NIH Research Festival
Chair: Crystal Mackall, M.D. (NCI/CCR)
Cell-based therapeutics has been described as the next pillar of medicine, tapping into the potential of stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration. This workshop will focus on how the NIH IRP can usher a new wave of cell-based therapies by combining established and maturing scientific disciplines such as immunobiology, genome engineering, and cell engineering. The IRP plans to expand its infrastructure for cell- and vector-production laboratories and enhance its GMP facilities, develop point-of-care stem cell harvesting technologies; and enhance stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration with modified scaffolding. The focus will be on approaches and disease types perceived as not being commercially attractive given scientific challenges or limited market potential.
Chair: Karen Frank, M.D., Ph.D. (CC)
Microbes outnumber human cells in the human body by a ratio of about 10 to 1. Most of these microbes are harmless, and many are beneficial in regulating digestion and the immune system; yet a poor mix of microbes in the gut might contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, drug resistance, in which our arsenal of drugs are no longer effective against infections, is among the greatest threats to public health facing us today. This workshop will explore how the IRP can advance the study of these interconnected realms of microbiome and drug resistance by building on the program’s complementary strengths across immunology, immunotherapy, microbial and human genomics, cohort studies, animal model systems, and access to well-defined patient populations in the Clinical Center.
FAES Classrooms 2–4
Chair: Natasha Caplen, Ph.D. (NCI-CCR)
The diversity of functions ascribed to ribonucleic acid – RNA – seems to grow daily. Once thought to be just a “messenger” molecule, in the last few years we’ve seen the discovery of whole new classes of RNA, the identification of different species of RNA as critical regulators of gene expression via a diverse range of mechanisms, and we have seen RNA-based technologies revolutionize how we study gene function. In this workshop we will explore the structures and functions of RNA, the different ways in which this versatile molecule regulates gene expression, and we will discuss how RNA-based technologies can reveal potentially new treatment strategies and how RNA could eventually be exploited as a direct therapeutic target. The goal of this workshop will be to highlight how the IRP can take a leadership role in the development of a comprehensive program for the investigation and therapeutic exploitation of RNA.
Chair: Kanta Subbarao, M.B.B.S., M.P.H. (NIAID)
The IRP has contributed to about half of all FDA-approved vaccines currently in general use, possessing expertise across the broad spectrum of the vaccine development process, including basic immunology, molecular and structural biology, immunopathogenesis, bioinformatics, genomics, preclinical testing, vaccine production, and conduct of clinical trials. This workshop will address the development of an effective vaccine or other immune modulator for prevention and treatment of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other high-burden diseases, such as respiratory syncytial virus, dengue, malaria, and tuberculosis, as well as biodefense threats and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases including influenza, filoviruses (Marburg and Ebola), chikungunya, and MERS coronavirus.
Chair: Veronica Alvarez, Ph.D. (NIAAA)
One aspect of neuroscience under study at the NIH is the mechanisms and pathways that lead to obsessive behaviors such as drug and alcohol addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders. The IRP’s goal is to develop a detailed understanding of the pathway and molecular participants in these behaviors, and target therapies to exploit this improved understanding of behaviors with substantial morbidity and mortality. Neuroscience tools including advanced PET and MRI imaging, big data analysis, animal model systems, and neurochemistry and neuroanatomy will be discussed at this workshop.
FAES Classrooms 2–4
Chair: Carole Bewley, Ph.D. (NIDDK)
Natural products are produced by bacteria, fungi, marine organisms and plants, as opposed to synthetic chemicals assembled by humans. Many have therapeutic properties, and indeed many successful medicines (e.g., aspirin, Taxol™) derive from natural products. This workshop will cover themes ranging from the historical value of natural products and the central role that NIH researchers have played in moving natural products to the clinic, and how natural molecules inspire discovery of drugs and diagnostics. Looking to the future, speakers will discuss how the IRP can contribute to a national program facilitating natural products discovery for new molecules that target biological processes central to human disease. The IRPs vision includes a comprehensive Natural Products Library with pre-fractionated compounds for modern high-throughput targeted screening technology, and the creation of public databases and bioinformatics platforms to integrate source organisms, biological activities, structural, and genomic data.
This page was last updated on Friday, March 12, 2021