2014-12-18 00:22:10 UTC

AGA Meets with NIDDK Leaders

Dec. 18, 2014

AGA member Sonia S. Kupfer, MD, and staff joined other organizational stakeholders in a meeting with key NIDDK leaders as part of a kickoff of the Friends of NIDDK coalition.

On Wednesday, AGA member Sonia S. Kupfer, MD, and staff joined other organizational stakeholders in a meeting with key NIDDK leaders as part of a kickoff of the Friends of NIDDK coalition. The Friends of NIDDK was recently formed to elevate the profile of NIDDK’s robust research portfolio so that policymakers will more fully understand the need to provide more stable funding for the institute’s research.

Dr. Kupfer, who chairs the research advocacy subcommittee of the AGA’s Government Affairs Committee, and other attendees, heard a presentation from NIDDK director Griffin Rodgers, MD, (pictured with Dr. Kupfer) who noted that the institute is the principal source of obesity and microbiome research. He noted that the overall themes of research being conducted by the institute could be classified under the predictive and regenerative medicine umbrellas. Dr. Rodgers also indicated that the NIDDK was very focused on retaining young investigators and studying at which points in their early careers they are most likely to stay in research or drop out of such careers.

Stephen P. James, MD, director of the division of digestive diseases and nutrition, provided an update on research initiatives under his purview. He noted that the division was focused on five key areas of research:

  • Alimentary tract
  • Liver
  • Basic and clinical nutrition
  • Exocrine pancreas
  • Clinical obesity

Dr. James also indicated that the division supports large-scale research projects in the areas of intestinal stem cells, gene therapies, gastroparesis and ulcerative colitis in adults and children. A new RFA has been released on chronic pancreatic disease in adults and children.

The Friends of NIDDK members met later in the day to discuss how to translate the educational information gleaned from NIDDK into initiatives to help educate policymakers on this important research.

AGA intends to play an active role in the Friends of NIDDK coalition, which is currently comprised of 36 member organizations. Please stay tuned for further information on how you can help educate your legislators on the importance of providing robust funding for NIDDK.

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