The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council was convened in closed session for its one hundred and seventy-second meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2020.
Dr. Jon R. Lorsch, director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), presided as chair of the meeting. After an open session from 8:30 a.m. to 11:40 a.m., the closed session was held from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Darrin Akins, Ph.D. Celeste Berg, Ph.D. Squire J. Booker, Ph.D. Enrique M. De La Cruz, Ph.D.Peter J. Espenshade, Ph.D. Guy Padbury, Ph.D. Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D. Cathy Wu, Ph.D. John Younger, M.D., M.S.
Nozomi Ando, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853-1301
Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D.ProfessorDepartment of MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonCenter for Women’s HealthMadison, WI 53715?
Angela DePace, Ph.D.Associate Professor Harvard Medical School Harvard University Boston, MA 02115
Laura F. Gibson, Ph.D. Senior Associate Vice President for Research & Graduate Education Associate Dean for Research, School of Medicine Alexander B. Osborn Distinguished Professor Hematological MalignanciesWest Virginia University Morgantown, WV 26506
Pamela Stacks, Ph.D.Associate Vice President, Research Division of Research and Innovation San Jose State University San Jose, CA 95192-0022
Jeremy E. Wilusz, Ph.D.Assistant Professor Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104-6059
Wendy Young, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Small Molecule Drug Discovery Genentech South San Francisco, CA 94080
Council roster (available from NIGMS)
Dr. Naomi Charalambakis, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Dr. Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Dr. Yvette Seger, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Dr. Erika Shugart, American Society for Cell Biology Kevin Wilson, American Society for Cell Biology Dr. Jodi Yellin, Association of American Medical Colleges
Dr. Lorsch thanked the regular members of the Council who were present and introduced the special consultants. He then introduced and welcomed the guests in attendance.
The minutes of the September 19, 2019, meeting were approved as submitted.
The following dates for future Council meetings were confirmed:
NIGMS Director’s Report Slides [PDF 3MB]
NIGMS Director Dr. Jon R. Lorsch thanked the Council for their service and acknowledged ad hoc participants at the meeting. He announced the selection of Dr. Erica Brown as NIGMS associate director for extramural activities and three branch chief hires: Dr. Miles Fabian, Chief, Biochemistry and Bio-related Chemistry Branch, Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry (PPBC); Dr. Shawn Gaillard, Chief, Developmental and Cellular Processes Branch, Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; and Dr. Zhongzhen Nie, Chief, Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences Branch, PPBC. He then announced other NIGMS hires, departures, and promotions, including the retirement of longtime NIGMS scientific staff members Drs. Alison Cole, Robert Lees, Pamela Marino, and Scott Somers. Dr. Lorsch announced that the former NIGMS Office of Program Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (OPAE) has been reconfigured to be the Division of Data Integration, Modeling, and Analytics (DIMA). Dr. Lorsch announced the selection of longtime NIGMS grantee Dr. Joshua Denny as chief executive officer for NIH’s All of Us program, and the retirement of National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Director Dr. Martha Somerman. Dr. Lorsch also recognized four NIGMS grantees as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He informed the Council of the January 21, 2020, webinar
Diversifying the Research Organism Landscape, co-hosted by NIGMS and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), and highlighted an upcoming issue of the NIGMS/Scholastic science education magazine
Pathways that will feature circadian rhythms. Dr. Lorsch provided an update on recent changes to
NIH’s Interest in Diversity that address and clarify criteria for i) women at the faculty level and ii) individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Regarding the latter, the updated language enhances the current NIH examples of underrepresented groups in biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences by enabling self-reporting and aiming at being more inclusive of previously missed populations. Dr. Lorsch then discussed NIGMS’ concern with lax safety cultures in academic laboratory environments, as illustrated by sexual harassment as well as by cases of laboratory accidents that caused serious injury or death. As a result, NIGMS will include explicit language about safety in its T32 training-grant funding announcements to encourage institutions to work toward industry standards for safe research environments and integrate teaching of safety throughout their curriculum and mentoring. In addition, NIGMS will create a clearinghouse on its website with links to safety training materials
Contact: Dr. Jon Lorsch,
The NIGMS SCORE program comprises three mechanisms (SC1/SC2/SC3) to support research and career development at institutions serving underrepresented groups. SCORE awards are made for investigator-initiated projects, and investigators are expected to obtain and transition to non-SCORE funding. In collaboration with OPAE (now DIMA), a working group of Council reviewed comprehensive data on SCORE applications, awards, trends, and outcomes to determine if the SCORE program is meeting its objectives. Working group co-chair Dr. Peter Espenshade, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, reported the working group’s conclusion that while the SCORE program is achieving some of its goals—such as increasing research competitiveness, the number of underrepresented investigators, and the number of qualifying laboratories—few SCORE investigators have transitioned to non-SCORE funding. The working group recommended that NIGMS: i) modify SCORE program objectives to catalyze institutional support for SCORE-funded investigators; ii) revise expected outcomes for SCORE principal investigators; iii) modify program objectives to prioritize increasing the number of students engaged in quality research; iv) revise or consolidate SCORE funding mechanisms; and v) develop a prospective evaluation plan that aligns data collection with these new objectives.
Contact: Dr. Peter Espenshade,
email@example.com; Dr. Kaye Husbands Fealing,
Dr. Bruce Tromberg, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), established in 2000, provided an overview of the institute. The NIBIB annual budget of about $400 million funds approximately 1,000 grants on imaging, bioengineering, computer science, informatics, and related approaches. Other NIH institutes and centers (ICs) develop and mature NIBIB-funded enabling technologies for disease-related applications. Currently, approximately 12% of the NIH budget funds bioengineering research related to human health—a growing discipline with increasing numbers of trainees and faculty across the nation. NIBIB interacts and collaborates with various trans-NIH programs, including, for example, the
Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, as well as international efforts such as
Data Science Initiative Africa. Most NIBIB-funded investigators aim to understand the quantitative basis of biological systems—using modeling, computation, and machine intelligence—toward creating therapeutic devices, imaging technologies, engineered biology, and sensors/point-of-care devices. Dr. Tromberg pointed to the need for development of continuous health care monitoring approaches that transcend the current, predominantly static approach to capturing health data across the lifespan. He highlighted NIBIB funding mechanisms unique among NIH ICs, including the
NIH Trailblazer Award (R21, for early-stage investigators); the NIBIB P41 Cen?ters (leveraged by collaborative and service projects nationwide); the
Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network (spanning disease areas and partnered with other NIH ICs); and the
Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams contest. Looking to the future, Dr. Tromberg predicted increased examples of digital biology approaches and described the need to develop a new workforce to meet technology challenges related to optimizing health and preventing disease.
Contacts: Dr. Bruce Tromberg,
NIGMS has a longstanding commitment to developing the next generation of biomedical scientists through a variety of institutional training and diversity enhancing programs including the IMSD, an institutional student development program that currently provides support to train graduate students. This program is limited to applications from training programs at research-intensive institutions (i.e., those with a 3-year average of NIH research project grant funding equal to or above $7.5 million total costs per year). In FY 2018, IMSD supported 369 predoctoral students at 33 institutions. Dr. Alison Gammie requested and received Council approval to reissue a revised IMSD funding announcement that encourages partnerships with and input from potential employers (e.g., industry, government, nonprofit); focuses on rigor and reproducibility; clarifies instructions institutional and departmental commitment; and reduces the administrative burden of the IMSD application.
Contact: Dr. Alison Gammie,
G-RISE is an institutional student development program that currently provides support to train graduate students. This program is limited to applications from training programs at research-active institutions (i.e., those with a 3-year average of NIH research project grant funding less than $7.5 million total costs per year). In FY 2018, G-RISE supported 210 predoctoral students at 15 institutions across the nation. Dr. Alison Gammie requested and received Council approval to reissue a revised G-RISE funding announcement that (like IMSD) encourages partnerships with and input from potential employers (e.g., industry, government, nonprofit); focuses on rigor and reproducibility; clarifies instructions institutional and departmental commitment; and reduces the administrative burden of the G-RISE application.
NIGMS continues to support the development of free,
exportable training modules designed to enhance biomedical research workforce training at all career levels. Such modules are innovative, short training units used as stand-alone modules or in combination as short courses. Dr. Alison Gammie requested and received Council approval to issue a funding announcement to develop additional training modules across a range of topic areas, including evaluation of training programs, laboratory safety, wellness, and career preparedness.
Dr. Yvette Seger, FASEB director of science policy, reiterated the January 21, 2020, webinar Diversifying the Research Organism Landscape, co-sponsored by NIGMS. She also highlighted new FASEB fact sheets on research organisms and recipients of the annual Excellence in Science Award for women scientists. Dr. Seger then noted FASEB’s new policy to include early-career scientists on the organization’s advisory boards and invited the Council to submit nominations.
Dr. Erica Shugart, executive director of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), described ASCB’s
2019 Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) Image and Video Contest commemorating the 25th anniversary of the development of GFP as a tagging tool for bioscience (winners featured on the
NIH Director’s Blog throughout January 2020). She also noted the availability of
ASCB Public Engagement Grants for scientists to conduct outreach; expansion of the
ASCB biotechnology courses program, aimed to facilitate transitions to industry; efforts to adapt the European Molecular Biology Organization’s laboratory leadership course for use in the United States; and expansion of the
ASCB webinar program. Dr. Shugart then reported that ASCB is currently developing a white paper on mid-to-late biomedical career transitions and noted the recent
ASCB Public Service Award to longtime NIGMS scientist Dr. Jim Deatherage for his work with the cell biology community.
A summary of applications reviewed by the Council is available from NIGMS.
The meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m. on January 16, 2020.
I hereby certify that to my knowledge the foregoing minutes are accurate and complete.
Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D. Chair National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council
Erica Brown, Ph.D. Executive Secretary National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council
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