American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research (RFA-OD-09-003)

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National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

NIH has received new funds for Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), Pub. L. No. 111-5. The NIH has designated at least $200 million in FYs 2009 – 2010 for a new initiative called the NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research.

This new program will support research on topic areas that address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that would benefit from significant 2-year jumpstart funds.

The NIH has identified a range of Challenge Areas that focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. Each NIH Institute, Center, and Office has selected specific Challenge Topics within the broad Challenge Areas related to its mission. The research in these Challenge Areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health.

NIH anticipates funding 200 or more grants, each of up to $1 million in total costs, pending the number and quality of applications and availability of funds. In addition, Recovery Act funds allocated to NIH specifically for comparative effectiveness research (CER) may be available to support additional grants. Projects receiving these funds will need to meet this definition of CER: “a rigorous evaluation of the impact of different options that are available for treating a given medical condition for a particular set of patients. Such a study may compare similar treatments, such as competing drugs, or it may analyze very different approaches, such as surgery and drug therapy.” Such research may include the development and use of clinical registries, clinical data networks, and other forms of electronic health data that can be used to generate or obtain outcomes data as they apply to CER.

The application due date is April 27, 2009.

Broad Challenge Areas and Specific Challenge Topics

Note: Those marked with an asterisk (*) are the highest priority topics; however, applicants may apply to any of the topics. These topics are not the same as those for NIGMS Grand Opportunities (GO) grants (RFA-OD-09-004); applications for NIGMS GO grants should be responsive to the NIGMS topic list.

For NIGMS, the Challenge Topics are:

(01) Behavior, Behavioral Change, and Prevention
01-GM-101* Individual-based model of social behavior. Development of a robust and well-characterized individual-based model of social behavior that includes the dynamics of social interactions and that matches observed patterns of behavior. Contact: Dr. Irene Eckstrand,
01-GM-102 Model organisms for social behavior studies. Identification and development of model organisms that allow for integrative analyses of the genetic, biochemical, physiological, and environmental components of social behavior. Contact: Dr. Irene Eckstrand,
01-GM-103 Formation and evolution of social organization. Development of pilot projects to demonstrate how virtual or e-communities may provide information and insights into the formation and evolution of social organization. Contact: Dr. Irene Eckstrand,
(02) Bioethics
02-OD(OSP)-101* Unique Ethical Issues Posed by Emerging Technologies. Advances in biotechnology and biomedical science raise novel ethical, legal, and social issues. Research in this area is needed to understand the unique ethical concerns related to emerging technologies (e.g. biotechnology, tissue engineering, nanomedicine, and synthetic biology). These include issues such as dual use research, privacy, safety, intellectual property, commercialization and conflict of interest, among others. Research is also needed to assess how these novel issues are addressed under current oversight and regulatory structures and identify where there may be gaps and/or need for revised or new oversight approaches. OD(OSP) Contact: Abigail Rives,; NIGMS Contact: Dr. Richard Anderson,
(04) Clinical Research
04-GM-101* Personalized drug response and toxicity. Application of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics, quantitative and systems pharmacology (this could be part of a larger grouping to include systems biology and systems genetics), ADMET pharmacology, preclinical models, and new technologies and approaches to complement pharmacogenomic studies to enhance signal-to-noise ratios and aid mechanistic studies, and consensus standards for normal and altered phenotypes in drug response and toxicity. Contacts: Dr. Rochelle Long,; Dr. Richard Okita,
04-GM-102 Integrative bioinformatics systems for critical care. Development of highly flexible and viable integrative bioinformatics systems for the unique, data-rich and time-sensitive environments found during the care of injured or critically ill patients in the emergency department or intensive care unit. Contact: Dr. Scott Somers,
04-GM-103 Perioperative pain. Studies to inform, develop, and validate new animal models of perioperative pain conditions; develop new measures of perioperative pain in animals that are noninvasive and objective, and that permit a behavioral or functional assessment of pain and pain treatment outcomes; and identify gene polymorphisms and gene-environment interactions that predict the development of perioperative pain and response to drug therapy. Contact: Dr. Alison Cole,
(05) Comparative Effectiveness Research
05-GM-101* Anesthesiology, Clinical Pharmacology, Sepsis, Trauma, Burn, and Peri-Operative Injury, and Wound Healing. NIGMS supports clinical research in the areas of anesthesiology, clinical pharmacology, sepsis, injury (trauma, burn and peri-operative) and wound healing. Within these general clinical areas are opportunities for rigorous comparative evaluation of the impact of different treatment options or standards of care in a variety of clinical conditions, settings and/or situations. Possible opportunities include but are not limited to comparisons of drugs, devices, and/or protocols. Sophisticated analyses of existing data sets/registries, planning projects for subsequent larger scale clinical studies, or other activities that would provide comparative evaluations in these areas are appropriate. Applications that address the following topics are encouraged:
  • genetic basis of variable drug responses, both therapeutic and adverse
  • resuscitation strategies
  • therapies that influence stabilization and recovery following trauma and burn injury
  • post-injury nutrition management
  • studies of the methods, roles and predictive value of monitoring in critically ill patients
  • effective drug treatments for multi-organ failure
  • use of sedatives, analgesics and anesthetics in critically ill patients
  • responses related to gender or population-based differences
  • therapies that accelerate wound healing, that induce healing in a nonhealing wound or that reduce/eliminate scarring
NIGMS Contact: Dr. Michael Rogers,
(06) Enabling Technologies
06-GM-101* Structural analysis of macromolecular complexes. Development of new approaches, technologies, and reagents that would facilitate functional and/or structural analysis of macromolecular complexes. Contacts: Dr. Peter Preusch,
06-GM-102* Chemist/biologist collaborations facilitating tool development. Development of chemical probes, imaging agents, radiochemicals, and other tools for understanding biology through collaborations between a chemist(s) and a biologist(s). Contacts: Dr. James Deatherage,; Dr. Michael Rogers,
06-GM-103* Development of predictive methods for molecular structure, recognition, and ligand interaction. Studies to more precisely predict molecular structure and interactions between molecules and ligands to lay the foundation for a new generation of therapeutics and drug design. Powerful predictive methods will require the acquisition of experimentally derived constraints and breakthrough computational methods. Reliable, high-throughput predictive methods would create a more comprehensive resource for understanding molecular interaction that would eventually replace the use of slower, empirical determinations. Contacts: Dr. Peter Preusch,; Dr. Warren Jones,
06-GM-104 Dynamics of membrane structure and function. Development of new technology to study the dynamics of membrane structure and function to better understand how membrane components change as they sense the environment, assemble, or bind metabolites. Contact: Dr. Jean Chin,
06-GM-105 Small RNAs. Identification and functional characterization of all classes of small RNAs, to elucidate their regulation and mechanism of action and to understand their evolutionary origin. Contact: Dr. Michael Bender,
06-GM-106 Subcellular imaging of metal ions. Development of metallobiochemistry methods to image metal ions and metal ion species at the subcellular level. Contact: Dr. Vernon Anderson,
06-GM-107 Metal ion binding and function. Development of high-throughput methods for the prediction of metal ion binding and function in proteins at the structural, redox, and/or catalytic levels. Contact: Dr. Vernon Anderson,
06-GM-108 Functions of glycan-binding proteins. Creation of new, high-throughput methods for deciphering the biological functions of glycan-binding proteins. Contact: Dr. Pamela Marino,
06-GM-109 Green chemistry and engineering for drug discovery, development, and production. Development of chemical methodologies and tools to promote green chemistry and engineering innovation into drug discovery, development, and production. Contact: Dr. Miles Fabian,
06-GM-110 Synthesis, structure, and function of glycans. Development of new approaches, technologies, reagents, and tools to facilitate understanding of the synthesis, structure, and function of glycans. Contact: Dr. Pamela Marino,
06-GM-111 Natural products methodologies. Development of novel, rapid methodologies for the detection, structural analysis, expression, and/or derivatization of natural products. Contact: Dr. Barbara Gerratana,
06-GM-112 Molecular and cellular dynamics technologies. Development of tools, reagents, and technologies to better understand molecular and cellular dynamics in vivo. The goal is to develop the capability to characterize the abundance, location, composition, interactions, and turnover of individual molecules with high sensitivity and with little perturbation of the cellular environment. New methods, including those for single-molecule resolution, are needed for tracking and recording these changes in vivo at the subcellular level. Contact: Dr. Catherine Lewis,
06-GM-113 Structural analysis of large cellular components and organelles. Development of hybrid methods to enable the structural analysis of large cellular components and organelles. This will enable the determination of structures that are not amenable to routine X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy. The new methods will make use of combined, “hybrid” data from a variety of sources as well as computational methods to integrate data sources using a range of dimensions, scales, and formats. Contact: Dr. Peter Preusch,
06-GM-114 Microbial sequence annotation. Development of new approaches to the rapid and comprehensive annotation of microbial sequences resulting from metagenomics and other high-capacity outputs. Approaches may combine high-throughput experimental methods with innovative data mining algorithms and model building. Contact: Dr. James Anderson
06-GM-115 High-end computing software. Upgrading of biomedical computing software to high-end computing (HEC). This developmental effort will seek to expand the domain areas to the macromolecular, cell, tissue, organ, whole-organism, and population levels. The program would support grants to upgrade and port software to run and perform experiments on new generation HEC supercomputers. Contact: Dr. Peter Lyster,
(09) Health Disparities
09-GM-101 Mathematical and computational models for health disparities studies. Development of mathematical and computational models of the causes of, and potential interventions related to, health disparities. Contact: Dr. Irene Eckstrand,
(11) Regenerative Medicine
11-GM-101 Establishment of regenerative capabilities. Development of approaches and technologies to establish regenerative capabilities in adult cells to repair or replace damaged tissues and organs in situ and to improve wound healing and reduce scarring in human and animal models. Contact: Dr. Susan Haynes,
(12) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education
12-GM-101 Novel interventions to improve development of research scientists from underrepresented groups. Development and testing of novel interventions based on recent, theoretically grounded research from the behavioral and social sciences that will enhance the development of creative research scientists from underrepresented groups. Contact: Dr. Shiva Singh,
(14) Stem Cells
14-GM-101 High-efficiency genetic reprogramming of adult cells. Development of methods to 1) genetically reprogram, at high efficiency, differentiated human cells from adult tissues into cells that indefinitely self-renew and have the full potential of embryonic stem cells to differentiate into any cell type of the human body, and 2) define temporally the molecular steps that accompany this reprogramming. Contact: Dr. Marion Zatz,

For general information on NIGMS implementation of NIH Challenge Grants, contact:

Judith H. Greenberg, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health

For financial or grants management questions, contact:

Grace Olascoaga
Chief Grants Management Officer
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health