Advisory Council Minutes, September 13-14, 2018

The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council was convened in closed session for its one hundred sixty-eighth meeting at 9:02 a.m. on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

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 9:02 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on September 13, the meeting was open to the public on September 14 from 8:32 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.

Council Members Attending Remotely

Goldie S. Byrd, Ph.D.
Samuel H. Gellman, Ph.D.
William A. Gern, Ph.D.*
Kaye Husbands Fealing, Ph.D.
Tarun M. Kapoor, Ph.D.
Sabeeha Merchant, Ph.D.
Guy Padbury, Ph.D.
Michael Summers, Ph.D., J.D.
Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D.
Willem (Wilfred) A. van der Donk, Ph.D.
Cathy Wu, Ph.D.

* attending in person

Special Consultants Attending Remotely

Prachee Avasthi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
University of Kansas Medical Center
Kansas City, KS 66103

Celeste Berg, Ph.D.
Department of Genome Sciences and Molecular and Cellular Biology Program
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-5065

Enrique M. De La Cruz, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Yale University
New Haven, CT 06520

Sushmita Roy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Madison, WI 53715

John Younger, M.D., M.S.
Chief Technology Officer
Akadeum Life Sciences, Inc.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Council roster (available from NIGMS)

Members of the Public Present

Dr. Satyajit Ambike, Purdue University
Dr. Vetria Byrd, Purdue University
Julie Fabsik-Swarts, National Postdoctoral Association
Patrick Hein, Purdue University
Dr. Perry Kirkham, Purdue University
Dr. Seema Mattoo, Purdue University
Teresa Ramirez, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Dr. Anna Roberts-Pilgrim, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Dr. Arend Van Gemmert, Louisiana State University
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 or attending remotely and introduced the special consultants. He then introduced and welcomed the guests in attendance.

II. Consideration of Minutes

The minutes of the May 24-25, 2018, meeting were approved as submitted.

III. Future Meeting Dates

The following dates for future Council meetings were confirmed:

January 24-25, 2019
May 16-17, 2019
September 19-20, 2019

IV. NIGMS Director’s Report

Due to the weather-restricted nature of the September 2018 Council meeting, in which Council members attended remotely, Dr. Lorsch did not provide a Director's report. He will update the Council at the next meeting in January 2019.

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

V. Concept Clearance: Mature Synchotron Resources (reissue)

The NIGMS P30 program supports mature synchrotron resources at X-ray beamlines that are stable, state-of-the-art, and highly used by the biomedical research community. Dr. Lorsch requested, and received, Council approval to continue this important resource program primarily focused on user service.

Contact: Dr. Susan Gregurick,, 301-594-5135

VI. Concept Clearances: Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA)

The Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA, R35) provides support for the research program in an investigator's laboratory that falls within the NIGMS mission. The goal of MIRA is to increase the efficiency of NIGMS funding by providing investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. Dr. Zhongzhen Nie proposed expanding the next phase of MIRA since the current funding opportunity announcement (FOA) expires on May 18, 2019. The MIRA program is anticipating both new and renewal submissions from the recipients of MIRAs funded in FY 2016. The proposed updates include: 1) an expanded eligibility window for MIRA applications and 2) no categorical or detailed budget request. Dr. Nie requested, and received, Council approval to issue an FOA with a projected initial receipt date in January 2020 and initial awards in January 2021.

Contact: Dr. Zhongzhen Nie,, 301-594-3827

VII. NIGMS Actions in Response to Recent Evaluations of the Clinical Postdoctoral and Bridges to the Doctorate Programs

The NIGMS Office of Program Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (OPAE)'s mission is to ensure the Institute has cohesive, well-directed research and training programs aimed at maximizing the impact of its resources and return on investment for taxpayer dollars. The OPAE accomplishes this function through a variety of activities, including performing analyses and evaluations. Two recent evaluations were coordinated through OPAE and presented at the May 2018 Council meeting: 1) the Bridges to the Doctorate Program, and 2) the NIGMS T32 Institutional Clinical Postdoctoral Research Training Program. Dr. Alison Gammie outlined the steps that NIGMS is taking to respond to the recommendations detailed in these evaluations, including strengthening data collection on long-term outcomes of program trainees, and monitoring the clinical research environment more closely.

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

VIII. Concept Clearances: Bridges to the Baccalaureate and Bridges to the Doctorate

NIGMS has a longstanding commitment to developing the next generation of biomedical scientists through a variety of institutional training and student-development programs, including the Bridges to the Baccalaureate and Bridges to the Doctorate. Both programs are institutional partnership training programs that aim to enhance biomedical degree attainment for trainees from diverse backgrounds. The program funds institutional partners that develop and implement an integrated plan of activities that increase skills and preparation as the trainees advance academically in the pursuit and completion of a baccalaureate degree (Bridges to the Baccalaureate) or a Ph.D. (Bridges to the Doctorate). Dr. Alison Gammie requested, and received, Council approval to issue Bridges to the Baccalaureate and Bridges to the Doctorate FOAs, with a projection of first awards in July 2020.

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

IX. Concept Clearances: Focus Technology Research and Development (R01) and Exploratory Research for Technology Development (R21)

The NIGMS technology development program provides support for high risk, exploratory technologies (R21) and focused technology with validation studies (R01) that are designed but not yet ready for testing basic biological hypotheses. Proposed changes to this program include encouraging 3-year, accelerated R01-funded projects with limited budgets. Dr. Susan Gregurick requested, and received, Council approval to continue both programs with the noted adjustments.

Contact: Dr. Susan Gregurick,, 301-594-5135

X. Public Comment Period

Due to the weather-restricted nature of the meeting, there was no public comment period. It will resume at the next Council meeting in January 2019.


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


The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m. on September 14, 2018.


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