Freedom of Information Act Office
IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
April 8, 2010
|Subject:||IC Directors Meeting Highlights—March 11, 2010|
Dr. Collins and the IC Directors congratulated Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering. The IC Directors also welcomed Mr. Pat White as the new Associate Director of the NIH Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis.
USA Science & Engineering Festival: The NIH is participating in and a sponsor of the USA Science and Engineering Festival (October 10-24 with an exposition on the National Mall October 23-24). NIH has purchased 30 booth spaces and would like full IC participation in this family-friendly event. John Burklow (OCPL) and Bruce Fuchs (Office of Science Education) are coordinating NIH efforts for the exposition.
Big Think Meeting: The NIH will host a "Big Think" Meeting in May to gather innovative ideas from the outside scientific community for consideration of Common Fund or other NIH support. Planning is underway for this principals-only meeting and dinner. The planning committee, led by James Battey and Kathy Hudson, has developed a preliminary agenda related to: application of high-throughput technologies, translation of basic research into diagnostics and therapeutics, and utilization of science to benefit health care reform.
Impact of Congressional and DHHS Financial Management Requirements on NIH Extramural and Business Processes
Colleen Barros (OM) and Sally Rockey (OER)
The Antideficiency Act allows Congress to exercise control over public funds and the Appropriations Committee has recently identified additional requirements to exercise funds control over reprogramming actions. Ms. Barros and Dr. Rockey outlined actions being taken by NIH to assure compliance with the statutes. All Institute and Center executive officers have been briefed on current changes in accounting systems, policies, and processes. In addition, the Office of Extramural Research is convening work groups on a regular basis to address policy and business processes. Significant efforts in communication, education, and IT support will also be undertaken. IC Directors provided comments on various issues related to the overall effort.
The New Smart Card ID
Jack Jones (OCIO)
In accordance with the Homeland Security Presidential Directive, federal employees must be issued smart card ID badges, also known as personal identity verification cards (PIV). All NIH staff will have PIV cards by June 2010.
PIV cards will be used to open doors and campus gates; it will also be used to login to computers and applications. Use of the badge for entrance onto the NIH campus will require use of special badge holders to prevent others from accessing ID information. For computer login or NIH logon, smart card readers will need to be purchased, if no reader is built-in to existing keyboards or laptops. By the end of 2010, every computer must have a smart card reader and accept smart card login; laptops must achieve the same requirement by 2011. Smart card reader purchases have been pre-competed under an NIH IT contract, and Windows smart card login is enabled.
Discovery of causes of Stuttering
Dennis Drayna (NIDCD)
Dr. Drayna updated the IC Directors on recent research that has uncovered a genetic source of stuttering. Stuttering is a disorder affecting the flow of speech, characterized by uncontrollable repetitions, prolongations of words or syllables, or by silent interruptions of speech (blocks). A North-American genetic linkage study conducted in Dr. Drayna's lab found weak evidence linking the disorder to chromosome 18, but evidence from other labs suggests linkages on several other chromosomes. These weak linkage results typify research of complex human traits.
Dr. Drayna collaborated with the National Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (University of Punjab), which provided the ability to work with a unique population that has a greatly increased incidence of recessive genetic disorders. The research team identified and chose forty-four stuttering families for a genetic linkage study. The linkage study led researchers to focus on a chromosome 12 region in Pakistani family PKST72, which has 87 known and predicted genes in this interval. Mutations were identified in three genes — GNPTAB, GNPTG, and NAGPA — that encode for enzymes involved in lysosomal metabolism. Mutations of GNPTAB and GNPTG have been associated with mucolipidosis types II and III, rare lysosomal storage disorders associated with pathology in bone, joints, brain, liver and spleen. The association of these gene mutations with stuttering may be a heterozygous trait or due to the type of mutation, which is different from those typically observed in mucolipodosis. Surprisingly, no disorder in humans has been associated with NAGPA mutations, and this study suggests that a primary consequence of NAGPA mutation is nonsyndromic persistent developmental stuttering. Information about expression of these three genes in the brain is currently limited. For mouse brain, GNPTG gene expression is found in high levels in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Dr. Drayna hypothesizes that a specific group of neurons in the brain are unique to speech production and sensitive to this metabolic deficit.