Freedom of Information Act Office
IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
April 8, 2003
|From:||Director, Executive Secretariat|
|Subject:||IC Directors Meeting Highlights—March 27, 2003|
l. A Vision for the Future of Genomic Research
Dr. Collins summarized "A Vision for the Future of Genomic Research," an article scheduled to be published in the April 24, 2003, Nature and to be available electronically on April 14. Noting that it has been circulated, discussed in draft, and revised several times in response to comments, he told the group that this would serve as a final opportunity for feedback and asked that any questions or suggestions be brought to his attention. Because the essential completion of the original goals of the Human Genome Project is at hand, Dr. Collins stressed that the article is designed to help refine the question "where do we go from here" and to clarify the problems that most need to be addressed in order to bring the promises of genomic research to fruition.
Dr. Zerhouni opened the discussion that followed by asking how to best coalesce trans-NIH efforts as we pursue the opportunities in this area. Dr. Collins indicated that it may be advisable to establish a broad, cross-cutting group that would work to that end. The group also discussed how genomic issues might be integrated with the road map efforts. Dr. Zerhouni concluded the discussion by observing that because of the scale and complexity of the possible scope of future genomic research, it is critical that NIH carefully consider and delineate practical next steps as it moves forward in the area.
ll. Sharing Data from Large-scale Biological Research Projects
Dr. Zerhouni stated that the NIH should take a leadership role in the area of encouraging appropriate data sharing and asked that Dr. Collins bring everyone up-to-date on the January 14-15, 2003, meeting sponsored by The Wellcome Trust on this issue. After presenting a history of the successful efforts to encourage pre-publication sharing for large-scale genome sequence data, despite the occasional violations of scientific etiquette, Dr. Collins discussed the report of the meeting and a draft policy statement by the NHGRI Advisory Council, both of which re-endorse the value of openness for large-scale genome data and suggest that this same standard be considered for other types of data. The reports introduce the concept of a Community Resource Project, and urge that data produced by such projects be released as rapidly as possible. Dr. Collins asked the group to provide input during this discussion and to follow up with him by e-mail before the NHGRI Advisory Council meeting on May 19, 2003.
Dr. Zerhouni reminded the group that it is urgent that NIH establish a data-sharing policy and raised the question of whether it is not time to reconvene the working group that Wendy Baldwin previously led in this area.
lll. Stem Cell Update
Dr. Battey thanked the IC representatives to the Stem Cell Task
Force and the Stem Cell Research Implementation Committee. He then
presented slides that summarized the following NIH actions to move
stem cell research forward:
continue infrastructure award program
characterize cell lines
stimulate more research on basic biology
train investigators to culture and use stem cells
He noted that he would be pleased to speak to groups interested in NIH stem cell research and research opportunities and reminded everyone of the upcoming June 12, 2003, NIH Stem Cell Symposium.
Dr. Zerhouni asked if there is any method in place to monitor and solicit feedback on the stem cell issues in which the community at large is interested. Because these issues change, he observed, it would seem valuable to keep track of them.
Dr. Zerhouni ended the discussion by expressing his deep appreciation for Dr. Battey's superb efforts in leading NIH activities in this area.
lV. Trans-NIH Coordinating Committee on Biodefense
Dr. Zerhouni announced the establishment of this coordinating committee to ensure that NIH proactively and most effectively responds to biodefense issues that cut across a number of ICs and research areas from microbials to radiologicals to psychology to chemicals and so on.
Observing that the NIH is home to many incredibly talented people who will have much to contribute to this effort, Dr. Zerhouni said that all ICs should select representatives and that he has asked that Dr. Fauci chair this committee.
cc: OD Staff