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Vol. LXIII, No. 11
May 27, 2011

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NIAMS To Mark 25 Years of Improving Lives Through Discovery

Doctor with patient showing model of spine Patient and technician with DXA machine
Doctor with patient showing model of spine Patient and technician with DXA machine

On Monday, June 13, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases will commemorate its 25th anniversary with a day-long scientific symposium, Improving Lives Through Discovery, and a special evening event.

Since 1986, NIAMS has conducted and supported medical research on bone, joint, muscle and skin diseases—ailments that affect almost every household in America. “We are proud of the scientific advances that our extramural and intramural researchers have made toward helping people who have diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and skin, and are excitedly looking forward to the discoveries they will make in the future,” said Dr. Stephen I. Katz, who became NIAMS director in August 1995.

The symposium will feature scientific advances made possible with NIAMS support, highlight how these advances have improved patients’ lives and address the future directions for NIAMS research. The agenda will include several scientific panels with a broad array of senior and early-stage investigators from the many disciplines that NIAMS supports. Their presentations will be complemented by patients who will share their experiences with diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and skin and how research has changed their lives.

In addition to these speakers, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins will provide the welcoming address followed by the Hon. John Edward Porter, chairman of Research!America. This event will be held in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. A reception and poster session will follow. Registration is encouraged but the event is free and open to the public.

The celebration will continue with a special dinner, Bringing Medicine and Science to the Public: A Conversation with Diane Rehm, featuring National Public Radio talk show host Diane Rehm. She has mastered the ability to capture the attention of the American public by effectively communicating complex and often controversial topics. Every week, the Diane Rehm Show highlights a variety of issues relevant to the biomedical research community and frequently includes interviews with NIH representatives, grantees, patients and health care providers. The dinner, hosted by the Foundation for the NIH, will be held at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. Advance registration is required.

A diverse audience of researchers, health care providers, patients and professional and volunteer representatives from across the United States is expected at both events. For more information, call (301) 496-8190 or visit

Key Events in NIAMS’s History


Dr. Lawrence E. Shulman

Dr. Lawrence E. Shulman

On Apr. 8, 1986, NIAMS—formerly the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases—was established. Dr. Lawrence E. Shulman was appointed the first director and served from 1986 to 1994. The institute’s mission is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.


The NIAMS-funded Study of Osteoporotic Fractures helps doctors identify people at high risk for osteoporosis.


A team of intramural researchers discovers an immune system enzyme, Jak3, which leads to the development of a new immunosuppressive drug and the discovery of a genetic mutation that causes severe combined immunodeficiency.


Dr. Stephen I. Katz, NIAMS director

Dr. Stephen I. Katz, NIAMS director

Dr. Stephen I. Katz, who began his NIH career at the National Cancer Institute in 1974, becomes the second director of NIAMS.


Research funded by NIAMS and others on the disease processes of rheumatoid arthritis results in an entirely new class of rheumatic disease treatments, named biologic response modifiers.


In a discovery with implications for wound healing and regenerative medicine, researchers define the characteristics of hair follicle stem cells that are responsible for their self-renewal and the factors in the hair follicle microenvironment that contribute to stem cell pluripotency.


Two-year results from NIAMS’s Multicenter Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial reveal the effectiveness of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment approaches for three common back conditions.

Many more accomplishments can be seen on the NIAMS web site. In addition, a special milestone banner will be unveiled at the symposium on June 13.NIHRecord Icon

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