AIDS-Related Structural Biology Program Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What kinds of HIV/AIDS projects does NIGMS support?

A. NIGMS supports projects that use biophysical, structural and cell biology methodologies to elucidate the basic mechanisms of HIV replication. Of particular interest are projects that aim to characterize the structures of complexes composed of viral and host factors that may represent new targets for therapeutic intervention.

Q. What kinds of HIV/AIDS research doesn't NIGMS support?

A. We do not support research focused on AIDS as a disease, HIV pathogenesis and/or the immune response to the virus, or clinical evaluation of AIDS drugs. These studies are supported by other NIH institutes and centers.

Q. How are these applications reviewed?

A. Proposals go to standing study sections at the Center for Scientific Review at NIH and are evaluated using the Peer Review guidelines. Applications are read by three reviewers, who include experts and generalists. Their final evaluations are based on five criteria (significance, investigator, innovation, approach and environment). Applicants will receive a written critique and criteria scores. Please note that the overall score is not an average of these elements and that any one criterion score can raise or lower the overall score.

Q. Which study sections review research into the structural and cellular biology of HIV?

A. Applications to apply biophysical and structural biology techniques to basic questions of HIV and host cell interactions may be reviewed in AMCB (AIDS Molecular and Cellular Biology); applications that apply the above techniques to the development or improvement of antiretroviral drugs, including microbicides, may be reviewed in ADDT (AIDS Discovery and Development of Therapeutics); applications pursuing structural biology questions involving AIDS opportunistic infections may be reviewed in AOIC (AIDS-Associated Opportunistic Infections and Cancer); and applications that apply biophysical and structural biology to problems in vaccine/immunogen characterization or design may be reviewed in VACC (HIV/AIDS Vaccines).

Q. Will NIH accept supplementary information following the submission?

A. No. The new NIH Peer Review guidelines no longer allow supplemental materials for any application.

Q. When will the reviews take place?

A. Study sections meet three times per year in February, June and October. Typically, review meetings are held 120 days after receipt. Please refer to the receipt deadlines on the Office of Extramural Research Web site.

Q. When will awards be made?

A. Awards are made throughout the fiscal year. Following the initial review at study section, applications go to a second level of review and are considered by the NIGMS Advisory Council, which meets in January, May and September. After consideration of all pre-award applicable information, NIGMS program directors will determine whether an award will be made, if special conditions are required and what level of funding is appropriate.

Q. Do I have to apply to a specific funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to be eligible for an award in the area of cellular imaging research?

A. No. However, NIH requires that all applications must list an FOA. In most cases, the generic R01 FOA is sufficient. NIGMS supports: HIV/AIDS structural biology research in standard R01 (PA-16-160). It also supports such research through P01 Program Project (PAR-16-433) and P50 Specialized Center (RFA-GM-17-003) applications. If responding to a specific announcement, list the program announcement (PA, PAR) or request for applications (RFA) number.

Q. What kinds of grants does NIGMS support?

A. For a complete list, please refer to the NIGMS Research Grants Mechanism Web site.