NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDDK/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases : Research Programs
Division of Intramural Research
The Division of Intramural Research conducts
research and training within the institutes laboratories and clinical facilities in
Bethesda, Md., and at the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch in Arizona.
The division has 8 branches and 11 laboratories,
which cover a wide range of research areas. In addition, there is a section on veterinary
sciences and an interinstitute training program with NICHD in clinical endocrinology.
Six branches are engaged primarily in basic and
clinical research on diabetes, bone metabolism, endocrinology, hematology, digestive
diseases, and genetics. The Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch develops and
applies epidemiologic and genetic methods in field studies throughout the world on
selected populations at risk of developing specific diseases, especially diabetes and its
complications. The eighth branch addresses mathematical modeling of biological problems.
The laboratories are engaged in fundamental
research related to the institutes mission (e.g., molecular biology, chemistry, cell
biology, toxicology, pharmacology, physics, biochemistry, neuroscience, and developmental
biology). The laboratory animal science section provides research animal support and
collaboration to the research programs of the institute.
Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic
The DEMD supports research and research training
related to diabetes mellitus, endocrinology, and metabolic diseases including cystic
fibrosis. In addition, DEMD leads the administration of the Trans-NIH Diabetes Program and
coordinates federally supported diabetes-related activities. The division also administers
the Trans-NIH Cystic Fibrosis Program.
Diabetes Programs Branch Diabetes Research Program. This program
supports basic and clinical studies related to the etiology, pathogenesis, prevention,
diagnosis, treatment, and cure of diabetes mellitus and its complications. The program
also supports investigations related to pancreas and islet transplantation, automated
insulin delivery systems, glucose sensors, the epidemiology of diabetes and its
complications, and behavioral research related to diabetes.
Diabetes Centers Program. Two types of
awards are made: Diabetes/Endocrinology Research Centers, exclusively oriented toward
biomedical research goals, and the Diabetes Research and Training Centers (DRTC), which
include training and information transfer components in addition to research. The DERCs
and DRTCs integrate, coordinate, and foster interdisciplinary cooperation of investigators
in diabetes and related endocrine and metabolic disorders. Both programs also provide
limited funds for pilot and feasibility studies to encourage young investigators and new
Clinical Trials Program. This program
supports a multicenter randomized clinical trials on the treatment and prevention of
insulin-dependent and noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
National Diabetes Data Group. The NDDG
serves as the major Federal focus for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data
on diabetes and its complications.
WHO Collaborating Center for Diabetes.
This center, sponsored by the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases,
solicits and provides guidance in developing international research about diabetes through
NIH research grants and contracts; promotes interchange of scientific and health
information among WHO member countries; and provides expert advice and consultation to WHO
and other international committees and agencies.
Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases Programs
Endocrinology Research Program. Basic and
clinical studies on the mechanism of hormone action and hormonal regulation of gene
expression is supported. Principal areas include nuclear and orphan hormones and their
receptors; signal transduction through cell surface, cytoplasmic and nuclear receptors;
regulation of the expression, processing, and secretion of hormones; dysfunctional
hormonal regulation which causes or is the result of diseases such as osteoporosis, breast
cancer and AIDS.
Also investigated are the effects of peptide
hormones on gene expression; endocrine regulation of bone metabolism; basic research on
the hypothalamic-pituitary axis; the identification and characterization of novel
hypothalamic or pituitary hormones or receptors; and basic and clinical research on the
effects of growth factors and related hormon-like substances.
Hormone Distribution Program. This program
makes available to the research community human and animal pituitary hormones, antisera
against the hormones, and selected other hormonal and biological products. An important
research resource for the scientific community, this program gives scientists access to
hormones and antisera of known composition and potency, most of which are unavailable
Metabolic Diseases Research. This consists
of the Metabolic Deseases and Gene Therapy Research Program and the Metabolism and
Structural Biology Research Program.
The first supports investigator-initiated
research on intermediary metabolism and its regulation in health and disease. Particular
areas include studies of etiology, pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, pathophysiology,
and treatment of genetic metabolic diseases; characterization of the genes, gene defects
and regulatory alterations characterizing the underlying causes of these diseases;
development of enzyme replacement therapy; creation of animal models; and characterization
of normal and abnormal metabolic biochemical processing in specialized tissues.
The second funds studies that examine
structure-function relationships of peptides, proteins and polynucleotides relevant to
normal and disease states. These include investigations on elucidating mechanisms of the
fundamental processes of endocytosis, exocytosis, intracellular protein trafficking and
membrane transport; evaluations of relationships of cellular membranes; elucidation of
three-dimensional structures of proteins/enzymes; and clarification of the biolgical
activities of organelle-derived peptides.
Cystic Fibrosis Research Program. This
program supports initiated research projects and center grants encompassing fundamental
and clinical studies of the etiology, molecular pathogenesis, pathophysiology, diagnosis
and treatment of CF and its complications.
Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
This division supports research related to liver
and biliary diseases, pancreatic diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, including
neuroendocrinology, motility, immunology, and digestion in the GI tract, nutrient
metabolism, obesity, eating disorders, and energy regulation. The division provides
leadership in coordinating activities related to digestive diseases and nutrition
throughout the NIH and with various other Federal agencies.
Digestive Diseases Branch
Liver and Biliary Program. This program
supports basic and clinical research into the normal function and the diseases of the
liver and biliary tract. Areas of study include hepatic regeneration, gene therapy, liver
cell injury, fibrosis, and apoptosis; liver transplantation; metabolism of bile acids and
bilirubin; physiology of bile formation; factors controlling cholesterol levels in bile;
gallbladder and bile duct function; cholesterol and pigment gallstones; inborn errors in
bile acid metabolism; chronic hepatitis that evolves from autoimmune, viral, or alcoholic
disease; and other liver diseases.
Pancreas Program. This program encourages
research into the structure, function, and diseases (excluding cancer and cystic fibrosis)
of the exocrine pancreas. Research efforts focus on hormonal and neural regulation of
electrolyte, fluid, and enzyme secretion; receptors for secretagogues; stimulus-secretion
coupling mechanisms; gut-islet-acinar interrelations; organization and expression of
pancreatic genes; protein synthesis and export; tissue injury, repair, and regeneration;
physiology and pathology of trophic responses; neural innervation; transcapillary solute
and fluid exchange; pancreatic transplantation, storage, and preservation; imaging of the
pancreas; pancreatic insufficiency; and acute and chronic pancreatitis and relevant
Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrinology Program.
This program supports both basic and clinical studies on normal and abnormal function of
the enteric nervous system and the central nervous system elements that control the
enteric nervous system. Research focuses on gastrointestinal hormones and peptides and
studies on disease conditions associated with excessive or deficient secretions of
Gastrointestinal Transport and Absorption
Program. This program supports research on the process of food digestion in the
gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Areas of research focus on the regulation of gene expression
in the GIT; structure and function of the gut mucosa; cytoskeletal structure and
contractility in brush border; growth and differentiation of gastrointestinal cells in
normal and disease states; intestinal transplantation, storage, and preservation; and
gastrointestinal tissue injury, repair, and regeneration.
Also supported are studies on gastrointestinal
diseases such as maldigestion and malabsorption syndromes.
Gastrointestinal Motility Program. This
program supports research on structure and function of gastrointestinal muscles, the
biochemistry of contractile processes and mechanochemical energy conversion relations
between metabolism and contractility in smooth muscle, extrinsic control of digestive
tract motility, and fluid mechanics of gastrointestinal flow. Areas of interest include
actions of drugs on gastrointestinal motility, intestinal obstruction, and diseases such
as irritable bowel syndrome, colonic diverticular disease, swallowing disorders, and
Gastrointestinal, Mucosal and Immunology
Program. Research focuses on intestinal immunity and inflammation. Areas include:
ontogeny and differentiation of gut-associated lymphoid tissue; migratory pathways of
intestinal lymphoid cells; humoral antibody responses; cell-mediated cytotoxic reactions;
genetic control of the immune response at mucosal surfaces; immune response to enteric
antigens in both intestinal/extraintestinal sites; granulomatous inflammation; lymphokines
and cellular immune regulation; leukotrienes/prostaglandin effects on intestinal immune
responses; T-cell mediated intestinal injury; intestinal mast cells and their role in
inflammation; approaches to optimal mucosal immunoprophylaxis, including viral, bacterial,
and parasitic diseases; and diseases such as gluten sensitive enteropathy, inflammatory
bowel disease, and gastritis.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Program.
This program encourages research into the characterization of intestinal injury, mechanism
of maldigestion, and intestinal mucosal functions, as well as hepatic and biliary
dysfunction in AIDS. In addition, studies are supported on mechanisms of nutrient
dysfunction, nutritional management in the wasting syndrome and other aspects of
malnutrition related to AIDS.
Digestive Diseases Centers Program. This
program currently administers research core center grant awards. These awards provide a
mechanism for integrating, coordinating, and fostering interdisciplinary cooperation
between groups of established investigators who conduct programs of high-quality research
that relate to a common theme in digestive disease research.
Nutritional Sciences Branch
Nutrient Metabolism Program. This program
supports basic and clinical studies related to the requirement, bioavailability, and
metabolism of nutrients and other dietary components. Specific areas of research interest
include understanding of physiological function and mechanism of action/interaction of
nutrients within the body; effects of environment, heredity, stress, drug use, toxicants,
and physical activity on problems of nutrient imbalance and nutrient requirements in
health and disease; and specific metabolic considerations relating to alternative forms of
nutrient delivery and use such as total parenteral nutrition.
The program also supports research to improve
methods of assessing nutritional status in health and disease.
Obesity, Eating Disorders, and Energy Regulation
Program. This program funds research on the biomedical and behavioral aspects of
obesity, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and other eating disorders.
The goals are to establish a clear understanding
of the etiology, prevention, and treatment of these multifaceted conditions. Areas of
research interest focus on factors that affect food choices, food intake, eating behavior,
appetite, and satiety; effects of taste, smell, and gastric and humoral (including
neurotransmitters) responses associated with dietary intake and subsequent behavior;
physiological and metabolic consequences of weight loss or gain; effect of mild exercise
on appetite and weight control; and individual variability in energy utilization and
The program encourages investigations on dietary
determinants of growth and control of adipocyte size and number; responsiveness of the
adipocyte to metabolic and pharmacologic stimuli; prevention of obesity and other eating
disorders; improved methods of assessing body composition; examination of health risk
factors associated with specific degrees of obesity or body composition; and determining
the effect of exercise on body composition.
Clinical Nutrition Research Units. The
CNRU is an integrated array of research, educational, and service activities focused on
human nutrition in health and disease. It serves as the focal point for an
interdisciplinary approach to clinical nutrition research and for the stimulation of
research in improved nutritional support of acutely and chronically ill persons,
assessment of nutritional status, effects of disease states on nutrient needs, and effects
of changes in nutritional status on disease.
Obesity/Nutrition Research Centers. The
ONRCs encourage collaboration among researchers and a multidisciplinary approach to the
treatment and prevention of obesity. They will help to capitalize on emerging research
opportunities in obesity and to enhance the translation of research findings to the
U.S.-Japan Malnutrition Panel. In 1965
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato issued a joint
communique recognizing their mutual concern for the health and well-being of all peoples
of Asia. This led to the formation of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program,
which operates within a bilateral government framework. The malnutrition panel was
established in 1966 to foster and support investigator-initiated research to help
alleviate the serious problem of malnutrition.
Current topics of importance to the U.S. and
Japan focus on consequences of changing dietary patterns on health, development of
disease, and disease prevention. Specific research includes the nutritional significance
of varying the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet, nutritional aspects of
bone disease, endogenous mediators of nutritional metabolism, and improved methodologies
applicable to nutritional assessment.
Epidemiological Clinical Trials Branch
Clinical Trials Program. This program
includes all prospective studies in digestive diseases and nutrition. Using 10 or more
patients, studies compare two forms of treatment, one of which could be placebo or
Epidemiology and Data Systems Program. P.L.
99-158 authorized the establishment of this program for collection, storage, analysis,
retrieval, and dissemination of data derived from patient populations with digestive
diseases and, where possible, data involving general populations to detect individuals
with a risk of developing digestive diseases.
Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic
The division supports research on diseases of the
kidney, genitourinary tract, and blood and blood-forming organs, and on the fundamental
biology relevant to these organ systems. It funds training and professional development of
investigators in disciplines critical for research in these areas.
Basic Renal Biology Program.
This program supports research on normal
development, structure and function of the kidney. Areas of emphasis include glomerular
function and cell biology, transport physiology and structure-function analysis of
transport proteins, and integrated regulation of solute and water excretion. The program
supports investigation of adverse effects of nephrotoxic drugs and environmental toxins
and mechanisms of hypoxic renal cell injury. A major area of strength are studies
examining intracellular signal transduction for renal hormones and growth factors. In
addition to study on mammalian systems, investigation is supported on transport function
and development using simple systems such as C. elegans and zebrafish.
Chronic Renal Diseases Program. This program
supports basic and clinical studies on the etiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment
of chronic renal diseases. Disease categories receiving particular emphasis include
analgesic nephropathy, polycystic kidney disease, diabetic nephropathy, glomerulonephritis
and other immune disorders of the kidney, hypertensive nephrosclerosis and HIV
nephropathy. A major interest in this program are renal diseases that affect children and
the effects of chronic renal insufficiency on growth and development of children.
End-Stage Renal Disease Program. This
program supports investigation on the pathogenesis of the uremic state, on end-stage renal
disease treatment by peritoneal and hemodialysis, and on nutrition in renal disease.
Investigation on renal transplantation is supported with particular emphasis on
nonimmunological renal injury and on methods of increasing organ availability,
particularly in minority populations.
Pediatric Nephrology Program. This program
supports basic and clinical research on the causes, treatments, and prevention of kidney
diseases of children. Research efforts focus on inherited and congenital renal diseases
kidney disease of diabetes mellitus IgA nephropathy and kidney disease and hypertension,
which starts in early childhood.
Renal Epidemiology Program. Investigation
into the incidence and prevalence of renal diseases, the factors associated with increased
mortality and comorbidity and cost-benefit assessment of prevention and treatment
strategies are areas supported through the renal epidemiology program. The U.S. Renal Data
System (USRDS), an information resource for the epidemiology of end-stage renal disease,
is supported through this program. USRDS investigation of cost factors in dialysis care is
cofunded with the Health Care Financing Administration.
Basic Urology Program. This program supports
basic research on the normal and abnormal development, structure and function of the
genitourinary tract. A major area of interest is investigation of the biology of bladder
cells, including studies on transport properties, effects of obstruction on patterns of
protein expression and examination of interactions between urinary pathogens and cells of
the urinary tract. The program on prostate biology has particular strengths in
investigation of prostate cell growth and mechanisms of growth factor signal transduction.
The major emphasis of this program is to develop
a source of epidemiologic information that may further understanding of natural history,
risk factors and health resource utilization for urologic conditions. Plans are to collect
and analyze new and existing data on incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality and
health resource utilization associated with various urologic conditions of high public
health importance. The information will be presented in a planned publication tentatively
titled "Urologic Diseases in America."
Basic Hematology Program. This program
supports fundamental investigation of the hematopoietic system, including studies of
relevance to sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, hemochromatosis, iron deficiency anemia,
thrombocytopenia and hemolytic anemia. Areas of particular interest include hematopoietic
development--for example, molecular mechanisms for determination of the hematopoietic cell
lineages; stem cell biology; hemoglobin biology such as globin gene regulation; and the
biology of iron, including iron transport, mechanisms of regulation of gene expression by
iron and mechanisms of cellular toxicity of iron.
Office of the Director
National Task Force on Prevention and Treatment
of Obesity. The task force was established in June 1991 to synthesize current
scientifically based information on the prevention and treatment of obesity and to develop
statements about topics of clinical importance that are based on critical analyses of the
literature. It is composed of leading obesity researchers and clinicians who advise the
institute on research needs and sponsor workshops on topics related to the prevention and
treatment of obesity. Organizationally, it is placed under the auspices of the NIDDK
National Diabetes Education Program. The
NDEP, a federally sponsored initiative, involves public and private partners to improve
treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes, to promote early diagnosis, and
ultimately to prevent the onset of diabetes.
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
National Digestive Diseases Information
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information
The three clearinghouses serve as information
resources for patients, the public, and health professionals concerned with diabetes,
digestive diseases, and kidney and urologic diseases. Each was authorized by Congress to
increase knowledge and understanding about these areas through the effective dissemination
of information. The NDIC was authorized by Congress in 1976; the NDDIC in 1980; and the
NKUDIC in 1987.
To accomplish this mission, the clearinghouses
answer inquiries; develop, review, and distribute publications; and work closely with
professional and patient-advocacy organizations and Government agencies to coordinate
informational resources about diabetes, digestive diseases, and kidney and urologic
The clearinghouses also develop and maintain
relevant sections of the Combined Health Information Database--a free, online
bibliographic database of references to books, journal articles, audiovisuals,
directories, bibliographies, manuals, product descriptions, brochures and pamphlets,
computer programs, monographs, newsletters, and other educational materials. The health
education resources indexed in CHID are often not indexed elsewhere.
CHID and all the clearinghouse publications are
available through the NIDDK home page, at http://www.niddk.nih.gov/. Mailing addresses
are: NDIC, 1 Information Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3560; NDDIC, 2 Information Way, Bethesda,
MD 20892-3570; NKUDIC, 2 Information Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3580.
Weight-Control Information Network. WIN is a
national information service established in 1994 to provide health professionals and
consumers with science-based information on obesity, weight control, and nutrition. The
WIN program supplements the work of the Clinical Nutrition Research Units, the
Obesity/Nutrition Research Centers, and the National Task Force on Prevention and
Treatment of Obesity. WIN publications are available through the NIDDK home page, at
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/win.htm. The mailing address is: Weight-control
Information Network, 1 WIN Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3665; phone: (301) 984-7378 or