The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council was convened in closed session for its one hundred fifty-ninth meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 17, 2015.
Dr. Jon R. Lorsch, director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), presided as chair of the meeting. After a closed session from 8:30 a.m. to 4:31 p.m. on September 17, the meeting was open to the public on September 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:36 a.m.
Council Members Present
Gail E. Besner, M.D.Henry T. Greely, J.D.Alan (Rick) F. Horwitz, Ph.D.Richard L. Lalonde, Pharm.D.Scott J. Miller, Ph.D.Margaret C. Werner-Washburne, Ph.D.
Council Members Absent
Marc A. Nivet, Ed.D.Holly A. Wichman, Ph.D.
Special Consultants Present
Bonnie Berger, Ph.D.
Professor of MathematicsProfessor of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge, MA 02139
Amy Hitchcock Camp, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biological SciencesMount Holyoke CollegeSouth Hadley, MA 01075
Liza D. Cariaga-Lo, Ed.D.
Vice President for Academic Development, Diversity and InclusionBrown UniversityProvidence, RI 02912
Carmen W. Dessauer, Ph.D.
Department of Integrative Biology and PharmacologyUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonHouston, TX 77030
Samuel H. Gellman, Ph.D.
Ralph F. Hirschmann Professor of ChemistryDepartment of ChemistryUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison, WI 53706-1396
Arne Gennerich, Ph.D.
Associate ProfessorDepartment of Anatomy and Structural BiologyGruss-Lipper Biophotonics Center
Albert Einstein College of MedicineBronx, NY 10461
Mark Peifer, Ph.D.
Hooker Distinguished ProfessorDepartment of BiologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC 27599
Thomas J. Silhavy, Ph.D.
Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular BiologyDepartment of Molecular BiologyPrinceton UniversityPrinceton, NJ 08544
Janet L. Smith, Ph.D.
Margaret J. Hunter Collegiate Professor of Life SciencesProfessor of Biological ChemistryLife Sciences InstituteUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor, MI 48109-2216
Wilfred A. van der Donk, Ph.D.Richard E. Heckert Endowed Chair in ChemistryInvestigator, Howard Hughes Medical InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana, IL 61801
Council roster (available from NIGMS)
Members of the Public Present
Dr. Jay Dunlap, Dartmouth CollegeDr. Adam Fagen, Genetics Society of AmericaDr. Sarah Martin, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyDr. Chloe Poston, Genetics Society of AmericaDr. Desirée Salazar, American Society for Cell BiologyDr. Monika Schneider, American Association of ImmunologistsDr. Yvette Seger, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Kevin Wilson, American Society for Cell Biology
NIGMS and other NIH employees
Please see the sign-in sheet (available from NIGMS)
Other Federal Employees Present
OPEN PORTION OF THE MEETING
I. Call to Order and Opening Remarks
Dr. Lorsch thanked the regular members of the Council who were present and then introduced the special consultants: Bonnie Berger, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, and electrical engineering and computer science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Amy Hitchcock Camp, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College; Liza D. Cariaga-Lo, Ed.D., vice president for Academic Development, Diversity, and Inclusion, Brown University; Carmen W. Dessauer, Ph.D., professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Samuel H. Gellman, Ph.D., Ralph F. Hirschmann Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Arne Gennerich, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Gruss-Lipper Biophotonics Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Mark Peifer, Ph.D., Hooker Distinguished Professor, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Thomas J. Silhavy, Ph.D., Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University; Janet L. Smith, Ph.D., Margaret J. Hunter Collegiate Professor of Life Sciences and professor of biological chemistry, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan; and Wilfred A. van der Donk, Ph.D., Richard E. Heckert Endowed Chair in Chemistry, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Lorsch then introduced and welcomed the guests in attendance.
II. Consideration of Minutes
The minutes of the May 21-22, 2015, meeting were approved as submitted.
III. Future Meeting Dates
The following dates for future Council meetings were confirmed:
January 28-29, 2016 Thursday-FridayMay 19-20, 2016 Thursday-FridaySeptember 15-16, 2016 Thursday-Friday
IV. NIGMS Director’s Report
Dr. Lorsch thanked the Council members for their continued service, and he acknowledged the hard work of NIGMS staff that goes into planning and executing every Council meeting. He updated the group on staff hires and departures at NIGMS and NIH, noting that the Institute has an ongoing open search for the director of the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry (no longer available). Dr. Lorsch recognized long-time NIGMS grantee Dr. Stephen Elledge of Brigham and Women’s Hospital for winning
this year’s Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. He then updated the Council on several upcoming events:
Dr. Lorsch noted that
NIH is developing a 5-Year Strategic Plan and invited Council members to keep up-to-date with the process and to provide comment. Finally, Dr. Lorsch presented an in-depth analysis by the NIGMS Office of Program Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation on the relationship between research funding level and scientific productivity.
Contact: Dr. Jon R. Lorsch,
V. Report: Training, Workforce Development and Diversity Stakeholders’ Meeting
In February 2015, NIGMS issued a Request for Information to obtain feedback, comments and innovative ideas related to undergraduate student development and diversifying the biomedical science workforce. This feedback was shared and discussed at a May 2015 NIGMS-sponsored meeting aiming to 1) identify workable approaches to increase diversity among those earning a biomedical science Ph.D.; 2) consider effective undergraduate approaches for enhancing training and student development programs; and 3) discuss effective practices across different institution types that increase numbers of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups going on to careers in biomedical research. Dr. Liza Cariaga-Lo of Brown University shared a summary of the meeting, including suggested strategies that might significantly increase the number of underrepresented students obtaining Ph.D.s.
Contact: Dr. Liza Coriaga-Lo,
VI. Presentation: Beans, Brains and Baseball Teams: How Making a Bigger “Us” is Key to Diversity and Inclusion
If diversity has the potential to lead to greater innovation and, thus, economic growth, the United States is faced with huge opportunity as minority populations increase to 50 percent by 2050 (and 50 percent of people under 19 by 2021). This demographic change also presents a massive challenge because, despite well-intentioned efforts, disparities in wealth and other key measures, including attainment of jobs requiring a higher education, have been unchanged or have actually increased for many years. Dr. Maggie Werner-Washburne, of the University of New Mexico, described her own successful efforts engaging students from underrepresented groups at her home institution, but she questioned the reality of larger-scale change. She posited the influence of major, positive forces affecting diversity at every level. Researchers analyzing this issue from different disciplines have reached similar conclusions: that in-group favoritism or positive bias is a highly significant force maintaining disparities.
Contact: Dr. Maggie Werner-Washburne,
VII. Concept Clearance: Mature Synchrotron Resources
NIGMS supports eight synchrotron-based resources, some of which feature X-ray beamline technologies that have been developed to a point of maturity and are heavily used by the research community. To ensure that NIH-supported investigators continue to have reliable access to these established and valuable resources, NIGMS aims to issue a funding announcement to support mature synchrotron resources that will focus on user access, training and outreach, and some technology development to maintain the resources at state-of-the-art levels. Dr. Susan Gregurick requested, and received, Council approval to issue a new program announcement in this area using the P30 activity code.
Contact: Dr. Susan Gregurick,
VIII. Concept Clearance: New Technologies for Glycoscience
Launched in FY 2015, and co-led by NIGMS and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the NIH Common Fund (CF)-supported program “Accelerating Translation of Glycoscience: Integration and Accessibility,” is directed at development of accessible and affordable new tools and technologies that will enable non-specialists to conduct carbohydrate research. NIGMS aims to stimulate small-business interest in efforts that complement the CF glycoscience program, to increase the number of commercialized technologies. Because the CF does not utilize the SBIR/STTR mechanisms, Dr. Susan Gregurick requested, and received, Council approval to issue a new program announcement for SBIR and STTR applications in technology areas supported by the CF glycoscience program.
IX. Reissued Concept Clearances
Dr. Lorsch invited the Council to vote en bloc on the following (re-issued) concept clearances. All were approved.
X. Public Comment Period
Dr. Yvette Seger, director of science policy at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), thanked NIGMS for its persistence and creativity in sustaining basic biomedical research. She noted FASEB’s interest and involvement in efforts related to
NIH’s Rigor and Reproducibility initiative, informing the Council of two focus areas: mouse models in research and research antibodies. She reported that FASEB aims to issue a report on the topic in January 2016.
Dr. Adam Fagen, executive director of the Genetics Society of America (GSA), reported an increase in the relative number of trainees in its membership. He stated that GSA views on “spreading the wealth” of research funding coincide with those of NIGMS. Dr. Fagen affirmed the continued need for sustained and reliable support of research resources, and updated the Council on an upcoming meeting:
The Allied Genetics Conference, to be held July 13-17, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.
CLOSED PORTION OF THE MEETING
A summary of applications reviewed by the Council is available from NIGMS.
ADJOURNMENTThe meeting adjourned at 11:36 a.m. on September 18, 2015.
I hereby certify that to my knowledge the foregoing minutes are accurate and complete.
___________________Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D.ChairNational Advisory General Medical Sciences Council
___________________Ann A. Hagan, Ph.D.Executive SecretaryNational Advisory General Medical Sciences Council
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