Introduction – Eric Green & Rudy Pozzatti


Eric Green:
Okay. Why don’t I call to order the 69th meeting of the National Advisory Council for Human
Genome Research. Thank you all for coming, it’s great to see you all again. I’ll turn
this over to Rudy for a few business items. Rudy Pozzatti:
All right. So, good morning, everyone. Let me remind you that the open session of the
council meeting is being videocast live and will be archived. And before we get into our
regular business, I’m going to turn the floor back to Eric; he has some words for our departing
council members. Eric Green:
Right, so this is a bittersweet council meeting every September because it means we are bidding
farewell to a number of our council members who have served their full time, shall we
say. So in some ways, it’s sort of parole month, if you will. [laughter] They’ve — we let them out on work release
now, but they have done their duty, if you will. They’ve done their service to the Institute,
to the NIH, and, in some ways, to the nation. So we like to always acknowledge our outgoing
council members with those being — this is their last council meeting. I would like to
probably make a couple other remarks about this group in particular, because there is
a certain novelty associated with this cohort of council members. First thing to say is that they’ve served
the Institute and the NIH at what truly has been a profoundly difficult time. On one hand,
they are here to help us develop our plan for genomics, which probably is the hottest
of the hottest in terms of biomedical research. But you’re doing it at a time where I think
many acknowledge is one of the worst budgetary circumstances biomedical research has seen,
at least in recent years, with the sequester just being the last of a series of declining
budgets, where things are just profoundly painful. And that has made it incredibly important
to have wise advisors telling us what their thoughts are as we try to navigate this very
difficult circumstance. You know, I’d also point out, at the same
time that was happening, the council had to deal with a newbie institute director. Because
I think — I don’t know precisely — it was either shortly after — I don’t know, you
were already on council? Maybe you guys can remind me if you were on council when I became
director, or did you become on council immediately after I became director? I can’t remember
exactly which. Female Speaker:
It was right after. Eric Green:
Right after I became director. So — but I was a rookie then, and still a newbie, having
just had the job since December of 2009. So you had to break me in, in many ways. But
it also gave us an opportunity, and we’ve talked about this in many venues, and we’ll
continue to, as I think even the way we’ve conducted these council meetings, and even
the way we’ve engaged council has changed substantially over the last three to four
years in a very constructive way. And it’s not to say that previously there wasn’t constructive
interaction, because I just think it’s a different era, a different era with respect to my leadership
of the Institute and the style with which I’m leading the Institute, but also you saw
major reorganization of the Institute take place and a lot of leadership transitions.
And every one of those things came in consultation with you, especially the group that are graduating
here today. So I think the way we run council meetings,
I think the way we engage council has really substantially improved over the term of those
of you who are departing. And it’s a credit to many of you that we’ve really listened
to your advice, and I think have done a lot of things that had made the value of these
council meetings even greater. So as a group, I thank you. And I will also say — and I already know
it’s true, is that the council members that are on, that are not at the end of their term,
I think very much are also contributing in that spirit. They see very much that we are
very receptive of how to engage council and how best to sort of navigate these difficult
times, but also exciting times scientifically, and so I think you’ve also set a good example
that has really, I think, made this a terrific group to interact with. So we pay you so much money for your service
that I’m sure we don’t need to do anything more than just say thank you, but because
we don’t pay you so much for your service, we like to do a little bit of additional expression
of our gratitude. And so as is now the custom, we have departing gifts. You want to pull
one out, Rudy, just so they can see. For those who don’t know, this is designed by the Institute’s
graphics artist — and just flip it open — Darryl Leja, who makes these beautiful — designed
these beautiful glass — it sort of looks like the Washington Monument but it has the
double helix right in there. And it’s also engraved with your name and your time of service. So I’m going to ask Rudy to go around and
give — I think you even get a piece of paper on top of that, yes. [laughter] Yes, you get — yes, right. I think — so,
with that, let me — and I’m going to ask Rudy to go around the table to give it our
one, two, three, four, five departing members starting with Ross Hardison, who is probably
one of the most congenial people you’ll ever work with, whether he’s the grantee or an
advisor, his guidance on all of our — [applause] — really is very insightful advice he’s given
us over the years about data production and functional genomics projects. Our quintessential
biologist and geneticist is David Kingsley, who never loses sight of the big picture.
I think David has given us many good ideas over his term on the council. So, thank you,
David. [applause] A long-standing member and leader of the ELSI
research community, Pamela Sankar has provided excellent leadership and insights about ELSI
research projects and Genomics and Society portfolio. She’s also been sort of the founding
chair of our Genomics and Society working group of council. [applause] David Williams has been instrumental, and
he’s brought his knowledge and his perspective on minority health issues, as well as his
input on many ethical issues that we now must address as genomic technologies will be implemented.
Thank you, David. [applause] And last, but not least, a terrific St. Lousian
and St. Louis baseball Cardinal fan, Rick Wilson, brings an important perspective of
large-scale sequencing centers, really dealing with the front line of this rapid-evolving
genomics landscape, and really helping us, keep us thinking clearly about many of the
technological innovations that we have to deal with, especially as we apply them on
a large scale. So, thank you, Rick, for your service. [applause] I was also told to remind you that just because
we bid you farewell from this group, that we have this incredible ability of retaining
phone numbers and email addresses. And that it would not be surprising if groups like,
oh, I don’t know, the NHGRI Review Branch or others like that would welcome you back
to helping with your peer review expertise once you go off of council’s roll. So don’t
be surprised if you continue to hear from us in various ways. So, again, thank you as
a group. And that leads to some introductions that
I think Rudy’s going to give. Rudy Pozzatti:
All right. We have several new employees at NHGRI. June and July are the months where
we turn over a lot of program analysts, so there are several new ones that I want to
introduce to the council. When I call your name, would you please stand so the council
members can identify you. Shannon Biello. Shannon works on the Protein
Capture Common Fund project and is part of Team Sequence, working predominantly on the
large-scale data sequencing and analysis groups. Catherine Crawford. Catherine goes by Catie,
and she works on The Cancer Genome Atlas and — TCGA, and the Clinical Sequencing and Exploratory
Research, or CSER, programs. Leah Finnegan [spelled phonetically]. Leah works on BD2K
and the broader NHGRI informatics portfolio of grants. Brandon Floyd. Brandon is involved
in all of the data access committees that NHGRI helps to manage, and he also participates
in the population tracking activities that we report on to council. Preetha Nandi. Preetha
splits her time between the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, ENCODE, and Clinically Relevant
Variant Resource, CRVR, projects. Quynh Nguyen. Not with us this morning. Quynh works on all
things related to H3Africa. Jacquelyn Adgast [spelled phonetically]. Jacquelyn works on
eMERGE, PAGE, and the newborn sequencing programs. And you can call her Jackie and live to tell. [laughter] Mr. Shane Clark. Shane is a program specialist,
works in the Division of Genomic Medicine, and is probably involved in more projects
than I can numerate this morning. Thank you, Shane. We have two new program assistants, both of
whom work in the Division of Genome Sciences. Amalia Sobalvarro. Not here. Bowha No [spelled
phonetically]. You’ll see them in another venue, then. Okay, from the Division of Policy, Communications,
and Education, Renet Abramson [spelled phonetically]. Renet is a program analyst working in the
Policy and Program Analysis, or PPA, Branch. Kate Saylor. Kate is a health policy analyst
also working in PPAB. And Jonathan Bailey. Male Speaker:
Probably back there. Rudy Pozzatti:
Probably in the back room, right. Jonathan’s a graphic artist who works in the Communication
and Public Liaison branch. Okay. I’d like to welcome the council liaison
with us today, Joe McInerney, from ASHG. Hi Joe. Rhonda Schonberg from the National Society
of Genetic Counselors. Rhonda. And Judith Backendorf from the America College of Medical
Genetics and Genomics. Hi, Judith. We have several visitors today at the council,
in person. Apparently, there’s a tour bus from Ohio State University that came. [laughs] Lori Lapierre, Juoa Yung [spelled phonetically],
Rami Alavan [spelled phonetically], and Lonnie Welch. All from Ohio State. There’s a Sarah
Beachy from the Institute of Medicine. And Rachel Levinson from Arizona State University
is also joining us. We also have half of the incoming class. We
bid adieu to several people this morning. You will have replacements. And joining us
today, Shenita Hughes Howard [spelled phonetically]. Shenita is a professor and holds the AT&T
Endowed Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Hollings Cancer
Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. And Dr. Martin Kreitman is professor
in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. They will be
joined in February by David Page from Whitehead and Eric Boerwinkle at UT Health Science Center
in Houston. And the four of them will comprise the Class of ’27 team for the council. Next on the agenda are the council minutes
from the May council meeting. Does anyone have any comments or questions about the May
council minutes? And if not, can I have a motion to approve them? Male Speaker:
Motion to approve. Rudy Pozzatti:
A second? Male Speaker:
Second. Rudy Pozzatti:
All in favor? Any opposed? Thank you. On the open session agenda, I want to draw
your attention to the future meetings of the council. If any of you have any — see any
schedule conflicts, please speak to me, and probably more importantly, speak to Comfort
Brown about that. Okay. Eric, I think I’ll turn it back to you
for the director’s report, then.

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