Call to Order and Introduction of New Members and Staff, Liasons… – Eric Green and Rudy Pozzatti

Eric Green:
Okay, why don’t we go ahead and get started? I’d like to start the open session of what
is the 70th meeting of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research. I would
note this is actually my 13th council since I became director, so this must be an unlucky
one. [laughter] On the other hand, on the other hand, the
very first one was snowed out, although we did it by phone, so maybe this is the 12th,
the even dozen, in-person one, so maybe it’s the next one that’ll be the unlucky one, I
don’t know. I’ll tell you the other thing I was thinking about this council meeting.
This was what I called the “what if” council meeting because it seemed we went through
two rounds of what ifs. As council members know, you know, back in December we started
getting nervous: would we dare face another government shutdown, and would that having
a rippling effect that would influence our ability to have a council meeting in February.
And so we had a what if, and we had a scenario built in that if we did have another shutdown
early this year, what we would do to deal with that consequence with respect to this
council meeting. And then about a week ago we heard there might be a bad snowstorm, which
reminded me of my first council meeting, brought back memories of that, so we had a what if
scenario, what would we do if there was a bad snowstorm and people couldn’t get here?
But neither of those circumstances came to be. So here we are, 70th meeting. So, turn this over to Rudy. Rudy Pozzatti:
Eric, I’d like to suggest we call this one the 12th and call the next one the 14th. [laughter] Male Speaker:
No, we’re scientists. We’re scientists. We don’t believe in that. That’s probably not
legal, but we’ll go for it anyway. Rudy Pozzatti:
Okay, well, this is the inaugural meeting for an incoming group of council members,
and so we are going to do introductions to our four new members. Let’s start with Eric Boerwinkle. He is professor
and holds a title of the Kozmetsky Family Chair in Human Genetics. He is the director
of the Institute for Molecular Medicine’s Center for Human Genetics, and the director
of the Division of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health, and I think he wears all
of those hats at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. He is also the
associate director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Eric has served on multiple national advisory boards, including service to the Institute
of Medicine, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institution, NHGRI, and the University of
Nancy in France, if I remember my high school French correctly, and multiple peer review
panels for NIH. Eric was trained in statistics and genetic epidemiology, and he has a long-standing
interest in the genetic analysis of common diseases, such as hypertension, lipid metabolism,
coronary artery disease, type-II diabetes, and more recently, Alzheimer’s disease. Eric,
welcome to the council. Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert is professor, and
she holds the AT&T Distinguished Endowed Chair in Cancer Equity. She is program leader of
the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical
University of South Carolina in Charleston. Chanita is a member of the Minorities in Cancer
Research Council of the American Association of Cancer Research, and she has served on
an impressive list and number of national advisory or review panels, including the Board
of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense panels on
breast and ovarian cancer, the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Breast Cancer and
the Environment, and multiple panels for NHGRI and NCI, including chairing the ELSI Study
Section for a number of years, which is the good old days to me and Chanita. Chanita was trained in psychology, and her
research interests have focused on psychosocial issues in genetic testing, with a particular
interest in BRAC1 and 2 testing. She has explored perception and attitude differences among
racial and ethnic groups, and more recently, she has worked on health disparities research
by developing interventions to improve health outcomes in prostate and breast cancer patients
in underserved populations in South Carolina. Welcome, Chanita. Dr. Marty Kreitman is professor in the Department
of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. Marty is the recipient of the
National Science Foundation’s Presidential Investigator Award, as well as a MacArthur
Fellowship, and he is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He has served as associate editor or editor-in-chief for multiple prominent scientific journals,
and he has an impressive record of peer review service for NIH. Marty’s research has involved
the use of Drosophila and Arabidopsis as model organisms to do studies in population genetics.
His current research examines plant resistance to bacterial disease to probe the molecular
adaptation process, and using genomic sequence information from a dozen strains of Drosophila
to study the evolution of transcription factor binding sites. Welcome, Marty. Dr. David Page is professor of Biology, Howard
Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and director of the Whitehead Institute. David
is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and he is a fellow of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a member
of the Institute of Medicine. David has an impressive service record, particularly to
NIH. He is a former member of this council, he chaired the Blue Ribbon Review Panel of
the NHGRI Intramural Research Program two years ago, and he has chaired multiple major
review panels for NHGRI, including a multi-year stint as the Chair of the Genome Research
Review Committee. More good old days for me and David. David has been a world leader in
defining the structure of the Y chromosome, including its DNA sequence, mapping and identifying
the function of genes on the Y chromosome, including those associated with human diseases,
and defining the evolutionary history of the Y chromosome. Welcome back, David. We need to welcome our council liaisons: Ellen
Giarelli from the International Society of Nurses in Genetics, Joe McInerney from the
American Society of Human Genetics, James O’Leary from the Genetic Alliance, Rhonda
Schomberg from the National Society of Genetic Counselors, and Mike Watson from the American
College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Thank you, Bob. We have some new employees at NHGRI, and our
practice is to introduce them to the council members so you can associate a name with a
face. So when I call your name, would you please stand in the back? Dr. Larry Brody.
Larry is — Eric Green:
Not new to the institute. Rudy Pozzatti:
Not new to the institute, new to the extramural research program. Larry is the new director
of the Division of Genomes and Society. Until recently, Larry was the Chief of the Genome
Technology Branch at NHGRI Intramural Research Program, but he has resigned that position
to make room for new challenges as the director of Genomes and Society. Larry retains his
title as senior investigator in the Intramural Research Program, and he will continue his
research to map genetic variance associated with birth defects, including neural tube
defects. Dr. Carolyn Hutter. Carolyn is a program director
in the Division of Genomic Medicine. Carolyn is working on The Cancer Genome Atlas and
the Clinical Exploratory Sequencing Research, or CSER program. In her life before NHGRI,
Carolyn was program director at the National Cancer Institute, and her background is in
epidemiology and biostatistics. Dr. Jennifer Troyer. Jennifer is a program
director in the Division of Genome Sciences and is working on the H3Africa Initiative.
Prior to coming to NHGRI, she was a senior scientist at the Science Applications International
Corporations, SAIC, in Frederick, where she worked on genomic technology development including
next-gen sequencing methods and bioinformatics. Stephen Weiss. Stephen is our new administrative
officer. He comes to us from NCI where he worked for several years, and his primary
efforts will be to work with the good people in the Division of Extramural Operations. And Sabrina Williams. Sabrina is our new program
— our new administrative assistant. She works the front desk and generates lots of internal
reports that are important for NHGRI staff to track grant applications. We have a couple of — thank you, Sabrina.
We have a couple of guests. Tabitha Hendershot is from RTI International. Welcome, Tabitha.
And Joanne Goodnight from the Jackson Labs. Thank you, Joanne. Okay, so that’s it for introductions. I’d
like to now ask the council if they have any comments or corrections to be made to the
minutes from the September 2013 meeting. Riveting reading, I’m sure. Okay, so can we have a
motion to accept the minutes? And a second? All in favor? Anybody opposed? Hundred percent
on the — on the minutes. I want to draw your attention on the open
session agenda to the future council meeting dates. We’re still waiting to hear about February
2016, but please share these dates with your assistants and make sure they get onto your
calendars. If you develop or notice a schedule conflict, please contact both me and Comfort
Browne. And I think, with that, I’m ready to turn it over to Eric, Director’s —

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