Advisory Council Minutes, May 19, 2022

The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council convened in open session for its 179th meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, 2022. The meeting was held remotely.

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 12:06 p.m., the closed session was held from 1:17 p.m. to 3:42 p.m.

Council Members Attending Remotely

Natalie Ahn, Ph.D.
Darrin Akins, Ph.D.
Squire J. Booker, Ph.D.
Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D.
Angela DePace, Ph.D.
Peter J. Espenshade, Ph.D.
Laura F. Gibson, 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.
Amy Rosenzweig, Ph.D.
Melanie Sanford, Ph.D.
Pamela Stacks, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Sun, J.D., Ph.D.

Council Members Absent

Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D.
Wendy Young, Ph.D.

Special Consultants Attending Remotely

Sarah Cohen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology
School of Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Vera Moiseenkova-Bell, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology
Department of Pharmacology
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Christopher W. Seymour, M.D., M.Sc.
Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine
Department of Critical Care Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Paul Sigala, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Council roster (available from NIGMS)

Members of the Public Attending Remotely

Not tracked because this was a virtual conference.

Other Federal Employees Present



I. Call to Order and Opening Remarks

Dr. Lorsch thanked regular members of the Council and introduced the special consultants.

II. Consideration of Minutes

The minutes of the February 3, 2022, meeting were approved as submitted.

III. NIGMS Director’s Report

Dr. Lorsch announced NIGMS and NIH staff changes, including, among others, that Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, M.D., stepped down as the director of the National Cancer Institute and that Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., is serving as the acting director.

Dr. Lorsch alerted Council to two upcoming NIGMS events: the Judith H. Greenberg Early Career Investigator Lecture, with presenter César de la Fuente, Ph.D., on September 28; and the DeWitt Stetten Jr. Lecture, with presenter Sally L. Hodder, M.D., on November 30. Both will be broadcast and recorded via the NIH Videocast.

Dr. Lorsch announced a new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teaching resources portal that launched in April offering an NIH-wide collection of free, easy-to-access materials that educators and parents can use to engage K-12 students in science. The website is managed by NIGMS and includes educational materials funded by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA). The portal was featured in the National Science Teaching Association newsletter, which has over 250,000 subscribers. An NIH-wide STEM coordinating committee has also formed.

Dr. Lorsch noted that NIGMS published an issue of the Pathways magazine on COVID-19 vaccines in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President. The magazine reached an estimated 2.5 million middle and high school students and 19,000 teachers across all the states.

A new program stemming from UNITE, an NIH-wide initiative to combat structural racism in the biomedical research enterprise, expands the SEPA program to include other institutes and centers (ICs) through NOT-HG-22-017.

Dr. Lorsch reported that the Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) program, aimed at increasing the diversity of faculty in research-intensive positions and led by NIGMS, now has 23 NIH ICs participating. NIGMS announced the first group of the K99/R00 awardees in 2022.

To seek input from trainees, Dr. Lorsch alerted Council that NIGMS issued a request for information (RFI) about initiatives that improve research training, career progression, or the educational environment in the biomedical research enterprise.

Dr. Lorsch noted that NIGMS supports capacity building and training at many under-resourced institutions, including Institutional Development Award and minority-serving institutions, but many lack the resources to support their own high-performance computing systems. He stated that the cloud opens the opportunity to any institution in the country for that type of research. Dr. Lorsch reported that NIGMS issued an RFI on NIH programs to increase access to cloud computing to diverse biomedical research institutions and held a workshop in collaboration with the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

NIGMS supported the development of two training modules on specific areas of data analysis using the cloud last year: 1) MassSpec data analysis at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and 2) RNA-seq analysis at the University of Maine/MDI Biological Laboratory. These modules, along with basic cloud-computing ones, will be freely available. NIGMS is funding 10 applications this year to build additional modules.

At the February Council meeting, NIGMS presented data related to an ongoing analysis of Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program outcomes.

Additional analysis of the program showed that MIRA has become an increasingly large component of the NIGMS portfolio, MIRA investigators have submitted fewer subsequent applications to other NIH institutes and centers than NIGMS R01 investigators, and experienced investigator MIRA awardees have slightly higher productivity and citations than comparable R01 awardees.

In closing, Dr. Lorsch encouraged attendees to subscribe to the NIGMS Feedback Loop blog to stay up to date with analyses and evaluations, funding opportunities, news, and other information from the Institute, and to follow NIGMS on its social media channels.

Contact: Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D.,

IV. Concept Clearance: NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA)

SEPA supports formal classroom-based and informal science education activities for pre-K to grade 12 that: 1) enhance the diversity of the biomedical research workforce and 2) foster better understanding of NIH-funded biomedical research.

There are no significant changes to the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) other than expanding the participation of other NIH ICs. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue a SEPA FOA.

Contact: Ming Lei, Ph.D.,

V. Concept Clearance: Interactive Digital Media Stem Resources for Pre-College and Informal Science Education Audiences (SBIR/STTR)

The Interactive Digital Media Stem Resources for Pre-College and Informal Science Education Audiences (SBIR/STTR) FOA is an accompaniment to the SEPA program and provides opportunities for eligible small business concerns to develop interactive digital media (IDM) STEM products on student career choice and health medicine topics.

There are no substantive changes from the previous FOAs. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue an Interactive Digital Media Stem Resources for Pre-College and Informal Science Education Audiences (SBIR/STTR) FOA.

Contact: Ming Lei, Ph.D.,

VI. Concept Clearance: Predoctoral Institutional Training Awards: Basic Biomedical and Medical Scientist Training Programs

The purpose of these programs is to develop a diverse pool of well-trained scientists to address the nation’s biomedical research agenda. The programs support eligible domestic institutions in developing and implementing effective, evidence-informed approaches to biomedical graduate and clinician-scientist training that will keep pace with the rapid evolution of the biomedical research enterprise.

Proposed changes to these programs include updating the recruitment plan for enhancing diversity and the plan for training in responsible conduct of research to be score driving. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue predoctoral institutional training awards with minor program changes.

Contact: Alison Gammie, Ph.D.,

VII. Concept Clearance: Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) Basic Instrumentation Grant Program from the UNITE E Committee

The overall charge of the extramural research ecosystem (UNITE E) group is to change NIH policies, culture, and structures to better promote extramural workforce diversity and inclusion. Cutting-edge instrumentation is essential for an institution to conduct biomedical research and training. For MSIs, this can be a significant barrier due to the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining equipment.

The NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) has a series of research infrastructure programs, including the Basic Instrumentation Grant (BIG) S10 program that was launched in 2021 and is open to institutions that have not recently received a substantial S10 award. These include lower-resourced MSIs. One potential barrier for MSIs to this program is the requirement that a group of three major investigators, each with an active NIH research award, must use the instrument.

UNITE E has proposed a targeted equipment grant FOA for MSIs with limited resources, with NIGMS serving as the lead IC and other ICs participating by signing on and funding awards.

Council engaged in discussions about service costs, the search for major users, percent usage, and institutional priority areas. NIGMS received Council approval to develop an MSI Basic Instrumentation Grant Program FOA.

Contact: Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D.,

VIII. Concept Clearance: Biomedical Technology Development and Dissemination (BTDD) Centers

The purpose of the BTDD centers is to support the development of late-stage technologies that have broad utility for biomedical research once their feasibility has been established and to disseminate them to the wider biomedical community. This program 1) supports centers that are at the leading edge of their fields, 2) disseminates technologies in a sustainable manner, and 3) provides user training.

The centers work by integrating three components: technology development, biomedical research projects, and community engagement. Through the coupling of technology development projects (TDPs) and driving biomedical projects (DBPs), technology is refined and optimized.

Minor proposed changes to the program include clarifying terminology, emphasizing the late-state nature of the technology by renaming the program “Biomedical Technology Optimization and Dissemination (BTOD)”, and enhancing the review process.

NIGMS received Council approval to reissue the BTDD Centers FOA as the BTOD program with changes.

Contact: Dorothy Beckett, Ph.D.,

IX. Concept Clearance: NIGMS Collaborative Program Grant for Multidisciplinary Teams

The overarching goal of this program is to support ambitious and challenging projects that will solve significant biomedical problems that cannot be accomplished through individual awards. This program focuses on multidisciplinary teams with shared scientific leadership and management responsibilities. Each PI should be committed to team science and be willing to devote a major part of their research effort to the team project.

NIGMS received Council approval to reissue a NIGMS Collaborative Program Grant for Multidisciplinary Teams FOA with no significant changes to the program.

Contact: Alexandra Ainsztein, Ph.D.,

X. Concept Clearance: Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) and NARCH Planning Grants Program

The NARCH program aims to meet the health research needs of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. It also seeks to promote health equity, capacity building, and infrastructure within tribal organizations and to develop a cadre of scientists and health research professionals committed to AI/AN health research.

In 2020, NIGMS completed an evaluation of the NARCH to help strengthen the program. In 2021, a Council working group (WG) analyzed the data and developed recommendations that were presented to the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee. The NIGMS director held a consultation with tribal leaders and received feedback. A plan was presented to Council in September 2021.

The objectives of the program remain, but some programmatic changes will be made in the new FOA based on the findings from the Council WG and tribal leader feedback. This includes encouraging AI/AN organizations to lead and conduct NARCH-supported activities through increasing the portion of the award budget spent at AI/AN organizations and encouraging research approaches that are culturally appropriate for AI/AN communities. NIGMS also proposed to expand evaluation criteria to include nontraditional academic indicators including applications impact on tribal health and health policy as well as value to community service and tribal leadership roles. Lastly, K-12 STEM activities will be supported by the program.

The new FOA will have more opportunities to submit applications and will extend the award duration to 5 years.

The goal of the new NARCH planning grants program is to increase the number of competitive NARCH applications. Eligible applicants are federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations that do not hold an active NARCH award. Activities and efforts that may be supported include: 1) defining research questions and plans, 2) assessing capacity building and career enhancement needs, 3) strengthening administrative capacity to support application submission and grants management, and 4) securing external support for developing NARCH applications.

Council discussed eligibility for the NARCH planning grants and outreach efforts. NIGMS received Council approval renewing the NARCH FOA with the described changes and for the NARCH planning grant FOA.

Contact: Ming Lei, Ph.D.,


Council members discussed the impact of inflation on grant budgets, new stipend levels, unionization of graduate students, financial constraints on students and postdocs, NIGMS predoctoral fellowships, differing stipend levels at institutions, and ways to broadly support and enhance international trainings.


This session of the meeting was closed to the public, as it concerned matters exempt from mandatory disclosures under Sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5, U.S.C. and Section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2).

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 1,084 research and training applications requesting $465,246,075 in total costs. The Council recommended 1,082 applications with a total cost of $461,388,730.


The meeting adjourned at 3:42 p.m. on May 19, 2022.


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