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FY 2015 Congressional Justification

FY 2015 Budget

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

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Organization Chart

Organization of the National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Office of the Director: James F. Battey Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Director; Judith Cooper, Ph.D., Deputy Director. Attached to the Office of the Director is the Office of Administration Timoth Wheeles, Directory. Also attached are three divisions: The Division of Intramural Research (Andrew Griffith, M.D.,Ph.D., Director), the Division of Scientific Programs (Judith Cooper, Ph.D., Director), and the Division of Extramural Activities (Craig Jordan, Ph.D., Director).

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Appropriation Language

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

For carrying out section 301 and title IV of the PHS Act with respect to deafness and other communication disorders, [$404,049,000]$403,933,000.

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Amounts Available for Obligation1
(Dollars in Thousands)
Source of Funding FY 2013
Actual
FY 2014
Enacted
FY 2015
President's Budget
1. Excludes the following amounts for reimbursable activities carried out by this account:
FY 2013 - $2,566 FY 2014 - $2,500 FY 2015 - $2,500
Appropriation $416,273 $404,049 $403,933
Type 1 Diabetes 0 0 0
Rescission -833 0 0
Sequestration -20,894 0 0
Subtotal, adjusted appropriation $394,546 $404,049 $403,933
FY 2013 Secretary's Transfer -2,302 0 0
OAR HIV/AIDS Transfers 0 0 0
Comparative transfers to NLM for NCBI -466 -556 0
National Children's Study Transfers 335 0 0
Subtotal, adjusted budget authority $392,113 $403,493 $403,933
Unobligated balance, start of year 0 0 0
Unobligated balance, end of year 0 0 0
Subtotal, adjusted budget authority $392,113 $403,493 $403,933
Unobligated balance lapsing -39 0 0
Total obligations $392,074 $403,493 $403,933

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Budget Mechanism—Total1
(Dollars in Thousands)
MECHANISM FY 2013 Actual FY 2014 Enacted2 FY 2015 President's Budget FY 2015
+/-
FY 2014
No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount

1 All items in italics and brackets are non-add entries.  FY 2013 and FY 2014 levels are shown on a comparable basis to FY 2015.

2 The amounts in the FY 2014 column take into account funding reallocations, and therefore may not add to the total budget authority reflected herein.

Research Projects:
Noncompeting 623 $213,472 563 $209,430 553 $209,489 -10 $59
Administrative Supplements (26) 728 (40) 1,750 (27) 750 (-13) -1,000
Competing:
Renewal 38 17,305 41 18,815 40 18,360 -1 -455
New 123 39,679 134 43,555 133 43,254 -1 -301
Supplements 1 278 0 0 0 0 0 0
Subtotal, Competing 162 $57,262 175 $62,370 173 $61,614 -2 -$756
Subtotal, RPGs 785 $271,462 738 $273,550 726 $271,853 -12 -$1,697
SBIR/STTR 24 10,104 28 11,000 29 11,350 1 350
Research Project Grants 809 $281,566 766 $284,550 755 $283,203 -11 -$1,347
Research Centers:
Specialized/Comprehensive 19 $15,421 21 $17,440 21 $17,440 0 $0
Clinical Research 0 147 0 160 0 160 0 0
Biotechnology 0 476 0 500 0 500 0 0
Comparative Medicine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Research Centers in Minority Institutions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Research Centers 19 $16,043 21 $18,100 21 $18,100 0 $0
Other Research:                
Research Careers 37 $6,052 42 $7,200 42 $7,200 0 $0
Cancer Education 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cooperative Clinical Research 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Biomedical Research Support 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Minority Biomedical Research Support 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 24 4,535 26 4,900 27 5,400 1 500
Other Research 61 $10,588 68 $12,100 69 $12,600 1 $500
Total Research Grants 889 $308,196 855 $314,750 845 $313,903 -10 -$847
Ruth L. Kirschstein Training Awards: FTTPs FTTPs FTTPs FTTPs
Individual Awards 113 $4,514 122 $4,975 122 $5,075 0 $100
Institutional Awards 172 7,936 152 7,150 152 7,295 0 145
Total Research Training 285 $12,450 274 $12,215 274 $12,370 0 $245
Research & Development Contracts 30 $15,294 32 $18,444 32 $20,500 0 $2,056
(SBIR/STTR) (non-add) (0) (66) (0) (70) (0) (70) (0) (0)
Intramural Research 66 36,500 68 37,220 68 37,220 0 0
Res. Management & Support 74 19,674 72 19,940 72 19,940 0 0
Res. Management & Support (SBIR Admin) (non-add) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0)
Construction 0 0 0 0
Buildings and Facilities 0 0 0 0
Total, NIDCD 140 $392,113 140 $403,493 140 $403,933 0 $440

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Major Changes in the Fiscal Year 2015 President's Budget Request

Major changes by budget mechanism and/or budget activity detail are briefly described below.  Note that there may be overlap between budget mechanism and activity detail and these highlights will not sum to the total change for the FY 2015 President’s Budget request for NIDCD, which is $0.440 million more than the FY 2014 Enacted level, for a total of $403.933 million.

Research Project Grants (-$1.347 million; total $283.203 million):
NIDCD will support a total of 755 Research Project Grant (RPG) awards in FY 2015, a decrease of 11 awards. 

Other Research (+$0.500 million; total $12.600 million):
Other Research-Other will increase by 1 award and by $0.500 million.

Research & Development Contracts (+$2.056 million; total $20.500 million):
Funds are included in R&D contracts to support trans-NIH initiatives, such as Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences Opportunity Network (OppNet).

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Summary of Changes1
(Dollars in Thousands)
FY 2014 Enacted $403,493
FY 2015 President's Budget $403,933
Net change $440
 
CHANGES FY 2015
President's Budget
Change from FY 2014
       
FTEs Budget Authority FTEs Budget Authority
A. Built-in:
1. Intramural Research:
  a. Annualization of January 2014 pay increase & benefits $11,863 $29
  b. January FY 2015 pay increase & benefits 11,863 87
  c. Zero more days of pay (n/a for 2015) 11,863 0
  d. Differences attributable to change in FTE 11,863 0
  e. Payment for centrally furnished services 6,346 104
  f. Increased cost of laboratory supplies, materials, other expenses, and non-recurring costs 19,011 0
Subtotal   $220
2. Research Management and Support:
  a. Annualization of January 2014 pay increase & benefits $10,815 $27
  b. January FY 2015 pay increase & benefits 10,815 80
  c. Zero more days of pay (n/a for 2015) 10,815 0
  d. Differences attributable to change in FTE 10,815 0
  e. Payment for centrally furnished services 2,484 42
  f. Increased cost of laboratory supplies, materials, other expenses, and non-recurring costs 6,642 0
Subtotal $149
Subtotal, Built-in $369

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Summary of Changes (continued)1
(Dollars in Thousands)
CHANGES 2015 President's Budget Change from FY 2014
Number Amount Number Amount
B. Program:
1. Research Project Grants:
  a. Noncompeting 553 $210,239 -10 -$941
  b. Competing 173 61,614 -2 -756
  c. SBIR/STTR 29 11,350 1 350
Subtotal, RPGs 755 $283,203 -11 -$1,347
2. Research Centers 21 $18,100 0 $0
3. Other Research 69 12,600 1 500
4. Research Training 274 12,370 0 245
5. Research and Development Contracts 32 20,500 0 2,056
Subtotal, Extramural $346,773 $1,454
6. Intramural Research 68 FTEs $37,220 0 FTEs -$220
7. Research Management and Support 72 FTEs 19,940 0 FTEs -149
8. Construction 0 0
9. Buildings and Facilities 0 0
Subtotal, program 140 $403,933 0 $1,085
Total changes   $440

1 The amounts in the Change from FY 2014 column take into account funding reallocations, and therefore may not add to the net change reflected herein.

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Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Graphs

History of Budget Authority and FTEs:

Funding Levels by Fiscal Year: 2011 414.5 million. 2012 415.5 million. 2013 392.1 million. 2014 403.5 million. 2015 403.9 million. 2011 is non-comparable for NCBI/PA.

FTEs by Fiscal Year: 2011 140. 2012 135. 2013 140. 2014 140. 2015 140. 2011 and 2012 are non-comparable for DEAS transfer

Distribution by Mechanism:

Distribution by Mechanism: Resear0%ch Project Grants $283,203,000, 70%. Research Training $12,370,000, 3%. RMS $19,940,000, 6%. Intramural Research $37,220,000, 9%. Other Research $12,600,000, 3%. R&D Contracts $20,500,000, 5%. Research Centers $18,100,000, 4%.

Change by Selected Mechanism:

FY 2015 Estimated Percent Change from FY 2014 Mechanism: Research Project Grants -0.47%. Research Centers 0%. Other Research  4.13%. Research Training 2.02%. R&D Contracts 11.15% . Intramural Research 0%. Res. Mgmt & Support 0%.

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Budget Authority by Activity1
(Dollars in Thousands)
FY 2013 Actual FY 2014 Enacted2 FY 2015 President's
Budget
FY 2015
+/-
FY 2014
FTE Amount FTE Amount FTE Amount FTE Amount

1 Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.
2 The amounts in the FY 2014 column take into account funding reallocations, and therefore may not add to the total budget authority reflected herein.

Extramural Research
Detail:
Hearing & Balance $196,457 $201,943 $202,793 $850
Taste & Smell 53,616 55,113 55,345 232
Voice, Speech, & Language 85,866 88,263 88,635 372
Subtotal, Extramural $355,940 $345,319 $346,773 $1,454
Intramural Research 66 $36,500 68 $37,220 68 $37,220 0 $0
Research Management & Support 74 $19,674 72 $19,940 72 $19,940 0 $0
TOTAL 140 $392,113 140 $403,493 140 $403,933 0 $440

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Authorizing Legislation
PHS Act/Other Citation U.S. Code Citation 2014 Amount Authorized
FY 2014 Enacted 2015 Amount Authorized FY 2015 President's Budget
Research and Investigation Section 301 42§241 Indefinite Combined $403,493,000 Indefinite Combined $403,933,000
         
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Section 401(a) 42§281 Indefinite Indefinite
     
Total, Budget Authority $403,493,000 $403,933,000

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Appropriations History
Fiscal Year Budget Estimate to Congress House Allowance Senate Allowance Appropriation
2005 $393,507,000 $393,507,000 $399,000,000 $397,507,000
Rescission ($3,247,000)
2006 $397,432,000 $397,432,000 $418,357,000 $397,432,000
Rescission ($3,974,320)
2007 $391,556,000 $391,556,000 $395,188,000 $393,458,000
Rescission $0
2008 $393,682,000 $400,305,000 $402,680,000 $394,138,000
Rescission ($7,008,000)
Supplemental $2,096,000
2009 $395,047,000 $408,587,000 $406,000,000 $407,259,000
Rescission $0
2010 $413,026,000 $422,308,000 $414,755,000 $418,833,000
Rescission $0
2011 $429,007,000   $428,331,000 $418,833,000
Rescission ($3,677,604)
2012 $426,043,000 $426,043,000 $410,482,000 $417,061,000
Rescission ($788,245)
2013 $417,297,000 $418,562,000 $416,272,755
Rescission ($832,546)
Sequestration       ($20,894,030)
2014 $422,936,000   $420,125,000 $404,049,000
Rescission $0
2015 $403,933,000  

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Justification of Budget Request

Authorizing Legislation: Section 301 and title IV of the Public Health Service Act, as amended.

FY 2013 Actual FY 2014 Enacted FY 2015 President's Budget FY 2015 +/-
FY 2014
BA $392,113,173   $403,493,000   $403,933,000   +$440,000
FTE 140   140   140   0

Program funds are allocated as follows:  Competitive Grants/Cooperative Agreements; Contracts; Direct Federal/Intramural and Other.

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Director's Overview

Approximately one in six Americans will experience a communication disorder to some degree in his or her lifetime.  For those individuals, the basic components of communication (sensing, interpreting, and responding to people and things in our environment) can be challenging.  The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) manages a broad intramural and extramural portfolio of both basic and clinical research focused on human communication research and their associated disorders in three program areas: hearing and balance; taste and smell; and voice, speech, and language.

NIDCD Accomplishments. In October 2013, the NIDCD celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Over the past 25 years, NIDCD-supported scientists have made astonishing advances in the NIDCD’s mission areas.  Numerous discoveries have expanded our knowledge base and led to improved diagnosis, treatment, and technology for people with communication disorders.  For example, the cochlear implant, one of the most groundbreaking biomedical achievements of the past 30 years, was developed as the result of NIDCD funding.  Two researchers involved in this effort were the recipients of the 2013 Lasker~DeBakey Award in Clinical Medical Research for their work in the development of cochlear implants.  Also, NIDCD’s research efforts provided the evidence base for statewide newborn and infant hearing screen programs, resulting in the screening of nearly all infants born in U.S. hospitals for hearing loss as of 2010, up from as few as one-tenth infants screened in 1993.

  • Today’s Basic Science for Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs—Inner Ear Tip Link Regrowth1: Teams of NIDCD-supported intramural and extramural scientists are the first to show, in mice, a two-step process occurring during the growth and regeneration of inner ear tip links.  Tip links are extracellular tethers that link stereocilia, the tiny sensory projections on inner ear hair cells that convert sound into electrical signals; however, tip links break easily with exposure to noise (e.g., after a loud blast of sound or a loud concert).  Unlike hair cells, which do not regenerate in humans, tip links can repair themselves mostly, within a matter of hours.  This new study elucidates how the tip links reassemble.  The discovery offers a possible mechanism for potential interventions that could preserve hearing in people whose hearing loss is caused by genetic disorders related to tip link dysfunction.
  • Precision Medicine—Odorant Receptor Variation2:  Sometimes people avoid eating healthy vegetables, and many prefer to eat foods that are much less nutritious.  Smell and taste interact to provide a sense of food flavor, and scientists hypothesize that individual variations in genes that help us detect smell may play a role in food selection.  NIDCD-supported scientists recently identified a genetic variation that influences how a person responds to a grassy odor called C3HEX, which is given off by many fruits and vegetables.  Their data demonstrate that slight changes in the gene for a receptor that detects this odor can make a person more or less responsive to C3HEX, and one change makes people unable to detect it at all.  Understanding how odors and genes influence our food choices may lead to ways to change what we choose to eat.  (For instance, as mentioned below, by the addition of volatile odors to foods to enhance their sweetness).
  • Today’s Basic Science for Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs—Uncovering the Neurological Basis of Speech Motor Control3:  NIDCD-supported scientists have for the first time identified how the brain coordinates movement of multiple articulators (for example, the lips, jaw, tongue, and larynx) involved in speech production.  By directly recording electrical activity from the brains of individuals undergoing brain surgery, the scientists were able to develop a map of the brain that allowed them to observe how neural activity in the speech sensorimotor cortex works during speech production.  This information has potential implications for developing computer-brain interfaces for artificial speech communication and for the treatment of speech disorders.

NIDCD Plans, Priorities, and Challenges for the Future.  NIDCD continues its support of new and competing Research Project Grants from investigators who have innovative ideas and fresh perspectives.  NIDCD’s research will also help inform the innovations supported through the NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.  Driven by compelling public health needs along with recent scientific progress, NIDCD prioritizes its research investment to identify the most promising opportunities for human communication research, including:

  • Precision Medicine—Clinical Trials:  NIDCD is funding three clinical trials to test safety and efficacy of new devices to treat balance disorders and tinnitus in individuals whose conditions do not respond to conventional treatment.  The vestibular prosthesis aims to restore a sense of balance to persons who suffer chronic disorientation in space and related balance problems.  Two devices for tinnitus take advantage of the brain’s plasticity to change how different parts of the brain communicate with each other, in order to alleviate awareness of and negative response to tinnitus.  One device pairs auditory tones with stimulation of the vagus nerve in the neck to help the human brain decide what is worthy of attention and what is not, in an attempt to “re-train” the neurons to fire more appropriately.  The other device is an electrode placed deep within brain auditory centers to block negative reactions to the phantom sounds, so the person can ignore them.  NIDCD hopes these and other clinical trials will one day lead to new effective treatments for balance problems and tinnitus when conventional treatment does not help.
  • Nurturing Talent and Innovation—National Mentoring Network to Enhance the Clinician-Investigator Workforce:  NIDCD continues to place great emphasis on training and career development of scientists.  There is a lack of appropriate research mentors available nationwide for developing clinicians, notably, otolaryngologists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists, into clinician-scientists.  Because of this, the NIDCD launched a pilot program that established national mentoring networks to leverage senior scientific mentors and other mentoring resources to nurture clinically trained individuals at a junior career stage to build a research trajectory into their careers.  These mentoring networks will strengthen the research workforce of clinician-scientists to facilitate translation of “bench to bedside” research on human communication disorders.

Overall Budget Policy:
The FY 2015 President’s Budget request for NIDCD is $403.933 million, an increase of $0.440 million or 0.1 percent above the FY 2014 Enacted level. NIDCD will continue to support new and early stage investigators, and will keep the number of competing Research Project Grants (RPG’s) approximately flat (reduction of 2).  In FY 2015, NIDCD will support new investigators on R01 equivalent awards at success rates approximately equal to those of established investigators submitting new R01 equivalent applications.  FY 2015 Noncompeting RPG’s will be funded at the full-committed level. 

NIDCD allocates a portion of the funds available for competing RPG’s to High Program Priority (HPP) projects outside of the automatic pay line.  NIDCD will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral,  and student training in our three program areas: hearing and balance; taste and smell; and voice, speech and language sciences.  Trained investigators will be encouraged to choose a research career through the Pathways to Independence program.   Stipend rates for predoctoral trainees and fellows increase by 2 percent.  Funds are included in R&D Contracts to support trans-NIH initiatives, such as the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences Opportunity Network (OppNet). 

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Program Descriptions and Accomplishments

Hearing and Balance Program:  The NIDCD is pleased that the 2013 Lasker-DeBakey Award in Clinical Medical Research was given to two NIDCD grantees for their contributions to the development of the modern cochlear implant, which is a small electronic device that provides a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing.  According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as of December 2012, approximately 324,200 people worldwide have received implants.  In the U.S., roughly 58,000 adults and 38,000 children have received them.

Hearing and balance disorders decrease quality of life.  They also cross all ethnic and socioeconomic lines.  Approximately 36 million American adults report some degree of hearing loss4 and almost eight million adults report a chronic problem with balance5.  In addition, two to three out of 1,000 babies born in the U.S. each year have a detectable hearing loss6 that can affect their speech, language, social, and cognitive development.  Accordingly, research projects within the NIDCD Hearing and Balance program encompass over half of NIDCD’s portfolio.  The loss of hearing or balance also can impose significant social and economic burdens upon individuals, their families, and the communities in which they live.  Millions of Americans experience a hearing or balance disorder at some point in their life, especially as young children or older adults.  Common examples include middle ear infections (otitis media), noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, age‑related hearing loss, dizziness, and vertigo.  To study normal and disordered functions of the auditory and vestibular systems, NIDCD employs a wide range of research approaches such as molecular genetics, cellular biology, biomedical imaging, nanotechnology, psychoacoustics, and structural and functional biology.  NIDCD supports research that will lead to improved treatments for, and prevention of, hearing and balance disorders.

One particular area of interest is research on the affordability and accessibility of hearing health care.  Only about one in five of those individuals who could benefit from a hearing aid wears one.  In addition, effective hearing health care may allow continued participation in economic activities (work and leisure) into the older ages.  For many reasons, the hearing health needs of the vast majority of adults with hearing loss are not being met.  There is both urgency and opportunity to address these research needs.  Based on recommendations from a NIDCD workshop on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults with Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss, the NIDCD is currently funding many new research initiatives that can be developed into models for improving hearing health care.  In FY 2015, the NIDCD is continuing its support of many Funding Opportunity Announcements so it can expand its portfolio on hearing health care research, with the goal of developing research-based technologies that are affordable, effective, culturally acceptable, and accessible to those who need them.

Budget Policy: The 2015 President’s Budget for the Hearing and Balance program is $202.793 million, an increase of $0.850 million or 0.4 percent from the FY 2014 Enacted level.  In FY 2015, the program will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral, and student training on hearing and balance sciences.  Trained investigators will be encouraged to choose a research career through the Pathways to Independence program.  Making R01 awards to first-time and early-stage investigators in the area of hearing and balance sciences will be given funding priority.

Taste and Smell Program:  Each year, more than 200,000 people visit a physician for chemosensory problems such as taste and smell disorders7.  Many more taste and smell disorders go unreported.  The NIDCD Taste and Smell program supports the study of the chemical senses, taste and smell, to enhance our understanding of how individuals communicate with their environment and how chemosensory disorders can be identified and treated.  Taste and smell play important roles in preferences and aversions for aromas, specific foods, and flavors.  By providing knowledge on food preferences, research on taste and smell may help increase our understanding of obesity and diabetes and help develop prevention and treatment strategies.  Taste and smell preferences can also influence whether someone is willing to take a needed medication. 

Serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, malnutrition, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis are all accompanied or signaled by chemosensory problems.  NIDCD-supported research on molecular and cellular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, brain imaging, and functional circuitry of the olfactory and gustatory systems is paving the way for improved diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of chemosensory disorders.  Research on how insects smell and how they target a host may also help us learn to prevent transmission of diseases such as malaria, which affects millions of people worldwide.  For example, one current NIDCD-supported project is investigating how odors, temperature variation, and concentration gradients detected by mosquitos help determine the insects’ behavior when seeking out blood hosts.  This information may help us develop noninvasive mosquito repellants and/or attractants.  This application was submitted in response to the NIH/NSF Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Program Portrait: Taste Research

FY 2014 Level:  $19.0 million
FY 2015 Level:  $19.0 million
Change:                $0.0 million

The NIDCD supports the study of the chemical senses (taste and smell) to understand how we communicate with our environment and how we can identify and treat chemosensory disorders.  Taste plays an important role in determining what people choose to eat.  Specialized cells in the human mouth can detect at least five basic taste qualities: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory (umami).

Understanding humans’ tendency to consume too much salt is an area of high research priority due to the high levels of salt found in the processed foods that comprise the typical modern diet.  Too much salt raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is related to numerous health conditions, including heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.  NIDCD-supported scientists demonstrated that babies who eat starchy, salty foods are more likely to develop a preference for salty taste by as early as six months of age.  This early salt preference endures into preschool ages.  The scientists are now working to determine if early salt experience can predict future sodium intake, blood pressure, or other health-related outcomes.

Many individuals tend to reject the bitter taste of some healthy vegetables and lifesaving medications and prefer sweet, calorie-rich foods.  NIDCD is funding important research to figure out how to overcome these tendencies, to help us take our medicines, and to keep us from becoming obese in a world where calories are easy to find.

One exciting new project aims to use the volatile chemicals (odorants) given off by foods to enhance sweet taste.  This project involves the collaborative research efforts of a unique team of chemosensory scientists and horticulturists.  They will work to develop a scale to quantify which odorants enhance sweetness, in the hope of using this information to enhance the taste of foods.  If successful, this research could help us learn to consume less sugar and artificial sweeteners, while still enjoying our food.  It may also be used to increase the likelihood that we will consume bitter-tasting medicines and vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts.

Rejection of bitter medicines is particularly challenging to overcome in children, who are less able to understand why they must swallow something that tastes so terrible to them.  They are also particularly sensitive to bitterness, and many cannot swallow tablets or capsules that encapsulate and mask the bitter taste of medicines.  Accordingly, NIDCD is supporting another project focused on translating the use of bitter blockers to get children to take their medicines.  The research will help us understand which bitter blockers work best and will identify the variation in sensitivity to bitterness among children.  This information will help us formulate drugs that children will be willing to take, increasing the likelihood that they can be helped by modern medicines.

In FY 2015, NIDCD will continue to support the incorporation of standard taste and smell measures into the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally-representative, population based survey.  This project will help determine the prevalence of smell and/or taste impairment in the U.S., as well as to identify risk factors for smell or taste loss and possible associated conditions such as obesity, altered dietary intake, and chronic illnesses such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Budget Policy: The 2015 President’s Budget for the Taste and Smell program is $55.345 million, an increase of $0.232 million or 0.4 percent from the FY 2014 Enacted level.  In FY 2015, the program will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral, and student training on smell and taste sciences.  Trained investigators will be encouraged to choose a research career through the Pathways to Independence program.  Making R01 awards to first-time and early-stage investigators in the area of smell and taste sciences will be given funding priority.

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Voice, Speech, and Language Program:  Voice, speech, and language are tools that all individuals use to communicate or share thoughts, ideas, and emotions.  However, approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have trouble using their voice8.  By the first grade, roughly five percent of children have noticeable speech disorders9.  Between six and eight million people in the U.S. have some form of language impairment10.  The NIDCD Voice, Speech, and Language program continues to determine the nature, causes, and prevention of voice, speech, and language disorders.  Disorders involving voice, speech, or language, as well as swallowing, can have an overwhelming effect on an individual’s health and quality of life; they affect people of all ages with or without hearing impairment, including children with autism and adults with aphasia or other speech disorders.  Therefore, NIDCD continues its commitment to develop effective diagnostic and intervention strategies for people with voice, speech, or language impairments.  For example, NIDCD is participating in an initiative to study the delayed effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a foundation for future studies to develop in vivo diagnostic tools related to voice, speech, and language disorders.  In addition, NIDCD is supporting a unique public-private partnership that will create an open-access Information Commons of integrated clinical, imaging, proteomic, genomic, and outcome measurements to permit more precise TBI diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.  Lastly, NIDCD is participating in a joint initiative to develop and evaluate a sideline eye tracker test for a rapid, objective, and accurate assessment of sports-related concussion/mild TBI.  This initiative will support eight projects administered by three ICs (NINDS, NICHD, and NIDCD).  The funding for this initiative was made possible by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Inc., through a gift from the National Football League.

Program Portrait: Aphasia

FY 2014 Level: $17.0 million
FY 2015 Level:   17.0 million
Change:               $0.0 million

Aphasia is a communication disorder that impairs the expression and understanding of language, reading, and writing.  It can occur after a stroke or other brain injury.  More than a million people in the U.S. currently have aphasia and, according to the National Aphasia Association, an additional 100,000 Americans acquire aphasia from strokes and other causes every year.

To address this public health need, NIDCD-supported scientists are attempting to determine the underlying problems that cause certain symptoms of aphasia.  The goal is to understand how injury to a particular part of the brain impairs a person's ability to convey and understand language.  The results could be useful in treating various types of aphasia, since the treatment may change depending upon the cause of the language problem.  For instance, in FY 2014, the NIDCD awarded a five-year, $12 million clinical research center grant to Northwestern University in Chicago to establish the Center for the Neurobiology of Language Recovery.  The center will bring top aphasia researchers from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Boston universities together to do large-scale investigations that shed light on how language is processed in healthy people and how language recovers when impaired by stroke or other neurological disease processes.  The multidisciplinary, multi-institution program is expected to significantly impact clinical intervention practices for individuals with aphasia as well as expand knowledge about brain plasticity and the reorganization of language functions.  The center, which will study more than 200 patients, also will generate a large database for other scientists to access.

In addition to supporting this new center, NIDCD continues to pursue activities aimed at helping to foster the development of effective  treatment options to improve a person's ability to communicate by helping him or her to use remaining language abilities, restore language abilities as much as possible, compensate for language problems, and learn other methods of communicating.  As such, NIDCD recently supported two conferences related to aphasia treatment.  Additionally, NIDCD is supporting research that involves sophisticated brain imaging tools to improve our understanding of how areas of the brain reorganize after brain injury.  The results could have implications for both the basic understanding of brain function and the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases.

Budget Policy: The FY 2015 President’s Budget for the Voice, Speech, and Language program is $88.635 million, an increase of $0.372 million or 0.4 percent from the FY 2014 Enacted level.  In FY 2015, the program will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral, and student training on voice, speech, and language sciences.  Trained investigators will be encouraged to choose a research career through the Pathways to Independence program.  Making R01 awards to first-time and early-stage investigators in the area of voice, speech, and language sciences will be given funding priority.

Intramural Research Program:  The NIDCD Intramural Research Program conducts basic and clinical research in human communication.  Research projects include: the genetics of hearing, taste, and stuttering in human and mouse models; identifying genes, molecules, and mechanisms important for normal development and function of the inner ear and the auditory (hearing) nerve; observing normal and disordered communication in action by neuroimaging and computer modeling of brain function; describing how auditory nerve cells communicate, and discovering interventions to prevent or reverse hearing loss caused by genetic mutations, noise, or drugs.  In the past year, NIDCD intramural scientists identified a gene associated with both noise-induced and age-related hearing loss.  The gene, P2X2, appears to be crucial for life-long normal hearing and for protection from hearing loss caused by noise exposure.  Another group of intramural scientists identified two inner ear proteins, called TMC1 and TMC2, which are critical for hearing.  The proteins made from these genes form part of the ion channels that turn mechanical sound waves into electrical signals that, in turn, tell the brain that a sound has been detected.  Mutations in these proteins may cause a type of delayed, progressive hearing loss. 

The intramural program is also working to maintain a cadre of individuals who are well-trained in communications sciences.  The NIDCD Otolaryngology Surgeon-Scientist Career Development Program is a mentored, junior faculty career development program within the NIDCD Intramural Research Program.  During a two- to five-year period, the trainees design and implement a career development plan while conducting a translational research project in the scholarly and scientifically rigorous environment of the NIDCD Intramural program.  Trainees have the opportunity to continue to use their surgical skills.  NIDCD is also accepting its first batch of applications for the Robert Wenthold Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Communication Sciences.  Named after the former NIDCD Scientific Director, this new Fellowship is designed to provide trainees with skills needed for success in a long-term independent research career in the multidisciplinary field of communication sciences.  Trainees will be exposed to new scientific approaches and methodologies, with the opportunity for multidisciplinary training and structured mentoring.  The goal of both training programs is to prepare researchers to compete for faculty positions at the NIH and other premier institutions around the world, and who will produce a body of work that substantially advances our understanding and clinical management of human communication disorders.

Program Portrait: Drug-Induced Hearing Loss

FY 2014 Level:  $1.4 million
FY 2015 Level:  $1.4 million
Change:              $0.0 million

Over half a million Americans experience hearing loss every year from ototoxic drugs—drugs that can damage hair cells in the inner ear.  These include some antibiotics and the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.  NIDCD intramural scientists are studying various strategies to preserve hearing without interfering with the therapeutic benefits of these drugs.  The scientists are studying the specialized sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells.  These cells convert sound into neural signals that are transmitted to the brain.  The delicate hair cells can die as a result of exposure to a variety of stresses, including aging, noise trauma, genetic mutations, and some therapeutic drugs that a person might receive in the clinic.  These drugs are beneficial in treating infections or cancer, but they also have the potential side effect of causing hearing loss because the drugs are toxic to hair cells in the inner ear.

When human hair cells die, they are not replaced.  If someone loses enough hair cells, the result is permanent hearing loss.  The scientists are conducting animal studies aimed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie hair cell stress and death.  Earlier work by the scientists showed that HSP70—a protein produced by the supporting cells in the inner ear after exposure to stressors—can protect hair cells.  Additional experiments showed that the supporting cells secrete HSP70, which can then protect neighboring hair cells from cell death after exposure to an ototoxic antibiotic.  Further, when the scientists used methods to prevent supporting cells from producing or secreting HSP70, this protective effect disappeared.

The lab is beginning a clinical trial to evaluate a novel treatment method to prevent hair cell death and hearing loss in individuals who need these life-saving drugs.  The human trial will examine ways to induce the production of HSP70 in the inner ear before these individuals are administered ototoxic drugs.

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Budget Policy: The FY 2015 President’s Budget for the Intramural Research Program is $37.220 million, the same as the FY 2014 Enacted level.  The NIDCD Intramural Research Program has been a leader in research on hereditary hearing impairment and has identified many genes whose mutation causes hearing loss.  In FY 2015, NIDCD intramural scientists will continue their efforts in identifying mutation in genes, which impacts hearing, and identifying or studying additional genes involved in communication disorders in humans and animal models.

Research Management and Support (RMS) Program:  NIDCD RMS activities provide administrative, budgetary, logistical, and scientific support in the review, award, and monitoring of research grants, training awards, and research and development contracts.  RMS functions also include strategic planning, coordination, and evaluation of the Institute’s programs, regulatory compliance, international coordination, and liaison with other Federal agencies, Congress, and the public.  The Institute currently oversees over 1,300 research grants, training awards, and R&D contracts.

In 2013, NIDCD celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special anniversary website that showcases a timeline of NIDCD milestones and scientific discoveries and an infographic describing the remarkable public health impact from NIDCD-supported research on newborn hearing detection and the benefits of early intervention. NIDCD’s efforts ultimately led to legislation supporting statewide newborn and infant hearing screen programs, resulting in the screening of nearly all infants born in U.S. hospitals for hearing loss as of 2010, up from as few as one-tenth infants screened in 1993.  The NIDCD also published several articles in NIDCD’s mission areas of research (hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language) in the Fall 2013 issue of the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus magazine.

The NIDCD continues to expand its use of social media to disseminate evidence-based information and held its first Twitter chat on noise-induced hearing loss and how to prevent it.  The chat featured experts from the NIDCD and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  The NIDCD also hosted a tour of its clinical labs for congressional staffers and advocacy group members from the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus.  In addition, the NIDCD completed an evaluation of its five-year public education campaign to increase awareness in parents and pre-teens about noise-induced hearing loss, called It’s A Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing®.  The evaluation shows that the campaign’s message and materials are useful and effective, and reach the campaign’s target audiences.  The evaluation also highlights the need for more promotional tools to encourage healthy behaviors and efforts to reach a broader segment of the U.S. population.

Budget Policy: The FY 2015 President’s Budget for the RMS program is $19.940 million, the same as the FY 2014 Enacted level.  NIDCD will continue to manage activities of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force. 

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Budget Authority by Object Class1

(Dollars in Thousands)
  FY 2014
Enacted
FY 2015
President's Budget
FY 2015
+/-
FY 2014
Total compensable workyears      
Full-time employment 140 140 0
Full-time equivalent of overtime and holiday hours 0 0 0
Average ES salary $173 $173 $0
Average GM/GS grade 12.7 12.8 0.1
Average GM/GS salary $102 $103 $1
Average salary, grade established by act of July 1, 1944
(42 U.S.C. 207)
$103 $103 $0
Average salary of ungraded positions $143 $143 $0
       
OBJECT CLASSES FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2015
Personnel Compensation:
11.1 Full-time permanent $10,542 $10,681 $139
11.3 Other than full-time permanent 4,825 4,908 83
11.5 Other personnel compensation 146 149 3
11.7 Military personnel 97 100 3
11.8 Special personnel services payments 1,771 1,806 35
11.9 Subtotal Personnel Compensation $17,381 $17,645 $264
12.1 Civilian Personnel Benefits $4,809 $4,980 $171
12.2 Military personnel benefits 50 52 2
13.0 Benefits for former personnel 0 0 0
Subtotal, Pay Costs $22,240 $22,677 $437
21.0 Travel and transportation of persons $292 $296 $5
22.0 Transportation of things 86 87 1
23.1 Rental payments to GSA 1 1 0
23.2 Rental payments to others 0 0 0
23.3 Communications, utilities and misc. charges 272 277 5
24.0 Printing and reproduction 0 0 0
25.1 Consulting services $261 $265 $4
25.2 Other services 1,637 1,702 28
25.3 Purchase of goods and services from government accounts $39,772 $40,409 $637
25.4 Operation and maintenance of facilities $409 $418 $9
25.5 R&D contracts 4,618 4,396 -221
25.6 Medical care 399 418 19
25.7 Operation & maintenance of equipment 674 692 17
25.8 Subsistence & support of persons 0 0 0
25.0 Subtotal, Other Contractual Services $47,805 $48,298 $493
26.0 Supplies & materials $2,232 $2,270 $38
31.0 Equipment 3,690 3,753 63
32.0 Land and structures 0 0 0
33.0 Investments and loans 0 0 0
41.0 Grants, subsidies and contributions 326,875 326,273 -602
42.0 Insurance claims and indemnities 0 0 0
43.0 Interest & dividends 0 0 0
44.0 Refunds 0 0 0
Subtotal, Non-Pay Costs $381,253 $381,256 $3
Total Budget Authority by Object Class $403,493 $403,933 $440

1. Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Salaries and Expenses

(Dollars in Thousands)
OBJECT CLASSES FY 2014 Enacted FY 2015
President's Budget
FY 2015
+/-
FY 2014
Personnel Compensation:
Full-time permanent (11.1) $10,542 $10,681 $139
Other than full-time permanent (11.3) 4,825 4,908 83
Other personnel compensation (11.5) 146 149 3
Military personnel (11.7) 97 100 3
Special personnel services payments (11.8) 1,771 1,806 35
Subtotal Personnel Compensation (11.9) $17,381 $17,645 $264
Civilian personnel benefits (12.1) $4,809 $4,980 $171
Military personnel benefits (12.2) 50 52 2
Benefits to former personnel (13.0) 0 0 0
Subtotal, Pay Costs $22,240 $22,677 $437
Travel & Transportation of Persons (21.0) $292 $296 $5
Transportation of things (22.0) 86 87 1
Rental payments to others (23.2) 0 0 0
Communications, utilities and miscellaneous charges (23.3) 272 277 5
Printing and reproduction (24.0) 0 0 0
Other Contractual Services:
Consulting Services (25.1) 261 265 4
Other services (25.2) 1,673 1,702 28
Purchases from government accounts (25.3) 25,272 24,185 -1,087
Operation and maintenance of facilities (25.4) 409 418 9
Operation and maintenance of equipment (25.7) 674 692 17
Subsistence and support of persons (25.8) 0 0 0
Subtotal Other Contractual Services $28,288 $27,261 -$1,028
Supplies and materials (26.0) $2,232 $2,270 $38
Subtotal, Non-Pay Costs $31,170 $30,191 -$979
Total, Administrative Costs $53,410 $52,868 -$542

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Detail of Full-Time Equivalent Employment (FTE)
OFFICE/DIVISION FY 2013 Actual FY 2014 Est. FY 2015 Est.
Civilian Military Total Civilian Military Total Civilian Military Total
Division of Extramural Activities                  
Direct: 20   20 20   20 20   20
Reimbursable: - - - - - - - - -
Total: 20   20 20   20 20   20
Division of Intramural Research Program                  
Direct: 61 1 62 63 1 64 63 1 64
Reimbursable: 4   4 4   4 4   4
Total: 65 1 66 67 1 68 67 1 68
Division of Scientific Programs     66            
Direct: 15   15 15   15 15   15
Reimbursable: - - - - - - - - -
Total: 15   15 15   15 15   15
Office of Administration                  
Direct: 37   37 35   35 35   35
Reimbursable: - - - - - - - - -
Total: 37   37 35   35 35   35
Office of the Director                  
Direct: 2   2 2   2 2   2
Reimbursable: - -   - - - - - -
Total: 2   2 2   2 2   2
                   
Total: 139 1 140 139 1 140 139 1 140
Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.
FTEs supported by funds from Cooperative Research and Development Agreements. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

   
Fiscal Year Average GS Grade
2011 12.2
2012 12.4
2013 12.6
2014 12.7
2015 12.8

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Detail of Positions
GRADE FY 2013 Actual FY 2014 Enacted FY 2015 President's Budget
Total, ES Positions 1 1 1
Total, ES Salary 164,830 173,152 173,152
GM/GS-15 22 22 22
GM/GS-14 21 21 21
GM/GS-13 12 12 12
GS-12 22 22 22
GS-11 7 8 8
GS-10 0 0 0
GS-9 10 9 9
GS-8 4 4 4
GS-7 5 5 5
GS-6 2 2 2
GS-5 1 1 1
GS-4 1 1 1
GS-3 1 1 1
GS-2 0 0 0
GS-1 0 0 0
Subtotal 108 108 108
Grades established by Act of July 1, 1944 (42 U.S.C. 207): 0 0 0
Assistant Surgeon General 0 0 0
Director Grade 0 0 0
Senior Grade 1 1 1
Full Grade 0 0 0
Senior Assistant Grade 0 0 0
Assistant Grade 0 0 0
Subtotal 1 1 1
Ungraded 52 52 52
Total permanent positions 105 105 105
Total positions, end of year 162 162 162
Total full-time equivalent (FTE) employment, end of year 140 140 140
Average ES salary 164,830 173,152 173,152
Average GM/GS grade 12.6 12.7 12.8
Average GM/GS salary 100,862 101,871 102,889
Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.

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1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23776407
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22714804
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23426266
4. Based on NCHS/NHIS data for 2007.
5. Based on prevalences from the 1994–95 Disability Supplement to the NHIS and current US population estimates.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Identifying infants with hearing loss - United States, 1999-2007.  MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 59(8): 220-223.  Gaffney M, Green DR, Gaffney C. Newborn hearing screening and follow-up: are children receiving recommended services? Public Health Rep. 125(2): 199-207, 2010.
7. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/smelltaste/Pages/stquickstats.aspx
8. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/vsl/Pages/stats.aspx
9. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Screening for Speech and Language Delay in Preschool Children, Shriberg LD, Tomblin JB, McSweeny JL.  Prevalence of speech delay in 6-Year-old children and comorbidity with language impairment.  J Speech Lang Hear Res 42: 1461-1481, 1999.
10. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/vsl/Pages/stats.aspx

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