The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council
was convened in closed session for its one hundred forty-first
meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 10, 2009.
Dr. Jeremy Berg, 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 4:30 p.m. on September 10, the
meeting was open to the public on September 11 from 8:35 a.m. to
Council Members Present:
Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Ph.D.
Michael D. Caldwell, M.D., Ph.D.
Edwin S. Flores, Ph.D., J.D.
Mariano Garcia-Blanco, M.D., Ph.D.
Howard H. Garrison, Ph.D.
Clifford W. Houston, Ph.D.
John E. Johnson, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Mason, Ph.D.
Steven L. McKnight, Ph.D.
W. James Nelson, Ph.D.
Paula Stephan, Ph.D.
James L. Stevens, Ph.D.
Virginia A. Zakian, Ph.D.
Robert F. Murphy, Ph.D.
Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado, Ph.D.
Special Consultants Present:
Frederick R. Cross, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Yeast Molecular Genetics
New York, NY 10065
Kenneth S. Zaret, Ph.D.
Department of Cell and
University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Council roster (available from NIGMS).
Members of the Public Present:
Dr. Blair Feldman, AIKI
Dr. Sherry Marts, Genetics Society of America
Dr. Erika Milczek, Emory University
Federal Employees Present:
Dr. Richard Rodewald, National Science Foundation
NIGMS and other NIH employees:
Please see the sign-in sheet (available from NIGMS).
OPEN PORTION OF THE MEETING
I. Call to Order and Opening Remarks
Dr. Berg thanked the regular members of the Council who were
present and then he introduced the special consultants: Frederick
R. Cross, Ph.D., professor, Laboratory of Yeast Molecular Genetics,
Rockefeller University; and Kenneth S. Zaret, Ph.D., professor,
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of
Pennsylvania. Dr. Berg then introduced and welcomed the guests in
II. Consideration of Minutes
The minutes of the May 21-22, 2009, meeting were approved as
III. Future Meeting Dates
The following dates for future Council meetings were
January 21-22, 2010
May 20-21, 2010
September 20-21, 2010
IV. Report from the Director, NIGMS
Dr. Berg began his report by announcing the confirmation of
Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., as the NIH director on August 17,
2009. He noted that Dr. Collins had appointed Kathy Hudson, Ph.D.,
as his chief of staff. He then noted the announcement or
appointment of several individuals to high-level positions within
the Department of Health and Human Services including Regina
Benjamin, M.D. as the nominee for surgeon general; Howard Koh,
M.D., M.P.H., appointed as assistant secretary for health; and
Nicole Lurie, M.D., appointed as assistant secretary for
preparedness and response.
Dr. Berg announced the appointment of a number of new NIGMS
staff members including Program Directors Joe Gindhart, Ph.D., and
George Santangelo, Ph.D., and Grants Management Specialists Dan
Beren, Richard Brundage, Mitchell Curling, Dan Herrington, Mitzi
Kosciulek and Susan South.
Dr. Berg then briefly updated the Council about the status of
the Enhancing Peer Review activities including the fact that the
new scoring system had been used for many applications being
considered during the current Council round. He reminded the
Council that a shorter application formats would be used starting
in January 2010 and that more information about the requirements
for these applications would be released soon.
Dr. Berg announced the release of the NIH RePORT Web site as a
replacement for the CRISP system and commented that RePORT has
several features lacking from CRISP, most notably the availability
of information about the costs associated with each award.
Dr. Berg announced that the NIGMS Feedback Loop electronic
newsletter had been converted to a blog format, and is the first
official blog at NIH. He provided some key statistics including
12,900 e-mail subscribers and 35 posts by 18 distinct NIGMS staff
members. He indicated his enthusiasm about this new mode for
providing information to and receiving feedback from the scientific
Dr. Berg then discussed the current status of the distribution
of funds associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
(ARRA). He reminded the Council of the NIH mechanisms that could be
supported with ARRA funds and indicated the anticipated
distribution for NIGMS ARRA awards across these mechanisms. He
noted that over 20 percent of NIGMS ARRA funds had been obligated
at that time. NIGMS staff were working diligently to make awards
with the expectation that over 80 percent of the NIGMS allocation
would be obligated by the end of the fiscal year. He also
highlighted features on the NIH RePORT Web site that allowed for
easy tracking of ARRA awards across the country.
Finally, Dr. Berg announced the intention of NIGMS to undertake
a strategic plan focused on research training. He indicated that
the planning process would begin with an examination of the goals
of training programs and would extend to strategic analysis of the
use of various mechanisms for supporting training and workforce
development. He noted that there would be opportunities for Council
and the broad scientific community to provide input relevant to the
formulation of this plan.
V. The Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and
Students: One Student's View
In Summer 2009, 23 Nobel laureates and 580 young researchers
from 67 countries met in Lindau, Germany, for the 59th Meeting of Nobel Laureates. The 2009 meeting, dedicated to chemistry, aimed to
provide a unique training experience for graduate students
preparing for careers as independent investigators. In addition to
promoting networking opportunities, the experience also teamed
students with Nobel laureates as mentors. Erika Milczek of Emory
University in Atlanta recounted her personal experiences from the
event, noting that the meeting enriched her outlook on science and
her own research on developing enzyme inhibitors as
neuroprotectants against age-related neurodegenerative
Contact: Erika Milczek, firstname.lastname@example.org, 770-880-8473
VI. Preview: Advancing Biomedical
Research Workforce Diversity Workshop
On March 11-12, 2010, NIGMS will sponsor a two-day workshop on
the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, for postdoctoral fellows
transitioning to their first independent positions. The agenda
covers all stages of this transition process, from identifying the
institutions that best fit their needs to preparing for the job
search, negotiating a startup package, setting up a laboratory,
applying for research funding and receiving tenure. Although the
focus of the workshop is on academic positions, participants will
also have an opportunity to learn about other scientific careers.
Dr. Judith Greenberg noted that applications are due by November 2,
2009, and that individuals selected to attend the workshop will be
reimbursed by NIGMS for travel and per diem expenses.
Contact: Dr. Judith Greenberg, email@example.com,
VII. CLOSED PORTION OF THE MEETING
VIII. Review of Applications
A summary of applications reviewed by the Council is available
The meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m. on September 11, 2009.
I hereby certify that to my knowledge the foregoing minutes are
accurate and complete.
Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D.
National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council
Ann A. Hagan, Ph.D.
National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council