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Updated: 1 hour 53 min ago

NIGMS Announces New Website

Wed, 2018-11-14 12:49

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!

The new NIGMS website was developed according to industry best practices and feedback from our users. Please note that URLs have not changed, but older/outdated content was archived to reduce the number of pages on the site.

We welcome your questions and comments about the new site. If you have feedback, please post your comments below or send them to info@nigms.nih.gov.

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

Thu, 2018-11-08 11:00

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.

Figure 1 shows the most frequently mentioned barriers scientists from underrepresented groups face as they progress from postdoctoral training into faculty positions at research-intensive institutions, and potential strategies to overcome these barriers. The five most frequently noted barriers were bias, mentorship, personal finances, current lack of faculty diversity, and position availability. The five most frequently noted potential solutions included institutional responsibility, enhanced mentorship, transitional awards, increased networking, and focused recruitment and hiring/skills development (tied).

Figure 1. Major Barriers to Faculty Diversity and Potential Solutions in RFI Responses. Bar charts showing the number of RFI responses in which a barrier (top) or solution (bottom) was mentioned. A total of 89 unique responses were received for the RFI.

NIGMS thanks everyone who took the time to respond to the RFI and will take this input into consideration when developing new funding opportunity announcements to enhance postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity. For more details about the analysis, including a list of current strategies and resources to enhance faculty diversity employed by the federal government, private funders, institutions, and societies identified through the RFI, we encourage you to explore the report.

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

Tue, 2018-11-06 10:50

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:

  • Focus on new and emerging areas of data science, including machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence.
  • Integrate training in biological sciences and quantitative and computational sciences (e.g., data science, computer science, statistics, mathematics, informatics, engineering).
  • Provide multidisciplinary training to students in the fundamentals and applications of computational and information sciences.
  • Include training in fair and ethical data use, data sharing, and data security and confidentiality.
  • Take advantage of the resources and expertise available in the private sector to develop student skills such as the ability to write efficient, industry-standard computer code and the use of emerging technologies and platforms.
  • Help develop career pathways for trainees, including by forming internship/training partnerships with industry and other sectors.

 

These changes will be effective with the January 25, 2019, application receipt date.
For more information about the changes to the focus areas for this training program, please see the NIH Guide Notice, and the NIGMS Predoctoral T32 Training Program website. As usual, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

New T32 Medical Scientist Training Program Funding Opportunity Announcement

Thu, 2018-10-25 14:47

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.

The objective of the MSTP Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) is to develop a diverse pool of highly trained physician-scientists. The MSTP is designed to help the community develop and implement effective, evidence-based approaches to training, leading to the award of both professional medical doctorate and research doctorate degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent). Through rigorous scientific research and clinical practice, graduates will be equipped with the skills to develop research programs that accelerate the translation of research advances to the understanding, detection, treatment, and prevention of human disease. Areas of particular importance to NIGMS are optimizing MSTP training efficacy and efficiency, fostering MSTP alumni into long-term research careers, and enhancing physician-scientist workforce diversity.

Because diversity at all levels—from the kinds of science to the regions in which it is conducted to the backgrounds of the people conducting it—contributes to excellence in research training environments and strengthens the research enterprise, this FOA is intended to support a variety of outstanding research training programs (see NIH’s Interest in Diversity).

The new FOA applies to all MSTP T32 training grant applications submitted for receipt dates beginning May 25, 2019. Because this is a new funding announcement, all applications (including those from previously established programs) must be submitted as new (-01). However, applicants who have been supported by MSTP grants may describe in the narrative their program’s outcomes over the past 15 years. For more details, please see NIH Guide Notice NOT-GM-18-047.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can email your questions and comments or post them here.

Two NIGMS Grantees Among Winners of 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Wed, 2018-10-03 09:59

I’m very pleased to announce that two long-time NIGMS grantees are among today’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry . 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”

This recognition clearly demonstrates the importance of basic biomedical research and is a testament to how studies of seemingly abstract principles in biology can have profound implications for technology and medicine. Smith and Winter’s work also represents yet another scientific breakthrough made possible by humble bacteriophages!

To date, NIGMS has supported the work of 89 Nobel laureates—43 in physiology or medicine and 46 in chemistry. These investigators perform cutting-edge basic research in many different organisms and experimental systems that is the foundation for understanding normal life processes and disease.

To read more about today’s winners, see the NIH news release. To learn more about NIGMS’ support of Nobel laureates, see our fact sheet.

Again, congratulations to Drs. Arnold and Smith on this outstanding achievement.

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

Mon, 2018-09-24 10:48

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

Thu, 2018-09-20 13:03

We are delighted that three long-time NIGMS grantees have been recognized by the 2018 Lasker Awards . 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 1990.
  • 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

Wed, 2018-09-19 11:25

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.

Applicants should have experience and a degree in one of the sciences underlying these research areas (for example, pharmacology, physiology, pharmacy, medicine). Candidates should also have outstanding written and oral communication skills. The job responsibilities involve working collaboratively with other staff to stimulate, plan, advise, direct, and evaluate program activities for the portfolio of research awards.

This position is included in the global recruitment for Health Scientist Administrators 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 vacancy announcements opened on September 17, 2018, and close on September 26, 2018. We encourage all interested candidates to contact one of us to ask questions about this position or the recruitment process.

Not looking to become a Health Scientist Administrator right now? Please help us out by forwarding this information to others who might be interested in this opportunity.

Revised Instructions for Predoctoral T32 Applicants

Wed, 2018-08-29 10:21

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:

  • Institutional support letter:
    • The support letter must provide information about institutional policies and procedures to prevent discriminatory harassment and to respond appropriately to such allegations. (Note: NIGMS will include this requirement in all training FOAs.)
    • All information regarding institutional commitment must be found in a single letter not to exceed 10 pages; applications that distribute the institutional commitment information among multiple letters will be considered non-compliant and will be withdrawn.
  • Data tables: Applications that do not contain the required Training Data Tables for new applications, or contain additional tables in this attachment, will be considered non-compliant and will not be reviewed.
  • Appendix: For the “Courses, Electives and Training Activities” appendix, the instructions are revised to clarify that a total four items are allowed in this category.

All other aspects of this FOA remain the same. Please direct any questions to Shiva Singh.

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