The 84th meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was held on June 6, 2002. NIH Deputy Director Dr. Ruth Kirschstein began by inviting Dr. William Brody to join her in introducing Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the new NIH Director and Chairman of ACD. Dr. Zerhouni then described several key priority issues for NIH, including its need to manage its recently increased resources and to translate findings into practical benefits while better explaining to members of the public the importance of addressing fundamental knowledge gaps in biomedical research.
Dr. Kirschstein noted that ACD now has five positions open for Dr. Zerhouni to fill; that search committees are actively identifying candidates to be directors of several Institutes; and that Dr. Roderic Pettigrew recently was appointed the first Director of the NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Meanwhile, the President's budget proposal for NIH in fiscal year (FY) 2003 calls for $27.4 billion, or $3.7 billion more than for FY 2002, fulfilling the promise to double the NIH budget within a five-year period. This budget total would permit 38,038 research project grants, and 9,854 new and competing grants, both of which represent the largest number in those categories in NIH history.
Dr. Baldwin, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, reviewed efforts to implement President Bush's policy statement pertaining to federally sponsored research using human embryonic stem cells. For example, NIH developed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with stem cell providers in Wisconsin that applies to NIH intramural researchers but also has become a standard for NIH-supported extramural investigators. NIH also initiated the category of Infrastructure Awards, permitting those investigators who originated cell lines meeting President Bush's criteria to apply for funds that will enable them to meet demand for such cells. So far, NIH issued four such awards for more than $2 million; in addition, NIH issued a program announcement to support training activities and also is reviewing the second round of stem cell research applications.
Mr. Ullian described the importance of science education and of capturing the interests of young people for careers in research. He then introduced a group of high school students from the Boston area who described features of the CityLab science education outreach program that is organized and managed by Boston University biochemist Dr. Carl Franzblau. Subsequently, Dr. Franzblau said that 7,000 students per year participate in CityLab programs, which are supported in part by the NIH National Center for Research Resources. Altogether, some 36,000 students and 2,000 teachers have participated in the program. He introduced two teachers who participate actively in CityLab programs, Mr. Larry Murphy who teaches at Beaver Country Day School in Newton, MA, and Ms. Anne Debarros-Goncalves, who teaches biology at Jeremiah Burke High School in a low-income neighborhood in Dorchester, MA, and later introduced a former CityLab student, Ms. Myrienne Guerrier, who described the CityLab Academy Program.
The primary audience of the NIH Office of Science Education (OSE) is science teachers throughout the country, according to OSE Director Dr. Fuchs. OSE has developed an extensive Science Education Website, and is publishing a Curriculum Supplement Series, a project that began in 1997 and has so far produced six such supplements for teachers and students in grades K-12. OSE is considering ways to train teachers on how best to use these supplements in effective ways, and the office is looking for partners to help in this undertaking.
Dr. Gottesman, NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, said that the Intramural Program has developed several science education and training programs for individuals at the college level and higher. One of them, the NIH Academy, is directed by Dr. LaShawn Drew, who said that the focus of the Academy is on research-based training in health disparity topics. The students who enroll in the NIH Academy are recent college graduates who plan to attend graduate or medical school and have a well-defined interest in health disparities. They work in research as part of the NIH Intramural Program and also attend weekly sessions on health disparity-related topics and on topics that are designed in a pragmatic way to help them when applying for graduate or medical school.
Dr. Baldwin described NIH programs that fund new investigators and help to sustain them during the early stage of their research careers. Those new investigators who stay in the system are doing very well, by being funded year after year, some of them with more than one R01 grant. Figures for fiscal year 2001 indicate that of the 21,061 individuals with NIH R01 grants, 6,568, or 31 percent, were new investigators either in that year or within the most recent cohort. The commitment to new investigators is being met through different mechanisms. According to Dr. Stanfield, the Deputy Director for Scientific Review, reviewers of grant applications are being provided with guidelines explaining that they should evaluate first-time applicants in a manner that is appropriate for this stage of their careers. A recent analysis indicates that the average evaluation scores on new projects from first-time applicants and those from seasoned investigators are very close, nearly overlapping for the entire set of about 30,000 applications.
Dr. Baldwin said 10 to 12 NIH-sponsored scientists have been chosen for Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and that the track record of this small cohort is excellent in terms of follow-up success in obtaining grants for research.
Dr. Killen, Associate Director for Research Ethics at NIAID, reviewed current plans for biodefense research at NIH. The current budget proposal for NIH includes a request for $1.75 billion for biodefense purposes, which will support four categories of activity, including specialized research facilities construction costs, basic research on potential agents of bioterrorism; drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines; and clinical research, A blue ribbon panel developed a strategic plan for implementing these activities, and additional details of these plans appear on the NIAID Website through links to "funding opportunities."
Dr. Ruth L. Kirschtein, Dr. William Brody, Opening Remarks
The 84th meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was held on June 6, 2002. NIH Deputy Director Dr. Ruth Kirschstein began by inviting Dr. William Brody to join her in introducing Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the new NIH Director and new Chairman of ACD.
Dr. Brody called Dr. Zerhouni one of the most broad-gauged people now working in medicine and the biomedical sciences. Dr. Brody said that Dr. Zerhouni, who was born in Algiers, obtained his initial medical training at the University of Algiers before coming to Johns Hopkins University in 1975 where he did his medical residency work in radiology. After becoming an assistant professor at the medical school, he left for several years for Eastern Virginia Medical School before returning to Johns Hopkins, where he became a full professor in 1992 as well as director of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Section. Later he became Chair of Radiology and the Martin Donner Professor and Director of Radiology; more recently, he was Executive Vice Dean for the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He also established the Institute for Cellular Engineering, a stem cell initiative at the medical school, and helped to redevelop an East Baltimore neighborhood with a biotechnology industrial park and a mixed-income housing project.
Dr. Brody said that Dr. Zerhouni made several important discoveries and inventions, including a computer tomography-based technique for differentiating malignant and benign nodules in tissues and organs of patients, an invention called cardiac tagging that provides a noninvasive means for producing three-dimensional images of the working heart, and the Bioptome, which helps to minimize invasive procedures needed for obtaining breast biopsy material. Such work helped lead to his becoming a consultant to President Ronald Reagan.
Dr. Zerhouni is married to a pediatrician, and he and his wife have three children. He plays the lute and piano, and is an opera fan and also a scuba diver, according to Dr. Brody.
Dr. Kirschstein thanked ACD members for their help and cooperation during the past two and a half years during which she served as NIH Acting Director and ACD Chair. She also thanked Dr. Yvonne Maddox, who served as NIH Acting Deputy Director, as well as her assistant Ms. Janice Ramsden, who is retiring from NIH for family reasons. Dr. Kirschstein then invited ACD members and NIH officials sitting at the main table to introduce themselves to Dr. Zerhouni. Each responded with brief remarks about their professional status, and they also thanked Dr. Kirschstein for her leadership during her recent term as NIH Acting Director.
Dr. Zerhouni thanked Dr. Brody for his kind introductory comments and said that Dr. Brody has had an important influence on his career. Dr. Zerhouni said that, although he refused many other job offers, he is honored to be the new NIH Director. He also said that he would welcome the advice and support of ACD members.
Dr. Zerhouni described what he sees as key priority issues, based on his discussions with members of the Administration and Congress. One critical issue revolves around the doubling of the NIH budget during the past five-year period and the widely held belief that these increased resources need to be well used and that the public needs to know what benefits it is receiving from that investment, according to Dr. Zerhouni. Further, federal officials and the public are demanding that those investments in biomedical research be translated quickly and effectively into tangible health benefits. Moreover, there is widespread concern over Congressional earmarks that are being attached to some of those resources.
Another major challenge facing biomedical researchers is a tendency among members of the public to compare biomedical research challenges to those of going to the moon, which in fact involves meeting incremental technical challenges rather than addressing the more fundamental challenges in biomedical research that involve closing fundamental knowledge gaps. He said that it will be important to communicate this basic difference between the two types of undertakings. He promised to work on meeting this communication challenge.
Dr Zerhouni joined others in thanking Dr. Kirschstein for her devoted service and for sharing her thorough knowledge about NIH with them.
Dr. Kirschstein said that Dr. Cecil Pickett and Dr. Christine Cassel were not able to attend the meeting. She also said that Dr. David Korn, who attended the 83rd Meeting of the ACD as a provisional new member, resigned because of conflicts of interest and other reasons. His position and four others are open for Dr. Zerhouni to fill. She said that the next ACD meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 6, 2002, with that Friday reserved for additional business, if necessary.
Dr. Kirschstein said that former ACD member Dr. Yank Coble became the President of the American Medical Association on June 1, 2002. She summarized the progress of several search committees, including one co-chaired by Dr. James Battey and Dr. Yvonne Maddox that is interviewing candidates for new Director for the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse; another co-chaired by Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Claude L'Enfant that is interviewing candidates for new Director of the NIH National Institute of Mental Health; and another co-chaired by Dr. Richard Hodes and Dr. Ellie Ehrenfeld for new Director of the NIH National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. After discussions with Dr. Zerhouni, the search committee for the new Director of the NIH National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke will be reinstated.
Dr. Kirschstein also noted that Dr. Marvin Cassman, who was Director of the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGNS), recently left to become the first Director of the Institute of Quantitative Biomedical Research at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Judy Greenberg is serving as Acting Director of NIGMS, and the search committee for director of NIGMS is being co-chaired by Dr. Michael Gottesman and Dr. Allen Spiegel.
Dr. Kirschstein said that Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, who has been Professor of Radiology at Emory University School of Medicine, recently was appointed the first Director of the NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.
Dr. Kirschstein said that the President's budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2003 that calls for $27.4 billion, or $3.7 billion more than for FY 2002, fulfills the promise for doubling the NIH budget within a five-year period. If approved by Congress, this total will permit 38,038 research project grants, and 9,854 new and competing grants, both of which represent the largest number in those categories in NIH history.
Recent appropriations hearings went well, according to Dr. Kirschstein. The Senate Appropriations Committee convened a single hearing, whereas the House Appropriations Committee, under the direction of Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH), convened a series of four hearings with different themes, namely translational research, including from bench to bedside and beyond; biomedical research infrastructure, or fundamental research in the future; collaboration in research, including among NIH and other agencies; and partnerships between NIH and industry. Some of these hearings involved visits to the home districts of Rep. Regula and ranking minority member David Obey (D-WI). Because of the success of these regional hearings, plans now call for holding another in the district where Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) serves.
Presentation by Dr. Wendy Baldwin
Dr. Baldwin, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, reminded ACD members that President Bush's policy statement for federally sponsored research using human embryonic stem cells was still new at the time of the last committee meeting in December 2001, with many details still being worked out and with the deadline for research proposals involving uses of such cells extended beyond October to permit a winter round of review, at which time nine applications were received.
In addition, last December NIH developed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with stem cell providers in Wisconsin that applied to NIH intramural researchers but also became a standard for NIH-supported extramural investigators, according to Dr. Baldwin. She said that NIH subsequently developed an additional three MOUs with three other sources of such cells and these efforts are providing additional opportunities for federally supported researchers to do research on such cells.
As part of this effort, NIH imitated the category, Infrastructure Awards, that enables those investigators who originated cell lines meeting President Bush's criteria to apply for funds that will help them to meet demand from researchers for such cells. So far, four awards issued for more than $2 million in all, and other similar awards are expected. In addition, some investigators applied early on for administrative supplements of about $50,000. This type of award enables investigators to extend their current research efforts with other types of cells into using approved human embryonic stem cells; so far, 12 of 15 applications were approved for funding. Another six lines of cells that are available from Korea that meet President Bush's criteria were recently made available, according to Dr. Baldwin.
In addition to these administrative-level changes, NIH also issued a program announcement to support training activities and also is reviewing the second round of stem cell research applications. Moreover, a special committee (convened under the auspices of a proposed review system that antedated President Bush's cell selection policy statement) was convened for the purpose of evaluating a proposal that seeks to use human embryonic germ cells derived from fetal tissues recently. Following that committee's review, the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases appears likely to issue an award to allow that proposal to go ahead.
In response to a question from Dr. Masters about resources being invested into human embryonic stem cell research, Dr. Baldwin said that more than $2 million was allocated for infrastructure development but other investments in research supplement grants are still working their way through the system and that other new awards will not be made until July 2002.
SCIENCE EDUCATION AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT, STUDENT EXPERIENCES AT CITYLAB OF BOSTON UNIVERSITY
Introduction by Mr. Arthur D. Ullian
Mr. Ullian thanked Dr. Kirschstein for organizing this ACD session on science education and for recognizing the importance of this subject. He said that with a growing reliance on a knowledge-based economy, the strength of the country depends more on the number of Ph.D.s being produced than on natural resources. Moreover, 30 percent of economic growth is attributed to advances in knowledge, and this correlation is particularly important in scientific and medical research, according to Mr. Ullian. Investments in biomedical research help lead to improved health, lowered medical care costs, and broader benefits to the overall economy.
Hence, it is important to educate young people for careers in research, and that effort begins by capturing their interest in science before they graduate from high school, according to Mr. Ullian. He said that CityLab, which is based at Boston University and organized by Dr. Carl Franzblau, is one such exemplary program that engages young students in hands-on research experiences. The young people who participate in this program develop considerable self-confidence and enthusiasm for doing science.
Mr. Brandon M. Genco, an 11th grader from Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hills, MA, said it was a great honor to speak to ACD members and explained that CityLab is a science education program that specializes in biotechnology. It enables students to develop scientific knowledge and skills in biotechnology and related techniques. The program involves students working on projects at the university, in MobileLab, which is a self-contained teaching laboratory within a bus, and in a summer camp, at which students work on projects and participate in field trips. Some students also spend an additional five weeks in subsequent summers working on specialized research internships. Moreover, there is a Scholars II program during which participating students meet as a scientific community to develop a deeper relationship with science.
Ms. Molly Sutherland, a senior at Canton High School in Canton, MA, and Ms. Mary Joseph, a senior at Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester, MA, described their experiences with the CityLab program. Ms. Sutherland, who came into the program as a high school senior, studied DNA structure and fingerprinting techniques, and applied those methods to solve a mock crime. Ms. Joseph, who entered the CityLab program while in 8th grade, also participated in solving a mock-crime problem and learned about abnormal cells, gel electrophoresis, and other basic biomedical techniques such as PCR. She said that she plans to become a doctor. Ms. Sutherland said that additional MobileLabs are being considered in several states and also in Australia.
Ms. Elise Kamieneski and Ms. Nichole Rae Hanson, who both are graduating from Londonderry High School in Londonderry, NH, both entered the CityLab summer camp program in 2000. Ms. Kamieneski said the program recruits students from different backgrounds and interests, and Ms. Hanson said that students who enroll in this program learn different lab skills and the importance of teamwork. Students also go on field trips, including visits to biotechnology companies, and learn how to present their findings during poster sessions.
Ms. Jolanta Griffiths and Ms. Lindy Briggs, who are seniors at Londonderry High School, and Ms. Claudia Augustin, who recently graduated from Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, MA, described features of the CityLab Scholars Program. Ms. Briggs said that participants in this program continue to learn and practice laboratory techniques that they encounter during the summer camp, and that such participants also become more familiar with broader and more general lab practices. They also attend seminars, tour research facilities, and have fun in the process. Ms. Griffiths said that the participants examined and analyzed DNA that was extracted from their own cheek cells. Ms. Augustin said that the hands-on experience that is emphasized throughout the program gave her a sound appreciation for what science is all about and led her to pursue biology major at Tufts University, where she will enroll later this year. All three students participated in research internships as part of the extended CityLab experience.
Mr. Ben Ullian, a student at Beaver Country Day School, described some of his experiences working with Dr. Terry Strom at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. He said that Dr. Strom studies allograft tolerance, focusing on the pivotal behavior of T cells in this process. Dr. Strom and his collaborators are developing a mixture of drugs and interleukin-based growth factors that is intended to induce selective T cell apoptosis as a means for avoiding allograft rejection. Mr. Ullian was involved in conducting transplant experiments on mice and then analyzing cell extracts to determine the effectiveness of various drug and growth-factor treatments. After the internship, he participated in the CityLab scholars program, serving as a teacher of his peers.
Ms. Cory Madigan, a freshman at Beaver Country Day School, said that her school serves as a satellite location for the CityLab program, enabling students to conduct similar laboratory exercises there as others do on the Boston University campus. She said that the program recently added a student teaching component, in which she participated under the supervision of the school's science department director. This program brings in younger students from other schools who generally have had little or no exposure to laboratories or sophisticated scientific concepts. Hence, the student teachers use analogies, props, and other simple approaches to convey basic concepts of molecular biology to the visiting students.
Mr. Lee Guzovsky, an 11th grade student at Beaver Country Day School, described his experiences using restriction enzymes and gel electrophoresis to analyze DNA samples, and how these techniques and their uses are explained to visiting students, who are presented this information as if it contained clues with which to solve a mock crime.
STUDENT EXPERIENCES AT CITYLAB OF BOSTON UNIVERSITY, BACKGROUND
Presentation by Dr. Carl Franzblau
Dr. Franzblau, Chairman of Biochemistry at Boston University, said that he was grateful for support for the CityLab program from the NIH National Center for Research Resources and thanked its director, Dr. Judy Vaitukaitis and several additional staff members for their skillful management of this program under the Science Education Partnership Alliance (SEPA). He also expressed gratitude for support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), thanking various officials and former officials there as well as at Boston University. He also thanked Mr. Ullian and also the many teachers who have participated in the program.
Dr. Franzblau said that CityLab was conceived about 1990 as an evening program for teaching high school students who were not planning to attend college. However, because few teachers were available to participate, the program began by teaching science teachers during Saturday morning sessions and soon added laboratory facilities because so little was available for them to use in the way of equipment and facilities when teaching their students. To overcome other difficulties involved in bringing students to the campus, a fully equipped mobile laboratory was designed and built.
Dr. Franzblau said that 7,000 students per year participate in CityLab programs and that Boston University Medical School has set aside 3,000 square feet of space for its use. Each day, about 50 students use that space, while the MobileLab goes out four and sometimes five days per week, with each trip involving an additional 25–50 students. Altogether, some 36,000 students and 2,000 teachers have participated in the program. He says that the program is directed evenly at disadvantaged and middle-class students, recognizing that students from all backgrounds can benefit from its approach.
The CityLab program includes a portfolio of about eight projects, each of which emphasizes problem-solving through research-based laboratory techniques, according to Dr. Franzblau. The program involves student-to-student teaching but its backbone is daily visits by teachers to the laboratory at the medical school or the MobileLab, and their continuing, intense involvement with their students. The program is popular, with participants now needing to schedule visits a year in advance.
Dr. Franzblau presented a series of pictures showing students and teachers using the lab at the medical school campus and also the MobileLab. In addition, he showed a videotape depicting a professional development component of the program, and he quoted from a recent article in the Boston Globe citing the value and importance of MobileLab for teaching future scientists. Similar projects are being planned at other sites, including at a University of Texas campus near the Mexican border.
Educating students in grades K–6th represents another important set of science education challenges, according to Dr. Franzblau. He said that a "Science Corps," modeled on the Peace Corps, might provide one means for meeting some of these challenges. To illustrate how effective the CityLab program can be, he described a project in which youngsters from a Cub Scout group participated in another mock crime investigation during which they used chromatography and other techniques to analyze evidence such as simulated blood stains. The scouts and their parents enthusiastically participated in the program. Thus, he recommended that a Science Corps be established to educate young people about science and that it include a fleet of some 40 or more MobileLabs and other modules at a cost of about $300,000 per unit that would be made available throughout the country. In addition, science museums could participate in such an effort. He also said this effort is needed to bring U.S. students back into careers in the sciences.
Dr. Franzblau introduced two teachers who participate actively in CityLab programs, Mr. Larry Murphy who teaches at Beaver Country Day School in Newton, MA, and Ms. Anne Debarros-Goncalves, who teaches biology at Jeremiah Burke High School in a low-income neighborhood in Dorchester, MA. He later introduced a former CityLab student, Ms. Myrienne Guerrier, who described the CityLab academy program that is designed for students who have finished high school but are not enrolling immediately in college.
Presentation by Ms. Anne Debarros-Goncalves
Ms. Debarros-Goncalves said that scientific experiments help students develop critical thinking skills and creativity. The CityLab program enhances the education of her students, better prepares them for a wide variety of challenges, and encourages them to use critical thinking skills while learning the fundamental underpinnings of the scientific approach. Her students who participate in the CityLab program find themselves well prepared for the Massachusetts State Framework and Citywide Learning Standards. The program also enables her to learn about recent developments in biotechnology and related sciences.
Presentation by Ms. Myrienne Guerrier
Ms. Guerrier, who graduated from Charlestown High School in the Boston Public School System and now works at a nearby biotechnology company, said that she earlier had planned to attend an out-of-state college but could not immediately afford to do so. As an alternative, she enrolled in the CityLab Academy, which issues college-level credits (from Boston University) as well as a certificate upon completion of its nine-month program. During her tuition-free participation, she did research in a cell culture laboratory, and her experience helped her to find her current full-time laboratory position.
In response to a question from Mr. Williams about tracking the careers of students and teachers who participate in the CityLab program, Dr. Franzblau said that no systematic effort is made to do such tracking of students, except to heed anecdotal reports. Somewhat better tracking is done of teachers who participate in the program.
In response to a question from Dr. Wilson to Ms. Debarros-Goncalves about how many of her CityLab student participants go to college, she said that it is very difficult to do such tracking, although a few students report back to her after they enroll in colleges. He said it would be useful for NIH to provide funds for such tracking as a way of evaluating these programs and determining whether they succeed in attracting students into careers in science and medicine. Dr. Vaitukaitis said that such NIH-supported programs typically are not evaluated early on. However, in recent years, support for these programs has expanded to about $16 million per year, leading NIH to support about 50 science education projects, and they are likely to be evaluated in the next two to three years. A related NIH outreach program supports efforts by museums to interpret for the public recent reports of scientific developments.
Dr. Franzblau said that about two-thirds of the young people who participate in the CityLab Academy program, many of them from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, find good jobs or go to college once they complete the one-year program. Later, Dr. Zerhouni also asked whether the CityLab measures its impact in terms of careers pursued by young people who participate. Dr. Franzblau said that, except for the Academy participants, most students visit for only one or a few days per year, making it difficult to evaluate the program's impact on their future development. However, anecdotal reports about individual students are very favorable. In response to a later question about evaluating the program from Dr. Paul, Dr. Franzblau said that although records for past participants are scanty, it is a very positive sign that there is a one-year waiting list for newcomers to join the program, and most teacher participants enroll year after year. Dr. Waite said that it might cost $600,000 per year to track the 7,000 student participants each year.
In response to a question from Dr. Dzau about the CityLab budget, Dr. Franzblau said that it has received $2.1 million from NIH over the past decade, $750,000 from HHMI over a six-year period, and additional funding from the Boston University Medical School. The annual budget is about $600,000.
In response to a question from Dr. Burgess about NIH commitments to science education for K–12th grade students, Dr. Zerhouni said that he has not fully evaluated such issues but that it is difficult for institutions such as NIH to be all things to all people.
In response to a request from Dr. Masters, Dr. Franzblau said that background materials describing the CityLab and identifying its Website were available to ACD members.
Mr. Ullian said that a good deal of the success of this program also depends on each of the schools having an inspiring teacher who participates and continues to impart enthusiasm for science to students. Dr. Zerhouni agreed about the importance of having inspirational teachers. Dr. Smarr said that students with extensive knowledge about computers can be very helpful in educating their peers and contributing skills that are valuable to the administration of such programs, and that students who are skillful in biotechnology or other sciences might make parallel contributions. Dr. Dzau agreed, noting that knowledgeable students who teach their peers sometimes go on to become inspirational teachers.
Dr. Franzblau said that, in addition to the K–12th grade education programs, CityLab runs a program for adults called the Mini-Med School, providing them with firsthand knowledge about biomedical developments and thereby contributing to scientific literacy.
Dr. Fuchs, Director of the NIH Office of Science Education (OSE), said that this activity falls under the Office of Science Policy within the Office of Director. Although OSE runs a broad assortment of programs, including a Mini-Med School in collaboration with HHMI, its primary audience is science teachers throughout the country, according to Dr. Fuchs. One main way of communicating with that audience is through use of the OSE exhibit booth that travels to science teachers meetings across the country. NIH officials who travel with this booth talk with thousands of such teachers each year, describing the NIH mission, distributing NIH publications, and providing them with other information about NIH activities. In turn, repeated requests on specific topics from teachers provide NIH with valuable insights about biomedical issues of current interest to U.S. science teachers and their students.
OSE has developed an extensive Science Education Website, according to Dr. Fuchs. He said that OSE is tracking use of this website, which was visited by 23,000 teachers in April 2002, a record number.
Another important means for reaching science teachers and students is through the Curriculum Supplement Series, a project that began in 1997, according to Dr. Fuchs. The title was chosen very carefully, emphasizing that NIH is providing materials to supplement existing curricula, not creating a new one. These supplementary materials provide teachers and students with examples of NIH research findings. So far, six such supplements have been published.
Dr. Fuchs said that part of the impetus behind NIH preparing these supplements came from the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) of 1995 (and 1998), whose results indicate that U.S. students are very competitive in these subjects through the 4th grade, but their standing drops off to the middle of measured nations by the 8th grade, and to near the bottom of industrialized nations by the 12th grade. One message drawn from TIMSS is that U.S. science curricula are defective, widely characterized as being broad but also very superficial, according to Dr. Fuchs.
Dr. Fuchs said that OSE set as a goal creating materials that are designed to meet the National Science Education Standards, established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1995. These materials also are intended to help teachers keep up with cutting edge research, an important need that they describe to NIH through focus groups. The materials also are designed to enhance an inquiry-based mode of teaching, one that reflects how scientists work. Typically, the supplements present examples from biomedicine, presenting current topics from biology that students are apt to find more relevant than topics and laboratory exercises that once were standard in biology classes.
Several years are required to prepare each one of the science curriculum supplements, with care taken to make them workable in a wide variety of different school settings, according to Dr. Fuchs. He described OSE experiences with three of those supplements, "Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases," that was done in cooperation with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); "Cell Biology and Cancer," done with the National Cancer Institute; and "Human Genetic Variation," done with the National Human Genome Research Institute.
OSE began distributing these supplements in January 2000, with an initial print run of 25,000 for each of the three, which was thought to be a five-year supply, according to Dr. Fuchs. In fact, the popularity of the supplements led supplies to run out in March 2002, nearly three years ahead of the predicted date. He said that a preliminary evaluation conducted in 36 New York City classrooms indicates that students are 96 percent more likely to recognize the relevance of materials when such supplements are used instead of when teachers present similar subjects by traditional means. Moreover, students who were taught from the supplements out-performed their peers on standardized tests by about a 15 percent margin. Moreover, use of the materials helped to narrow the gap in performance between minority and non-minority students and also the gap between boys and girls. A more comprehensive evaluation is being planned in conjunction with the National Science Foundation.
The next three OSE curriculum supplements due to be published later in 2002 are "Investigating Biology and Behavior," done with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; "How your Brain Understands What Your Ears Hear," done with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR); and "Sleep Disorders and Biological Rhythms," according to Dr. Fuchs. Another supplement scheduled for later release, "Open Wide and Trek Inside," also done with NIDCR, is targeted for use with 1st and 2nd grade students who, along with teachers and parents, are meant to receive a reinforced message about ways to prevent cavities along with basic information about the biology of the mouth and an assortment of simple experiments that such young students can do in their classrooms.
At the other end of the spectrum, the curriculum supplement, "Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases," is intended for a more sophisticated and older student audience. Its current popularity also reflects renewed interest in this subject since the anthrax attacks at the end of 2001, according to Dr. Fuchs. This supplement contains a CD-ROM depicting real events involving infectious diseases (most, simulated by actors), some of which are presented as problems for students to solve as if they were epidemiologists, microbiologists, and infectious disease specialists. For those schools that cannot make use of CD-ROMS, the same material and problems are presented in a series of still photographs and text.
One of the vignettes in this supplement depicts a young woman, not an actress, who contracted multidrug-resistant tuberculosis during high school and underwent surgery to remove part of her lung to save her life. Dr. Fuchs said that such material vividly brings home to students the relevance of the materials they are studying. Another exercise in this unit portrays how bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics, while yet another demonstrates how rapidly infectious diseases can disseminate through a population segment, such as students in a classroom, depending on what fraction of that population is vaccinated to protect against the infectious agent. This latter unit makes use of a computer model through which some of the factors that influence these rates can be altered and the resulting effects measured.
The curriculum supplements that are designed for upper-level high school students contain science-and-technology-in-society units, which ask the students to prove to their teachers that they understand these scientific subjects well enough to deal with them in a social context, according to Dr. Fuchs. For instance, on infectious diseases, the students are asked to decide which one research proposal among several that focus on different infectious diseases should be funded and to explain the reasons behind their choice; there is no single correct answer, and the real purpose is for students to carefully think through their answers.
Dr. Fuchs said that OSE is focusing considerable attention on teacher professional development issues. He said that some teachers report being frustrated with using the inquiry-based approach that the supplements embody, and many of them prefer to revert to traditional classroom methods, emphasizing what an individual teacher considers important for students to learn. Thus, OSE is considering ways to train teachers on how best to use the supplements in effective ways, and the office is looking for partners to help in this undertaking. Prospective partners include the Eisenhower Regional Consortia, the Harvard Biomedical Science Career Program, CityLab, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, the Society of Toxicology, and other science societies.
Dr. Fuchs said that a teacher, now using a recent OSE supplement, "The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology through a Study of Addiction," recently wrote to him that her students, in studying this curriculum supplement, "learned more about themselves and what they are doing to themselves if they chose to take drugs in five days than through all the drug programs they had in elementary and middle school."
Dr. Waite said that OSE has done well strategically to choose topics in its supplements that present relevant problems to young people and with materials that can help them improve their personal health. In response, Dr. Fuchs said that OSE works closely with each of the Institutes and that a science advisory board helps with selecting materials for each of the supplements.
In response to Mr. Ullian who asked about funding sources, Dr. Fuchs said that although the OSE program is not supported through the federal Leave No Child Behind Act, other federal programs whose educational materials are being so funded will be subject to strict scientific standards of effectiveness — a criteria that commercial textbook producers have not been subject to in the past.
In response to Dr. Francis, Dr. Fuchs said that he was unaware of data indicating whether particular population segments respond differently to different modes of teaching science. He noted that the contract group that works with NIH on these supplements builds into each set of materials several distinct steps of a learning cycle, thus recognizing that individual students may learn in different ways from one another. To a follow-up question, Dr. Fuchs said that OSE does not have resources with which to track career paths of students who use the supplements.
In response to Dr. Burgess, Dr. Fuchs said that none of the supplements directly addresses health disparities issues. However, early in 2002, OSE began collaborating with staff of the NIH National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, and this collaboration could lead to the development of curriculum supplements containing such materials.
In response to a question from Ms. Debarros-Goncalves about why some teachers cover only part of a supplement, Dr. Fuchs said that many teachers cited lack of time rather than inadequate resources. One teacher from New York reported that students who participated in inquiry-based learning through use of the supplements did better than their peers on the statewide regents exam. Ms. Debarros-Goncalves said that, although such supplements can be useful, many teachers are frustrated because they lack resources with which to put these materials to full effect. Dr. Fuchs said that considerable effort goes into making the supplements useful in a variety of different settings, including at schools where it is impossible to conduct lab experiments because of scarce resources.
Ms. Eisenberg said that many teachers instruct students in ways that are aimed at them performing better on standardized exams, often disregarding materials such as the OSE curriculum supplements because they are not viewed as meeting those goals. Dr. Fuchs agreed that such teaching-to-exam practices are pervasive, but he said that well-designed tests can be useful, and that some tests might be specifically redesigned to reflect the value of learning through problem solving. Ms. Eisenberg said that NIH might consider playing a stronger role in science education by identifying opportunities to restructure such standardized testing procedures.
Dr. Gottesman, NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, said that the Intramural Program has developed several science education and training programs for individuals at the college level and higher. They include the Undergraduate Scholarship Program, which pays tuition and fees for students who are disadvantaged; graduate education programs in specialized areas such as bioinformatics and veterinary pathology in partnership with other universities; clinical research training programs for medical students in partnership with organizations such as HHMI and Pfizer; and the NIH Academy, which is focused on training researchers to work on health disparities problems.
Presentation by Dr. Lashwn Drew
Dr. LaShawn Drew, Director of the NIH Academy, said that the newly formed academy traces to a recommendation issued in March 2000 by a committee appointed by former NIH Director Harold Varmus. It called on NIH to form an academy for training post-baccalaureate researchers to work on eliminating health disparities. The focus of the Academy is on research-based training along with two formal curriculum components, one devoted to health disparity topics and the other to scientific career development.
NIH broadly defines health disparities to include differences in incidence, mortality, and burden of disease that occur among specific population groups, including among African, Asian-Pacific Island, Native, Hispanic-Latino American populations, as well as the medically under-served, such as Americans living in the Appalachian region, according to Dr. Drew. For example, Native Americans develop diabetes at three-fold the rate as the majority population. Cancer diagnosis tends to occur later among minority populations than among the majority.
The students chosen for enrollment in the NIH Academy are recent college graduates who plan to attend graduate or medical school and have a well-defined interest in health disparities. They work in research as part of the NIH Intramural Program and also attend weekly sessions on health disparity-related topics and also on topics that are designed in a pragmatic way to help them when applying for graduate or medical school. Students go on field trips into local communities to see firsthand what kinds of health disparities may be occurring and also may participate in events such as the National AIDS Walk to help raise funds for research. Students in this program work with specially selected NIH advisors who not only are known for their excellence as researchers but also for their skill as mentors.
The NIH Academy received 139 applications in 2000, its first year, and enrolled 10 students, according to Dr. Drew. The number of applicants in 2001 was 170, and it was 271 in 2002; another 16 students are set to enroll in September 2002. The program is not intended to serve minority students, as such, although by its nature it attracts students who are interested in problems affecting minority populations. Of the 30 students now enrolled, 38 percent are African American, 26 percent Caucasian, 20 percent Hispanic or Latino, 13 percent Asian-Pacific Islander, and less than 2 percent Native American; the female-to-male ratio is about three-to-two. The students come from diverse backgrounds and educational institutions, and, when they leave, many of them are going to first-tier research institutions in the United States and abroad.
Dr. Drew said that the NIH Academy is planning a full-scale evaluation in its fifth year, which will begin in 2005. Students fill out questionnaires when they enter the program, and some of that information will be used as a base for tracking their interests and performance. She said that the program might be extended in one or several ways, such as to include medical, graduate, or post-doctoral students, to become degree granting in partnership with other universities, and to include other federal agencies. She pointed out that several other NIH programs are also dealing with health disparities issues, under the leadership of Dr. Yvonne Maddox.
In response to a question from Dr. Dzau about the long-term commitment of NIH Academy students to health disparities issues, Dr. Drew said that the entrance and exit questionnaires are intended in part to address that question. She said the program will need more time to track the students who have completed their NIH work and done other training before such questions can be addressed, moreover a database is being compiled for this purpose. She is also using e-mail correspondence in an informal manner to help in tracking those academy students who have left NIH. The Academy is very selective when evaluating applicants, often choosing them on the basis of their demonstrated interests and experiences in working on health disparities issues.
In response to a question from Dr. Carter about the high volume of qualified applicants, Dr. Drew said that selecting among the candidates is a daunting task and that candidates who are not chosen are routinely notified of alternative training opportunities on the NIH campus. However, it makes sense to keep this residential program small during this early phase of its development, she added. In response to a follow-up question from Dr. Dzau, Dr. Drew said that the results from the five-year evaluation will be a major factor in judging whether and at what rate to expand the NIH Academy program.
In response to a question from Dr. Zerhouni about the geographic origins of the Academy students, Dr. Drew said that this information is being tracked. One reason that the program may establish satellite operations in the Western United States is to attract more Native Americans into applying and enrolling.
Dr. Wilson said that the Academy program is great but warned it could be difficult to prove its effectiveness, particularly as the demographic profiles of each year's class are changing. In response, Dr. Drew said that the challenges underlying health disparities are so basic that the Academy will need to focus on providing its students with the best tools possible with which to address those challenges as they move into doing biomedical research and caring for patients.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT: NEW INVESTIGATORS AND PRESIDENTIAL EARLY CAREER AWARDS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PROGRAM
Presentation by Dr. Wendy Baldwin
Dr. Baldwin described NIH programs that fund new investigators and help to sustain them during the early stage of their research careers. One such program, the FIRST award, which was designed solely for new investigators and funded them for five-year periods, was evaluated in 1997. That evaluation showed that about one-third of young investigators were not even applying for such grants, but preferred to compete for standard R01 awards. Those who did apply for FIRST awards did better initially but later tended not to compete so effectively for follow-up R01 awards, she said. Following this evaluation, NIH eliminated the FIRST award, while reminding young investigators who were applying for initial R01 support to tailor carefully their budget estimates to the scope of projects being proposed. NIH simultaneously committed itself to sustaining high numbers of new investigators.
Dr. Baldwin said that NIH has two distinct definitions for tracking the success of new investigators in being funded, but when either is used, the overall picture is about the same. Thus, NIH is sustaining new investigators who are coming into the system. Indeed, those who stay in the system are doing very well, by being funded year after year, some of them with more than one R01 grant at a time.
Responding to a request from Dr. Zerhouni, Dr. Baldwin re-analyzed figures for fiscal year 2001, and determined that 21,061 individuals held R01 grants. Of that group, 6,568, or 31 percent, were new investigators either in that year or within the most recent cohort. She called that figure amazing, reflecting the extensive commitment of the NIH Institutes and Centers to young investigators. Indeed, this commitment is being met through different mechanisms, including by dropping pay lines on behalf of new investigators or by setting special weighting factors. Other mechanisms are also in use, according to Dr. Baldwin. For example, the National Cancer Institute has a $10 million exception allowance for first-time R01 applicants, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases uses a similar mechanism. Both the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and NIAID post extensive information and data helpful to young investigators on their respective Websites, and some of this information may be made more generally available to other R01 applicants.
In response to Dr. Dzau who asked about the comparative dollar size of grants awarded in 1995 and 2001, Dr. Baldwin said that certain types of awards, such as the R29 were limited to a maximum of $350,000 in 1995, and that limit skewed values of awards for young investigators to a lower figure. Later, this award mechanism was discontinued because it appeared to set research project budgets artificially, and NIH found it made more sense to use the R01 mechanism more broadly and to set budgets, including those for first-time investigators, on the basis of specific project needs.
In response to a question from Dr. Burgess about the most recent figures for FY 2003 indicating NIH will issue 9,854 new and competing grants, Dr. Baldwin said that the group of 21,061 individuals with R01 awards for FY 2001 included those with both new and recent ongoing grants, some of which were funded initially in earlier fiscal years.
Presentation by Dr. Brent Stanfield
Dr. Stanfield, the Deputy Director for Scientific Review, outlined how NIH reviews grant applications from new investigators. When the R29 grant category was retired, NIH revised its standard 398-application format by adding a box where applicants can check off whether they qualify as a "new" investigator. Although this information seems straightforward, NIH grant executive secretaries systematically reexamine this checkbox to make sure that applicants respond correctly as a way of ensuring that first-time applicants are accorded appropriate treatment.
In addition, reviewers are provided with guidelines explaining that they should evaluate first-time applicants in a manner that is appropriate for this stage of their careers, according to Dr. Stanfield. Thus, for example, the feasibility of the proposed approach should be emphasized over preliminary results that might be described in an application. Similarly, past training and potential of an applicant should be emphasized over recent productivity. Consideration is also given to a sponsoring institution's commitment to an investigator.
Dr. Stanfield summarized results of recent reviews of R01 applications from new versus experienced applicants. In general there is a significant overlap of priority scores given to applications from the two different categories of investigators. Particularly when the focus is on scores between new projects from first-time applicants and new projects from seasoned investigators, the average scores are very close, nearly overlapping for the entire set of about 30,000 applications, he said. If this same comparison is made for individual study sections across the full set of 129, the results indicate that sometimes the new investigators score better than do seasoned investigators.
However, a subset of those study sections routinely give poor scores to applications from new investigators, and NIH is renewing its effort to train the chairs and reviewers on the importance of according special consideration to first-time investigators, according to Dr. Stanfield. Part of this strategy will consist of providing study section reviewers with information telling them of how they have done when handling reviews from first-time applicants and reminding them of the need to handle such applications appropriately.
In response to Dr. Masters who asked about triaging applications from new investigators by not giving them ordinary priority scores, Dr. Stanfield said that, in discussing this issue, the members of the overall study section advisory board recommended a pilot program where members of several study sections will hold brief discussions over such unscored applications to determine why each application received that status while still focusing most attention on those other applications that are more likely to be funded.
Resumed Presentation by Dr. Wendy Baldwin
Dr. Baldwin summarized recent experience at NIH with the special awards known as Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) that are made by the President's National Science Technology Council. Only 60 such awards are made each year, and ten federal agencies participate. Since 1996, 10 to 12 NIH-sponsored scientists have been chosen for PECASE awards, with each Institute and Center asked to nominate up to three candidates each year. Although awardees receive no additional funding, they are honored at the White House, she said. The track record of this small cohort is excellent in terms of follow-up success in obtaining R01 support.
Dr. Gottesman, Deputy Director for Intramural Research, said that several NIH scientists from the Intramural Program, including one individual who moved from NIH into the extramural community, are recent PECASE awardees, and all of them are doing extremely well in their research undertakings.
In response to Dr. Zerhouni, Dr. Baldwin said that the annual number of potential PECASE nominees is 1,400, which is the average number of new investigators each year, and the number of nominees typically is narrowed to about 50 before a slate of 11 or12 nominees is submitted. Dr. Maddox said that the choice of nominees is based, in part, on whether an individual has done something remarkable, including a scientific or some other achievement that is recognized through a special health science community activity.
Dr. Zerhouni noted that there does not appear to be any effort to balance the nominees on the basis of gender or institute or discipline. In response to his question about whether clinical researchers were also being nominated, Dr. Kirschstein said that clinical investigators have received some of these awards.
While introducing Dr. Killen, Dr. Zerhouni announced that he received notice that President Bush would be proposing in a televised speech later in the day a new federal Department of Homeland Security and that various agencies would be moved from other Cabinet-level departments into this new entity.
Presentation by Dr. John (Jack) Killen
Dr. Killen, Associate Director for Research Ethics at NIAID, reviewed current but still changing plans for biodefense research at NIH. The fiscal year 2003 budget proposal includes $37.7 billion for homeland security across the federal government, with $5.9 billion for defending against biological terrorism. The relevant budget proposal for NIH includes a request for $1.75 billion for biodefense purposes, a substantial increase from $275 million in FY 2002.
NIH programs will focus on defending against bioterrorism, as opposed to biowarfare threats, which are primarily the responsibility for the Department of Defense, according to Dr. Killen. Attacks on civilian populations are different in character, more apt to come unexpectedly, and will require specialized, rapid-detection capabilities and fast interventions for a broad array of potential biological agents that might be used by bioterrorists in a wide variety of civilian settings.
For example, the anthrax attacks late in 2001 resulted in 22 confirmed cases of anthrax, five deaths, but also in 30,000 individuals receiving antibiotics because of the possibility that they were exposed to the biological agent responsible for anthrax. Thus, there was a huge psychological impact associated with these incidents, even though there were so few actual cases and even fewer deaths than likely occurred from influenza cases that occurred spontaneously during this same period.
The $1.75 billion proposed for NIH biodefense programs during FY 2003 will support four categories of activity, including specialized research facilities construction costs, basic research on potential agents of bioterrorism; drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines; and clinical research, according to Dr. Killen. There are high expectations for these programs to produce practical interventions, such as drugs and vaccines, rapidly. During the early phase of this multi-year build-up of biodefense research activities at NIH, relatively more resources will go into meeting infrastructure needs, while that spending will later be phased out to focus more resources on the research programs themselves.
A blue ribbon panel developed a strategic plan for implementing these activities, according to Dr. Killen, and those plans are described in documents as containing two essential components: I) basic research into microorganisms with potential for use as agents for bioterrorism as well as a focus on host defense mechanisms and II) applied translational research with milestones for developing new diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutic products. During the early phase, researchers will focus on Category A microorganisms, those that are considered the most threatening in terms of infectiousness and the unavailability of counter-interventions.
More details of these biodefense response plans are described on the NIAID Website through links to "funding opportunities," according to Dr. Killen. NIAID plans 25 initiatives for basic research on such microorganisms and research to develop and evaluate effective countermeasures. In addition, NIAID plans to support regional research centers and also will develop a reagent repository that will be modeled on one developed to support research on HIV/AIDS. Construction plans include a BSL-3 level containment laboratory building on the NIH campus, a BSL-4 laboratory for NIIAID intramural research at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD, additional physical security measures at NIH, and three BSL-3 or BSL-4 laboratories at extramural sites in FY 2003, with a total of 10 BSL-3 and two BSL-4 at later times.
Some of these activities are part of on-going NIAID programs, according to Dr. Killen. For instance, NIAID recently reported on its smallpox vaccine dilution evaluation studies, and Dr. Gary Nabel of the NIH Vaccine Research Center and his colleagues are developing a vaccine to protect against the Ebola virus. Dr. Killen said that these bioterrorism countermeasures research programs can be considered a subset of the larger challenge of dealing with new and reemerging infectious disease agents that are recognized as a critical global health issue, particularly threatening to people in developing countries. Another important component of these bioterrorism countermeasures consists of rebuilding the public health infrastructure.
In response to a question from Dr. Cech about containment facilities and other physical security measures, Dr. Killen said that Administration officials and members of Congress are discussing whether federal-wide security standards need to be set and how to balance access and security needs without creating measures that prove unnecessarily costly. In response to a follow-up question from Dr. Wilson about added security measures for current containment facilities, Dr. Killen said that such facilities that are federally funded will likely be required to strengthen security measures, subject to ongoing discussions about standardizing those measures.
In response to another question from Dr. Cech about where the extramural containment laboratories will be built, Dr. Killen said that the sites are not yet chosen but those decisions will be subject to a competitive process and peer review. He also noted that the sites will be limited to those that are funded as research centers of excellence for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases.
In response to comments and questions from Dr. Smarr about nationwide biosurveillance efforts, Dr. Killen said that the primary responsibility for developing sensors lies with researchers in the Department of Energy, with whom NIAID will collaborate. In addition, the Department of Defense and its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are involved in such efforts.
In response to Dr. Paul who asked about organizing these infectious disease research efforts with those under way in the private sector, Dr. Killen said NIAID will work with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, particularly on biodefense challenges that appear to lack ordinary market incentives.
In response to a question from Dr. Zerhouni about restricting publication of results from some biodefense-related research projects, Dr. Killen said that, in general, such results should be made public and accessible to researchers as a way of promoting progress toward solving these problems. Dr. Kirschstein said that in cases where findings are to be withheld, researchers will need to be notified of that decision before they receive funds. Dr. Carter said that it might be helpful to these efforts if guidelines are developed allowing greater accessibility to information, even before it is published, to allow closer and more extensive collaborations among research groups.
In response to a question from Dr. Burgess about vetting investigators and students before they work on biodefense research, Dr. Killen said that recent legislation sets forth restrictions and that organizations such as the American Society for Microbiology are trying to develop an appropriately balanced approach for dealing with these issues.
In response to Dr. Zerhouni who asked about collaborations with scientists in other countries such as Russia, Dr. Killen said that several Russian scientists are serving as advisors on biodefense issues. He also noted that several potential bioterrorist agents cause diseases that are endemic in developing countries, meaning there are practical incentives in those countries for developing and testing effective treatments and vaccines.
The Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened on June 6, 2002, to meet the new Chairman and NIH director, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, to review recent events affecting NIH, to learn of several NIH-sponsored science education programs as well as programs to encourage young investigators receiving NIH support, and to review recent plans to expand NIH-sponsored biodefense research programs.
The ACD acknowledged and commented on these programs, and endorsed NIH efforts in science education and in encouraging young investigators as they seek resources during the early phase of their research careers.
I hereby certify that, to the best of my knowledge, the foregoing minutes are accurate and complete.
Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., Executive Secretary, Advisory Committee to the Director, Deputy Director, NIH
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Chairman, Advisory Committee to the Director, Director, NIH