Advisory Council Minutes, September 15, 2022

The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council convened in open session for its 180th meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, 2022. The meeting took place 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 12:39 p.m., the closed session convened from 1:15 p.m. to 4:07 p.m.

Council Members Attending Remotely

Natalie Ahn, Ph.D.
Darrin Akins, Ph.D.
Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D.
Angela DePace, Ph.D.
Peter J. Espenshade, Ph.D.
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.
Wendy Young, Ph.D.

Council Members Absent

Squire J. Booker, Ph.D.
Laura F. Gibson, Ph.D.
Ron G. King, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D.

Ad Hoc Council Participants Attending Remotely

Fred Heberle, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN 37920

Alexis C. Komor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093

Nicole Sampson, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Chemistry
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3400

Susan S. Smyth, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor
Dean, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, AR 72205

Council roster (available from NIGMS)

Members of the Public Attending Remotely

Not tracked because this was a virtual meeting.


I. Call to Order and Approval of Minutes

Dr. Lorsch thanked Council members for their service. The minutes of the May 19, 2022, meeting were approved as submitted.

II. Future Meeting Dates

The following dates for future Council meetings were confirmed:

February 2, 2023
May 18, 2023
September 7, 2023
Thursday (virtual meeting)
Thursday (in person meeting)
Thursday (virtual meeting)​

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

Dr. Lorsch recognized retiring Council members and introduced regular and early career ad hoc participants. He announced NIGMS and NIH staff changes, including, among others, that:

  • Monica M. Bertagnoli, M.D., is expected to be named director of the National Cancer Institute
  • Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed acting deputy director for intramural research in the NIH Office of the Director
  • Kevin D. Williams, J.D., was selected new director of the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., will step down in December as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • James M. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., retired in June as director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the NIH Office of the Director

Dr. Lorsch alerted Council of a three-part grant writing series for scientists new to the process, especially those from under-resourced institutions. The first webinar took place in August and had 1,500 registrants, and the remaining webinars are scheduled for September and November. All will be recorded and available for later viewing. He reminded Council of 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 NIH Videocast.

Dr. Lorsch presented trends for NIGMS’ Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) applicants by race/ethnicity and by gender across two cohort groups: established investigators (EIs) and early stage investigators (ESIs). Overall, the ESI MIRA pool has the highest percentages of women principal investigators (PIs) and those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Although this is encouraging, neither level reflects the demographics of Ph.D. graduates in the life sciences, emphasizing the need to strengthen efforts in broadening the participation of researchers from underrepresented groups in the biomedical research workforce. Dr. Lorsch noted that applications and awards to the ESI MIRA program have increased in Institutional Development Award (IDeA) states.

Dr. Lorsch shared that on April 15, NIH announced that predoctoral and postdoctoral awardees will receive a 2% stipend increase in Fiscal Year 2022; however, this does not keep pace with the rising cost of living in the U.S. He noted that one way NIGMS could further increase stipends would be by cutting slots, but that would reduce the number of students receiving support. Dr. Lorsch noted that many well-resourced institutions currently supplement predoctoral stipends above National Research Service Award (NRSA) levels, so trainees at those institutions might not actually see increases in their stipends if NRSA levels are higher. However, trainees at lower-resourced institutions could benefit more from a stipend increase, which may have important implications for increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the biomedical research workforce.

Currently, new MIRA grants to EIs have a median budget of approximately $260,000 in direct costs, with the mode at $250,000. Dr. Lorsch suggested that NIGMS is considering raising the "floor" for most EIs.


Dr. Lorsch opened the floor to discussion of these budgetary issues.

Council discussed how to increase faculty diversity. Dr. Lorsch noted that the Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers program supported this goal and that other grant mechanisms at every educational phase were working together to increase the diversity of postdocs who could then become faculty members. There was a suggestion that NIGMS consider an integrated system in which graduate students are supported all the way through their training in a self-contained ecosystem—something pilotable that could create a more efficient training path. Council and NIGMS staff discussed how the number of T32 grants at a university makes a big difference in faculty and student recruitment.


VI. Concept Clearance: IDeA Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Phase 3 – Transitional Centers

COBRE provides support through three sequential 5-year phases to establish (Phase 1), develop (Phase 2), and sustain (Phase 3) state-of-the-art research centers in IDeA-eligible states. Phase 3 funding provides resources to transition COBREs to self-sustaining research programs by supporting research cores and a pilot program.

There are no substantive changes from the previous funding opportunity announcement (FOA). NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this FOA.

VII. Concept Clearance: Modules for Enhancing Biomedical Research Workforce Training

This grant program supports the development of training modules available to the community to enhance training of the biomedical research workforce. Responsive topics are indicated through notices of special interest that NIGMS releases annually. Recent topic areas have included:

  • Creating safe, inclusive, and supportive research environments
  • Enhancing wellness and resiliency
  • Addressing structural racism and discrimination to reduce disparities

There are no substantive changes from the previous FOA. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this FOA.

VIII. Concept Clearance: Reissuance of Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators

MIRA provides support for a program of research in an investigator's laboratory that falls within the NIGMS mission. While there are no substantive changes from the previous FOA for ESIs, there are structural changes:

  • The receipt date will increase from one to two per year.
  • A plan for enhancing diverse perspectives will be required, in line with the recently reissued established investigator MIRA FOA.

NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this FOA.

IX. Concept Clearance: Coordination Center for the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS)

The MIDAS coordination center is a hub for collaboration, testing, and dissemination of research products within the MIDAS investigator network. It’s the primary repository for MIDAS-related datasets, models, and software, and it maintains, promotes, and maximizes utility and use of the shared MIDAS resources. The center develops collaborative activities and educational opportunities to enhance the utility of MIDAS resources. It also improves the training experiences for MIDAS network members and their graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

There are no substantive changes from the previous FOA. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this FOA.

X. Concept Clearance: Reissue of the NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) Awards

REACH is an NIH-wide program that works with IDeA hubs. Previously managed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the program will move to NIGMS. NIGMS will provide its grants management and scientific oversight in conjunction with the Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) Office in NIH’s Office of Extramural Research. Hubs are required to support innovations across the entire NIH mission space.

Proposed changes to the REACH program include:

  • Diversity: stronger focus on inclusion of underrepresented innovators and geographical regions
  • Workforce development: stronger focus on mentoring and training of junior innovators
  • Increased impact of the hubs through their support of research and development and training for regional innovators who aren’t affiliated with the award’s participating institutions
  • Proposals that address unmet medical needs within NIH’s small business research and development portfolio

NIGMS received Council approval to reissue—with the proposed changes—this FOA.

XI. Concept Clearance: IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Network Awards and IDeA Clinical & Translational Research Development (CTRD) Awards

IDeA Networks for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) develop infrastructure and human resources for clinical and translational research, support research and research collaborations that address health conditions prevalent in IDeA states, and develop competitive clinical and translational research programs. Statewide or multistate regional networks are anchored by lead clinical research institutions that support and coordinate research, career development, and community outreach activities in partner institutions. These networks address health challenges in the general population of the state/region.

Proposed changes include:

  • A title change from IDeA-CTR to IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Network (CTRN), with no change to program goals.
  • A new award: IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Development (CTRD)—available to institutions in IDeA states that don’t lead a CTRN or CTRD award, and to institutions with no Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) support but located in IDeA states that have CTSAs awarded to other institutions. Activities that may be supported are infrastructure development, workforce development, pilot research programs, and practice-based research network engagement.

NIGMS received Council approval to establish these proposed FOAs.

XII. Concept Clearance: Tribal Institutional Review Board Development Grants and Tribal Institutional Review Board Grants

These two awards are the result of a comprehensive evaluation [PDF] of the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) program to address needs identified through a formal Tribal Consultation. The new programs will help Tribes establish and/or enhance their institutional review boards (IRBs) to ensure that health research led by Tribal nations and communities has appropriate IRB support.

NIGMS received Council approval to develop FOAs for these programs.

XIII. Concept Clearance: Diversity Enhancing National Research Service Award Institutional Training Programs for Tribal Organizations

This program is also in response to the recommendations from the 2020 comprehensive evaluation of the NARCH program. The proposed will focus on undergraduate and graduate students and will support research training hubs at Tribal Organizations to provide stipend support and tuition remission for the students as well as research training activities, including research skills development and preparation for careers in the biomedical research workforce.

NIGMS received Council approval to develop FOAs for this program.

XIV. Concept Clearance: National Centers for Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM)

The NIH Common Fund is supporting the National Centers for cryo-EM until 2024. The program is open to any centers equipped with at least four high-resolution data collection cryo-EM systems at one site. This concept proposes that the program transition to NIGMS after the Common Fund support ends.

NIGMS received Council approval to develop an FOA to support cryo-EM centers.


Council discussed whether there was data collection to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting productivity among trainees and faculty. NIGMS is collecting data, as is NIH. The Institute has given supplements to career development (K) grantees who have had COVID-19-related hardships.

Council also discussed the success of the IDeA and NARCH programs as models to reach rural areas and to have a regional impact. These programs work within communities to support students who may have family obligations or expectations by providing biomedical research career opportunities in their communities.


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 1,164 research and training applications requesting $503,139,369 in total costs. The Council recommended 1,164 applications with a total cost of $503,139,369.


The meeting adjourned at 4:07 p.m. on September 15, 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