The SIG Beat

News from and About the NIH Scientific Interest Groups

Translational Perspectives

To bring promising research into the clinic research scientists and clinicians need to share ideas between the bench and bedside. The Translational Research Scientific Interest Group (TRIG) provides a unique opportunity to accomplish this goal.

TRIG’s October 2012 meeting featured NIDDK senior investigator Robert A. Star, M.D. The director of NIDDK’s Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases, Star spoke about the development of new methods for studying sepsis-related acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI is most common among elderly patients, particularly those in intensive care units, and is often caused by sepsis (inflammatory response to bacterial pathogens). Two-thirds of patients with sepsis-related AKI become immune-suppressed and are susceptible to bacterial and other infections. Star developed a new mouse model of kidney injury that closely models human disease and determined that AKI can stimulate inflammatory cytokines, which can accelerate sepsis. Blocking these immune pathways has improved patient survival and may significantly improve the efficacy of therapeutic drugs targeting this disease.

TRIG meets the second Thursday of the month, 1:00–2:00 p.m., for seminars and forums focusing on translational science. At the January 10, 2013, meeting (Bldg. 10, Rm. 2-C116), NHLBI staff scientist Gustavo Pancheco-Rodriguez will present “Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Lymphangioleiomyomatosis.”

February 14, (1:00–200 p.m., Bldg. 10, Rm. 2-C116): Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson (Investigator, Laboratory of Translational Genomics, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI) will present “Identification and characterization of a novel human interferon, IFNL4, and its role in human evolution and disease”  (Directions to Bldg. 10 Room 2-C116:  From Lipsett Amphitheater, head north, make a right turn to go through a door, walk up stairs to the second floor, go through a double-door, and find this room on your right.)
February 28 (1:00–200 p.m., Bldg., 10 Lipsett Amphitheater): Rajesh Ranganathan (Director, Office of Translational Research, NINDS) will present “Therapeutic Development Approaches at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.”

Meetings bring in investigators from many NIH institutes and centers. Recent sessions have covered a wide range of topics including cancer, malaria, diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory disease research; drug development; and public-private partnerships as resources for conducting translational research. To join the TRIG LISTSERV and view future events, visit or contact TRIG chair, Minkyung (Min) Song at

New SIG: Proteostasis

Proteostasis (protein homeostasis) is essential for cell health, viability, adaptation to environmental challenges, and ultimately life. Derailed proteostasis leads to protein misfolding and aggregation that underlie many human disorders including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, alcoholic liver disease, cataracts, cardiomyopathy, immune problems, aging, and other chronic maladies. The proteostasis network (PN) regulates cellular processes to support protein health. Deciphering the principal rules of the PN is critically important for understanding human health and disease.

The new Proteostasis Scientific Interest Group (PSIG) provides a forum to facilitate communication, and collaboration among NIH intramural and outside researchers who are working on different aspects of the PN. Planned activities include an inaugural meeting in March 2013 and bimonthly seminars by leaders in the field. For more information about the PSIG, contact Andras Orosz at OROSZA@MAIL.NIH.GOV; check the Web site at or join the LISTSERV at

What is a SIG?

NIH Scientific Interest Groups are assemblies of scientists with common research interests. These groups sponsor symposia, poster sessions and lectures; offer mentoring and career guidance for junior scientists; help researchers share the latest techniques and information; act as informal advisors to the Deputy Director of Intramural Research (DDIR); provide advice for the annual NIH Research Festival; and serve as hosts for the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. Many of these groups are cosponsored by neighboring academic and government institutions and welcome interested non-NIH scientists.

The complete list of Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs), a.k.a. NIH Inter-institute Interest Groups, is at