As an agency built to serve public health through research, overcoming the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge we take very personally. Over the last few months, every corner of NIDDK has urgently and diligently worked to apply our knowledge and expertise to help everyone affected. Throughout this issue, you’ll see some of the ways NIDDK and its staff are rising to our shared challenge to understand and combat COVID-19 by supporting and conducting new research.
Our intramural program has quickly shifted gears to leverage resources and expertise in new ways to help. For example, researchers from the Laboratory of Chemical Physics visualized the droplets generated during speech using laser-light-scattering experiments. You can read more about NIDDK’s ongoing COVID-19-related activities this issue.
We’re also looking to support the larger scientific community. NIDDK announced two notices of special interest to provide supplemental grant funding in response to COVID-19. To help guide how NIDDK supports external research, NIDDK called on our Advisory Council to share challenges and opportunities that they anticipate in conducting COVID-19 and other research.
The NIDDK mission is especially critical now, 70 years after NIDDK was instituted. We are seeing that people with diabetes, severe obesity, and chronic kidney disease are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. NIDDK maintains evidence-based health information and tools to support people managing chronic diseases during uncertain times, which you can also read about in this issue. When chronic conditions are managed effectively, the risk of many other illnesses or complications is lower.
Staff from across the Institute have also adapted to new procedures and virtual environments to ensure that our operations continue to run smoothly. In times like these, as my colleague NIDDK Deputy Director Dr. Gregory Germino shared in an interview in this issue, our job is “critical to the grander mission of serving the American people.” I couldn’t agree more.
As NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins often says, NIH is the “National Institutes of Hope.” It’s never been truer. We are determined and will persevere, continuing to support hope through research to serve the American people, alleviate the burden of COVID-19, and continue our mission to improve health for everyone.
In good health,
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.