Advisory Council Minutes, May 16-17, 2013

The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council was convened in closed session for its one hundred fifty-second meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Dr. Judith H. Greenberg, acting 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 4:08 p.m. on May 16, the meeting was open to the public on May 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:42 a.m.

Council Members Present:

David A. Agard, Ph.D.
Mary (Molly) L. Carnes, M.D.
Luisa DiPietro, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Karolin Luger, Ph.D.
Scott J. Miller, Ph.D.
Vern L. Schramm, Ph.D.
Margaret C. Werner-Washburne, Ph.D.
Holly A. Wichman, Ph.D.

Council Members Absent:

David O. Meltzer, M.D., Ph.D.
Denise J. Montell, Ph.D.
Marc A. Nivet, Ed.D.

Special Consultants Present:

Marisa Bartolomei, Ph.D.
Department of Cell & Developmental Biology
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-5157

Zeljko J. Bosnjak, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice-Chair of Research
Department of Anesthesiology
Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI 53226

Michael Brenowitz, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Yeshiva University
Bronx, NY 10461

John J. Estrada, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center
Director of Education and Community Services
Louisiana State University
Health Sciences Center
New Orleans, LA 70112

Alan (Rick) F. Horwitz, Ph.D.
Harrison Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology
Associate Vice President for Biosciences Programs
Department of Cell Biology
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22908

Scott Keeney, Ph.D.
Member and Professor, Molecular Biology Program
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
New York, NY 10065

Richard S. Larson, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor
Professor, Department of Pathology
The University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Janet L. Smith, Ph.D.
Professor, Biological Chemistry
Martha L. Ludwig Professor of Protein Structure and Function
Department of Biological Chemistry
The University of Michigan
Life Sciences Institute
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2216

Yu-li Wang, Ph.D.
R. Mehrabian Professor and Head
Biomedical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Richard M. Weinshilboum, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and of Pharmacology
Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN 55905

Council roster (available from NIGMS).

Members of the Public Present:

Dr. Stefano Bertuzzi, American Society for Cell Biology
Dr. Jeremy Brown, George Washington University
Dr. Karen Mowrer, Association of Independent Research Institutes
Dr. Katherine Weber, American Chemical Society

Federal Employees Present:

Dr. Haiyan Cai, National Science Foundation
Dr. Mary Ann Horn, National Science Foundation
Dr. Nandini Kannan, National Science Foundation

NIGMS and other NIH employees:

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


I. Call to Order and Opening Remarks

Dr. Greenberg thanked the regular members of the Council who were present and then introduced the special consultants: Marisa Bartolomei, Ph.D., professor of cell and developmental biology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Zeljko J. Bosnjak, Ph.D., professor of anesthesiology and vice-chair of research, Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin; Michael Brenowitz, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University; John J. Estrada, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, Louisiana State University; Alan (Rick) F. Horwitz, Ph.D., Harrison Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia; Scott Keeney, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Richard S. Larson, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice chancellor, professor of pathology, Department of Pathology, University of New Mexico; Janet L. Smith, Ph.D., professor of biological chemistry, Martha L. Ludwig Professor of Protein Structure and Function, Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan; Yu-li Wang, Ph.D., R. Mehrabian Professor and head of biomedical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; and Richard M. Weinshilboum, M.D., professor of medicine and of pharmacology, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Mayo Clinic. Dr. Greenberg then introduced and welcomed the guests in attendance.

II. Consideration of Minutes

The minutes of the January 24-25, 2013, meeting were approved as submitted.

III. Future Meeting Dates

The following dates for future Council meetings were confirmed:

September 19-20, 2013 Thursday-Friday
January 23- 24, 2014 Thursday-Friday
May 22-23, 2014 Thursday-Friday

IV. NIGMS Acting Director's Report

Acting NIGMS Director Dr. Judith H. Greenberg updated the Council on NIGMS staff transitions, in particular acknowledging the March 2013 death of Dr. Adolphus Toliver, a long-time member of the NIGMS staff. She invited the Council to attend and/or publicize two upcoming symposia, the National Centers for Systems Biology (July 11-12, 2013) and the MIDAS: Modeling for Science and Policy (September 23, 2013). Dr. Greenberg then presented a budget update on the recently announced FY 2013 NIH/NIGMS allocation as well as selected features of the FY 2014 President's proposed budget and its potential implications. Finally, she described the new Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, a public-private investment in neuroscience research toward revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.

Contact: Dr. Judith H. Greenberg,, 301-594-2172

V. Update: Training and Workforce Development Issues

The NIGMS Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD) Division brings together research training and diversity programs and research capacity-building programs to enhance the biomedical workforce. Dr. Alison Hall presented an overview of TWD programs and funding, noting the tight linkage between the Institute's training and research portfolios. She stated that both the 2011 NIGMS Strategic Plan for Training and implementation of the Advisory Committee to the Director reports on the biomedical workforce and diversity provide a framework to optimize and enhance high-quality training experiences supported by NIGMS. Dr. Hall announced that TWD staff will present a comprehensive progress report to the Council at its September 2013 meeting.

Contacts: Dr. Clifton Poodry,, 301-594-3900; Dr. Alison Hall,, 301-594-3900

VII. Pharmacogenomics: Discovery-Hypothesis Dialogue

Pharmacogenomics, the study of the role of inheritance in drug-response variation, has moved beyond studies of known candidate genes or pathways to include broad discovery efforts using techniques such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that employ drugs as biological probes. Dr. Richard Weinshilboum of the Mayo Clinic and a member of the NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN) explained that such discovery efforts generate hypotheses that require functional validation and often provide novel mechanistic insights. He presented several examples of the "dialogue" between discovery and hypothesis testing based on pharmacogenomic studies of drugs used to treat or prevent cancer

Contact: Dr. Richard Weinshilboum,, 507-284-2246

VIII. Presentation: Cryo-EM Comes of Age

Since the first demonstration of alpha helices in unstained bacteriorhodopsin by Unwin and Henderson in 1975, cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has had an important impact on defining macromolecular structure. Dr. David Agard of the University of California, San Francisco, provided an update of progress in cryo-EM technology and application. He explained that a combination of steady progress in instrumentation and computational image processing has enabled high-resolution analyses of the structures of large icosahedral viruses within experimental density maps. Dr. Agard discussed remaining hurdles in this field that will likely soon be surmounted with a new generation of camera-based detectors.

Contact: Dr. David Agard,, 415-476-2521


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


The meeting adjourned at 11:42 a.m. on May 17, 2013.


I hereby certify that to my knowledge the foregoing minutes are accurate and complete.

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