The SIG Beat


SIG: Adherence Research Network Scientific Interest Group

The Adherence Research Network SIG is a transdisciplinary consortium of NIH institutes and centers (ICs) that provide leadership, vision, and support to strengthen adherence research funded by the NIH.

Poor adherence to prescribed medications and other recommended prevention, screening, treatment, monitoring, and health-behavior regimens is common across many chronic illnesses and patient populations. The continued evidence of nonadherence in many chronic conditions, and insufficient evidence for how to improve adherence, highlights the need for transformative research. A critical public-health need is to build upon the current evidence base to fully understand the conditions that precipitate poor adherence. We also need to develop and implement next-generation interventions to improve adherence and health outcomes.

To advance the field of adherence research, the Adherence Research Network SIG works to evaluate the state of the science and disseminate scientific information and NIH research priorities through conference symposia, meetings, and white papers. The SIG, in collaboration with the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, also sponsors R01 and R21 research grants to improve adherence to treatment and prevention regimens.

The Adherence Research Network SIG meets once a month. Regular meetings highlight adherence research that is funded by NIH as well as the scientific priorities and related activities of participating ICs. Meetings are also used to advance collaborative projects pursued by the SIG. The SIG also hosts a webinar series to showcase cutting-edge research on adherence measurement and approaches to optimize adherence to treatment and prevention regimens.

To join the NIH Adherence Research Network SIG LISTSERVE, go to For more information, visit, or email one of the chairs, Michael Stirratt ( or Janet de Moor (

New SIG: Circulating Nucleic Acids/Liquid Biopsy Interest Group

Interest in circulating, cell-free nucleic acids (CNAs) has increased sharply over the past decade with the advent of noninvasive liquid-biopsy techniques that span fields including prenatal testing, toxic exposures, and tumor characterization.

The creation of the CNA SIG was inspired by a workshop—hosted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in September 2018—that focused on circulating cell-free DNA. Topics discussed included identifying mechanisms of recurrence in prostate cancer; earlier screening of prenatal genomic abnormalities; understanding tissue damage associated with sickle-cell crises; monitoring stress; measuring tissue-specific exposures to environmental toxins in adults and the unborn; guiding treatment of metastatic tumors; and following patients diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. Other key areas of discussion included limitations of detection, the control of error rates in analysis, and interpretation of results with appropriate biological context.

The SIG’s goals are to establish standard practices for CNA studies; share and optimize methods CNA experimental design and analysis; and communicate CNA research across institutes. The CNA SIG meets by WebEx monthly for hour-long seminars. To join the LISTSERV go to For more information, contact the chair, Adam Sowalsky (, or visit the CNA SIG website at

Scientific Interest Groups

illustration of a flask and testtubes


NIH Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs) are assemblies of scientists with common research interests. These groups engage with their members via a LISTSERV; 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 for Intramural Research (DDIR); provide advice for the annual NIH Research Festival; and serve as hosts for the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. Most of these groups welcome interested non-NIH scientists. To learn more and see a list of the SIGS, go to