May 15, 2003
At the May 2003 meeting of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council, Dr. Norvell summarized the March 2003 meeting of the Protein Structure Imitative Advisory Committee (PSIAC), a working group of Council. The PSIAC members discussed progress of the PSI pilot programs and plans for the subsequent PSI production phase. In a letter to the Council, Dr. Brian Matthews, Chair, PSIAC, reviewed progress of the PSI pilot research centers. Dr. Mathews noted various technology developments, construction of the structural genomics pipeline, and results on solved structures.
Dr. Norvell presented to the Council a brief overview of the PSI pilot program, and then outlined the timetable and possible plans for development of the PSI production phase, which is expected to begin in 2005. Members of the PSIAC had suggested that NIGMS support two types of research centers for the continued development of the next stage of the PSI: 3 to 5 large scale research centers aimed at production of unique, non-redundant protein structures and a few smaller, focused centers aimed at protein structures from organisms and protein classes for which higher throughput and large-scale operation are more technically challenging.
The Council discussed these plans and the technical and scientific expectations for the next phase of the PSI. Some Council members questioned the rationale for the smaller focused research centers. Other comments addressed the appropriate target selection strategy for the PSI production phase and the importance of setting clear goals and metrics on the production of unique, non-redundant protein structures. The NIGMS staff will discuss these issues with the PSIAC members and develop plans to be presented for concept clearance to the Council at the Sept. 2003 meeting.
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