NIDDK Director's Update Fall 2016

Director's Note

Photo of NIDDK Deputy Division Director Dr. Phillip Smith and NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers
Credit: Krysten Carrera
NIDDK Deputy Division Director Dr. Phillip Smith and NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers stand at the Type 2 Diabetes Portal exhibit at the 2016 American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.

So much of science is sequential: a promising result from basic research leads to a successful pilot clinical study that becomes a definitive large-scale trial, which produces a game-changing result that improves health.

One such way of turning a single study into a proliferation of knowledge is the NIDDK repositories, which curate and make available the products of earlier research. By enabling the reuse of data, tissues or other samples from studies such as the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) or consortia like the Clinical Research Network in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis, we help researchers begin to ask new questions, often using new technology. In the process, we also amplify the return on our federal investments. I encourage you to read on in this edition to learn more about the repository resources NIDDK offers.

We also build on our knowledge through pooling samples or data from multiple studies to learn if new trends can emerge, an aggregate often called Big Data. The expanding Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Type 2 Diabetes Portal is already proving itself as a knowledge-builder, helping lead to novel findings in the genetics of type 2 diabetes, as you can read about in this issue.

These resources also can be entry points for people not trained in traditional biomedical fields—statisticians and physicists, for example—to work with data in new ways, with fresh perspectives on how to answer research questions.

Modest starts can lead to collaborations with far-reaching impact, as we’re moving forward with our diabetes research funding collaboration with India. The partnership began three years ago with a joint workshop, and now we're co-funding teams of American and Indian scientists, working together to accomplish common goals for our common good.

As you can read throughout this issue, from these small beginnings, we can achieve big outcomes. It's a powerful trajectory that is one of NIDDK's strengths.

In good health,
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Follow NIDDK on Twitter @NIDDKgov

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