The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has nominated Rosie E. Curiel Cid, Psy.D., to serve as a standing member of its Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration Study Section. Dr. Curiel is associate professor and chief of cross-cultural neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience, in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Aging at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration Study Section determines funding for research focused on chronic neurodegenerative diseases and neurocognitive disorders. Standing members, like Dr. Curiel Cid, are recognized authorities and active scientists in the fields of study. Members commit to serve for four years, reviewing research grant applications and meeting with other members three times a year in Washington D.C. to decide which studies are of greatest scientific impact.
“I see it as a duty to my patients and to my country. I am very proud to do the work,” Dr. Curiel Cid said. “This year marks my 10-year anniversary as a Miller School faculty member. The NIH’s nomination is special because it recognizes the intense scholarly dedication and scientific expertise needed to comment in an informed way on whether or not science has merit and should be considered as a next step to advance the field.”
The nomination process for study section standing members is extensive, with several layers of federal approval ending with review and approval by the NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. The scholarly position also results in an intensive learning curve, according to Dr. Curiel Cid.
Focus on patient-oriented research
The study section focuses on applications investigating the etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, progression and functional consequences of chronic neurodegenerative diseases and neurocognitive disorders. Members of the study section also review research aimed at developing therapeutic strategies to address functional impairments from these conditions, as well as identifying biomarkers to predict and monitor disease status.
The primary focus is on patient-oriented research.
“An example of a study that is reviewed in this NIH study section is one that has comprehensive innovative neuroimaging methods and fluid biomarkers to examine whether or not a person is at great risk for Alzheimer’s disease. There is a heavy emphasis on detecting biological, cognitive, and functional changes, as well as investigating potential therapeutic targets,” Dr. Curiel Cid said.
Dr. Curiel Cid’s nomination reflects the important neuroscience work being done at the Miller School in Alzheimer’s disease.
“At the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Aging, we do a lot of the most advanced research in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly with persons who may be at risk, yet have developed only mild or no symptoms. The Miller School also plays a pivotal role in a consortium of Florida institutions awarded a $15 million NIH grant to collaborate on Alzheimer’s disease research through the 1Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC),” said Dr. Curiel Cid, who leads the Outreach, Recruitment and Engagement Core for 1Florida ADRC and is a co-investigator in the Clinical Core.
Addressing gaps and disparities
She notes that a lot of science receiving government funding today addresses gaps and disparities that exist among underrepresented groups.
“One very important piece that I bring to the table through my own research is a strong emphasis on the inclusion of Hispanic and African American older adults who are historically underrepresented in Alzheimer’s disease clinical research and clinical trials,” Dr. Curiel Cid said.
She has already started what she calls her four-year “tour of duty” and is reviewing NIH grant applications before she leaves for Washington, D.C., in October.
“Each member independently reviews and critiques about eight applications. The applications that have the best scores are brought up for discussion during the two to two and a half days we are locked away in NIH headquarters, where we really hash it out,” she said.