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5. Institute-Initiated Programs Starting in FY 2007


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. A smaller number of 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 2007 are presented below according to NHLBI scientific programs. Also described are trans-NIH and inter-Agency initiatives in which the NHLBI participates.

Heart and Vascular Diseases Program

Initiative Being Renewed

Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics

The purpose of this renewal is to develop, conduct, and evaluate a 6-week summer course in basic principles, methodologies, and applications of biostatistics in clinical research with relevant examples from heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

New Initiatives

Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network

The purpose of this RFA is to establish a network to develop, conduct, and evaluate multiple, collaborative, cell-based therapies for the management of CVD.

Cardiovascular Research Network in Community-Based Care

The purpose of this RFA is to establish a cardiovascular research network to increase scientific knowledge of CVD—including epidemiology, risk and risk factors, prevention, detection and diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis—in the context of community-based health care delivery. The program will facilitate the conduct of CVD research across multiple heath care organizations; conduct multisite, collaborative research using integrated data systems; and perform short-term investigation of emerging public health issues.

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Lung Diseases Program

New Initiatives

Career Development Program in the Genetics and Genomics of Lung Diseases

The purpose of this RFA is to create multidisciplinary career development programs in genetics and genomics of lung diseases that will equip new investigators with the knowledge and skills to become independent investigators and assume academic leadership roles in this rapidly evolving field.

Collaborative Studies on Lung Stem Cell Biology and Cell-Based Therapy

The purpose of this RFA is to foster collaborative research between basic scientists and clinical investigators that will lead to cell-based therapies for lung diseases.

Longitudinal Studies of HIV-Associated Lung Infections and Complications

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct longitudinal studies to characterize HIV-associated lung infections and their complications and consequences in existing HIV-infected cohorts and other established HIV-infected patients groups.

Long-Term Oxygen Treatment Trial

The purpose of this RFP is to determine the efficacy of long-term oxygen treatment for improving survival in patients with COPD and less-than-severe hypoxemia at rest.

Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The purpose of this SCCOR is to establish centers that will conduct multidisciplinary research on COPD and promote rapid translation of basic scientific findings into clinical applications for its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The initiative will emphasize research that answers clinically relevant questions that enable basic science findings to be applied more rapidly to clinical problems.

Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research in Pulmonary Vascular Disease

The purpose of this SCCOR is to conduct multidisciplinary research to answer clinically relevant questions related to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of pulmonary vascular disease. The initiative will address research on primary (idiopathic) and secondary pulmonary arterial hypertension, acute and chronic pulmonary thromboembolism, right ventricular dysfunction, and pulmonary vascular disorders in infants and children.

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Blood Diseases and Resources Program

Initiative Being Renewed

Transfusion Medicine/Hemostasis Clinical Trials Network

The purpose of this renewal is to continue support for the Network to evaluate promising new therapies for hemostatic disorders, such as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, and to evaluate new blood products, especially platelets and platelet substitutes and cytokines, such as thrombopoietin.

New Initiatives

Pediatric Transfusion Medicine Academic Career Awards

The purpose of this RFA is to establish a training program for curriculum development and implementation in pediatric transfusion medicine and to attract young investigators into the field.

Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II: Refinement and Manufacture of HIV EIA and Rapid Tests for Use in HIV Vaccine Trials

The purpose of this RFP is to support refinement and manufacture of HIV-SELECTEST enzyme-linked immuno-absorbent assay (EIA) kits and a Rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test for distribution to national and international laboratories conducting Phase II/III HIV-1 vaccine trials. The diagnostic tests should allow investigators to differentiate between participants recently infected with HIV and HIV-negative vaccinated participants.

Trans-NHLBI

Initiatives Being Renewed

Ancillary Studies in Clinical Trials

The purpose of this renewal is to support time-sensitive ancillary studies in conjunction with ongoing clinical trials of cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders. Information gained from the studies will permit better correlation of clinical course and outcome and lead to improved prognostic assessments and patient care.

NHLBI Genelink

The purpose of this renewal is to support an infrastructure established in 2003 to facilitate gene finding by (a) promoting sharing of results of genetic analyses; (b) providing an open resource of linked, searchable linkage, and association analysis results placed on a common physical map; and (c) providing bioinformatics tools to assist researchers in prioritizing and following up findings from linkage and genome-wide association studies.

Programs in Gene by Environment Interaction

The purpose of this renewal is to support a unique collaborative structure established in 2002 to search for genetic variants influencing response to prescribed environmental changes using a family-based approach.

Summer Institute Program To Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research

The purpose of this renewal is to develop the research skills of faculty and scientists who are from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups or disadvantaged background or who have disabilities so that they may successfully compete for funding for biomedical and behavioral research relevant to heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

New Initiatives

Computational Modeling for Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Biologists: Introductory Courses

The purpose of this RFA is to develop, implement, and evaluate short courses (optimally 1 to 2 weeks) in computational modeling for biomedical researchers and clinical scientists. The goal of the courses is to promote interdisciplinary research and training by increasing the number of researchers with knowledge and skills to apply experimental and computational approaches to heart, lung, blood, and sleep research.

Genome-Wide Association Studies To Identify Genetic Components That Relate to Heart, Lung, and Blood Disorders

The purpose of this RFA is to support genome-wide association studies by using existing population, family, and clinical studies to identify genetic components related to heart, lung, and blood disorders and their risk factors.

NHLBI Gene Therapy Resource Program

The purpose of this RFP is to promote the translation of gene therapy from the bench to the bedside. The Program will comprise a Clinical Coordinating Center, a preclinical grade vector production core laboratory, two clinical grade vector production core laboratories, and a pharmacology/toxicology core laboratory.

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Trans-NIH

Initiatives Being Renewed

Bioengineering Approaches to Energy Balance and Obesity

The purpose of this renewal is to develop and evaluate innovative engineering approaches to clinical problems related to energy balance, intake, and expenditure. Engineers, physical scientists, mathematicians, and scientists from relevant disciplines with expertise in obesity and nutrition are encouraged to collaborate in research leading to the development of new technologies and tools that will improve the ability of scientists to address problems of weight control and obesity.

Bioengineering Research Grants

The purpose of this renewal is to encourage multidisciplinary, integrative research that applies systems approaches to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat disease or to improve understanding of health and behavior. These grants differ from Bioengineering Research Partnerships in that the research is performed in a single laboratory, by a single investigator, or by a small group of investigators.

Bioengineering Research Partnerships

The purpose of this renewal is to encourage multidisciplinary, integrative research partnerships that apply systems approaches to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat disease or to improve understanding of health and behavior.

Career Enhancement Award for Stem Cell Research

The purpose of this renewal is to support investigators who seek training in the use of stem cells in research. Candidates must have as a mentor a sponsor who is a well-qualified stem cell expert.

Clinical Research Education and Career Development in Minority Institutions

The purpose of this renewal is to develop and implement a curriculum leading to an accredited Master of Science in Clinical Research or an accredited Master of Public Health in a clinically relevant area for doctoral and postdoctoral candidates at minority institutions. The 5-year program consists of two phases. Phase I lasts 2 years and offers a structured curriculum and mentored clinical research training that leads to a Master's degree. Phase II provides continued mentoring and career development in clinical research for up to 3 years as part of the training and skill development to become an independent clinical investigator.

Exploratory/Developmental Bioengineering Research Grants

The purpose of this renewal is to support innovative, high-risk exploratory or developmental bioengineering research whether or not preliminary results have been obtained.

Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants

The purpose of this renewal is to encourage novel scientific ideas, model systems, tools, agents, targets, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research. R21 awards allow investigators with innovative ideas to obtain support for early and conceptual-stage research without the need for large amounts of preliminary data that often serves as a barrier to entry into the NIH grants system.

Independent Scientist Award

The purpose of this renewal is to foster the research development of promising individuals in the formative years of their career by providing salary support and protected time for 3 to 5 years.

Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award

The purpose of this renewal is to provide support and protected time for intensive, supervised research career development in biomedical, behavioral, and translational research.

Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award

The purpose of this renewal is to support the career development of investigators with quantitative scientific and engineering backgrounds outside of biology or medicine who have made a commitment to focus their research endeavors on biomedicine, bioengineering, biobehavioral, or biomedical research.

National Research Service Awards for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows

The purpose of this renewal is to ensure that diverse pools of highly trained scientists will be available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the Institute's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research agendas.

Research on Sleep and Sleep Disorders

The purpose of this renewal is to advance biomedical knowledge related to sleep and sleep disorders, improve understanding of the neurobiology and functions of sleep over the lifespan, enhance timely diagnosis and effective treatment for individuals affected by sleep-related disorders, and implement and evaluate innovative community-based public health education and intervention programs.

New Initiatives

Anemia in the Elderly

The purpose of this RFA is to determine the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical aspects of anemia in the elderly. Research findings should lead to improvements in the health and well-being of elderly patients with anemia and decrease functional impairment and morbidity associated with anemia in this population.

Directed Stem Cell Differentiation for Cell-Based Therapies for Heart, Lung, Blood, and Aging Diseases

The purpose of this PA is to define factors and mechanisms that control differentiation of embryonic or adult stem or progenitor cells. The ultimate goal of the program is to develop methods to direct differentiation or development of stem cells along specific cell lineages to yield replacement cells for clinical use, whether the replacement cells are formed in vitro for delivery or in vivo in the tissue or organ environment.

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

The purpose of this PA is to stimulate research on improving measures (i.e., instrumentation, data collection, and statistical/analytical techniques) of racial/ethnic discrimination in health care delivery systems; to enhance understanding of the influence of discrimination in health care delivery and its association with disparities in disease incidence, treatment, and outcomes; and to reduce prevalence of health disparities by developing interventions to reduce the influence of discrimination on health care delivery systems in the United States.

Environmental Pathways and Susceptibility: Comparative Biology Elucidation

The purpose of this RFA is to understand the responses of biological pathways and networks to perturbation by environmental factors, stressors, or alcohol that can alter an individual's susceptibility to complex human diseases. The NHLBI is interested in combining comparative genomics and other "omics" (e.g., proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics) with informatics and high throughput technologies (RNA interference, tissues arrays) into a comprehensive pathway-driven approach to study environmental factors that contribute to heart, lung, or blood diseases or sleep disorders.

Heterogeneity of Fat Depots: Underlying Basis and Association With Morbidity

The purpose of this PA is to explore the fundamental mechanisms contributing to the heterogeneity of fat depots and to determine how these differences correlate with obesity and its associated morbidities. The goal of the initiative is to increase understanding of the interactions among cell populations in order to identify biomarkers of changes in cellular physiology and metabolism brought on by obesity. Research findings are expected to yield new targets for therapeutics to disrupt the progression of obesity to diabetes, atherosclerosis, and hypertension.

Improved Measures of Diet and Physical Activity for the Genes and Environment Initiative

The purpose of this RFA is to develop new or to improve existing sensor devices and systems that can be used in free-living populations to provide quantitative, reliable, field-deployable measurement of personal-level exposure to dietary intake and physical activity.

Individual Predoctoral Fellowships To Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

The purpose of this PA is to improve diversity of the health-related research workforce by supporting the training of predoctoral students from underrepresented groups (i.e., students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds).

Innovative Applications of Nanotechnology to Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Disorders

The purpose of this PA is to encourage innovative, high-risk strategies based on nanotechnology to diagnose and treat heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders and to identify environmental influences on those conditions.

Methods of Analysis of Gene–Environment Interactions in Complex Diseases: The Genes and Environment Initiative

The purpose of this RFA is to encourage collaborations among scientists from the fields of genetics, environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics, and bioinformatics to develop and evaluate innovative strategies for identifying gene–environment interactions in genome-wide association, sequencing, linkage, or candidate gene studies in complex diseases.

NIH Pathway to Independence Award

The purpose of this PA is to increase and maintain a strong cohort of new and talented NIH-supported independent investigators by fostering the transition of postdoctoral scientists from mentored environments to independence.

Nuclear Receptor Signaling Consortium

The purpose of this renewal is to complete the development and implementation of an atlas of nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). The Consortium is responsible for (a) developing critical resources, datasets, and reagents; (b) developing novel technologies and new concepts in NHR and coregulator biology; (c) designing studies with immediate translational effect on human disease, and (d) promoting activities to ensure communication of ideas, resources, and technologies to the broader research community.

Relationship Between Hypertension and Inflammation

The purpose of this PA is to study the interaction between hypertension and inflammation and to determine whether a causal relationship exists between the elevation of blood pressure and the production of inflammatory factors.

Venous Thrombosis and Thromboembolism in the Elderly

The purpose of this RFA is to understand the factors that contribute to the age-related increase in risk of thrombosis and thromboembolism in the elderly and to translate that knowledge to improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Trans-PHS

New Initiative

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcome Measures

The purpose of this RFP is to define pathogenetically homogeneous subgroups of individuals with COPD based on biomarkers, genotypes, and CT images and to identify intermediate outcome measures for use in future clinical trials.

Interagency

New Initiative

Network for Cardiothoracic Surgical Investigations in Cardiovascular Medicine

The purpose of this RFA is to establish a cooperative network of academic centers with cardiothoracic surgeons and their colleagues in allied specialties that will foster rigorous scientific evaluation of newer surgical techniques, technologies, and devices or innovative pharmaceutical and bioengineered products directed toward CVD and to provide a scientific basis for their use. The Network will also serve as a clinical trials training ground for fellows and junior faculty.

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