The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Intramural Research Program (IRP) conducts biomedical research and training related to diabetes mellitus; endocrine, bone, and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, including liver diseases and nutritional disorders; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. The research conducted in the IRP spans the breadth of modern biomedical investigation, from basic science to clinical studies.
A sampling of areas under study includes:
- biophysics — studies of protein folding, development of optical and vibrational imaging, and theory of protein dynamics
- cell biology — studies of nuclear import/export, intracellular protein and lipid trafficking, cellular migration and prions
- chemical biology and medicinal chemistry — synthesis and characterization of novel compounds and discovery of biologically active natural products
- developmental biology — studies using model systems ranging from single-cell organisms to vertebrates to human cells
- genetics, pathogenesis and novel therapies of disease — studies of diabetes types 1 and 2, hepatitis, endocrine disorders, nephritis/nephropathy, obesity, sickle cell anemia, and gastrointestinal disorders
- molecular biology — studies of chromatin structure and function, transcriptional regulation and DNA recombination
- signal transduction — basic and human disease-oriented studies of GTP-binding proteins and GTP-binding protein-coupled receptors, tyrosine kinase receptors and nuclear hormone receptors
- structural biology — studies using x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy
The hallmarks of the NIDDK IRP are excellence and diversity. Many of the scientists within the IRP have achieved international recognition as highly productive and innovative researchers. The present program continues a tradition of excellence reflected in the several Nobel prizes and other prestigious awards that have resulted from its work. Many scientists trained in the IRP are now prominent faculty members at leading universities throughout the world.
In order to maintain the highest quality of research, the IRP is evaluated in quadrennial reviews by a Board of Scientific Counselors. This board is made up of accomplished senior extramural researchers to ensure the most effective use of public dollars toward high-quality, high-impact research.
The Scientific Director, Michael Krause, Ph.D., and Clinical Director, James E. Balow, M.D., continually refine the structure of the IRP in response to these findings and overall advances in the field. As senior advisors, Drs. Krause and Balow provide guidance to the NIDDK Director on scientific, clinical and translational research policies and procedures. In addition, they represent the interests of the Institute on a variety of committees that govern research conduct, safety, and training across the NIH.
Driven by a commitment to accountability and transparency, the IRP promotes public access to research findings, ensuring publications are easily available online through PubMed Central and sponsoring both occasional and ongoing seminars, symposia, and interest group meetings. These events are also part of a broader effort to foster collaborations between members of the IRP and their colleagues at other NIH institutes, universities, and industry.
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