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Wanted: Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences Director

Mon, 2019-11-18 10:15

BBCB Search Committee Members:

Enrique De La Cruz, Yale University

Daniel Gallahan, National Cancer Institute

Jill Heemskerk, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Ming Lei, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Chair

Cathy Wu, University of Delaware

The search is now open for an outstanding candidate to serve as director of our Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences (BBCB). The division supports the development of biophysical and computational methods and tools for understanding basic biological questions; physical and theoretical methodologies, data science and bioinformatics tools, and cutting-edge quantitative and computational approaches to better understand biological systems and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention; and the creation of innovative tools and new technologies for the study of macromolecular, cellular, and organelle processes and function. The division also administers NIGMS’ Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program.

This position offers a unique and exciting opportunity to set scientific priorities, lead change, and improve the biomedical research enterprise. The director of BBCB is a key member of the senior leadership team of the Institute and supervises a staff of approximately 11 program officers. Candidates must possess a Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent degree in a field relevant to the position. The ideal candidate will have considerable research experience in biomedical science including computational/data biosciences and biomedical technology development, recognized research management and leadership abilities, and knowledge related to the NIGMS mission.

For additional information and application instructions, please see the vacancy announcement. NIGMS will accept applications until January 6, 2020.

As chair of the search committee, I ask for your help in identifying outstanding candidates for this crucial position and in sharing this information with others who might be interested.

Advancing Sepsis Research: New Models and Novel Approaches

Mon, 2019-10-28 11:06

At the September meeting of the NIGMS Advisory Council, I delivered the Institute’s response to the recommendations of the Working Group on Sepsis. For more information, you can watch the videocast of the presentation.

Watch the sepsis presentation at the September Advisory Council meeting.

As a funding institute, we want to rebalance our research portfolio to invest in sepsis in more targeted, strategic ways. Planned efforts include:

  1. Placing greater emphasis on patient-derived materials (“bedside to bench”)
  2. Developing a mechanistic understanding in patients to categorize sepsis endotypes
  3. Promoting discovery science as a foundation for future clinical studies
  4. Encouraging new approaches for sepsis research, including:
    • Computational and data sciences
    • Novel research organisms as models for humans
    • Technology development programs
  5. De-emphasizing support in some areas, including:
    • Use of rodent models, except where uniquely well justified
    • Large-scale clinical trials, in order to prioritize fundamental basic research

Accordingly, we have published two NIH Guide notices:

  • Notice of Information: NIGMS Priorities for Sepsis Research (NOT-GM-19-054)
  • Request for Information (RFI): Strategies to Support Acquisition and Use of Biospecimens for Research on Sepsis in Humans (NOT-GM-19-057) (Responses are due by November 15, 2019)

NIGMS especially wants to stimulate interest in sepsis research by investigators who may not have been aware of the challenges of identifying and treating sepsis patients.

Please help us spread the word.

Funding Opportunity: Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) R25

Fri, 2019-10-04 10:00

In March, we released an NIH Guide notice informing the community of our intent to continue the Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) R25. We’re now pleased to announce that the IPERT funding opportunity announcement (FOA) (PAR-19-383) has been reissued with minor changes. The goal of IPERT is to enable the scientific community to develop and implement innovative educational activities that equip diverse cohorts of participants with the skills required for careers in the biomedical research workforce. IPERT activities must integrate the required components of the Research Education Program Plan (REPP), including the following core elements:

  • Courses for skills development (e.g., activities designed to develop technical, operational, and/or professional skills necessary to conduct rigorous and reproducible research)
  • Mentoring activities (e.g., activities designed to provide career information, advice, and support to research-oriented students, postdoctoral fellows, or independent faculty in biomedical fields)

Each IPERT must address the NIGMS goals of creating a highly skilled and diverse biomedical workforce. Moreover, IPERT is meant to enhance or augment other training activities and must be open to the broader biomedical community, serving at a national or regional scale. Please read the FOA carefully for more details on the requirements of the REPP.

This new announcement incorporates minor changes to the program:

  1. Direct costs are capped at $500,000 per year.
  2. A sustainability plan is required.
  3. Receipt dates are in October 2019, 2020, and 2021.
  4. Proposed activities must be relevant to the areas of biomedical research training supported by NIGMS.

Under this FOA, new and competing renewal applications will be accepted but revised applications (resubmissions) will not. Find additional information about the program on the IPERT webpage.

First application receipt date: October 31, 2019
Earliest start date: July 2020

If you have questions about IPERT, contact Michael Sesma, Edgardo Falcón-Morales, or Desirée Salazar.

Funding Opportunity: Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) Program

Mon, 2019-09-30 10:45

We’re pleased to announce that the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) (K12) funding opportunity announcement (PAR-19-366) has been reissued with some minor changes. IRACDA combines a mentored postdoctoral research experience at a research-intensive institution with an opportunity to develop critical teaching and mentoring skills at a teaching-intensive partner institution that has a diverse student population. The primary goal of the program is to develop an inclusive pool of well-trained biomedical scientists who have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue independent academic teaching and research careers. An additional goal of IRACDA is to benefit the teaching-intensive partner institutions by:

  • Providing research-oriented early-career teachers, mentors, and role models for the students
  • Enhancing science educational offerings
  • Providing research opportunities for the faculty and students
  • Bringing expertise with state-of-the-art research methods and technologies

For additional information about the program, including a list of active programs, see the IRACDA webpage

First application receipt date: November 13, 2019
Earliest start date: July 2020

If you have questions about IRACDA, contact Mercedes Rubio or Desirée Salazar.

Webinar for Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) (T32) Program Applicants

Thu, 2019-09-26 09:36

Are you preparing an institutional Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) (T32) grant application? If so, please join us for a webinar about the program and the opportunity to ask questions:

Monday, November 4, 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET

During the webinar, we’ll provide a broad overview of the program and share our expectations of applications and the required data tables for the upcoming January 28 receipt date.

Feel free to send your questions in advance to us (Sailaja Koduri or Veerasamy Ravichandran) or post them live in the chat box during the event.

To access the webinar, visit the WebEx Meeting page and enter the meeting number 628 347 683 and the password IMSD2019. If you’re unable to attend online, you can join by phone by calling 1-650-479-3208 from anywhere in the United States or Canada and entering the meeting number.

NIGMS Staff Participating in the November 4 Webinar:

  • Sailaja Koduri, IMSD Program Director
  • Veerasamy Ravichandran, IMSD Program Director
  • Justin Rosenzweig, Grants Management Specialist
  • Office of Scientific Review Staff

We look forward to talking to you about the IMSD program. Slides will be posted on the IMSD webpage following the event.

NIGMS Continues Its MIRA Program

Mon, 2019-09-16 13:07

We’ve issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) PAR-19-367 to maintain continued support of our Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program. Under this new FOA, investigators with an active NIGMS R35 grant (both early-stage and established investigator MIRA) can submit renewal MIRA applications, and investigators with a single-PI R01-equivalent NIGMS award (DP1, DP2, R01, R37, SC1) can submit new MIRA applications.

Some changes to this FOA include:

1. Eligibility: New MIRA applications should be submitted within the fiscal year that follows the fiscal year of the original project period expiration date of the qualifying award. Renewal MIRA applications should be submitted within the two fiscal years that follow the fiscal year of the original project period expiration date of the current R35 MIRA. Please note that the original project expiration date is the sole determinant of eligibility; a no-cost extension to a qualifying award will not increase the eligibility time window.

2. Budget: An itemized or detailed budget request is no longer required and will not be accepted. Applicants are instructed to request a total direct cost amount for each budget year. Additional funds for well-justified equipment purchases can be requested. Inflationary increases in future years will not be allowed.

3. Other changes:

  • The FOA is now clinical trial optional.
  • Early applications will be accepted, but because an ongoing award will be replaced, a MIRA application submitted early may truncate the qualifying award.
  • DP1s and transformative R01s administered by NIGMS are now qualifying awards, but MIRA budgets may be reduced from these award levels. 

4. Review: Broad panels at the NIH Center for Scientific Review will review all applications. For new and renewal MIRA applications, an investigator’s career stage will be considered.

If you have additional questions about the MIRA program, please contact me.

Wanted: Program Director, Genetic Mechanisms Branch

Fri, 2019-09-13 11:27

We’re recruiting for an accomplished scientist to manage research grant, fellowship, training, and other types of awards focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying inheritance, gene expression, and development. The position is in our Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Job responsibilities involve working collaboratively with other staff to stimulate, plan, advise, direct, and evaluate program activities for a portfolio of research awards.

Applicants should have expertise and experience using state-of-the-art molecular genetics and/or genomics-based approaches to gain a mechanistic understanding of one or more of these, or related, areas:

  • Cell growth and differentiation
  • Signaling pathway dynamics
  • DNA and RNA replication
  • DNA recombination and repair
  • Transcription
  • Function of coding and noncoding RNA
  • RNA processing
  • Protein synthesis

Applicants should have a doctoral degree in one of the sciences underlying these research areas (for example, microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, etc.). Familiarity with NIH extramural funding as an applicant, reviewer, or NIH scientific administrator is a plus, and outstanding written and oral communication skills are essential.

The position will be included in the Global Recruitment for Health Scientist Administrators (HSA) at NIH. There are two GS-12/13/14 HSA (Program Officer) vacancy announcements: one for federal employees (candidates with current or former federal employment status) and one for the public (candidates without such status). The announcements open on September 16, 2019, and close on September 25, 2019. The NIGMS Tip Sheet [PDF, 78.2KB] on applications for global recruitments may be helpful. We encourage all interested candidates to contact me to ask questions about this position or Clau Gonzalez to inquire about the recruitment process.

Not looking for a position right now? Please help us out by forwarding this information to others who might be interested in this opportunity.

Susan Gregurick to Lead Data Science Activities at NIH

Thu, 2019-09-12 12:05

It’s with profoundly mixed emotions that I tell you that Susan Gregurick has been named the NIH associate director for data science and director of the Office of Data Science Strategy. This new position will allow her to play a key role in shaping data science activities across NIH.

Susan has provided extraordinary leadership to our Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences (BBCB) for the past 6 years and has been an essential member of the Institute’s senior staff. I’m confident that she’ll bring the same level of enthusiasm, professionalism, judgment, and keen intellect to her new office as she did here at NIGMS. The appointment becomes official on September 15, although Susan will remain here at NIGMS through the end of the month. Judith Greenberg will serve as acting director of BBCB while we search for a permanent replacement.

For more on this appointment, see the statement from NIH Director Francis Collins. Please join me in wishing Susan the best in the next phase of her career. NIGMS’ loss is certainly NIH’s gain!

New Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) Programs Announced

Mon, 2019-08-26 09:44

In March, we shared our plans to develop a new program as part of our efforts to enhance postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity in the biomedical research workforce. We’re pleased to announce that the Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) funding opportunity announcements have been published. MOSAIC is designed to facilitate the transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds, such as individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce at the faculty level, into independent faculty careers at research-intensive institutions. The program has two components:

MOSAIC Institutionally-Focused Research Education Cooperative Agreement to Promote Diversity (UE5)

Supports independent organizations (e.g., scientific societies) of biomedical scientists who conduct research within the NIGMS mission. Awardees will provide skills development, mentoring, and networking opportunities that prepare cohorts of scholars supported by MOSAIC K99/R00 awards to transition into, succeed, and advance in independent faculty careers at research-intensive institutions.

First application deadline: November 15, 2019
Earliest start date: July 2020

MOSAIC Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00)

Supports postdoctoral scientists from diverse backgrounds conducting research in areas within the NIGMS mission by providing up to 5 years of support in two phases:

  • The initial (K99) phase provides support for up to 2 years of mentored postdoctoral research training and career development.
  • The second (R00) phase provides up to 3 years of independent research support, which is contingent on satisfactory progress during the K99 phase and an approved, independent, tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty position.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply no later than the third year of their postdoctoral training to ensure they receive maximum benefit from the K99 phase of the award, and to facilitate a timely transition to independence. Like the K99/R00 parent announcement, there is a 4-year eligibility window. We’ll consider extensions beyond this window for life events (e.g., 1 year for childbirth or adoption) that impact research progress. During both award phases, cohorts of fellows will participate in mentoring, networking, and professional development activities coordinated by the MOSAIC UE5s described above.

First application deadline: February 12, 2020
Earliest start date: December 2020

Please refer to the funding opportunity announcements for detailed information on eligibility. If you have additional questions about the MOSAIC programs, please contact Kenneth Gibbs.

NIH MOSAIC Applicant Webinar

Tuesday, September 24, 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET

Join us to learn more about the MOSAIC UE5 and K99/R00 programs.

Access the WebEx meeting

Meeting number: 620 364 007
Event password: nigms
Call-in number (U.S./Canada): 1-650-479-3208

Request for Information on Human Biospecimens for Research on Sepsis

Fri, 2019-08-23 08:43

NIGMS wants to advance our understanding of sepsis in order to accelerate improved diagnosis and treatment strategies. Based on the recommendations of our National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council Working Group on Sepsis, we intend to continue our support of fundamental discovery and mechanistic science relevant to sepsis. We recently identified the Institute’s specific priorities for sepsis research in an NIH Guide notice (NOT-GM-19-054). Additionally, the Working Group recommended that NIGMS encourage the use of human clinical materials to facilitate more rapid progress toward better identification, staging, and endotyping of the disease.

Through a request for information (RFI) (NOT-GM-19-057), NIGMS is seeking stakeholder input on strategies for acquiring and providing access to biological/clinical materials from humans for use in mechanistic studies of sepsis, either from already existing repositories or any to be created. We encourage comments that address the opportunities and challenges in collecting, organizing, maintaining, and sharing human biospecimens for use in studies to understand and eventually prevent or control sepsis.

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through November 15, 2019. All comments will be anonymous and must be submitted via a web form .

Funding Opportunities for National Cryo-ET Service Network

Tue, 2019-08-20 10:39

NIH has issued two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to advance the application of cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET), a powerful imaging method for directly visualizing macromolecular associations and organization in native cells. The first FOA, RFA-RM-19-009, will establish four service centers that will specialize in cryo-ET specimen preparation. The other FOA, RFA-RM-19-010, in addition to cryo-ET specimen preparation, will establish a network hub that will support these service centers and collect cryo-ET images for their users.

These centers will provide the following services to the community:

  • Access to advanced instrumentation for cryo-ET
  • Cross-training in cryo-ET methods
  • Submission of specimens to the network hub for collection of high-resolution cryo-ET images

Users of the network hub will analyze their results at their home institution. Both FOAs are part of the NIH Office of Strategic Coordination’s Common Fund program, Transformative High Resolution Cryo-Electron Microscopy, led by NIGMS and the National Eye Institute. The application deadline for both FOAs is November 12, 2019, with optional letters of intent due October 12. For more information about these announcements, please email me. Please also help us get the word out by letting your community know of these opportunities.

Seeking Two Branch Chiefs for the Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry Division at NIGMS

Mon, 2019-08-19 12:16

We’re recruiting for two accomplished individuals with interest and experience in the scientific areas that comprise the Biochemistry and Bio-related Chemistry (BBC) and the Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences (PPS) Branches of the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry. Successful applicants will be responsible for scientific and administrative planning, evaluation, and management of one of the branches, along with supervision of program directors with portfolios of funded research and small business grants. Each Chief will additionally handle a portfolio of research grants consistent with his/her own scientific background.

The BBC Branch supports basic research in the areas of biochemistry, including enzyme catalysis and regulation, bioenergetics and redox biochemistry, and glycoconjugates. It also supports research in the areas of bio-related chemistry, such as organic synthesis and methodology, as well as bioinorganic chemistry, chemical and synthetic biology, and biotechnology.

The PPS Branch supports research in pharmacology, anesthesiology, and the physiological sciences. Studies range from the molecular to organismal level, including drug metabolism, interactions with receptors and channels, signal transduction mechanisms, and mediators of inflammation. The physiological sciences include clinical investigations of the whole body response to injury, trauma, and sepsis.

Applicants may be from within or outside of the government and should have experience and an advanced degree in one of the sciences underlying the research areas, as pertinent for the respective branches. Familiarity with NIH extramural funding as an investigator, reviewer, or scientific administrator is required, and proficiency with the NIH granting process is a plus. We’re also seeking those with an interest in mentoring and staff development, as appropriate for career stage. Outstanding written and oral communication skills are essential.

These positions will be included in the Global Recruitment for Health Scientist Administrators (HSA) at NIH that is scheduled to open on September 16. There will be two GS-15 HSA (Program Officer, Supervisory) vacancy announcements: one for federal employees (candidates with current or former federal employment status) and one for the public (candidates without such status). The NIGMS Tip Sheet [PDF, 78.2KB] on applications for global recruitments may be helpful. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact me to ask questions about these positions or Clau Gonzalez to inquire about the recruitment process.

If you’re not looking to join NIGMS right now, please help by forwarding this information to others who might be interested in these opportunities.

Workshop on NIGMS Training Funding Opportunities

Tue, 2019-08-13 13:01

If you’re considering applying for programs in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, don’t miss our workshop later this year for faculty interested in developing student research training programs:

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 8:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. MT

During the event, which will be held at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, we’ll discuss our funding opportunities for community colleges and bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree-awarding institutions. You’ll gain information on the grants and peer review processes, obtain tips for writing proposals, and get a chance to meet with NIGMS staff.

To register or for more information, visit the meeting page. We look forward to talking to you about our training programs.

Funding Opportunity: Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), Phases 1 and 2

Thu, 2019-08-01 09:06

The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program supports biomedical research and research capacity building in states and territories that historically have had low levels of NIH funding. The Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) are long-standing IDeA funding initiatives supporting thematic, multidisciplinary centers that establish and strengthen institutional biomedical research capacity via three sequential 5-year phases. Funding opportunity announcements for the first and second phases of COBRE were just reissued:

COBRE Phase 1 (P20)


Supports the development of a multidisciplinary center built around a thematic area of biomedical research, includes early-career investigators leading individual research projects, and allows the creation of research cores and resources.

First application deadline: January 28, 2020
Earliest start date: December 2020

Limited Competition: COBRE Phase 2 (P20)


Supports the strengthening of an existing COBRE Phase 1 center and can include both early-career and established investigators leading individual research projects, and continued support for research cores and resources.

First application deadline: September 30, 2019
Earliest start date: July 2020

For both programs, the applicant institution must be in an IDeA-eligible state. If you have questions about these funding opportunities, please contact Ming Lei (COBRE Phase 1) or Rashada Alexander (COBRE Phase 2).  A funding opportunity announcement for COBRE Phase 3 is scheduled to be published at the end of 2019.

Notice of Information on NIGMS Priorities for Sepsis Research

Wed, 2019-07-31 11:59

At the recent National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council meeting, the Recommendations of the NAGMS Working Group on Sepsis were presented. As one of our first responses to the recommendations of this working group, NIGMS has published a Notice of Information on NIGMS Priorities for Sepsis Research.

The Notice of Information provides potential applicants with details of specific research topics that are of special interest to NIGMS as well as those that are considered to be of low priority for funding.

If you have any questions about NIGMS Priorities for Sepsis Research, please contact me.

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