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Appendix B: Trans-NIH Activities

NIDCD participates in the following trans-NIH research activities:

  • NIH Autism Coordinating Committee: At the request of Congress, seven NIH ICOs formed the Autism Coordinating Committee (NIH/ACC) to enhance the quality, pace, and coordination of efforts at NIH to find a cure for autism. The NIH/ACC has been instrumental in advancing research to understand ASD. Member ICOs fund 11 Autism Centers of Excellence, host workshops, and publish FOAs that encourage new discoveries for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of ASD. The NIH/ACC is also integrally involved in the broader federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which is composed of representatives from various component agencies of HHS and other departments. The NIDCD Director serves as a member of the IACC.
  • NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet): The mission of OppNet is to pursue opportunities for strengthening basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR) at the NIH. OppNet advances b-BSSR through activities and initiatives that build a body of knowledge about the nature of behavioral and social systems. Twenty-nine NIH ICOs integrate existing NIH efforts, target research challenges best met collectively, and collaborate on new research initiatives in complementary scientific areas. OppNet also relies on its stakeholders, who have provided scientific perspectives through a Request for Information and a public conference in 2010.
  • NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research: The NIH Blueprint is a collaborative framework of 16 NIH ICOs that support research on the nervous system. By pooling resources and expertise, the NIH Blueprint identifies crosscutting areas of research, and confronts challenges too large for any single NIH ICO. Since its inception in 2004, the Blueprint has supported the development of new tools, training opportunities, and other resources to assist neuroscientists. These resources include:
  • NIH Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP): The Knockout Mouse Project is a Trans-NIH initiative of 19 ICOs that is building a public repository of mouse embryonic stem cells containing “knocked out” or inactivated genes for nearly every gene in the mouse genome. This comprehensive resource of knockout mice is already benefitting the biomedical research community and enhancing our understanding of human disease. KOMP is one of the Trans-NIH Mouse Initiatives, an effort co-chaired by NIDCD Director Dr. James Battey. These programs have direct application for many NIDCD researchers, allowing them to ask questions about specific genetic defects to determine their impact on the development of, and potential recovery from, deafness and other communication disorders.
  • Trans-NIH Zebrafish Initiative: The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a unique vertebrate model that has a number of significant benefits for NIDCD’s mission areas. Perhaps the most exciting feature of the zebrafish anatomy is the presence of the lateral line, a line of easy-to-access hair cell-like sensory cells that develop along both sides of the fish. In addition, the zebrafish is transparent during much of early development, allowing easier observation of its developing sensory systems. The Zebrafish Initiative promotes the use of the zebrafish as a model organism for the study of vertebrate development and disease through the support of courses and meetings, genetic and genomic resources, reports and publications, and research initiatives.