The SIG Beat


illustration of lab glassware--2 beakers and a test tube


New: Matrix Biology Interest Group

The new Matrix Biology Scientific Interest Group, which grew out of the trans-NIH Matrix Club, focuses on research related to the extracellular matrix (ECM). ECM is not only a scaffold but also the environment that defines cell differentiation, function, and signaling in all tissues and organs. The ECM is also a conduit for many higher-level functions in multicellular organisms. The importance of ECM biology for the mission of many NIH institutes and centers (ICs) was the motivating factor behind monthly trans-NIH Matrix Club meetings, which were jointly hosted for many years by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Typically, a meeting includes two 30-minute presentations, which are given mostly by NIH trainees. The goals of the Matrix Club included exchanging new scientific ideas and methods across NIH and fostering new collaborations.

Over the years, the Matrix Club meetings provided NIH trainees with important opportunities for making presentations to a wider audience, meeting with experts in the field, and finding mentors beyond their labs. Trainees from many ICs have presented at these meetings, some getting useful feedback and advice, some finding new collaborations, and some finding new NIH fellowships after completing training at another NIH IC. The creation of the trans-NIH Matrix Biology Scientific Interest, Group, which replaces the Matrix Club, further enhances these benefits and opens them up to a wider NIH community. Monthly meetings of the new Matrix Biology SIG will be hosted by NIDCR and NICHD.

For more information, go to, or contact the co-chairs: Pamela Robey (NIDCR) or Sergey Leikin (NICHD). To join the Matrix Biology Interest Group LISTSERV, please visit, then click the “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” link in the right sidebar.

Renamed: Metabolism Interest Group

The NIH Metabolism Interest Group (MIG), formerly the Diabetes/Metabolism Scientific Interest Group (run by Sam Cushman), hosts a seminar series that promotes the basic, translational, and clinical research in metabolism. The group fosters interactions and collaborations across the entire NIH intramural community. The wide scope of seminar topics reflects the increasing recognition that the study of cellular and whole-body metabolism is relevant for understanding processes as diverse as aging, obesity, oncogenesis, cancer biology, and mitochondrial function. The group plans to meet each month on the second and fourth Mondays, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Room 9S-233, Building 10. Each meeting will feature one 60-minute presentation from an intramural or extramural senior scientist or two 30-minute presentations from trainees. To join the MIG LISTSERV email list, go to, and hit the “Subscribe” button. For more information, go to or contact one of the co-chairs, Aaron M. Cypess ( or Marc Reitman (

New: Stigma Scientific Interest Group

Stigma plays a fundamental role in the development and perpetuation of health inequities in the context of a range of diseases including cancer, epilepsy, human immunodeficiency virus infection, mental illness, and obesity. Stigmatized individuals may be excluded from receiving effective or quality treatment and care. They may be subject to human-rights abuses that in turn can lead to avoiding health care and having adverse health outcomes. Although research across disciplines finds that drivers of stigma are similar, current research is siloed by disease or population, thus limiting opportunities for research that builds on the progress made across disciplines.

The new Stigma SIG is open to intramural and extramural scientists who are interested in cross-cutting, theoretically-driven research that advances measurements of stigma, and in the biological, behavioral and social mechanisms and pathways by which stigma leads to poor health outcomes. The SIG works to evaluate the state of science, disseminate scientific information, and advance NIH research priorities through conference symposia, meetings, and white papers.

Regular activities include monthly meetings, a quarterly seminar, and a range of activities both inside and outside the NIH including major conferences and summits, lectures, and collaborations with other federal and non-federal entities. The monthly meetings will highlight NIH-supported stigma research (intramural and extramural) as well as the scientific priorities and related activities of participating ICs. Meetings are also used to advance collaborative, cross-cutting projects pursued by the SIG. In addition to regular meetings, the Stigma SIG may host a webinar series to showcase cutting-edge research on stigma measurement and approaches to optimize health and well-being outcomes.

For more information go to or contact one of the co-chairs: Brenda Curtis (NIDA) at or Gregory Greenwood (NIMH) at To join the Stigma SIG LISTSERV, please visit, then click the “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” link in the right sidebar.