Advisory Council Minutes, May 18, 2023

The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council convened in open session for its 182nd meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 18, 2023. The meeting took place on the NIH campus.​

Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), presided as chair of the meeting. After an open session from 9:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., the closed session convened from 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Council Members Attending in Person

Natalie Ahn, Ph.D.
Ron G. King, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Terri Goss Kinzy, Ph.D.
Danielle Li, Ph.D.
David H. Mathews, M.D., Ph.D.
Lesilee Rose, Ph.D.
Pamela Stacks, Ph.D.
Wendy Young, Ph.D.

Council Members Attending Remotely

Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D.
Angela DePace, Ph.D.

Council Members Absent

Amy Rosenzweig, Ph.D.
Melanie Sanford, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Sun, J.D., Ph.D.

Ex-Officio Member Attending in Person

Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D.

Ad Hoc Council Participants Attending in Person

Mark Dresser, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President
Biomarker Sciences and Clinical Pharmacology Sciences
Gilead Sciences
Foster City, CA 94404

Brent Iverson, Ph.D.
Warren J. and Viola Mae Raymer Professor
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712

Ad Hoc Early Career Investigator Council Participants Attending in Person

Paola E. Mera, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL 61801

Julia Widom, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403

Council roster (available from NIGMS)

Members of the Public Attending Remotely

Not tracked because meeting was available via unrestricted NIH videocast.


I. Call to Order and Opening Remarks

Dr. Lorsch thanked Council members for their service and welcomed guests. Council members approved the minutes from the February 2, 2023, meeting.

II. Future Meeting Dates

Council confirmed the following dates for future meetings:

September 7, 2023
February 1, 2024
May 16, 2024
Thursday (virtual)
Thursday (virtual)
Thursday (in person)

III. Review of Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest Procedures

Dr. Lorsch explained policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and avoidance of conflict-of-interest situations to Council members.

IV. NIGMS Director’s Report (NIH Videocast @ 9:40)

Dr. Lorsch introduced regular and early career ad hoc participants and announced NIGMS and NIH staff changes, including the selection of Karina L. Walters, Ph.D., M.S.W., as director of the NIH Tribal Health Research Office. He announced two upcoming lectures: the Judith H. Greenberg Early Career Investigator Lecture on September 27 and the Stetten Lecture on November 8. Dr. Lorsch shared that NIH has partnered with Kahoot! to provide teachers and others with learning games and trivia quizzes to interest students in biomedical research and science careers.

Dr. Lorsch announced three new funding opportunities and a competition from the NIH-wide UNITE initiative. These include the Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD) R01, the Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions, the STrengthening Research Opportunities for NIH Grants (STRONG), and the NIH Institutional Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Prize Competition.

Dr. Lorsch informed Council on NIH policy updates, such as the requirement for grant recipients to establish codes of conduct. He also shared the progress of an NIH Center for Scientific Review advisory council working group on improving the review of National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowship applications [PDF]. NIH solicited public input on these proposed changes through NOT-OD-23-110.

Dr. Lorsch presented recent analyses on NIGMS funding trends, noting the increase in new awards to early stage investigators, increases in investigator and application success rates, and the growth of the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award program within NIGMS’ R01-equivalent portfolio.

Dr. Lorsch reminded Council members that there are several ways to communicate with NIGMS, including the Feedback Loop blog and the new NIGMS LinkedIn page.


Dr. Lorsch opened the floor to discussion. Council members discussed the revised review criteria for NRSA fellowships, as well as how DEIA efforts would be reviewed or evaluated in the new UNITE ReWARD program and Institutional Excellence in DEIA Prize Competition. There was a suggestion that the prize competition include not just academic institutions but also small business concerns. Council members also discussed rising data storage costs and possible collaboration with other federal agencies to build data storage platforms with economies of scale, and the potential effects of artificial intelligence and data mining on NIH-funded data banks.

VI: Presentation: Building the NIGMS Sandbox for Cloud-Based Learning Platform: A Step Toward Democratizing Cloud Computing for Biomedical Research (NIH Videocast @ 1:16:50)

Ming Lei, Ph.D.

The NIGMS Sandbox is a cloud-based learning platform for investigators and students with limited access to expensive research supplies and instruments. It provides them with access to big data and data analytical capacity for cutting-edge research. Council discussed the development of new Sandbox modules, plans for updating existing modules in the future, and confirmed that under-resourced institutions that receive NIH grant funding can use some of their grant money to pay the user costs.

VII: Presentation: Evaluation of the NIGMS Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program (NIH Videocast @ 1:39:23)

Pamela Stacks, Ph.D., and Linda Huang, Ph.D

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate (B2B) program supports students in STEM fields in transferring from a community college to a 4-year college or university and earning a bachelor’s degree in biomedically relevant disciplines. An NAGMS Council working group convened to evaluate the B2B R25 program to determine the extent to which it met its goals, and lessons that could be applied to the new B2B T34 research training program. The working group found [PDF] that the program met its stated objectives, with 80% to 90% of its students transferring successfully to a 4-year institution, and 80% to 90% of those students completing the baccalaureate degree. The working group’s full presentation and recommendations can be viewed on the NIH Videocast (timestamp noted above) and by accessing the link above.


VIII. Concept Clearances: Undergraduate Diversity Enhancing Programs—Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) and Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Programs (NIH Videocast @ 2:32:10)

The purpose of the U-RISE and MARC programs is to develop a broad pool of undergraduates who complete their baccalaureate degree and transition into and complete biomedical, research-focused, higher degree programs. Minor changes from the previous funding opportunities include updated and simplified rules for attachments, appendix materials, and letters of support. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue these notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs).

IX. Concept Clearance: Support for Research Excellence (SuRE) Awards (NIH Videocast @ 2:34:40)

The SuRE program supports research capacity building at eligible higher education institutions through funding investigator-initiated research in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences that fall in the NIH mission areas. SuRE Awards are for investigators from eligible institutions who are not currently principal investigators of any active NIH research project grants, while SuRE-First Awards are for investigators from eligible institutions who have not had prior independent external research grants. There are no substantive changes from the previous funding opportunities. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue these NOFOs.

X. Concept Clearance: Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (NIH Videocast @ 2:37:13)

AREA supports small-scale research projects at undergraduate institutions that receive limited NIH funding. Minor changes from the previous funding opportunity include the addition of a required plan for enhancing diverse perspectives and a clarified explanation of the review criteria for engaging undergraduate students in research. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this NOFO.


This portion of the meeting was closed to the public in accordance with the determination that it was concerned with matters exempt from mandatory disclosure under sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., and section 1009(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1014).

Members exited the meeting during the discussion and voting process on applications from their own institutions or other applications that presented a potential conflict of interest, real or apparent. Members signed a statement to this effect.


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences considered 1,030 research and training applications requesting $475,517,503 in total costs. The Council recommended 1,030 applications with a total cost of $475,517,503.


The meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m. on May 18, 2023.


I hereby certify that, to my knowledge, the foregoing minutes are accurate and complete.

Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D.
National Advisory General
Medical Sciences Council

Erica Brown, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary
National Advisory General
Medical Sciences Council