This is a brief summary of the February 12, 2013, meeting of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC). It will be replaced by the full minutes of the meeting when they become available.



Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), welcomed members to the 249th meeting of the NHLBAC.

Dr. Jodi Black, Deputy Director, Division of Extramural Research Activities, NHLBI, introduced new Council members, who joined the meeting as ad hoc members because their paperwork is still in progress, but who will be full voting members by the June meeting:

  • Dr. Jonathan Epstein, William Wikoff Smith Professor of Medicine; Chair, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology; and Scientific Director, Penn Cardiovascular Institute, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Bruce Psaty, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, University of Washington
  • Dr. Veronique Roger, Professor of Epidemiology, College of Medicine and Chair, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic
  • Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Two other new members were unable to attend, but will attend the June meeting:

  • Dr. George Daley, Samuel E. Lux IV Professor of Hematology, Harvard Medical School, and Director, Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Dr. Jeffrey Whitsett, Co-Director, Perinatal Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Dr. Black updated the Council on transitions and leadership appointments:

  • Dr. Carl Roth, Director, NHLBI Office of Science and Technology, is retiring on February 28, after almost 40 years of government service.
  • Ms. Sheila Pohl, Chief of Staff, is retiring on March 1, after 37 years with the federal government.
  • Dr. Cristina Rabadan-Diehl is serving as Acting Director of the NHLBI Office of Global Health.
  • Dr. Curtis Carey has joined the NHLBI as Acting Director of the Office of Communications.
  • Dr. Nakela Cook has been named Chief of Staff.

Dr. Gibbons thanked Dr. Roth and Ms. Pohl for their service.

Dr. Gibbons then presented "Imagining the Future--the NHLBI at 75: Toward a Diverse, Networked Scientific Community." He introduced his vision of the NHLBI community as a circle of partners who provide collective wisdom and stewardship. The NHLBI will continue to refine the recipe for success, while adhering to its enduring commitment to:

  • Train and nurture a diverse new generation of leaders in science
  • Value the health of all communities, and elucidate and eliminate health inequities in the U.S. and around the globe
  • Value and support investigator-initiated fundamental discovery science
  • Maintain a balanced, cross-disciplinary portfolio
  • Support implementation science that empowers patients and enables partners to improve the health of the nation

Dr. Gibbons updated the Council on the budget. The NHLBI is operating under a continuing resolution through March 27, 2013. The American Taxpayer Relief Act passed on January 1, 2013, averted an immediate threat of an 8.2% cut in NIH spending for FY 2013, but if no resolution is achieved, a new sequester will be ordered by the President on March 1 and implemented on March 27. This sequester could reduce NIH spending by 6.4%.

Dr. Gibbons discussed diversity as a source of excellence in the biomedical workforce and promoting diversity in the next generation of scientists, which will require collective leadership and advancement.

Dr. Gibbons talked about looking to the future--envisioning the NHLBI at 75--and considering the unprecedented opportunities available including:

  • Systems biology/medicine
  • Reparative biology/medicine
  • Predictive health and preemption trials
  • Health inequities (local and global) research
  • New tools and platforms

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Dr. James Kiley, Director, Division of Lung Diseases, NHLBI, presented the BEE/Council Committee Report. The committee was challenged to determine how the NHLBI can more effectively leverage the collective intelligence of BEE and Council members and how it can obtain greater input on strategic management of its programs and better adapt to the changing fiscal climate. The committee proposes to change the initiative development process to engage BEE and Council expertise more fully and earlier in the process.

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Dr. Carl Roth reported on the inclusion of women and minorities in NHLBI Clinical Studies. The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 requires that the advisory council of each national institute prepare biennial reports describing the manner in which the institute has complied with the inclusion policy. The Council reviewed the procedures for implementation of the NIH policy and the results of that implementation, and determined that the NHLBI was in compliance.

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Dr. Justin Taraska, Investigator, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Imaging, NHLBI, presented work from his laboratory on observing cell structure and functions using microscopy. He described his lab's studies of exocytosis--how contents (e.g., hormones) of a cell vesicle are released outside of a cell--by imaging how vesicles fuse with the cell membrane and how cells then deal with fusion. His lab has used live cell fluorescence microscopy, 3D electron microscopy, and a new technique--3D super resolution fluorescence microscopy--to image the process, and to develop a new model of exocytosis. This work increases our understanding of the structure and function of cells, which can lead to increased understanding of how problems can be fixed in disease.

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Dr. Keith Hoots, Director, Division of Blood Diseases and Resources (DBDR), NHLBI, reported on the Hemoglobinopathy Strategic Plan. The Plan was developed to be congruent with the goals of the NHLBI Strategic Plan--(1) Form to Function, (2) Function to Causes, and (3) Causes to Cures. For each of the goals, specific challenges were identified that, if overcome, would improve the lifespan and/or qualify of life of people with hemoglobinopathies.

The purpose of the Plan is to:

  • Guide the development of the NHLBI/DBDR research and training portfolio over the next five to ten years
  • Accelerate further discoveries in molecular biology in order to understand multi-organ pathogenesis
  • Advance understanding of how to move from disease to health for individuals with hemoglobinopathies
  • Expedite the movement of proven therapies into U.S. clinics and enhance care for people with hemoglobinopathies around the world

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Dr. Kiley discusses the Institute's programs in lung research and how today's research can influence tomorrow's care--through basic research, translation, clinical trials, and clinical practice. He used three diseases--COPD, pulmonary hypertension, and LAM--as examples to illustrate current research approaches. Overall, the goal is to preempt disease and develop personalized therapies.

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Last Updated February 2013

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