Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): The Functional Oral Microbiome
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

November 19, 2021

First Available Due Date:
February 05, 2022
Expiration Date:
September 07, 2025

Related Announcements

PA-20-185 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-195 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Issued by

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers. The following NIH Offices may co-fund applications assigned to those Institutes/Centers.

Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)



The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to encourage research studies that focus beyond the bacteria to the multispecies communities making up the oral microbiome.

To date, most microbiome studies focus on the bacteriome, despite the fact the term "microbiome" refers to all microorganisms. The oral microbiome is comprised of a multitude of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea and protozoa, which serve an essential role in oral and systemic health. Despite a wealth of knowledge regarding specific species present, much remains unclear regarding the mechanisms driving the stability, persistence, and resistance of the oral community as a whole. Research studies responding to this NOSI must focus on exploring interkingdom microbial interactions or complex community systems and networks in physiologically relevant environments to understand the role of community interactions in the maintenance of health and in driving transition to dysbiosis and disease in the oral cavity. Outcomes from this NOSI are expected to be multi-dimensional and nuanced research that strengthens our understanding of the interconnectedness and uniqueness of the oral microbiome community.


The oral microbiome plays an essential role in oral and systemic health. The identification of members of this community with roles in maintenance of good oral health and in the shift to dysbiosis and disease has been and continues to be well documented. To better understand the physiologic and metabolic interspecies and interkingdom interactions responsible for the function of the oral microbiome, hypotheses such as the ecological plaque and the polymicrobial synergy and dysbiosis hypotheses have been constructed and studied. From these concepts, the more nuanced idea that multispecies communities contribute collectively rather than individually to development of dysbiosis or to maintenance of a healthy community has begun to be examined. Interactions among interkingdom microbial communities are heterogeneous and complex, requiring research to understand and potentially control, manipulate, and optimize these interactions for beneficial applications.

Research Objectives

Multispecies communities may contribute collectively to development of dysbiosis or maintenance of a healthy community. This NOSI will support studies focused on the role of the whole microbial community in maintenance and regulation of health and disease within the oral environment. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Integration of -omics approaches in understanding interspecies and interkingdom interactions
  • Examination of colonization resistance, community stability, and persistence in complex community systems
  • Assessment of the role of spatial structure, including the biofilm matrix, in community function
  • Assessment of the emergent properties of the oral microbiome driven by interkingdom/species connections and communications; assessing functional signatures and molecular dialogue in multi-species environments
  • Examination of the role of microbial metabolism modulation in cooperative metabolism, nutritional interrelationships, species specialization and interactions promoting growth and fitness
  • Establishment and analysis of metabolic interactions models – particularly in the area of uncultivable organism relationships and for assessment of network targets for therapeutic and preventative approaches
  • Development of ex vivo synthetic biofilm systems supporting community analysis and potential future efforts toward oral microbiome transplants

Through all research opportunities, a focus inclusive of data management and maintenance is essential and involvement of a computational biologist will be encouraged.

Application and Submission Information

This notice applies to due dates on or after February 5, 2022 and subsequent receipt dates through September 7, 2025. 

Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcement through the expiration date of this notice.

  • PA-20-185 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-20-195 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:

  • For funding consideration, applicants must include "NOT-DE-21-015" (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.

Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.


Please direct all inquiries to the Scientific/Research, Peer Review, and Financial/Grants Management contacts in Section VII of the listed funding opportunity announcements.

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Tamara McNealy, PhD.
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 202-430-1474

Peer Review Contact(s)

Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Diana Rutberg, MBA
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-594-4798