligand complexes recently determined by GPCR Network investigators and yet to be published. An analysis of the results will be available a few months after the March 3 submission deadline. To participate, register by February 1 Exit icon. For more information, contact the organizers.

Technology Development for Protein Modeling Funding Opportunity

As I stated last month, we have reissued the Technology Development for Protein Modeling (R01) funding opportunity announcement. It encourages grant applications from institutions that propose to develop novel technologies that will significantly improve the accuracy of comparative modeling methods for protein structure prediction. Applicants should focus on one or both of these goals:

  • Near-crystal-structure quality for close homologs of known structures, and/or
  • High-accuracy models for remote homologs of known structures.