Advisory Council Minutes, May 19-20, 2016

The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council was convened in closed session for its one hundred sixty-first meeting at 8:31 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

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 8:31 a.m. to 3:51 p.m. on May 19, the meeting was open to the public on May 20 from 8:31 a.m. to 11:57 a.m.

Council Members Present

Carmen W. Dessauer, Ph.D.
Henry T. Greely, J.D.
Alan (Rick) F. Horwitz, Ph.D.
Mark Peifer, Ph.D.
Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D.
Janet L. Smith, Ph.D.
Willem (Wilfred) A. van der Donk, Ph.D.

Council Members Absent

Gail E. Besner, M.D.
Liza Cariaga-Lo, Ed.D.
Richard L. Lalonde, Pharm.D.

Special Consultants Present

Richard M. Cripps, D.Phil.
Department of Biology
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Roberto Dominguez, Ph.D.
Department of Physiology
University of Pennsylvania
Perelman School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dale Dorsett Ph.D.
Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO 63104

Laura L. Kiessling, Ph.D.
Steenbock Professor of Chemistry
Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry
Department of Biochemistry
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706

Sergei Pond, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Kenneth E. Thummel, Ph.D.
Milo Gibaldi Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutics
Department of Pharmaceutics
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

Mary P. Watson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716

John G. Younger, M.D.
Chief Technology Officer and Director
Akadeum Life Sciences, Inc.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Council roster (available from NIGMS)

Members of the Public Present

Dr. Adam Fagen
Dr. Howard Garrison, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Dr. Craig Goergen, Purdue University
Dr. Steve Heinig, Association of American Medical Colleges
Ms. Carole Horwitz
Dr. Perry Kirkham, Purdue University
Dr. Edward Lax, Purdue University
Dr. Libby O’Hare, Lewis-Burke Associates
André Porter, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dr. Chloe Poston, Genetics Society of America
Dr. Desirée Salazar, American Society for Cell Biology
Dr. Jodi Yellin, Association of American Medical Colleges

NIGMS and other NIH employees

Please see the sign-in sheet (available from NIGMS)

Other Federal Employees Present



I. Call to Order and Opening Remarks

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.

II. Consideration of Minutes

The minutes of the January 28-29, 2016, meeting were approved as submitted.

III. Future Meeting Dates

The following dates for future Council meetings were confirmed:

May 22-23, 2014
September 18-19, 2014
January 23- 24, 2015

IV. NIGMS Director’s Report

[PDF, 3.0MB]

Dr. Lorsch thanked the Council for their continued service and the continued diligence of NIGMS staff. He updated the group on staff hires and departures at NIGMS and NIH, highlighting the recent retirement of Dr. Helen Sunshine, long-time chief of the NIGMS Office of Scientific Review, and the appointment of Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan to lead the National Library of Medicine. He recognized two NIGMS grantees who are recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers: Dr. Namandje Bumpus of Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Amy Ralston of Michigan State University. Dr. Lorsch described several recent NIGMS-sponsored events including the Symposium on Catalyzing the Modernization of Graduate Education, the inaugural NIGMS Director’s Early Career Investigator Lecture and the USA Science & Engineering Festival. He also reported making a presentation at the EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation ​annual meeting, which was attended by Congressional staff and Foundation board members. Dr. Lorsch gave the Council an overview of the IDeA program and its outcomes. Finally, Dr. Lorsch asked Council members to share two NIGMS-issued requests for information on research resources (comments due June 3, 2016), and on team-based science (comments due June 17, 2016).

Contact: Dr. Jon R. Lorsch, 301-594-2172,

V. Vision from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Director

As the new director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable presented his vision and agenda for the Institute. He emphasized the significance of clarifying definitions of the two terms essential to NIMHD's mission: minority health and health disparities, noting that they are simultaneously distinct and overlapping. Further, he explained the Institute’s new minority health and health disparities framework, which depicts the array of factors relevant to understanding these areas. Dr. Pérez-Stable also presented the new structure for NIMHD's extramural programs, which are organized into three scientific program branches: Clinical and Health Services Research, Integrative Biological and Behavioral Sciences, and Community Health and Population Sciences. He also informed the Council that NIMHD is recruiting a scientific director, who will initiate a new program in population health and clinical sciences within NIMHD's intramural research program.

Contact: Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable, 301-402-1366,

VI. Report of the Biomedical Technology Research Resources External Review Committee

In 2015, the NIGMS Office of Program Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation facilitated an assessment of the Biomedical Technology Research Resources (BTRR) program that included convening a review panel of scientific experts. NIGMS charged this panel with examining the program’s success and impact in developing and distributing novel technologies of high utility to the biomedical research community. Dr. David Sept of the University of Michigan, who chaired the panel, reported to the Council the group’s assessments and recommendations. The panel felt that the BTRR centers have strong track records of successes and have had an impact on a significant fraction of NIGMS-funded research. The panel felt that the need for these types of resources is likely to continue to increase. The panel saw significant potential for integrating a companion technology grant within the BTRR program, thereby creating a more flexible program. The panel also suggested that NIH consider changes in the application and peer review processes. Dr. Lorsch thanked the panel for its report, which the Institute will take into consideration in determining how best to proceed in alignment with its scientific and strategic goals.

Contact: Dr. Richard Aragon, 301-594-2762,

VII. Report: Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards Outcomes Assessment

NIGMS Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) (K12) fund postdoctoral training programs that combine a mentored research experience with an opportunity to develop additional academic and teaching skills. The program includes a teaching practicum at a partner institution that enrolls a substantial number of students from underrepresented groups. NIGMS recently conducted an assessment to examine the career outcomes of IRACDA scholars from 1999 to 2014. Dr. Jessica Faupel-Badger stated that IRACDA scholars have research doctorates in a broad array of scientific disciplines and represent a diverse group. She also noted that 73 percent of IRACDA alumni are in academic research and/or teaching positions, which is higher than the 43 percent of the overall biomedical workforce going into these positions cited in a 2012 NIH Biomedical Workforce Working Group Report. These data provide an important comparison of two distinct training models and additional context for understanding the contribution of the IRACDA program to preparing scholars for a variety of academic careers.

Contact: Dr. Jessica Faupel-Badger, 301-594-3900,

VIII. Report: Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research Outcomes Assessment

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program is designed to assist undergraduate institutions in providing academic, research and professional development activities to eligible trainees. The goal of the program is to increase the number of undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds who earn the science baccalaureate and matriculate into and complete a biomedical science Ph.D. program. Dr. Alison Hall described the evolution of the MARC U-STAR program and presented an overview of a recent MARC U-STAR outcomes assessment [PDF] that evaluated outcomes of 1986-2013 trainees. The assessment concluded that despite significant variability in grantee reporting and difficulty in monitoring students’ movements over time, about 70 percent of MARC U-STAR alumni are enrolled in or have earned a subsequent graduate degree in a health-related discipline. Thus, overall, the program is achieving its goals, but development of better ways to collect trainee outcome data would make future work easier and future data more accurate.

Contact: Dr. Alison Hall, 301-594-3900,

IX. Presentation: Do Science Training Programs Work? A 10-Year Longitudinal Study of Minority Students Funded Through Science Training Programs

Many programs have the explicit goal of increasing the number of individuals from underrepresented groups (URG) completing doctoral degrees and pursuing scientific research in the United States. The NIGMS Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) and MARC U-STAR are two such programs designed to strengthen students’ academic preparation, research training and professional skills. Dr. Paul Hernandez of the Program Evaluation Research Center at West Virginia University presented the results of a 10-year longitudinal study of URG science students that evaluated students in minority training programs compared to propensity-score matched controls (The Science Study (link no longer available)). Dr. Hernandez described an overview of program elements, basic effects (summative outcomes) and key programmatic elements that help to explain the basic effects.

Contact: Dr. Paul Hernandez, 304-293-4075,

X. Concept Clearance: Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence Phase I

The Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program is one of four initiatives supported through the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, which is authorized by Congress to build biomedical research capacity in states and jurisdictions that have historically received low levels of NIH funding. COBRE consists of three sequential 5-year phases. Phase I focuses on developing research infrastructure and providing junior investigators with formal mentoring and research project funding to help them acquire preliminary data and successfully compete for independent research grant support. Phase II is intended to strengthen the center through further improvements in research infrastructure and to continue development and support of a critical mass of investigators with shared scientific interests. Phase III provides support for maintaining COBRE research cores developed during Phases I and II and transitioning them to independence from IDeA funding. The Council approved the Institute’s request to reissue the expired COBRE Phase I funding announcement.

Contact: Dr. Jon R. Lorsch, 301-594-2172,

XI. Public Comment Period

André Porter, policy analyst at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), commented on the group’s continued support of NIGMS’ mission and programs. ASBMB is committed to efforts that sustain the biomedical enterprise, and basic research in particular.

Dr. Howard Garrison, director of public affairs at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), updated the Council on the organization’s legislative, policy and communications activities. Dr. Garrison reminded the Council of the availability of many FASEB educational materials.


A summary of applications reviewed by the Council is available from NIGMS.


The meeting adjourned at 11:57 a.m. on May 20, 2016.


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
Ann A. Hagan, Ph.D
Executive Secretary
National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council