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NAEC Meeting Minutes - June 10, 1999

Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health

National Eye Institute

June 10, 1999

The National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC) convened for its ninety-second meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 10, 1999, in Conference Room G, Executive Plaza North, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Rockville, Maryland. The Director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), Carl Kupfer, M.D., presided as Chair of the Council. The meeting was open to the public from 8:30 a.m. until 10:15 a.m., followed by the closed session for the review of grant applications until adjournment at 1:00 p.m. Attachment A provides a roster of Council members.

Council members present:

  • Dr. Anthony J. Adams
  • Dr. M. Rosario Hernandez
  • Dr. Dean Bok
  • Dr. David H. Hubel
  • Dr. Constance Cepko
  • Dr. Millicent Knight
  • Ms. Patricia A. Cleary
  • Dr. Anthony B. Nesburn
  • Mr. Sanford Cloud, Jr.
  • Dr. Larry J. Takemoto
  • Lt. Col. William J. Flynn (Ex Officio)
  • Dr. Marco A. Zarbin
  • Mr. Richard T. Hellner
  • Dr. David S. Zee

Council members absent: none.

NEI Staff Present:

Ms. Margie Baritz
Ms. Kym Collins-Lee
Dr. Mary Frances Cotch
Mr. Michael Davis
Ms. Linda Dingle
Ms. Judith A. Duff
Ms. Lois Eggers
Mr. Donald F. Everett
Dr. Richard S. Fisher
Ms. Carol Fivozinsky
Dr. Maria Y. Giovanni
Ms. Carolyn E. Grimes
Dr. Ralph J. Helmsen
Dr. Chyren Hunter
Dr. Natalie Kurinij
Dr. Ellen Liberman
Dr. Andrew P. Mariani
Dr. Jack A. McLaughlin
Dr. Loré Anne McNicol
Ms. Kathleen Moy
Dr. Michael Oberdorfer
Ms. Karen Robinson Smith
Ms. Judy Stein
Mr. John Whitaker

Other NIH Staff Present:

Dr. Catherine Cowie, NIDDK
Dr. Luigi Giacometti, CSR
Dr. Len Jakubczak, CSR
Dr. Carole Jelsema, CSR
Dr. Joe Marwah, CSR

Food and Drug Administration Staff Present: Dr. Morris Waxler

The following members of the general public were present at the open session:

Ms. Joanne Angle, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Ms. Carrie Kovar, American Academy of Ophthalmology
Ms. Sara Milo, National Alliance For Eye and Vision Research
Dr. Paul O’Brien, Health Research Associates
Ms. Lois Schoenburn, American Academy of Optometry
Dr. Elaine Young, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International
Dr. John Whitener, American Optometric Association

Open Portion of the Meeting

I. Call to Order and Opening Remarks

Dr. Carl Kupfer, Director, NEI, called the meeting to order and welcomed the Council members and guests. He introduced Patricia A. Cleary, M. S., a new Council member. Ms. Cleary is Senior Research Staff Scientist, The Biostatistics Center, The George Washington University, Rockville, MD. She is a recognized expert in the field of biostatistics, and is well known for her scholarly contributions and activities related to the design and conduct of complex clinical trials. Ms. Cleary has served as the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator of the Coordinating Center for a number of important NIH-funded multicenter clinical trials, including the Optic Neutitis Treatment Trial and the Diabetes Complications and Control Trial.

II. Confidentiality / Avoidance of Conflict of Interest

Dr. Jack A. McLaughlin, Deputy Director, NEI, and Executive Secretary of the Council, reviewed policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and avoidance of conflict of interest situations. To avoid conflict of interest, members of federal advisory committees must not participate in the discussion of any application or proposal in which they, their spouse, minor child, close professional associate, or organization has a financial interest or affiliation. The Council members were later asked to sign a statement certifying that they were absent during such discussions.

III. Consideration of Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes of the February 4, 1999 Council meeting were considered next and approved as submitted.

IV. Future Meeting Dates

The following dates were agreed upon for future Council meetings:

September 16, 1999
February 10-11, 2000
June 8-9, 2000
September 14-15, 2000

V. Staff Appointments

Dr. McLaughlin introduced two individuals who had recently assumed positions within the Division of Extramural Research.

Dr. Chyren Hunter is administering research grants within the Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Visual Processing area. Dr. Hunter received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She was a postdoctoral fellow and senior staff fellow within the intramural program of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Dr. Hunter’s research centered on the molecular characterization of excitatory amino acid receptors and on apoptotic mechanisms within the auditory system. Before joining NEI, she worked for four years as a program director in the NIDCD extramural research program.

Dr. Richard S. Fisher is administering research grants within the Corneal Diseases program. Dr. Fisher received his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Illinois. He was a staff fellow at the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and a Staff Physiologist in the Department of Nephrology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Dr. Fisher’s research explored salt and water movement across cell plasma membranes, and the regulation of these processes by hormones and other factors. Prior to joining NEI, he served for three years as a Scientific Review Administrator in NIDCD.

VI. Budget Overview

Ms. Carol Fivozinsky, Budget Officer, NEI, presented an overview of the budget situation for Fiscal Years 1999, 2000 and 2001. NEI received a Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 budget of $397 million, an increase of $42 million or 11.7% over the comparable
FY 1998 budget. Although a very good budget, the NEI received one of the smaller percentage increases given to the NIH Institutes.

Ms. Fivozinsky said that the Administration’s FY 2000 budget request proposed a 2.4% increase for NEI, from $397 million to $406 million, in line with the percentage increases proposed for most of the other NIH Institutes. In February, the Senate Appropriations Labor - Health and Human Services Subcommittee hearing was held, with Dr. Varmus as the primary NIH witness and with the Institute and Center Directors present. On March 4, Dr. Kupfer testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor - Health and Human Services. Public Witness hearings were held on April 13.
Dr. Carmen Puliafito, Director of the New England Eye Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, and President-Elect of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, testified on behalf of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research. Dr. Walter Stark, Professor of Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University, testified on behalf of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Mrs. Betty Lidsky, who has children with retinitis pigmentosa, testified on behalf of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. These individuals and organizations all supported a budget of $456 million for the NEI in FY 2000, a 15% increase.

VII. Extramural Research Program

Dr. McLaughlin’s presentation covered the latest budget estimates for the extramural research program for FY 1999 and the estimates associated with the FY 2000 Administration’s budget request. He pointed out that the overall distribution of funds among the various extramural categories of support in FY 1999 would be similar to that of previous years. Dr. McLaughlin said that FY 1999 was a very good funding year, citing significant increases in all major categories of funding. He said that the success rate for FY 1999 competing research project grants would be approximately 38%, and that NEI would be able to fund more total grants in FY 1999 than it did in FY 1998.

With regard to the FY 2000 Administration’s budget request, Dr. McLaughlin estimated that the total number of research project grants would increase from 1015 in FY 1999 to 1032 in FY 2000. The success rate for competing grants would remain relatively high at about 37%. However, he said that these estimates were based on the assumption that there would be no inflationary increases provided for noncompeting grants and no increase in the average total cost of competing grants. The latter assumption would require that budgets on competing grant applications be cut 8-10% below the levels recommended by the study sections.

VIII. Cooperative Research Program Foundation Fighting Blindness

Dr. Peter A. Dudley, program director, Division of Extramural Research, discussed a new Cooperative Program for Research on Retinal Degenerative Diseases between the NEI and the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB). As a result of a common interest in retinal degenerative diseases research, the NEI has partnered with the FFB to promote research in this area. A Program Announcement will advertise the intent of the NEI and FFB to cooperatively fund research projects in areas of mutual interest in basic cellular, molecular, and genetic research, and in clinical research relevant to the retinal degenerative diseases. The Council was very enthusiastic about this cooperative program and spoke to the efficiency and value of this national approach.

IX. Functional Genomics Workshop

Dr. Maria Giovanni, program director, Division of Extramural Research, discussed plans for a two-day Functional Genomics Workshop, scheduled tentatively for September 14 and 15. The impetus for this workshop comes from a number of strong recommendations contained in Vision Research - A National Plan: 1999-2003.
Dr. Giovanni, Dr. Dudley, and Dr. Robert Nussenblatt, Director, Division of Intramural Research, are organizing the workshop with strong input from several members of the Council. Dr. Giovanni said that the purpose of the workshop would be two-fold. First, participants will determine the status of functional genomic resources for the visual system, including the availability of ESTs, cDNA clones, cDNA libraries, DNA or protein microarrays, and databases. This will be followed by a discussion of what genomics resources are needed to advance research on the visual system and its related disorders and diseases, and of strategies for developing these resources. This workshop will be conducted as an activity of the Council’s Program Planning Subcommittee. Recommendations that may arise during these discussions will be brought to the attention of the Council for its review and approval, prior to implementation.

X. Update: NEI Web Site

Ms. Judy A. Stein, Associate Director for Health Education and Communication, presented an update on the NEI website. The website has been on line for just over two years. Ms. Stein reviewed its development and organization, highlighted some existing features, and previewed some new features. She also shared data on website usage.

The website has been organized according to the many audiences that use the site (i.e., researchers, health care professionals, public and patients, educators, and media). For each audience, information and topics of interest are included. Recent additions include a text-only site, which is more accessible for users with visual impairments who may use on-line readers to voice text. A Photograph and Image Catalog has also been added, with images in categories such as eye examinations, laboratory research, eye disease simulations, and eye anatomy. Each image can be downloaded in low, medium, or high resolution and can be used for slides, websites, or publications. Images are not copyrighted, but NEI/NIH photo credit is requested for any images used.

Visits to the NEI website have doubled during the second year, with more than 2.7 million hits, and 118,175 first-time users. The most popular page in year two was the NEI Clinical Trials Database, which was added to the site during its second year. This database will soon be modified to include epidemiology and natural history studies, and health services research studies.

Closed Portion of the Meeting

The next portion of the meeting was closed to the public in accordance with the determination that it was concerned with matters exempt from mandatory disclosure under Sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5, U.S. Code and Section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2).

XI. Review of Research and Training Applications

The Council considered 324 research and training applications requesting $340.8 million in total costs. The Council recommended 306 applications with a total cost of $231.9 million. Council members absented themselves from the meeting during discussion of and voting on applications from their own institutions, or other applications in which there was a potential conflict of interest, real or apparent. Members signed a statement to this effect.

XII. Adjournment

Dr. Kupfer adjourned the meeting at 1:00 p.m. on June 10, 1999.

XIII. Certification

I hereby certify that, to the best of my knowledge, the foregoing minutes and attachment(s) are accurate and complete.

Jack A. McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary
National Advisory Eye Council
Deputy Director
National Eye Institute

Carl Kupfer, M.D.
National Advisory Eye Council
National Eye Institute

These minutes will be submitted for the approval of the Council at the September 16, 1999, meeting. Any corrections or notations will be incorporated in the minutes of that meeting. A complete, printed copy of the Council minutes, including attachments, may be obtained from:

Ms. Lois M. DeNinno
National Eye Institute
Executive Plaza South, Suite 350
6120 Executive Blvd MSC 7164
Bethesda, MD 20892-7164
Telephone: (301) 496-9110
FAX: (301) 402-0528
e-mail: lmd@nei.nih.gov

Attachment A

National Advisory Eye Council

National Eye Institute

(Terms end 11/30 of the designated year)


Adams, Anthony J., O.D., Ph.D. (00)
Dean and Professor of Vision Science & Optometry
School of Optometry
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720

Bok, Dean, Ph.D. (02)
Jules Stein Eye Institute
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Cepko, Constance, Ph.D. (01)
Department of Genetics
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

Cleary, Patricia A., M.S. (02)
Senior Research Staff Scientist
Biostatistics Center
The George Washington University
Rockville, MD 20852

Cloud, Jr., Sanford (01)
President and CEO
The National Conference
New York, NY 02115

Hellner, Richard T. (00)
President & CEO
Prevent Blindness America
Schaumburg, IL 60173

Hernandez, M. Rosario, D.D.S. (02)
Associate Professor
Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Washington University
St. Louis, MO 63110

Hubel, David H., M.D. (99)
John Franklin Enders
Professor of Neurobiology
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

Knight, Millicent L., O.D. (99)
North Shore Eye Center
Evanston, IL 60201

Nesburn, Anthony B., M.D. (00)
Ophthalmology Research Laboratories
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Takemoto, Larry J., Ph.D. (02)
Division of Biology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506

Zee, David S., M.D. (99)
Professor of Neurology, Ophthalmology,
Otolaryngology & Neuroscience
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD 21287

Ex Officio Members

Shalala, Donna E., Ph.D.
Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C. 20201

Varmus, Harold, M.D.
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

Kupfer, Carl, M.D. (Chair)
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

Department of Veterans Affairs Representative

Zarbin, Marco A., M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
Department of Ophthalmology
UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
Newark, NJ 07103

Department of Defense Representative

Flynn, William J., Lt. Col., USAF, MC
Department of Ophthalmology
Wilford Hall Medical Center
Lackland Air Force Base, TX 78236

Executive Secretary

McLaughlin, Jack A., Ph.D.
Deputy Director
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892