NAEC Meeting Minutes - September 22-23, 2005

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
National Institutes of Health
National Eye Institute

NATIONAL ADVISORY EYE COUNCIL
Minutes of Meeting

September 22-23, 2005

The National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC) convened for its one hundred eleventh meeting at 8:30 am on Thursday, September 22, 2005, at the Terrace Level National Institutes of Health (NIH) Conference Center, 5635 Fishers Lane, Bethesda, MD. Paul A. Sieving. M.D., Ph.D, the Director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), presided as Chair of the Council. The meeting was open to the public from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm. The meeting was closed for the review of the report of the Board of Scientific Counselors and the review of grant and cooperative agreement applications from 2:30 pm until 5:00 pm. The meeting was opened again to the public on Friday, September 23, 2005, from 8:30 am until adjournment at 12:00pm. Attachment A provides a roster of Council members.

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COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:

Dr. Ruben Adler
Dr. Roy W. Beck
Dr. Suraj P. Bhat
Dr. Eileen E. Birch
Dr. Gunilla Haegerstrom-Portnoy
Dr. Barrett G. Haik
Dr. Lenworth N. Johnson
Dr. Todd P. Margolis
Dr. Earl L. Smith, III
Dr. Lois E. Smith
Dr. Mriganka Sur
Dr. Janey L. Wiggs
Dr. Marco A. Zarbin

COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT:

Dr. David E. Holck

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NEI STAFF PRESENT:

Ms. Louise M. Amburgey
Dr. Houmam Araj
Ms. Glory Baldwin
Dr. Brian P. Brooks
Dr. Deborah Carper
Dr. Hemin R. Chin
Ms. Janet L. Craigie
Dr. Mary Frances Cotch
Mr. William W. Darby
Mr. Michael P. Davis
Ms. Linda Dingle
Dr. Peter A. Dudley
Dr. Leon Ellwein
Mr. Donald F. Everett
Ms. Yemisi Faderin
Dr. Richard S. Fisher
Mr. Kenneth Frushour
Dr. Ralph J. Helmsen
Ms. Regina Horrigan
Dr. Chyren Hunter
Ms. Tina E. Jones
Mr. J. Kevin Keating

Dr. Natalie Kurinij
Ms. Marilyn Laurie
Dr. Ellen S. Liberman
Dr. Jack A. McLaughlin
Dr. Loré Anne McNicol
Dr. Sheldon S. Miller
Dr. Päivi H. Miskala
Dr. Michael D. Oberdorfer
Dr. Samuel C. Rawlings
Dr. Maryann Redford
Dr. Grace L. Shen
Dr. Annie E. Schaffner
Dr. Paul A. Sieving
Ms. Karen Robinson Smith
Ms. Sylvia Speight
Ms. Judith Stein
Mr. Arthur Stone
Ms. Karen R. Tolson
Dr. Santa Tumminia
Mr. John Whitaker

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OTHER NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH (NIH) STAFF PRESENT:

Neyal Ammary, Office of the Director (OD), NIH
Dr. Michael H. Chaitin, Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Dr. Christine Livingston, CSR
Dr. Christine Melchior, CSR
Dr. Margaret Snyder, Office of Extramural Research, OD, NIH
Dr. Jerome R. Wujek, CSR

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FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION REPRESENTATIVE PRESENT:

Dr. Wylie Chambers

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MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC PRESENT AT THE OPEN SESSION:

Ms. Joanne Angle, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
Dr. Mark A. Bullimore, Ohio State University (OSU)
Dr. Ione Fine, University of Southern California
Dr. Israel Goldberg, Health Research Associates
Mr. James Jorkasky, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR)
Ms. Lori Methia, ARVO
Dr. John Whitener, American Optometric Association
Dr. Karla Zadnik, OSU

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2005

OPEN PORTION OF THE MEETING

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CALL TO ORDER AND OPENING REMARKS

Dr. Paul A. Sieving, Director, NEI, and Chair of the Council welcomed Council members, staff, and guests to the one hundred eleventh session of the NAEC. Dr. Sieving noted that this is the last meeting for Council member Dr. Ruben Adler, and thanked him sincerely for his efforts in behalf of the NEI and of vision research. The success of NEI programs is in very large measure due to the willingness of Council members to spend many hours in preparation for our meetings and other activities, and also sacrifice their private interests to advise us on the planning and operation of our programs. Dr. Sieving presented Dr. Adler with a Certificate from the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as tokens from the NEI, in recognition of his Council service.

Dr. Sieving reported on recent NIH events, including the NIH Institute and Centers (IC) Directors’ budget summit, the steps being taken towards the development of the new Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives within the NIH OD; and his scientific presentation on vision research to the IC Directors. Dr. Sieving next described a recent NEI activity, a special symposium entitled “Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Complement Factor H”.

Dr. Sieving discussed the role of Council, stressing that Council serves as a Board of Directors providing advice regarding all aspects of the Institute’s business. He indicated that it is important to continue with portfolio analysis and to proceed with Phase II program planning. The Institute will continue to host small workgroups which can address the major agendas that impact on our science.

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NEI INTRAMURAL RESEARCH PROGRAM UPDATE

Dr. Sheldon Miller, NEI Scientific Director, gave an overview of recent activities in the Intramural Research Program (IRP). Dr. Miller reviewed the mission, organization, and budget of the IRP. The major scientific goals involve establishing new basic and clinical research initiatives in the areas of retinal vascular biology, genetics, and retinal neurodegenerative disease and therapeutic intervention. The IRP will emphasize multidisciplinary and translational research, provide exceptional training opportunities, leverage resources through trans-NIH initiatives, and create global scientific partnerships. Dr. Miller summarized recent progress towards these goals, which includes building scientific capacity, maximizing technological resources, and enhancing career development opportunities for IRP trainees.

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OPHTHALMIC GENETICS

Dr. Miller introduced Dr. Brian Brooks, a newly recruited investigator in the NEI IRP. Dr. Brooks is an M.D., Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Following his training, Dr. Brooks was an ophthalmology resident, and then a pediatric ophthalmology fellow, at the University of Michigan. He then took a clinical genetics fellowship at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and in 2004 became the first NIH Intramural Physician-Scientist Development Program Trainee. Dr. Brooks presented an overview of his research, which focuses on the genetics of ocular development, particularly the pathogenesis of uveal coloboma. His presentation was entitled “Mouse Pigment Mutants: What They Teach Us about Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome and Ocular Biology”.

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US-INDO COLLABORATION ON EXPANSION OF VISION RESEARCH UPDATE

Dr. Sieving introduced Dr. Leon Ellwein, the NEI Associate Director for Applications of Vision Research. Dr. Ellwein described the recent signing of a Statement of Intent between the US and the Republic of India, designed to expand our collaboration on vision research. This program is designed to facilitate access of US scientists to unique and expansive clinical resources in India; to facilitate access of Indian scientists to leading edge science and technology in the US; to increase funding for vision research in India; to leverage US funding through collaboration; and to centralize approval for Indo-US projects and biological material transfers. Dr. Ellwein reviewed the clinical resources available in India, the relative cost structures, the level of vision research activity in India, and the history of past collaborations. Dr. Ellwein indicated that ARVO will be a partner in establishing a series of workshops to allow US and Indian scientists to explore collaborative scientific opportunities. Council members indicated their enthusiasm for this program.

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EXTRAMURAL REPORT

Dr. Loré Anne McNicol, Director, Division of Extramural Research and Executive Secretary of the Council, provided an overview of recent extramural activities. She noted that three staff members had recently received significant awards. Dr. Chyren Hunter, Training Officer and Program Director for the areas of Oculomotor Systems and Retinal Neurosciences, received a $50,000 grant from the NIH Office of Evaluation in order to study the effectiveness of the NIH Jointly Sponsored Predoctoral Training Program in the Neurosciences. With the interest in multidisciplinary training through both the NIH Roadmap and Neurosciences Blueprint, it will be extremely useful to the entire NIH community to capture lessons learned from this program. Dr. Grace Shen, Program Director for Ocular Immunology, recently won an NIH OD Merit Honor Award for her work co-chairing a Council Operations Workgroup for the Extramural Program Management Committee. Dr. Shen’s particular contribution was the inspiration for and development of a web-based tool for comparing advisory council activities across the various NIH Institutes and Centers. This has already become an important management tool and resource for the entire NIH extramural community. Ms. Chris Davis, Grants Management Specialist, also received an NIH OD Merit Honor Award for her work on the Compliance, Education, and Review Team for the trans-NIH Grants Management Advisory Committee. Unfortunately, her valuable contributions were so widely recognized that she was recruited by the NHGRI. We will be recruiting a new staff member to replace her.

Dr. McNicol gave an update of the FY2005 extramural budget. She reminded members that funding actions for this fiscal year are not yet complete, so these numbers are still estimates. She reviewed the appropriations history, and provided projected numbers (295,) average total costs ($345,000), and success rate (26.0%) for competitive Research Project Grants. She described the increase in multiple application submissions by individual investigators, a trend which has generated a 48% increase in the number of applications reviewed over the past four Fiscal Years. She described NEI participation in two major trans-NIH programmatic initiatives, the Roadmap for Medical Research and the Neuroscience Blueprint. And she described three NEI special program initiatives, the National Ophthalmic Genotyping Network, Collaborative Studies on Angiogenesis and Diabetic Complications, and Non-Invasive Imaging for Diabetic Retinopathy.

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FUTURE COUNCIL MEETING DATES

Dr. McNicol noted that future meetings are scheduled for a day and a half, and asked that everyone keep those times free on his or her calendar. The table books list of dates which have been agreed upon:

January 19-20, 2006
June 8-9, 2006
September 14-15, 2006

She reminded members that at the next meeting in January we will determine Council meeting dates for calendar year 2007. Staff will identify possible times and ask that you come to the meeting with your personal calendars. In addition, on the day before the January meeting, we will hold another Council Orientation session for newly appointed members, as well as any experienced members who like to have a refresher.

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BUDGET OVERIEW

Dr. McNicol introduced the NEI Budget Officer, Marilyn Laurie. She provided a look at FY2006 budget updates. Over the summer, both the House and Senate provided a budget mark. The House mark was similar to the President’s budget, and gave the NEI a 0.7% increase. The Senate mark was a 3.7%. Ms. Laurie reviewed the details of the NEI President’s Budget and indicated that a Continuing Resolution is expected. She also presented an overview of the Barton Reauthorization Proposal. This would expand the authority of the NIH Director in order to fund portfolio management activities and cross-cutting initiatives; would consider allocating resources through “budget clusters” to ensure responsible budget planning; and would create a more transparent reporting system to track research progress in broad areas of interest rather than reporting on specific diseases.

Mr. James Jorkasky, Executive Director, NAEVR, summarized citizens’ activities regarding the FY2006 budget. He presented Council members with a briefing on NAEVR talking points on NIH Reauthorization legislation. These were presented during Capitol Hill visits this summer. NAEVR supported the Energy and Commerce Committee’s leadership in examining ways to modernize NIH management to most effectively and efficiently use federal research dollars. NAEVR supported the proposed changes to strengthen NIH transparency and to provide the NIH Director with greater authority for inter-disciplinary and collaborative activities. NAEVR opposed both the elimination of line item budgets for mission-specific ICs and any increase to the NIH Director’s transfer authority.

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LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM UPDATE

Dr. McNicol introduced the NEI Training Officer, Dr. Chyren Hunter, who administers the NEI Loan Repayment Programs. This is a mandatory trans-NIH program which awards contracts through a process which does not require Council review. Nevertheless, the NEI prefers to provide Council members with an annual overview of how the program is running and to solicit feedback and any suggestions regarding our performance.

Dr. Hunter reviewed the background for these programs, eligibility requirements, the nature of qualifying loans, review criteria, and the benefits provided. She described the history of the number of submitted and funded contracts for the past three years. She anticipated that the NEI will provide approximately $1.7M for these programs in FY2005. Council members indicated their enthusiasm for this program.

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TRANS-NIH MOUSE GENETICS PROJECTS OVERVIEW

Dr. McNicol introduced Dr. Hemin R. Chin, Director, NEI Ocular Genetics Program. His duties include responsibility for coordinating the extramural aspects of many trans-NIH genetics-based program initiatives and resources. He provided an overview of mouse genetics programs at the NIH. He indicated that mouse models provide an efficient means to identify and study genes and their associated cell biology, reveal physiological mechanisms, determine the function of modifier genes, understand the complex genetics of common diseases, identify the homologues of human genes and diseases, and perform pre-clinical testing of therapeutic strategies. He described NEI participation in four trans-NIH mouse genetics projects. 1.) The Mouse Genome Database employs different methods of mutagenesis and has developed 218 unique mouse models for eye defects. 2.) The ENU-Mutagenesis Project (ethyl-nitrosourea) is a chemical mutagenesis, phenotype-driven screening project to develop mouse models for neuroscience research. It is a cooperative agreement grant to three sites, The Jackson Laboratory, the Tennessee academic institution consortium, and Northwestern University. 3.) The Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas (GENSAT) is a contract to Rockefeller University to perform high throughput analysis of gene expression patterns in the mouse nervous system. 4.) The Knock Out Mouse Project (KOMP) is an initiative to prepare a comprehensive collection of null mutations. This would involve collecting existing knock out mice (repatriation), supporting a targeted project to complete the existing resource, and develop technology to improve and validate inbred cell lines.

NIH POLICY ON ENHANCING PUBLIC ACCESS TO ARCHIVED PUBLICATIONS RESULTING FROM NIH-FUNDED RESEARCH

Dr. McNicol reminded Council members of the NIH Public Access policy, which was initiated on May 2, 2005. Its purpose is to archive medical research results, advance science by providing scientists with an easier tool to mine research publications, permit the NIH to better manage its research investments, and to provide electronic access to the public. The policy strongly encourages all NIH-funded investigators to make peer-reviewed author’s final manuscripts available at the NIH National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Center 0-12 months after the final date of publication in a journal. The website for submission is http://nihms.nih.gov. Council members and their colleagues were urged to begin submissions to the site.

Dr. McNicol described how the PubMed Central site will be integrated with other NIH Information Technology systems. Starting on December 1, 2005, with the Small Business grants, the NIH will begin the transition to electronic submission of grant applications through Grants.gov using the Standard Form 424 (Research & Development). She provided the time line on which various grant mechanisms will undergo this transition, and urged members to be certain to update their eRA Commons accounts in order to be ready for eSubmission.

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INSTITUTE FOR LABORATORY ANIMAL RESEARCH (ILAR) REPORT UPDATE: ALLEVIATION OF PAIN AND DISTRESS IN LABORATORY ANIMALS

Dr. McNicol introduced Dr. Michael D. Oberdorfer, the senior program director for the NEI Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Visual Processing and the Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation Programs. He provided a brief summary of this upcoming ILAR workshop which the NEI is supporting. This meeting will include experts in animal stress, animal care, institutional animal care and use policies, and veterinary medicine. The goal of the workshop is to review recent research which provides a better understanding of stress and distress in laboratory animals, and to prepare updated educational materials for use by the scientific community.

NEW GUIDANCE ON RESEARCH INVOLVING CODED PRIVATE INFORMATION OR BIOLOGICAL SPECIMENS FROM THE OFFICE OF HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (OHRP)

Dr. Chin presented an overview of recent steps establishing new guidance on research involving coded private information or biological specimens. He indicated that the DHHS OHRP has established a website, http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/policy/cdebiol.pdf. This site reaffirms OHRP policy that research involving only coded private information or specimens is not human subjects research, and clarifies the distinctions that lead to this exemption. These new rules will facilitate genetic epidemiologic research and permit more efficient use of previously-collected research data. The NIH has posted additional material at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm

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FACILITIES TOUR

Following the lunch break, Council members were taken on a tour of the new NEI facilities at the Fishers Lane complex.

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GENERAL COUNCIL DISCUSSION

Council members initiated an open discussion regarding novel scientific opportunities, concerns about the academic environment that affect progress in vision research, and suggestions to the NEI regarding the management of Council. Members felt that the new Council Orientation briefing was very valuable and should become a regular annual session. They recommended strengthening the Orientation by introducing new members to the grant portfolios to which they will be assigned and by including a discussion of how resources are allocated among programs.

Members indicated that one barrier to research on chronic ocular diseases is the short time period available under certain grant mechanisms. They felt that pilot data is particularly difficult to obtain under a two year Clinical Study Planning Grant. Staff indicated that they would examine this concern.

Members suggested that the NEI reconsider the investigator-initiated approach to translational research such as clinical trials and consider more explicit planning that would identify and prioritize scientific opportunities. Dr. Sieving indicated that the NEI will be taking such an approach in the area of large-scale epidemiologic studies. The Institute will hold a symposium combining basic scientists with the clinical trialists in order to determine how to fund translational research in this area.

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CLOSED PORTION OF THE MEETING

The meeting was closed to the public at 3:30 pm, 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. Appendix2).

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CONFIDENTIALITY / AVOIDANCE OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Dr. McNicol reviewed policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and the 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 signed a statement certifying that they were absent during such discussions.

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REVIEW OF THE REPORT OF THE BOARD OF SCIENTIFIC COUNSELORS

REVIEW OF RESEARCH AND RESEARCH TRAINING APPLICATIONS

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.

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ADJOURNMENT

Dr. Sieving adjourned the meeting at 5:10 p.m.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2005

OPEN PORTION OF THE MEETING

LOW VISION AND BLINDNESS REHABILITATION PROGRAM (LVBR) PORTFOLIO ANALYSIS

PROCESS OVERVIEW

Dr. Sieving opened the meeting at 8:30 a.m. He reminded Council that the NEI was initiating a regular cycle of reviewing the individual NEI portfolios and asking members for their analysis. These activities will include scientific presentation(s) by members of the scientific community as well as an administrative description by the appropriate Program Director. Portfolio analysis is designed to provide an opportunity for self-assessment, to give Council members a broad over-view, and to set the frame for specific Council actions in the future.

Dr. McNicol indicated that members had been sent a package of summary materials regarding grants in the LVBR Program. This included a snapshot of grants funded in FY2004, the appropriate portion of the National Plan for Eye and Vision Research, a set of grant summaries which included the abstract and administrative information, a list of Special Funding Initiatives in the LVBR program from 1999 to the present, and a table of longitudinal data on grant numbers and dollars awarded.

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LOW-VISION READING: PSYCHOPHYSICAL AND fMRI STUDIES

Dr. Sieving introduced Dr. Gordon E. Legge, University of Minnesota, who presented recent research findings in this area.

Dr. Legge had observed that reading problems are what lead most patients to low vision clinics: the inability to read a newspaper at 40cm with best corrected vision. In developed countries, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common disease associated with reading dysfunction. Dr. Legge’s laboratory developed the Minnesota Reading Chart, a timed test with decreasing print size. Individuals show a “critical print size”, below which reading speed rapidly deteriorates. The problem is not magnification, but the “visual span”, the number of words an individual can screen in one scan. The visual profile drops off at the periphery, and AMD patients show decreased letter recognition per fixation.

Dr. Legge has taken two research directions to improve reading speed in patients with low vision. The first is a psychophysical approach to improve perceptual learning. With current efforts in the test situation, patients do improve and can transfer their learning to achieve a 40-80% increase in reading speed in a rehabilitation setting. Second, he has used fMRI to examine brain reorganization after vision loss. There did not seem to be significant retinoscopic reorganization in the early visual cortex, which may be absent or incomplete in people suffering with AMD.

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NEURAL AND BEHAVIORAL EFFECTS OF VISUAL DEPRIVATION

Dr. Sieving introduced Dr. Ione Fine, University of Southern California. Dr. Fine ascribed the impetus for her work to John Locke, “Essay Concerning Human Understanding”: Suppose a man born blind, and now adult, and taught by his touch to distinguish between a cube and a sphere…Suppose then…the blind man made to see…Query: whether by his sight, before he touched them, he could distinguish and tell which is the globe, which is the cube?” She has studied blind individuals given an implanted retinal prosthesis. The electrode thresholds decreased with time, as the surgery was optimized. These thresholds clearly depended upon charge density, not charge; and the thresholds increased with the height of the array. Six photons were sufficient to allow recognition of light; this is clearly not sufficient to stimulate retinal bipolar cells.

Dr. Fine has also performed psychophysical experiments on a subject blinded at age three who retained only light sensitivity. At age 43 he received a corneal epithelial stem cell replacement graft and was able to recover some higher function, such as visual recognition. Dr. Fine found that this subject did well with simple forms but had very weak responses to global forms. He lacked depth perception, and responded better to motion cues than to representational cues for shape recognition.

Dr. Fine summarized her work as defining two separate categories of individuals with visual deprivation. The “early blind” show severe degradation of normal visual processes, have large amounts of cross-modal plasticity, and are poor candidates for sight recovery. The “late blind” have little degradation of normal visual processes, show less cross-modal plasticity and are good candidates for sight recovery.

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CLOSED PORTION OF THE MEETING

The meeting was closed to the public at 10:30 a.m., 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. Appendix2).

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REVIEW OF RESEARCH AND RESEARCH TRAINING APPLICATIONS

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.

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OPEN PORTION OF THE MEETING

The meeting was open to the public at 10:45 a.m.

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NATIONAL EYE HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM (NEHEP) LOW VISION AND BLINDNESS REHABILITATION ACTIVITIES

Dr. Sieving introduced Ms. Judith Stein, Associate Director for Health Education and Communication. Ms. Stein gave an overview of several LVBR educational initiatives which are part of NEHEP. The goal of NEHEP is to ensure that vision is a public health priority through the translation of eye and vision research into public and professional education programs. To further this aim, NEHEP is a partnership between the government, professionals, and voluntary/non-profit agencies. Its programs are focused on diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and low vision.

Ms. Stein described the NEHEP Low Vision goal: to improve the quality of life for people age 65 and older who have decreased visual function that interferes with their activities of daily living. There are three strategies of the program. The first is a series of public media campaigns. These include both radio and TV public service announcements and print ads. The second is public and professional outreach activities, including multilingual versions of a low vision booklet and a low vision section on the NEI website. Third is a traveling exhibit for shopping centers, The Eye Site. During its 2001-2005 tour, The Eye Site reached 81 malls in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The exhibit had 37 million visitors and 60,000 publications were distributed during its tour.

Future new low vision activities will be centered on the Healthy People 2010 program. Objective 28-10 is Vision Rehabilitation, with goals to increase the use of vision rehabilitation services and to increase the use of adaptive devices by people with visual impairments. To meet these needs, NEHEP will participate in the 2007 follow-up National Health Interview Survey. The NEI has produced a booklet, “Educating Your Community about Vision Rehabilitation” and has developed a program of Community Awards to assist local groups in implementing low vision projects.

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LOW VISION AND BLINDNESS REHABILITATION PORTFOLIO OVERVIEW

Dr. Oberdorfer described the background and history of the LVBR program and provided data on its goals, funding, and research areas. In recent years the areas of assistive technologies and neuroscience research have shown a relative increase, while behavioral/cognitive research has decreased. The use of varied grant mechanisms has grown through time. Dr. Oberdorfer reviewed special funding initiatives over the past seven years and described a series of recruitment workshops that he and Dr. Legge have organized over the past two years. Dr. Oberdorfer indicated that he saw three emergent issues facing the LVBR program: the pipeline of new investigators, training of the next generation of low vision researchers, and peer review. He asked Council members to consider three questions. What is the role of neuroscience research in the LVBR program? What is the role of rehabilitation research in the LV program? And what can research in LVBR tell us about function and/or dysfunction of the visual system?

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GENERAL COUNCIL DISCUSSION

Council members expressed their enthusiasm for the scientific presentations and for Dr. Oberdorfer’s stewardship of the program. Dr. Sieving remarked that progress in LVBR will be essential for progress in gene therapy of children with retinal degenerative diseases. Dr. Legge responded that a good animal model of AMD would be particularly valuable for studying behavioral adaptations. Individual members expressed several comments and recommendations. These included: 1) exploring an increased emphasis of animal models; 2) linking studies on visual rehabilitation to work occurring in the stroke community on plasticity-based rehabilitation strategies; 3) using primate models to examine behavioral outputs from retinal lesions; 4) elaborating the differences between developmental degeneration/plasticity and the adult processes; 5) strengthening peer review of R01 applications in this area, where the community of expertise is small; 6) increasing the number of clinician scientists involved in the LVBR program; and 7)studying children with multiple sensory deficits, such as cortically-impaired premature babies

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ADJOURNMENT

Dr. Sieving adjourned the meeting at 11:45 a.m

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CERTIFICATION

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


Dr. Loré Anne McNicol, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary
National Advisory Eye Council
Director, Division of Extramural Research
National Eye Institute

Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair
National Advisory Eye Council
Director
National Eye Institute

These minutes have been submitted for the approval of the Council. All corrections or notations have been incorporated. A complete, printed copy of the Council minutes, including attachments, may be obtained from:

Ms. Janet L. Craigie
National Eye Institute
Suite 1300
5635 Fishers Lane, MSC 9300
Bethesda, MD 20892-9300
Telephone: (301) 451-2020
FAX: (301) 402-0528
E-mail: craigiej@nei.nih.gov

07/10/2006


Attachment A

NATIONAL ADVISORY EYE COUNCIL
NATIONAL EYE INSTITUTE

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ROSTER

(Terms end 11/30 of the designated year)

Ruben Adler, M.D. (05)
Department of Ophthalmology
Johns Hopkins University School Med.
Baltimore MD 21287-9257

Roy W. Beck, M.D., Ph. D. (06)
Jaeb Center for Health Research
Tampa FL 33647

Suraj P. Bhat, Ph.D. (06)
Department of Ophthalmology
Jules Stein Eye Institute
University of California
Los Angeles CA 90095-7000

Eileen E. Birch, Ph.D. (07)
Retina Foundation of the Southwest
Dallas TX 75231

Gunilla Haegerstrom-Portnoy
O.D., Ph.D. (05)
University of California
School of Optometry
Berkeley, CA 94720

Barrett G. Haik, M.D. (07)
Department of Ophthalmology
College of Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Ctr
Memphis, TN 38163

Lenworth N. Johnson, M.D. (08)
Professor of Ophthalmology & Neurology
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65212

Todd P. Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. (08)
Professor of Ophthalmology
Director, F. I. Proctor Foundation
San Francisco, CA 94122

Earl L. Smith, III, O.D., Ph.D. (08)
University of Houston
College of Optometry
Houston, TX 77204

Lois E. H. Smith, M.D., Ph.D. (06)
Department of Ophthalmology
Harvard Medical School
300 Longwood Ave
Boston MA 02115

Mriganka Sur, Ph.D. (07)
Department of Brain & Cognitive Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139

Janey L. Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D. (06)
Department of Ophthalmology
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Boston MA 02114

Department of Defense Representative
Lt. Col. David E. Holck M.D.
Chief, Reconstructive, Orbit, and Ocular Oncology Services
Wilford Hall Medical Center
Lackland Air Force Base, TX 78236

Department of Veterans Affairs Representative
Marco Z. Zarbin, M.D., Ph.D.
New Jersey Veterans Admin. Hospital
Newark, NJ 07103

Ex Officio Members
Mike Leavitt
Secretary
Department of Health & Human Services
Washington, DC 20201

Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
Director
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

Chair
Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D.
Director
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda MD 20892

Executive Secretary
Loré Anne McNicol, Ph.D.
Director
Division of Extramural Research
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892