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5. Institute-Initiated Programs Starting in FY 2009

More than two-thirds of the research supported by the NHLBI is initiated by individual investigators; the remainder is initiated by the Institute.  Institute-initiated programs are developed in response to evolving national needs, Congressional mandates, and advances in scientific knowledge.  Each initiative represents the outcome of extensive discussions and thorough reviews by representatives of the scientific community, Institute advisory committees, the Board of Extramural Experts (BEE), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC).  The advisory committees and the BEE, together with professional societies and NHLBI staff, continually review the progress of research within the NHLBI program areas, assess newly acquired knowledge, and identify research topics that offer the best opportunities or constitute the greatest needs.  This planning process contributes to policy development at the national level by setting priorities among programs and establishing budgets for individual programs and projects.

Initiatives generally emanate as Requests for Applications (RFAs) for grants, including cooperative agreements, or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for contracts.  Other initiatives take the form of Program Announcements (PAs).  Applications and proposals submitted in response to RFAs and RFPs compete among themselves for specific "set-aside" funds.  Applications submitted in response to PAs generally compete with other investigator-initiated applications for funding.

RFA, RFP, and PA concepts prepared by the Institute are presented to the BEE, which reviews and prioritizes them.  The concepts, along with the comments from the BEE, are then sent to the NHLBAC for review, comment, and concurrence.  Initiatives that receive the concurrence of the NHLBAC are considered further by the NHLBI Director in the context of the Institute's budget, program priorities, review workload, and proposed mechanisms.  These considerations guide the Director's subsequent decisions to approve initiatives for release.  RFAs, RFPs, and PAs are announced in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts.

Applications and proposals submitted in response to RFAs and RFPs are reviewed by the NHLBI.  Applications submitted in response to PAs are reviewed by the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

Descriptions of the Institute-initiated programs that began or were renewed (i.e., were funded) in FY 2009 are presented below according to NHLBI scientific programs.  Also described are trans-NIH, trans-PHS, and interagency initiatives in which the NHLBI participates.

Heart and Vascular Diseases Program

Initiatives Being Renewed

Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

The purpose of this renewal is to conduct the Year 25 clinical exam of the CARDIA cohort.  The study assesses the effect of CVD risk factors and lifestyle throughout young adulthood on the development of subclinical vascular and ventricular function abnormalities in early middle age.

New Initiatives

Stress Management Interventions To Reduce Risk of Coronary Artery Disease

The purpose of this PA is to determine whether stress management interventions can slow the progression of coronary artery disease or reduce major adverse cardiac events in patients with confirmed coronary artery disease.

Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT)

The purpose of this RFP is to determine whether intensive treatment to achieve a systolic blood pressure goal lower than the one currently recommended will reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Targeted Approaches to Weight Control for Young Adults

The purpose of this RFA is to develop and evaluate innovative behavioral and environmental approaches for weight control in young adults at high risk for weight gain. 

Lung Diseases Program

New Initiatives

Airway Smooth Muscle Function and Targeted Therapeutics in Human Asthma

The purpose of this RFA is to investigate the complex role that airway smooth muscle plays in the development of asthma and to use the resultant knowledge to identify innovative therapeutic targets.

Asthma Network (AsthmaNet)

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct Phase II and Phase III clinical trials to identify optimal therapies for a variety of asthma phenotypes and genotypes among individuals of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Circadian-Coupled Cellular Function in Heart, Lung, and Blood Tissues

The purpose of this RFA is to stimulate Phase I translation of recent advances in understanding the molecular basis of endogenous, self-sustaining daily (circadian) cycles in cellular function and gene expression to improve understanding of heart, lung, and blood disease pathogenesis.

Developmental Origins of Altered Lung Physiology and Immune Function

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct research to improve understanding of the effects of pre- and postnatal environments on the developing lung and immune system and the resulting sustained changes in lung physiology and immune function that lead to suboptimal respiratory health and outcomes.

Microbiome of the Lung and Respiratory Tract in HIV-Infected Individuals and HIV-Uninfected Controls

The purpose of this RFA is to characterize the microbiome of the lung in HIV-infected individuals and matched HIV-uninfected controls to create a dataset of sufficient quality and depth to allow analysis of the effects of changes in the respiratory microbiome on the pathogenesis and progression of HIV disease, HIV-related respiratory complications, and anti-HIV therapies.

Blood Diseases and Resources Program

New Initiatives

Characterizing the Blood Stem Cell Niche

The purpose of this RFA is to advance understanding of the blood stem cell niche by defining the role of specific cells and the physiological source of factors or extracellular components that are essential for stem cell self-renewal and differentiation.

Immunomodulatory, Inflammatory, and Vasoregulatory Properties of Transfused Red Blood Cell Units as a Function of Preparation and Storage

The purpose of this RFA is to (a) identify the molecular and cellular changes that occur during red blood cell unit preparation and storage and (b) evaluate immunomodulatory, inflammatory, and vasoregulatory effects of storage lesion elements from red blood cell units on the blood vessel wall, host cells, and tissue oxygenation.

Transcranial Doppler (TCD) With Transfusions Changing to Hydroxyurea (TWITCH Trial)

The purpose of this RFA is to compare standard therapy (transfusion) to alternative therapy (hydroxyurea) for maintenance of TCD velocities in children with sickle cell anemia who have been receiving chronic transfusions for abnormal TCD velocities.  Additional objectives include comparison of standard to alternative therapy for incidence of primary stroke, determination of the frequency of nonstroke neurological events and other sickle cell-related events, management of iron overload, assessment of growth and development, recording of adverse events, and measurement of quality of life.


Initiative Being Renewed

Ancillary Studies in Clinical Trials

The purpose of this renewal is to conduct time-sensitive ancillary studies related to heart, lung, and blood diseases using patient cohorts, data, and biological materials from ongoing clinical trials. 

New Initiatives

Global Health Centers of Excellence

The purpose of this initiative is to establish a worldwide network of research and training Centers of Excellence to build institutional and community capacity to prevent and control chronic cardiovascular and lung diseases.  Each Center will be led by a research institution in a developing country that is paired with at least one partnering academic institution in a developed country.

NHLBI Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium

The purpose of this RFA is to establish virtual research hubs (clusters of synergistic research projects) to identify and characterize progenitor cell lineages, direct differentiation of stem and progenitor cells to desired cell fates, and develop new strategies to address the unique challenges presented by their transplantation.


Initiatives Being Renewed

Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study—Phase II

The purpose of this renewal is to continue following cohort patients in the original Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to determine the long-term effects of the DPP interventions.  The DPP was a clinical trial that examined the efficacy of treatments to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in a population at high risk because of impaired glucose tolerance.

Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health

The purpose of this PA is to identify and develop effective methods, structures, and strategies that test models to disseminate and implement, in public health and clinical practice settings, research-tested interventions for changing health behavior and evidence-based services for improving prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life.

Effect of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination/Bias on Health Care Delivery

The objectives of this renewal are to improve the measurement of racial/ethnic discrimination in health care delivery systems in the United States, enhance understanding of the influence of such discrimination and its association with health disparities among disadvantaged racial/ethnic minority groups, and reduce the prevalence of such health disparities by developing interventions to reduce the influence of racial/ethnic discrimination in the delivery of health care.

Mentored Career Development Award To Promote Faculty Diversity/Re-Entry in Biomedical Research

The purpose of this renewal is to provide an intensive, mentored research experience to individuals who either (a) are members of groups that are currently underrepresented on faculty at academic institutions in health-related research or (b) left a health-related postdoctoral or faculty position because of nonacademic issues but are interested in re-entry. 

Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research

The purpose of this renewal is to enable midcareer clinician scientists to devote more time to, and augment their capabilities in, patient-oriented research and to mentor new clinical investigators in the conduct of patient-oriented research.

Minority Institutional Research Training Program

The purpose of this renewal is to support research training of health professional students for careers in cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders at minority schools.  Trainees will be selected by the institution and will include racial and ethnic minorities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, and women. 

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Biology and Medicine

The purpose of this renewal is to stimulate nanoscience and nanotechnology research that focuses on problems in biology and medicine.

New Initiatives

Epigenomics of Human Health and Disease

The purpose of this RFA is to discover and define global (epigenome-wide) marks or features and their possible interactions in diseased, aged, or otherwise compromised human primary cells or tissues.  The goal is to transform our understanding of human disease, aging, or response to insult by correlating changes in the epigenome with an altered cellular state.

Exploratory Studies in the Neurobiology of Pain in Sickle Cell Disease

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct basic and translational research into the neurobiology of pain in sickle cell disease.

Human Pluripotent Stem Cell (hPSC) Research Using Non-Embryonic Sources

The purpose of this PA, which addresses Executive Order 13435 issued by President George W. Bush on June 20, 2007, is to conduct research on hPSCs derived from non-embryonic sources.

Improving Heart Failure Disease Management

The purpose of this PA is to address inadequately answered questions about the management of chronic heart failure in clinical practice.  The broader goal is to identify and disseminate into clinical practice clinically effective disease management tools to improve patient outcomes.

Innovative Computational and Statistical Methodologies for the Design and Analysis of Multilevel Studies on Childhood Obesity

The purpose of this RFA is to develop and apply innovative statistical or computational methods to the analysis or design of multilevel studies of childhood obesity (i.e., studies that address the range of factors—biological, family, community, sociocultural, environmental, policy, and macro-level economic—that influence diet and physical activity in children).  The focus is on methods that can simultaneously examine factors of energy balance that span more than three levels of influence in children.

Predictive Multiscale Models of the Physiome in Health and Disease

The purpose of this PA is to develop more realistic and predictive multiscale models of health and disease states that include higher scales of the physiome: multi-cell systems, tissue, organ, multiorgan systems, organism structure and function, population, and behavior. 

Research on Causal Factors and Interventions That Promote and Support the Careers of Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Science and Engineering

The purpose of this RFA is to study (a) the causal factors that explain current patterns observed in the careers of women in biomedical and behavioral science and engineering and (b) the efficacy of programs designed to support the careers of women in these disciplines.

Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics

The purpose of this RFA is to develop, conduct, and evaluate summer courses for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students in the basic principles and methods of biostatistics as used in biomedical research. 

Translating Basic Behavioral and Social Science Discoveries Into Interventions To Reduce Obesity

The purpose of this RFA is to translate findings from basic research on human behavior into more effective clinical, community, and population interventions to reduce obesity and improve obesity-related behaviors.


Initiatives Being Renewed

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)—Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, and Sleep Components

The purpose of this renewal is to continue collaboration with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to collect data on the prevalence of and risk factors for heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships To Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

The purpose of this renewal is to improve the diversity of the health-related research workforce by supporting the training of predoctoral students from groups that are underrepresented in health-related research.

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy

The purpose of this renewal is to support empirical research on health literacy concepts, theory, and interventions as they relate to public health priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

New Initiative

Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities

The purpose of this PA is to (a) conduct behavioral and social science research on the causes of disparities in health and disability among various populations in the United States and (b) develop and test more effective interventions for reducing and eventually eliminating health disparities.


New Initiatives

NHLBI Cardiac Development Consortium

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct basic collaborative research leading to a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory networks controlling cardiovascular development.  The Consortium is part of a new NHLBI translational program in pediatric CVD, which includes the companion NHLBI Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium, an Administrative Coordinating Center, and the existing Pediatric Heart Network.  The NHLBI and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are collaborating on the program.

NHLBI–CDC Registry and Surveillance System in Hemoglobinopathies (RuSH)

The purpose of this RFP is to develop and implement a national data system and biospecimen repository that will provide data to describe the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of people with all genotypes of SCD, thalassemias, and other hemoglobinopathies.  The system will collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate state-specific data on the epidemiology, clinical correlates, health care utilization, and community resources of patients with these conditions.

NHLBI Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct clinical and translational research on the genetic causes of congenital heart disease and genetic contributions to outcome in individuals with congenital heart disease.  The Consortium is part of a new NHLBI translational program in pediatric CVD.  The NHLBI and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are collaborating on the program.

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