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  1. Report of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation Council Subcommittee

Daniel Rotrosen, M.D., Director


Dr. Rotrosen presented the following new staff members, scientific and division activities:

STAFFING/ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES

Natasha Watson R.N., B.S.N., was appointed the Chief of Project Management in the Office of Clinical Applications (OCA). She joined OCA in 2001 as a project manager for Immune Tolerance Network trials and the multi-center transplantation trial for HIV+ individuals. Ms. Watson received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Syracuse University. Prior to joining OCA, she was a transplant coordinator for the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Richard T. Sawyer, Ph.D., joined the Asthma, Allergy, and Inflammation Branch (AAIB) in September 2004 as a Program Officer. He received his doctoral degree from Michigan State University, and completed postdoctoral studies on pulmonary macrophage biology at East Carolina University School of Medicine and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO. Prior to joining AAIB, Dr. Sawyer was Assistant Professor at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, investigating the immunological basis of chronic beryllium disease.

Bert W. Maidment, Ph.D., joined the Division in October 2004 as Acting Associate Director of Product Development. He received his doctoral degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to joining DAIT, he was the Director of Corporate Affairs for Regulatory/Clinical Consultants, Inc., and Vice President for Corporate Business Development at the Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, Missouri.

David Cassatt, Ph.D., joined the Product Development group in October 2004 as a senior scientist. He received his doctoral degree in immunology/toxicology from the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. Prior to joining the Division, Dr. Cassatt was at MedImmune, Inc. in Gaithersburg, MD, where he conducted radioprotectant, oncology, and vaccine research.

Leighton Thomas joined OCA in September 2004 as a Program Specialist. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Methodist College, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Prior to joining OCA, Mr. Thomas was with the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Dana Smith, J.D., joined the Office of Program Planning, Operations, and Scientific Information in September 2004 as a Program Analyst. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Franklin and Marshall College and her Juris Doctor degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law, in Virginia. Ms. Smith has over 20 years experience in the private sector in planning and operations, including budget management and long-range planning.

Andrea DiCarlo-Cohen, Ph.D., joined the Basic Immunology Branch (BIB) in December 2004 as a Biologist. She received her doctoral degree in cell biology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to joining the BIB, she was a project manager for the bioelectromagnetics research group at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC, where her research focused on induction and down-regulation of cellular stress responses.

SCIENTIFIC INITIATIVES
HLA Region Genetics in Immune-Mediated Diseases - RFA-AI-04-039: The NIAID invites applications from single institutions or consortia of institutions to participate in a cooperative research group to define the association between human leukocyte antigen region genes or genetic markers and immune-mediated diseases, including risk and severity of disease, and organ, tissue, and cell transplantation outcomes.

Coordinating Center for Organ Transplant Clinical Trials - RFA-AI-04-046: The NIAID invites applications for the establishment of a Statistical and Clinical Coordinating Center (SACCC) to support clinical studies in organ transplantation to be conducted by two NIAID-sponsored clinical consortia, the Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation (CTOT) consortium and the Cooperative Clinical Trials in Pediatric Transplantation (CCTPT) consortium. The SACCC will provide a broad range of services for these consortia, including expertise in the design, implementation, and analysis of clinical trials; technical and administrative support for each consortium's Steering Committee and for the NIAID Transplantation Data and Safety Monitoring Board; clinical site monitoring and training; regulatory support; and drug and specimen distribution.

Immunobiology of Xenotransplantation - NOT-AI-04-054: This is to provide further clarification that this RFA will not support clinical trials or clinical studies on xenotransplantation. In addition, this RFA will not support studies using human samples (i.e. samples from healthy volunteers) unless human samples are used only for in vitro studies that are correlative to or an extension of studies in pig-to-nonhuman primate models. Such in vitro studies using human samples should be only a minor component of the research plan in U01 applications or a minor component of a subproject(s) in U19 applications.

Interdisciplinary Training: Behavior, Environment and Biology - RFA-RM-05-010: The Institutes, Centers and Offices of the National Institutes of Health invite applications for Interdisciplinary Training: Behavior, Environment and Biology. This institutional, postdoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) will support the establishment of innovative programs that provide formal coursework and research training in a new interdisciplinary field to individuals holding advanced degrees in a different discipline. These training programs are required to include a behavioral or social science discipline, and the NIH is especially interested in programs that integrate the behavioral and/or social sciences with the more traditional biomedical sciences, and encourage the development of innovative programs that accept postdoctoral trainees with varied research backgrounds, provide multiple tracks of research training that enhance each trainee's development of new, interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, while supporting opportunities for trainee interaction and research integration across the research tracks.

New Methodologies for Natural Products Chemistry - RFA-RM-05-013: The NIH invites applications for funding from the NIH Molecular Libraries Roadmap program for the development of novel methodologies related to natural products chemistry. The goal of this RFA is to stimulate the development of a new generation of methods for natural products chemistry, and to reinvigorate the investigation of nature as a source of small-molecules with the potential to interact with proteins involved in cellular processes in health and disease.

Pilot-Scale Libraries for High-Throughput Screening - RFA-RM-05-014: The NIH invites applications for funding from the NIH Molecular Libraries Roadmap program for the generation of pilot-scale chemical diversity libraries. These libraries will be used for high-throughput biological screening by the Molecular Libraries Screening Center Network (MLSCN). Acceptable approaches include:
1) chemical synthesis, including combinatorial chemistry/diversity-oriented synthesis; and/or 2) isolation and purification of bioactive compounds from natural sources such as microorganisms, marine organisms, or plants.

Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health - RFA-OD-05-002: The ORWH and its cosponsors invite institutional career development award applications for Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) Career Development Programs. BIRCWH will support research career development of junior faculty members (Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research (IWHR) Scholars) who have recently completed clinical training or postdoctoral fellowships, and who are commencing basic, translational, behavioral, clinical and/or health services research relevant to women's health.

Manufacturing Processes of Medical, Dental, and Biological Technologies - PA-04-161: The NIH, CDC, and FDA encourage research related to advanced processing in the manufacture of biomedical products and the implementation of new technologies in medical care. New methods, procedures, measures, and controls are needed for manufacturing a broad range of technologies and products with unsurpassed quality and to lower manufacturing costs for existing and/or new processes. Research is also encouraged that can contribute to the containment and reduction of health care costs and that can improve the cost effectiveness, quality, and accessibility of the health care system.

DIVISION ACTIVITIES

Workshop on Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome: The NIAID sponsored a workshop on Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS) on October 22, 2004. The meeting reviewed the epidemic of EMS in the late 1980s, summarized the current state of the science in EMS, identified possible approaches to deal with future comparable epidemics, and discussed gaps in knowledge and directions for future research in EMS. Meeting participants included scientific experts in EMS and related diseases, members of the National Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome Network, and representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Asthma Exacerbations: Biology and Disease Progression: The NIAID, in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, will fund five basic and clinical research R01 grants focusing on cellular and molecular immune mechanisms that lead to acute asthma exacerbation and airway obstruction. Research areas will include both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory innate and adaptive immune signaling pathways and key target molecules involved in triggering of acute episodes of asthma by pathogens, allergens and endogenous stimuli and their resolution.

Blue Ribbon Panel for NIH Strategic Plan and Research Agenda for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological and Nuclear Threats: On October 14, 2004, the NIAID convened an expert panel to review and comment on the draft NIH Strategic Plan and Research Agenda for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological and Nuclear Threats. Panelists included senior leadership of NIAID, the Department of Health and Human Services, National Labs, and academia.

Working Group on Animal Model Endpoints: On November 15-16, 2004, the NIAID convened a workshop focused on the design of pivotal non-human primate studies that will be conducted to determine efficacy of radioprotectants and radiation mitigators against hematopoietic effects of Acute Radiation Syndrome. Participants included representatives of the Department of Homeland Security, FDA, NIAID, NCI, academia, and industry.

The 40th Anniversary of the US-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program was celebrated in Kyoto, Japan, on December 7-10, 2004, with joint scientific meetings between the Immunology Board and the Hepatitis and Nutrition Panels. Scientific topics included hepatitis B and C, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and advances in innate and adaptive immunity. Dr. Helen Quill, who has served as secretariat for the Immunology Board for the past eight years, was instrumental in the organization and planning of these meetings.

The annual meeting of the NIAID Cooperative Centers for Translational Research on Human Immunology and Biodefense: On October 28, 2004, the NIAID Cooperative Centers for Translational Research on Human Immunology and Biodefense held its annual meeting in Bethesda, MD. Presentations included advances in the study of human immunology and infectious disease, with a special focus on the development of new technologies to study human responses.

Sex-Based Differences in the Immune Response program meeting: On September 14, 2004, NIAID convened a plenary meeting in Bethesda of principal investigators from the grants funded under RFA AI-01-005, “Sex-Based Differences in the Immune Response,” and representatives from the RFA co-sponsors (NIAID, NIAMS, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society). Investigators presented research updates and discussed resources, collaborations, and future directions.

CONCEPT REVIEW

This concept was presented and approved.

Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological Threats: Product Development: This initiative will provide an integrated program to perform toxicology assays, pharmacokinetics studies, and assay development; use animal models of radiation injury, protection, therapy, or recovery, to provide mechanistic, safety, and efficacy data to support FDA approval for human use in the absence of human studies; scale-up product production; and conduct safety studies to facilitate the development of medical therapies to counter radiation injury. OBJECTIVE(s): To support the development of: radioprotectant, radiation mitigation, and treatment compounds determined to be high priority products for inclusion in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS); and to conduct human safety studies of these agents.

NIAID Innate Immunity Programs

The following program was presented by division staff and guest: Alison Deckhut-Augustine, Ph.D., Chief, Immunoregulation Section discussed DAIT Programs in Innate Immunity; Alan Aderem, Ph.D, Director, Institute for Systems Biology discussed Systems Biology Approach to Innate Immunity; and Kenneth Rock, M.D., Chair, Pathology Department, University of Massachusetts Medical Center concluded with Endogenous Danger Signals that Alert the Immune System to Cell Injury.

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Last Updated July 13, 2010