The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support innovative, multidisciplinary, interactive, and synergistic program projects that integrate basic, translational, and clinical approaches to understanding the developmental biology and genetic basis of significant congenital human malformations. Each program project will consist of three component research projects, in addition to associated cores. At least one project must use basic research in an animal model system and at least one project must be clinical or translational in nature. The component research projects must share a common central theme, focus, or objective on a specific major developmental defect or malformation that is genotypically, mechanistically, biologically, or phenotypically analogous or homologous in both animal models and humans. Any non-mammalian or mammalian animal model may be used, as long as it contributes to the common overall theme or objective of the program project. The component research projects should share a common developmental gene, process, mechanism, pathway, or phenotype.
Annually, almost five percent of all live births in the United States (more than 180,000 babies) involve babies born with birth defects when broadly defined to include both structural and functional/metabolic abnormalities. Next to accidents, birth defects are the leading cause of death in children; they account for half of all pediatric hospitalizations. In terms of economic costs, billions of dollars are spent over the lifetimes of children born with major, severe, nonfatal birth defects. In sum, structural birth defects have a great impact on public health, socioeconomics, and family life. A high priority goal for NICHD is to address the problem of structural birth defects with the ultimate goal of facilitating advances in our understanding of the etiology, mechanisms, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of structural birth defects.
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