Research Priorities

The Compelling Questions (CQs) and Critical Challenges (CCs) submitted during the Visioning process were refined to yield a set of 132 Research Priorities that will guide the NHLBI for the next decade. NHLBI-solicited activities that result from the Research Priorities will advance our progress in achieving the eight Objectives and will have a profound effect on the health and well-being of people across this country and around the globe.

Investigator-initiated discovery science has been and will remain the bedrock of the NHLBI mission, and individual researchers will always be encouraged to pursue their ideas through investigator-initiated projects. However, NHLBI leadership can catalyze extramural investigations that take advantage of new scientific opportunities and close gaps in knowledge. One means by which this occurs is through Institute-solicited research initiatives supported through new Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). The Research Priorities identify important opportunities in science that will shape the development of future FOAs and other NHLBI-solicited activities.

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Challenge or Question
Objective

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Critical Challenge
Reliable and diverse investigational models-from single cells to animals-that reflect individual variation as well as sex/gender-based differences are needed to reproduce normal functioning of HLBS systems and to reflect the activities of molecular targets in those systems and related diseases. (1.CC.01)
Critical Challenge
Standardized protocols are needed to establish and maintain cultured cell lines relevant to functional studies of HLBS systems. Specifically, facilitating the availability of hard-to-culture cell lines and cells from female research subjects, expanding the number of HLBS cell lines, and improving reproducibility across studies are necessary. (1.CC.02)
Critical Challenge
Development and application of comprehensive single-cell biology analytics are needed to facilitate an integrated understanding of cellular diversity, cell-cell interactions, and cellular phenomena in HLBS health and disease risk. (1.CC.03)
Critical Challenge
Advances in methods of and models for assessing and characterizing exposures (e.g., environmental, dietary, social) are needed to improve research on normal biologic function and resilience. (1.CC.04)
Critical Challenge
Gaining fundamental knowledge of the glycome, its regulation, and its function in HLBS systems is needed to improve understanding of post-translational modifications of proteins. (1.CC.05)
Critical Challenge
Dietary assessment methodologies that combine objective measures and biomarkers of dietary intake are needed to identify dietary patterns and food constituents that contribute to healthy weight maintenance and to inform intervention strategies to lower cardiometabolic risks. (1.CC.06)
Critical Challenge
New investigative tools and knowledge of structural and matrix biology are needed to better understand injury, regeneration, and repair of the normal (or developing) heart, lung, and blood tissues and to enable regenerative medicine. (1.CC.07)