NIH OBSSR Releases RFI on Proposed Research Directions

The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) has released an RFI on proposed research directions that will support OBSSR’s 2017—2021 Strategic Plan.  Specifically, OBSSR is seeking cutting-edge research directions that will accelerate progress in the following priority areas: (1) synergy in basic and applied BSSR; (2) BSSR resources, methods, and measures; and (3) adoption of effective BSSR in practice.  In order to be considered, responses must be submitted via OBSSR’s crowdsourcing website by 11:59 pm ET on March 29th, 2020.

NIH Seeking Public Input on a Framework for the 2021—2025 NIH-Wide Strategic Plan

NIH recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on a framework for the 2021—2025 NIH-Wide Strategic Plan.  This framework will articulate NIH’s priorities in the following three areas: (1) biomedical and behavioral science research; (2) scientific research capacity; and (3) scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science.  All submissions must be received via the RFI submission site by 11:59 pm ET on March 25th, 2020.  Please note that stakeholder organizations are encouraged to submit a single response reflective of the views of the organization/membership as a whole.

Become Familiar with Clinical Research and Understand the Benefits of Participation—A Tool for the Public

Advances in treating and curing disease are made possible because of clinical research trials and the volunteers who participate in them.  NIA recently released an infographic to help individuals familiarize themselves with clinical research and to understand the benefits of participation.  Please share this infographic widely, including on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

NIA Efforts to Expand Opportunities in Entrepreneurship

On the InsideNIA Blog, Dr. Todd Haim, Chief of the Office of Small Business Research (OSBR), discussed NIA’s efforts to expand opportunities in entrepreneurship for everyone.  The NIA OBSR provides more than $100 million in set-aside funds to help entrepreneurs bring innovations in healthy aging to market through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  At present, the OBSR team is working to diversify the pool of NIA-supported entrepreneurs to include greater percentages of women and racial/ethnic minorities among SBIR/STTR awardees.  To assist with this effort, NIA relies upon the NIH Application Assistance Program (AAP), which helps new or previously unsuccessful SBIR/STTR candidates with the grant application process.  OBSR is currently seeking applicants for its second and third AAP cohorts.  Applications for the second cohort must be received by April 6th, 2020, and applications for the third cohort must be received by September 6th, 2020.  Please see OBSR’s SBIR/STTR factsheet for more information, including eligibility criteria.

Inflammation May Drive Development of Tau Tangles in Alzheimer’s Disease

Recent NIA-funded research has revealed that inflammation may drive the development of tau tangles in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Abnormal neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein are one of the hallmark features of AD, along with beta-amyloid plaques.  While amyloid plaques have been linked with inflammatory changes in AD, the relationship between inflammation and tau pathology has not been fully understood.  In a study published in Nature, researchers used a mouse model to evaluate what would happen to tau proteins when an inflammasome, or a complex of proteins known to trigger inflammatory cascades, was “knocked out,” or rendered inactive.  The results revealed that blocking the action of the inflammasome NLRP3 prevented tau aggregation and tangling, which, in turn, led to better memory performance in the transgenic knockout mice.  The study also suggested that amyloid deposition and tau pathology are linked by the action of the inflammasome.  Therapies which block the inflammasome could reduce tauopathies (which are hypothesized to follow beta-amyloid deposition) and limit subsequent AD symptomatology.