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Meet Our 2018 Travel Award Recipients

Learn a little more about the 2018 NAVBO Travel Award Recipients

Members of the NAVBO Membership Committee are holding interviews with our recent travel award recipients to find out a little bit more about them, what brought them to NAVBO and what their future will bring.

Mabruka Alfaidi, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center


Mabruka stands with Drs. Masanori Aikawa and
Bill Muller as she is presented with her Travel
Award at Vascular Biology 2018

VB2018 14In a recent interview with Dr. Arif Yurdagul of the NAVBO Membership Committee, Mabruka shared some of her meeting experiences. 

How did you first learn about NAVBO?
I had originally wanted to attend the AHA meeting in 2014 to present my work outside the UK, but my mentor at the time, Dr. Sheila Francis, suggested that the NAVBO conference may be better-suited for what I wanted. Upon my abstract being selected to present an oral presentation, I’ve been a member since then.

Tell us about the research you presented and your mentor?
I was interested in different aspects of endothelial cell biology and when I attended NAVBO in 2014 I met Dr. Wayne Orr, who was investigating how endothelial cells responded to different types of shear stress. Along with Dr. Martin Schwartz, he defined how the extracellular matrix impacted proinflammatory responses and identified Pak and Nck as central players in these pathways-where Pak/Nck association promoted both NF-kB activation and endothelial cell permeability. We’ve since identified various roles for different Nck isoforms in response to shear stress in vitro and in vivo.

What was your favorite event at the meeting?
The nanotalks were by far my favorite event - even though the talks were about 5 minutes long, I was able to learn so much.

Did you meet any people at the meeting who influence your research?
I met Dr. Masanori Aikawa, I’ve always looked up to him. At my poster, I managed to talk and receive feedback from many scientists that have a great impact on my research, including Drs. Yun Fang, Filip Swirski, and Carlos Fernandez-Hernando.

What benefits did the travel award have for you?
The recognition was extremely positive. I received much more attention at my poster than I’ve had in previous meetings. Furthermore, because of the travel award, I'm now able to go to another meeting to further discuss my work. Without the NAVBO travel award, this would have been much more difficult.

What benefits can a trainee expect from attending NAVBO?
The culture that has been cultivated at NAVBO allows for great interactions between senior scientists and trainees, especially meetings at lunch and dinner times. The trainees get a lot of attention, which helps us move toward the next steps in our careers. In addition to attending meetings, I also feel like I contribute-something that has been very rewarding by having a one on one time during the poster sessions.

What future goals do you have for your work?
Build on the work I presented at the NAVBO meeting and publish the work. Also apply for different transition grants

And, how can NAVBO help you achieve these goals?
By presenting my work at the meeting, I received questions that I didn’t consider before - this has allowed me to substantiate some of the results I got. I’ve also received advice from senior investigators that has allowed me to better strategize my career plans.

Contributor:  Arif Yurdagul, Columbia University 
Published December 13, 2018 - NAVBO NewsBEAT

Thanh Theresa Dinh, Stanford University


Theresa stands with Drs. Masanori Aikawa and
Bill Muller as she is presented with her Travel
Award at Vascular Biology 2018

VB2018 15In a recent interview with Dr. Mary Wallingford of the NAVBO Membership Committee, Theresa shared some of her meeting experiences.

How did you first learn about NAVBO?
I first learned about NAVBO while looking for pertinent conferences in my field.

Tell us about the research you presented?
I am looking at the role of two transcription factors and how they act on the molecular level to modulate high endothelial cell identity,a specialized type of EC that is imperative for leukocyte trafficking.

How did your mentor facilitate this work?
My mentor supports me through guidance of my research, monetary assistance and is a sound board of my ideas and hypothesis.

What was your favorite event at the meeting?
The poster session.

Did you meet any people at the meeting who influence your research?
Yes, I was able to hear/meet Paul Kubes, Courtney Griffin, Karen Hirschi and William Muller. Courtney, especially, was able to give me insight on the academic process and being a mother while juggling her career.

What benefits did the travel award have for you?
It allowed me to attend the conference and listen to leaders of the field speak. In addition, I was able to present my research and get direct feedback on my work. All things I would not have been able to do had I not gotten the travel award.

What benefits can a trainee expect from attending NAVBO?
The opportunity to network and develop collaborations with other members in the field.

What future goals do you have for your work?
To publish in a high impact journal and obtain a faculty position!

And, how can NAVBO help you achieve these goals?
To provide more networking opportunities.

Contributor: Mary Wallingford, Tufts Medical Center
Published January 10, 2019 - NAVBO NewsBEAT

Tvisha Misra, Sickkids


Tvisha Misra

MisraTvishajpgIn a recent interview with Dr. Mary Wallingford of the NAVBO Membership Committee, Tvisha shared some of her meeting experiences.

How did you first learn about NAVBO?
I learned about NAVBO from word of mouth from colleagues and also from my mentor who encouraged me to attend and present my work and learn more about the field.

Tell us about the research you presented?
In the Scott lab I am looking at the role of ccm3in early development and disease. Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are focal dilations in the cerebral vasculature leading tohaemorrhaging, strokes and in extreme cases death. Of the three proteins associated with CCMs, CCM1/2/3, loss of CCM3, a highly conserved scaffold protein, leads to the most severe form of the disease. Though various models have been used to study endpointvascular defects, not much is known about the earliest cellular events which eventually lead to CCMs. We use the zebrafish as a vertebrate model to understand the role of Ccm3 in early vascular development and disease progression. I used CRISPR/CAS9 to generateand characterise vascular defects in ccm3mutant models. A lot of my work focuses on time lapse imaging of developing blood vessels in early embryos to characterise when and how the vascular defects arise. Ccm3 has no known enzymatic activity and isproposed to function as a scaffold protein. Our collaborators in the Gingras lab (author list from the abstract), conducted BioID to find interaction partners (the ‘interactome’) of Ccm3. We selected the strongest candidates to probe their role in vasculardevelopment through generating CRISPR/CAS9 mutants. I am, thus, establishing a model to study Ccm3 function in vivoover time, and, probing Ccm3 function and mechanism of action through understanding the role of its interaction partners in vascular development.

How did you mentor facilitate this work?
Dr Scott has always been very supportive of my choice of project and the methods I use to address my questions. He has always encouraged me to develop the projects in directions where my own interests lie and is always available for scientific input. He has also always encouraged me to attend various conferences and present my work to get as much exposure in the community as I want.

What was your favorite event at the meeting?
For me it was the lunch with PIs on day 2. Many times we do not get to interact with people who are not directly related to our own fields specially if we are presenters (posters give a bit more one on one interaction time, I suppose), and most interactions are limited to the science we present. An event like this gave us the chance to talk not just about our research and results but future prospects in academia and the individual PIs’ philosophies relates to various scientific careers and possibilities. As trainees looking to stay in an academic research environment such input is very useful. All the trainees I talked to also really enjoyed the lunch and we were hoping that we could have more such events in the future.

Did you meet any people at the meeting who influence your research?
Absolutely. Interestingly, during my journey from the airport to the resort I was assigned to a car with a group leader whose recent work relates directly with my current project and part of what I presented at the conference and I had a wonderful time discussing my results with him. Just after my talk I was approached by another group leader who talked in length to me about my work and gave his input on various aspects of my project. It was great to have these one on one discussions with various experts in the field.

What benefits did the travel award have for you?
As a postdoctoral fellow in my third year, I look for every opportunity to present my work and learn as much about the field as possible. Travel awards like these allow me to attend more such meetings than the usual limited funding would allow. Of course, such awards also contribute towards building my scientific portfolio for my future.

What benefits can a trainee expect from attending NAVBO and how can NAVBO help you achieve these goals??
Smaller, more specialized conferences such as NAVBO give trainees like us the opportunity to communicate with the leaders of our fields in a closer setting than what one experiences at bigger meetings. I really enjoyed talking to some members who had been attending the conference for many years and seeing the sense of community that has built up in that time. Everyone I talked to were very positive about their experiences and since I am interested in pursuing a career in basic research in an academic environment I look forward to attending more NAVBO conferences in the coming years.

What future goals do you have for your work?
My interest in the vascular system started with my work with drosophila tracheal development during my doctoral work, which I translated to studying the vascular system in fish for my postdoctoralproject. I am fascinated by the mechanisms that control vascular development and maintenance of proper cardio-vascular function, and the zebrafish, for me, provides a great model to study this using advanced genetic and microscopy techniques. I hope to continue to conduct such research in an academic environment in the future as well.

Tvisha's abstract:
Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are focal dilations in the cerebral vasculature leading to haemorrhaging, strokes and in extreme cases death. Of the three proteins associated withCCM, CCM1/2/3, loss of CCM3, a highly conserved scaffold protein, leads to the most severe form of the disease. Though various models have been used to study endpoint vascular defects, not much is known about the earliest cellular events which eventually leadto CCMs. We use the zebrafish as a vertebrate model to understand the role of Ccm3 in early vascular development and disease progression. With CRISPR/CAS9 we generated a ccm3a/bdouble mutant.ccm3a/b(-/-)embryos exhibit cardiac edemas,loss of blood flow, and embryonic lethality. Time lapse imaging was used to characterise defects in endothelial cell migration, lumen formation, blood flow, and membrane dynamics. To explore the mechanism of Ccm3 function, BioID was used to determine the potentialinteractome of Ccm3. Cellular Ccm3 resides mostly in the striatin interacting phosphatasesand kinase (STRIPAK) complex. We generated CRISPR/CAS9 mutants of these components of the STRIPAK complex, consisting of largely unstudiedgenes, to assess their role in vascular development and their relationship to Ccm3. CCM disease progression is strongly linked to RhoGTPase activity. We determined that unlike Ccm1/2, which act via Rho, Cdc42 is implicated in Ccm3 function: ccm3a/bKOembryos show aberrant Cdc42 activity and KO/KD of cdc42leads to transient cerebral haemorrhages in embryos. Altogether, we have established a model to study early changes in Ccm3 deficient endothelial cells and probe mechanisms of function of Ccm3 invivo.

Contributor: Mary Wallingford, Tufts Medical Center
Published January 10, 2019 - NAVBO NewsBEAT

2017 Business Meeting Minutes

Membership Business Meeting
October 18th, 2017-Monterey, CA

Dr. Jan Kitajewski, NAVBO Past President, called the meeting to order at 2:00p.m. Dr. Michelle Bendeck, University of Toronto, moved to approve the minutes from the 2016 meeting and it was seconded by Yun Fang, University of Chicago and all were in favor.

Dr. Kitajewski began by thanking all those that helped to make Vascular Biology 2017 a success and acknowledged supporters: NHLBI, Genentech, Regeneron, the University of Washington’s Department of Bioengineering and Science Signaling (AAAS). He also gave a special thanks to the University of Toronto and the Ted Rogers Heart Institute for providing additional travel awards in recognition of the 10th Anniversary of the Vascular Matrix Biology and Bioengineering Workshop.

He also thanked our exhibitors for their participation: Applied BioPhysics, Bio-Techne, Biometrology, VisualSonics, ibidi, Lonza and PromoCell.

Dr. Kitajewski mentioned that we are in the midst of a fantastic meeting, that he had heard wonderful feedback and he thanked the meeting organizers – Vicki Bautch and Brian Black for the Developmental Vascular Biology and Genetics Workshop and Drs. Jessica Wagenseil, Craig Simmons, Marlene Rabinovitch and Kayla Bayless for the Vascular Matrix Biology and Bioengineering Workshop. He also noted special sessions included in the program this year and thanked Juan Melero-Martin and Weilan Ye for organizing those sessions.

At this time, Dr. Kitajewski announced results of the vote that took place at the meeting via the event app. Dr. Courtney Griffin was elected as the Co-Organizer of the Developmental Vascular Biology and Genetics Workshop (working with Dr. Bautch) and Drs. Chris Breuer and Linda Demer will co-organize the Vascular Matrix Biology and Bioengineering Workshop (with Drs. Bayless and Rabinovitch). He thanked Drs. Bischoff, Chen and Rongish for their willingness to run.

The Meritorious Awards recipients were also acknowledged and everyone was encouraged to remain for their lectures, which followed the meeting. A list of the Travel Award recipients was displayed on the screen and we were reminded that they received their awards on Sunday evening. Dr. Kitajewski also thanked the NAVBO Council and informed the group that due to a family emergency, Dr. Giachelli had to leave the meeting suddenly. He thanked the NAVBO staff, Ms. Englert and Ms. Danielle Pinkel who work year round; Ms. Anita Pustelnik who has joined the staff recently and works exclusively with the Education Committee to further their initiatives and finally, Ms. Orth-Pallavicini was thanked for her work at the meeting as well as past meetings.

At this time in the program, Dr. Kitajewski asked Dr. Michelle Bendeck to come up and give a memorial for Elaine Raines. Many members of the group were aware of her passing in July. Dr. Bendeck in addition to her own testament, read Dr. Giachelli’s memoriam recognizing Dr. Raines’ very active participation within NAVBO over many years (councilor from 2007-2010; early editor of the Publications Alert; 2013-2015 Meritorious Awards Committee member; 2015-present, Chair of the Awards Committee) but spoke mostly of Dr. Raines as a role model for so many trainees at UW, who had carried on the legacy of the her mentor, Russell Ross; Dr. Giachelli was a long-time colleague of Dr. Raines and her passing left a great void in the Dept of Pathology at the University of Washington, but is also a great personal loss to Dr. Giachelli as well as many others in attendance. Dr. Bendeck noted that Dr. Raines was a role model for her when she was a postdoc at the University of Washington, she noted that at the time there were very few women in the field. She then asked for a moment of silence.

Since Dr. William Muller, Secretary-Treasurer, was not able to attend the meeting, Ms. Englert gave both the financial and membership reports. Overall Ms. Englert reported that NAVBO is financially sound. She pointed out that the profit in 2016 is a bit misleading since many of the speakers of the IVBM were not reimbursed for travel until after January 1, 2017. She added that most likely this will cause us to show a loss in 2017. However, she noted that the IVBM was a resounding success and that $50,000 of the profits has already been put aside to help fund the 2022 IVBM, which NAVBO will host. In addition, NAVBO plans to support eight travel awards at $1,200 each to the 2018 and 2020 IVBMs to support greater representation of North Americans at the European and Asian venues. She expects the 2017 meeting to break even. (Figures are available in the slideshow). Dr. Bautch noted that NAVBO also supports travel awards to certain Gordon Conferences.

The Membership Report showed an increase in membership in 2016, however, Ms. Englert attributed that to the IVBM. She reported that although the NAVBO membership sometimes spikes to almost 1,000, the sustained number is closer to 800, where approximately 500 are regular members and 300 are trainees.

Dr. Kitajewski acknowledged that there was a large number of attendees from overseas and thanked them for joining us. He noted that when the IVBM is held outside of North America there are not enough attendees from the US. He encouraged all to attend the 2018 IVBM in Helsinki in June.

Dr. Kitajewski named upcoming NAVBO meetings – Vasculata 2018 in St. Louis and added if any site were interested in hosting future NAVBO meetings to contact Ms. Englert. Vascular Biology 2018 will focus on Signaling and Inflammation and will be in a new site in Newport, RI. Lymphatic Forum 2019 is once again being co-sponsored with LE&RN and will be held in the Spring in Austin, TX.

He asked for a show of hands concerning the 2019 Vascular Biology meeting and if it should be held at Asilomar. The majority (60 out of 70) want it to return to Asilomar.

Dr. Bautch asked if NAVBO was still looking to do more meetings similar to the Lymphatic Forum. Dr. Kitajewski responded – yes! NAVBO will partnership with institutions to broaden our scope and help to bring more opportunities to our members.

In speaking about NAVBO’s initiatives in the past year, he mentioned the addition of the member-proposed session. He mentioned that we had a lot of great proposals and that NAVBO will continue this for future meetings. He encouraged members to submit a proposal for 2019.

Other notable initiatives include the addition of trainees to the Membership and Education Committees; several initiatives from the Education committee including a webinar series to start in early 2018; joining Research!America to advocate for science (here he noted that NAVBO may pass on email alerts to members for calls to action regarding policy that affects the NIH, etc.); and affiliation with a new journal, Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. He encouraged members to submit to two Research Topics sponsored by NAVBO – Vascular Calcification and Vascular Progenitors.

Dr. Kitajewski opened the meeting to questions and discussions from the members. Dr. Zorina Galis asked if members would have an interest in updates from NHLBI concerning funding opportunities. Dr. Kitajewski responded with a resounding Yes! Dr. Galis continued that she would be willing to bring people to the meeting to discuss training grants, etc. and that these could be incorporated into the meeting. She added that in 2018 there will be a bioinformatics boot camp at Vascular Biology, which will go over the resources and tools available, how to find them and use them. She added that there is also the project of Mapping the Human Body and encouraged the vascular biology community to apply and collaborate to map the vasculature within different organs. Dr. Kitajewski supported this idea, adding that input from the vascular community is needed for mapping the organs.

In closing, Dr. Kitajewski said that since many of the attendees were not at this business meeting, we would send out a poll concerning returning to Asilomar.

Dr. Kitajewski concluded the meeting by saying that it was an honor to serve as President and now Past President of NAVBO. He then asked the members to interact with the Council and to send them any ideas, etc., he added that the Council is here to respond to your needs. The meeting concluded at 2:30p.m.



Travel Awards to the Lymphatic Forum 2019

NAVBO and LE&RN, co-sponsors of the Lymphatic Forum 2019, will sponsor travel awards to this meeting.  The meeting is set to take place in Austin, Texas but a definite date and location have not been determined.  

Submit an Abstract


Vascular Biology

October 14-18, 2018
Gurney's Newport Resort and Marina, Newport, RI


Biology of Signaling in the Cardiovascular System Workshop V


Vascular Inflammation Workshop II

Late-breaking abstracts are being accepted now through September 10

Now Accepting Nano-Talk Submissions through September 14

Late breaking abstracts will be accepted for posters only and are not eligible for Travel Awards.

If you are a postdoctoral fellow, graduate student or equivalent, you can still be eligible for a Poster Award if you are a NAVBO Trainee Member.

When submitting your abstract, select only one of these three broad topics:
Biology of Signaling in the Cardiovascular System
Vascular Inflammation
Vascular Biology

Please follow the application rules included in the abstract submission guidelines.

You may submit more than one abstract, however, the same abstract may not be submitted to both workshops.

The organizers will attempt to program all submitted abstracts. NAVBO reserves the right to reject any
abstract. Authors should indicate their preference for either poster or oral presentation, however, due to the limited number of slots within oral sessions, most abstracts will be programmed for poster presentation.

  • Use Arial font, 10 point
  • Abstract titles are limited to 200 characters (including spaces)
  • Abstracts are limited to 1,750 characters (including spaces)
  • DO NOT include the title, authors or author affiliations in the body of the abstract
  • Enter each co-author into the database, be consistent with affiliations and include co-authors' emails, cities, states and countries
  • Additional instructions available here.

Please choose only one of these Topic Categories:

Biology of Signaling in the Cardiovascular System
Vascular Inflammation
Vascular Biology

Submit your abstract here

Now accepting Nano-Talk Submissions

If you have a great experiment or data that sheds light on a little understood area or illuminates a controversial area, AND it can be shown in 5 slides and 5 minutes, please consider participating in this session. This will be an exciting and fun opportunity to increase the exchange of ideas and concepts at VB2018!
To be selected to give a Nano-Talk:
1) Register to attend VB2018
2) Send your name, affiliation and presentation title to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
3)  include a five-slide pdf of your presentation. This pdf does not have to be the final version but we want to make sure you can present your "story" in 5 slides/5 minutes. This is critical so that the session finishes on time.
Speakers will be selected by a review committee.  We will accept no more than ten speakers for this session and submissions must be received by September 14.

Register for VB2018


Vascular Biology

October 14-18, 2018
Gurney's Newport Resort and Marina, Newport, RI


Biology of Signaling in the Cardiovascular System Workshop V


Vascular Inflammation Workshop II


Registration fees:


Regular registration: $555 (After August 15 - $625)

Trainee/Student Members: $400 (After August 15 - $450)


All non-members: $685*  (After August 15 - $755)

Regular registration covers NAVBO Regular and Emeritus Members.

Trainee Pre-Conference Meeting

All are welcome to attend the Pre-Conference Meeting organized and run by Trainees. There is an additional fee of $25 to attend.

BioInformatics Boot Camp
There is an additional fee to attend this NEW session. ($30 for trainees and $45 for faculty)

Please note that there will be a 3% surchage added for all credit card transactions (see more information about this below).  For wire transfers add $15 to your total payment.  


To register by check or offline, download the registration form - Registration Form

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations made, in writing, on or before September 15, 2018, will receive a refund less $100 processing fee. No refunds will be made after September 15.

Registration includes access to all sessions (except the Trainee Pre-Conference Meeting and Boot Camp), morning coffee breaks Monday through Thursday, a Welcome Reception (Sunday evening), lunch on Monday and poster session refreshments on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

*includes complimentary membership in NAVBO through December 31, 2018.  Join NAVBO and save on registration.

Please register by October 11
Onsite registration will be available with a $20 surcharge, but we prefer that you register by October 11.
Thank you.

If you prefer to pay with a check - complete and submit a paper registration form and mail it to:
18501 Kingshill Road
Germantown, MD 20874-2211

Download the Registration Form

Additional Information for International Travelers

For information about acquiring a visa please go here.


Vasculata 2018

July 23-26, 2018
St. Louis, MO

DAY 1 – July 23, 2018

7:00am -

   Registration - Pick up your badge and check-in
8:00am -
   Welcome and orientation

Blood Vessel Development

Chairs: Princess Imoukhuede, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and 
Kyunghee Choi, Washington University
Location: Connor Auditorium, Farrell Learning & Teaching Center, Floor 1

8:15 am  Kyunghee Choi, Washington University in St. Louis
     Early embryology and cell fate decisions leading to endothelial cell and hematopoietic cell emergence
8:55am Rong Wang, University of California, San Francisco
    Arterial and venous specification
9:35am Saulius Sumanas, Cincinnati Children's Hospital
    Transcriptional control of blood vessel development and patterning – lessons from zebrafish
10:15am   Break
10:45am David Ornitz, Washington University
    Growth factors in vascular development
11:25am Princess Imoukhoude, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
     Quantitative + Computational Biology of Angiogenesis
12:05pm Satish Srinivasan, Oklahoma Medical Research Center
    Lymphatic development and the development of valves in the lymphatic and venous vasculature
1:00pm Lunch (on your own)

ECM and Muscle in the Vessel Wall

Chair: Joshua Scallan, University of South Florida 
Location: Connor Auditorium, Farrell Learning & Teaching Center, Floor 1

2:45pm Carmen Halabi, Washington University
    The development and maintenance of arterial wall integrity
3:25pm Amber Stratman, NICHD/NIH
    Molecular basis of capillary tube assembly and pericyte-induced maturation
4:05pm Harald Laughlin, University of Missouri, Columbia
    Exercise-induced vessel remodeling and sources of phenotypic heterogeneity in the skeletal muscle arteriolar network
4:45pm Rusty Lansford, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
    Mechanical forces in development

DAY 2 – July 24, 2018

Core Physiology 

Chairs: Melody Swartz, University of Chicago and Michael Davis, University of Missouri
Location: Erlanger Auditorium, McDonnell Medical Sciences Bldg, Floor 1

8:30am Steve Segal, University of Missouri, Columbia
    Blood Flow Regulation
9:10am Michael J. Davis, University of Missouri, Columbia

Physiologic regulation of lymphatic transport

9:50am  Joshua Scallan, University of South Florida
    Permeability in the blood and lymphatic vasculature
10:30am Break  
11:00am Melody Swartz, University of Chicago
    The interstitial microenvironment
11:40am  Jessica Wagenseil, Washington University
    Vascular Mechanics
12:30pm  Poster Viewing and Lunch (provided) 

Cells of the Blood

Chairs: William A. Muller, Northwestern University and Luis Martinez-Lemus, University of Missouri
Location: Erlanger Auditorium, McDonnell Medical Sciences Bldg, Floor 1

1:45pm Allan Doctor, Washington University
    Endothelium ~ Red Cell interactions: role in normal vasoregulation and pathology
2:15pm William Muller, Northwestern University
    Leukocyte trafficking in the vasculature
2:45pm  Ching-Ling Lien, University of Southern California
    Coronary development
3:15pm  Shawn Bender, University of Missouri
    Coronary flow control in health in disease
3:45pm  Break  
4:15pm  Nathan Stitziel, Washington University
    Genetics and vascular disease
4:45pm Luis Martinez-Lemus, University of Missouri
    Aortic stiffness and vascular disease
5:15pm Andrea Bredemeyer, Washington University
    Macrophages in coronary development, physiology, and pathology

Day 3 - July 25, 2018  



From 7:30-9:30am
Location: Atrium, Farrell Learning & Teaching Center



  University of Missouri Workshops 
    Skeletal Muscle Microcirculation
    Isolated Vessels/Pressure Myography
    Permeability Assessments
  Washington University Workshops
    2-Photon Imaging of the Blood and Lymphatic Vasculature
    Embryoid Body Differentiation and Vascular Sprouting
    Mechanical Testing in the Vasculature

Cerebral Vasculature and Vascular Casting

    Single Nucleus RNA-seq of Mouse Aorta Workshop
    Metabolic Techniques in the Cardiovascular and Vascular Systems
    Noninvasive Imaging of the Vasculature using Quantitative Imaging Modalities
    Zebrafish Workshop
    Flow Cytometric Analysis of Leukocyte Popluations Isolated from Atherosclerotic Aorta
    Writing Workshop
Dinner at City Museum at 7:00pm

DAY 4 – July 26, 2018

The Vasculature in Disease

Chair: Brian Wong, Washington University
Location: Connor Auditorium, Farrell Learning & Teaching Center, Floor 1

8:00am  Peter Brooks, Maine Medical Center Research Institute
    The tumor vasculature
8:40am  Sarah England, Washington University
    Uterine vasculature and smooth muscle in normal and complicated pregnancy
9:20am  Lorin Olson, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
    Mesenchymal Stem Cells
10:00am  Benjamin Humphreys, Washington University
    Pericytes, injury and organ fibrosis
10:40am Break
11:10am Gwen Randolph, Washington University
    Immunology for the vascular biologist
11:50am  Annet Kirabo, Vanderbilt University
    Hypertension and its links to immunity
12:30pm  Colin Nichols, Washington University
    Potassium Channels and Vascular Disease
 1:10pm    Closing Remarks

NIH Extramural News - May/June 2017

May / June 2017

Open Mike

Following Up on Your Feedback on How to Strengthen the Biomedical Research Workforce

Posted on June 5, 2017 by Mike Lauer

We appreciate the many thoughtful comments posted to the blog about working together to improve NIH funding support for early- and mid-career investigators to stabilize the biomedical workforce and research enterprise using a measure called the Grant Support Index (GSI). Some clear themes have emerged, including: ….Continue reading

Getting to Know Federal Funders and their Research Interests

Posted on June 6, 2017 by Mike Lauer

Working with NIH applicants and awardees as an extramural program division director, I often shared the NIH RePORTER resource as a tool for exploring the research topics NIH supports. Learning what projects we support, using a robust database of historical and newly-funded projects (updated weekly), provides researchers valuable insight as they consider developing their own research programs and applications for funding. Another valuable tool which you might be familiar with is Federal RePORTER, which expands the RePORTER concept to support searching over 800,000 projects across 17 Federal research agencies, with trans-agency data updated annually. As Federal RePORTER recently received an update to introduce some new functions and additional agency data we’d like to highlight some of the ways it helps both the public and scientific researchers alike ….Continue reading

Top Stories

Issued Patent Citations Will Be Accepted As Post-Submission Application Materials

NIH recently updated its policy for what materials will be accepted as post-submission application materials. Beginning with applications submitted for due dates on or after September 25, 2017, citations of newly issued patents can be included in post-submission materials. The NIH post-submission materials policy allows grant applicants to submit limited information ….Continue reading

Spring Savings for NIH Seminar on Program Funding & Grants Administration Ends June 9!

If you missed joining 850 of your peers in New Orleans this May, don’t worry! You still have one more chance in 2017 to participate in the NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration, a unique opportunity to learn more about the NIH process and hear the latest policies directly from over 65 NIH & HHS experts. ….Continue reading

New Resources

Illustration of a person at a laptop looking at the NIH grants site//attachment.outlook.office.net/owa/This email address is being protected from spambots. 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New to the NIH grant process?Ever wish someone would explain and walk you through applying for NIH grants step by step? If so, we hope our newest resource will be the next best thing to joining you for an in-person lesson. ….Continue reading


You Ask, We Answer

What Are “Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” That Should Be Addressed In My Application’s Authentication Plan?

The quality of resources used to conduct research is critical to the ability to reproduce the results, so to address scientific rigor in your NIH application, we ask you to include an authentication plan. Key resources refer to established resources that will be used in the proposed research. Key biological and/or chemical resources include, but are not limited to, cell lines, specialty chemicals, antibodies and other biologics. Key biological and/or chemical resources may or may not have been generated with NIH funds and: ….Continue reading

What Kind of Information Should I Include in the “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” Attachment?

Applicants proposing to use established key biological and/or chemical resources are expected to include an authentication plan in the “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment, even if the key resources were purchased or obtained from an outside source that provided data on prior authentication. The authentication plan must include only a description of the methods proposed to authenticate key resources prior to use and at regular intervals, if appropriate. The plan should be no more than one page. Key resources and the methods for authentication will vary by research field. For example, ….Continue reading


July 18-19, 2017: NIH Hosts Policy Workshop on Biosafety and Emerging Technologies

NIH’s Office of Science Policy works across NIH and with external stakeholders to promote science, safety and ethics in biomedical technology assessment, biosafety, and biosecurity. In July, they will be hosting a workshop entitled NIH Guidelines: Honoring the Past, Charting the Future. ….Continue reading

NAVBO Member News

Member News

Originally published in the NAVBO NewsBEAT or NAVBO Newsletter

Mukesh Jain (from the August 17 NewsBEAT)


Mukesh K. Jain, MD, FAHA, a NAVBO member since 2007, has achieved membership in the National Academy of Medicine one of the nation’s most esteemed societies for health and medicine. National Academy of Medicine membership “recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.” Dr. Jain was among 70 new members and nine foreign associates of the 2016 class of the Academy, formerly the Institute of Medicine. Dr, Jain is the Ellery Sedgwick Jr. Chair, Professor of Medicine and Vice Dean for Medical Sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He serves also as Chief Scientific Officer of the Harrington Discovery Institute and the University Hospitals Health System and Chief Research Officer at the Harrington Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute. His laboratory has made discoveries of essential roles for the Krüppel-like factor gene family in immunity, metabolism and cardiovascular biology, a body of work that was recognized in 2015 by receipt of NAVBO’s Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. Congratulations, Dr. Jain!

Visit Dr. Jain's web page at https://physiology.case.edu//people/faculty/mukesh-k-jain/

Kazuyo Kegan (from the July 6 NewsBEAT)


Kazuyo Kegan, PhD,  Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, recently received a Proof of Concept grant from the American Thoracic Society (ATS)/Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA). The grant's target audience is investigators who are interested in early-stage pulmonary hypertension research.  Read more about Dr. Kegan's award at  https://phassociation.org/research/pharesearchprogram/proof-of-concept/proof-of-concept-winners/  

Visit Dr. Kegan's web page at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/3020428/kazuyo-yamaji-kegan

Ralf Adams (from the June 8 NewsBEAT)


The European Society for Microcirculation (ESM) presented Dr. Ralf Adams with its 2017 Malpighi Award, given in recognition of Dr. Adams's outstanding international reputation in microcirculation research. Professor Adams, of the Department of Tissue Morphogenesis in the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine and member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Münster, received the Malpighi Award medal at the ESM-EVBO 2017 Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, May 29-June 1, 2017. Congratulations, Dr. Adams!

Visit Dr. Adams's web page at http://www.mpi-muenster.mpg.de/96841/adams

Kari Alitalo (from the May 25 NewsBEAT)


The research of Dr. Kari Alitalo, Academy Professor in the Translational Cancer Biology Research Program at the University of Helsinki and one of the principal organizers of IVBM 2018, was prominently featured in a recent article in The Washington Post. The Post report explores implications of Dr. Alitalo's finding, together with Swiss and Norwegian collaborators, of evidence for an organized lymphatic system serving the brain. The description of lymphatic vessels by Dr. Alitalo and other scientists working independently in the U.S. has opened new avenues for exploring mechanisms of Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's Diseases, as well as other neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders.

Visit Dr. Alitalo's web page at http://research.med.helsinki.fi/cancerbio/alitalo/index.html

Mark Kahn (from the May 11 NewsBEAT)


Studies published in Nature by Mark Kahn and fellow researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Universities of Chicago, Utah, New Mexico, and California-San Francisco, and international collaborators in Australia, China, the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, were featured in a May 10 New York Times Health column by Gina Kolata. Dr. Kahn has been a NAVBO member since 2007, serving the organization as a member of the Meritorious Awards Committee, speaker at countless meetings and recipient of the Judah Folkman Award in 2013. The new studies identify activation of endothelial Toll-like receptor 4 by Gram-negative bacteria as a critical event in formation of cerebral cavernous malformations, a significant predisposing condition for stroke and seizure for which effective medical therapies are lacking. This finding reveals unexpected roles for the microbiome and innate immune signalling in the pathogenesis of a cerebrovascular disease, as well as suggesting novel strategies for its treatment.

Visit Dr. Kahn's web page at http://www.med.upenn.edu/kahnlab/

Klaus Ley (from the April 27 NewsBEAT)


Klaus Ley, M.D., has been selected as the 2017 winner of the Microcirculatory Society's Eugene M. Landis Award, in recognition of his pioneering work in vascular biology and the microcirculation. Dr. Ley presented the Landis Award Lecture on Leukocyte Integrin Activation on April 23, 2017, during the MCS Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology in Chicago. Dr. Ley has been a NAVBO member since 2005, serving the organization as President (2013-14), Secretary-Treasurer (2011-12), Chair of the Meritorious Awards Committee (2010-13), and Member of the Development Committee (2013-15); he organized the 2013 Vasculata and the 2014 Vascular Inflammation Workshop. Trained in medicine at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg, Germany, Dr. Ley was a postdoctoral researcher at the Freie Universität Berlin, to which he returned to after a short stint as a visiting research scientist at the University of California, San Diego. He joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1994, serving as director of the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center from 2001 until 2007. He joined La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology as Professor and founding Head of the Division of Inflammation Biology in 2007. Congratulations, Dr. Ley - NAVBO celebrates your achievement!                                 

Visit Dr. Ley's web page at http://www.lji.org/faculty-research/labs/ley/#overview

Brant Weinstein (from the April 13 NewsBEAT)


The research of Dr. Brant Weinstein, Senior Investigator at the NICHD and organizer of numerous NAVBO workshops, is featured in a recent news release from the NIH. Dr. Weinstein and his colleagues in the Section on Vertebrate Organogenesis have published in eLIFE findings in zebrafish that implicate a novel family of perivascular cells in creation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier. Intriguingly, these cells, which resemble perivascular macrophages or so-called 'Mato Cells' in mammals, appear to emerge by transdifferentiation from endothelium of the optic choroidal vascular plexus, and as such would represent the first described perivascular cell population in the brain derived from vascular endothelium.

Visit Dr. Weinstein's web page at http://uvo.nichd.nih.gov/


Lymphatic Forum 2019

Lymphatic Forum 2019
Exploring the Lymphatic Continuum

May 30-June 1, 2019
Austin, TX

 Austin at Evening

hosted by Texas A&M University, College Station, TX and
the Texas Lymphatic Consortium

Organizers are:
David Zawieja, Texas A&M University
Stanley Rockson, Stanford University
Jan Kitajewski, University of Illinois, Chicago


Preliminary Program

Sessions and Chairs:

Clinical/patient session Clinical Aspects of lymphatic pathologies and patient perspectives – S. Rockson (Stanford Univ.)
Lymphatic development and remodeling – M. Kahn (Univ. of Penn.)
Biomechanics of lymphatic structure & function - B. Dixon (Georgia Tech.)
Lymphatic muscle and lymph flow - M. Davis (Univ. of Missouri)
Novel insights on mechanisms of lymph transport - S. Chakraborty (Texas A&M Univ.)
Inflammation and the lymphatic-immune interface - G. Randolph (Washington Univ.)
Role of Lymphatics in infectious and parasitic diseases – T. Padera (Harvard)
Mixed vascular (lymphatic-venous) anomalies - P. Mortimer (Univ. of London)
Quantitative analysis of lymphatic structure & function -  J. Moore (Imperial College London)
Lymph Interstitial Fluid "omic" profiles in health and disease - L. Santambrogio (Albert Einstein Univ.)
Lymphatic tissue engineering, stem cells and nanoparticles - M. Swartz (Univ. of Chicago)


Plenary Talk
Poster Sessions

Great opportunities for Young Investigators 
Trainee/Young Investigators Session – Chairs and speakers will be selected from trainee/YI applicants
Trainee/Young Investigator NanoTalks – every session will have shorts talks by trainee/YI applicants


LERN Logo ColorNAVBO logo


Advocating for Science and Research Funding

NAVBO encourages you to advocate for science and research.  On this page, we will keep you informed of critical actions being taken that will impact the scientific community and actions you can take.  Through our membership with Research!America and other advocay sources, we hope to bring you up to date information.

Contacting Your Representatives Can Make a Difference for Science

If you are a U.S. citizen, let your U.S. representatives hear from you and encourage them to be advocating for science. There are many methods by which to reach out -  from attending meetings or personal visits to congressional offices, to doing something as simple as writing a postcard.  Be sure to reach out to your district and state representatives. Now, in addition to funding the NIH budget and other federal biomedical research budgets, scientists must clearly express how other policies impact scientific collaboration, a key component in the scientific process.

A report from United for Medical Research recently released a report on the impact of the NIH on US economy.  Download the report.

Here are links to organizations that encourage, support and aid science advocates:
Coalition for the Life Sciences
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

If you are aware  of other groups, please let us know and we will post them here (send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 


From Research!America
October 25, 2018

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
October 25, 2018

Dear Research Advocate,

Last week, the White House laid out its plan for all Cabinet departments to trim their proposed FY20 budgets by 5%. If, as anticipated, these cuts begin with the FY20 spending caps signed into law in 2011 (so-called ‘sequestration’), rather than actual FY19 budgets, the proposed cuts could be shockingly deep—in the 25% range. The potential impact on the NIH budget alone could be a cut of $9.77B, wiping out the increases of the last few years to the point of returning to 2013 funding levels and, when adjusting for inflation, 2001 spending power. Other agencies could take equivalent hits, compromising progress in achieving health goals and sending a clear message to young scientists: find another career.

The President’s budget, as clear as it may be as a statement of executive branch philosophy and priorities, is not binding. It is actually the new Congress that will write the final FY20 budget and determine whether our nation finally ends the twice-suspended excise tax on medical technologies. These are two of the many ways the midterms will influence the future of U.S. R&D. So who will be in the new Congress, with what research-relevant implications? Join the conversation at Research!America’s post-election briefing on Thursday, November 8, 2018 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. EST at AAAS (1200 New York Ave, NW in Washington, DC). Register here!

Yesterday, the President signed a sweeping, bipartisan opioid package containing dozens of initiatives, including ramped-up efforts to find non-addictive pain treatments. All hands are on deck—including the Department of Energy and the Department of Veterans Affairs, partnering on a project that is deploying a powerful supercomputer to better understand how genes, and networks of genes, may contribute to the risk for substance abuse.

A new research study from the RAND Corporation finds that adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes and more likely to increase their use of both products over time. This report comes on the heels of the FDA’s launch of “The Real Cost” Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign, which aims to educate adolescents, including the 10 million youth ages 12 to 17 who have or are open to using e-cigarettes, about their risks.

Addressing tobacco-related health risks and curbing opioid addiction speak to the diverse and complex challenges public health officials face every day. Please join us in raising awareness on Public Health Thank You Day, which will take place on November 19. Email Matt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to become a partner in this annual event.

A new Pew survey asks individuals to distinguish between factual and opinion statements. Overall, only 26% were able to correctly classify all factual statements as such, and 35% were able to accurately classify all opinion statements. Of interest is that younger people (ages 18-49) perform better than older (50+) at classifying both the factual (32% vs. 20%) and opinion (44% vs. 26%) statements. Clearly, though, these percentages are far, far too low.

Researchers and advocates can help improve these statistics by committing to public engagement, communicating what new scientific findings mean and what inferences can and cannot be drawn from them. Carrying a certain genetic marker, for example, may be just one of several factors that influence the risk of developing a particular disease. A compelling article from the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) offers a clear example of how science can be misinterpreted in a way that is both inaccurate and harmful, and why it is critical to clearly explain the promise and limitations of new research findings and methodologies.

Finally, as you ready your costumes for trick-or-treating, did you know that in 2017, Americans spent $9.1 billion on Halloween? That is enough to fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for almost 20 years! Our nation can afford more research for health; check out “Research Takes Cents” on our website for other eye-opening comparisons.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
September 5, 2018

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
September 5, 2018

Dear Research Advocate,

Research!America’s annual health research forum, “Straight Talk,” will kick off tomorrow, Thursday, September 6, at 10:15 AM EST at the Newseum in Washington, DC. I am sending this week’s letter a day early to ensure that you have the link to the livestream, since we are at full capacity in the room. Featuring HHS Secretary Alex Azar II and a host of other national leaders in the research and public health arenas, the goal of the forum is to foster candid discussion and seed new thinking around topics that are front and center in research and innovation. Be sure to listen in!

The House returned from August recess yesterday and opted to “fast-track” the Labor-H/Defense spending bills (inclusive of funding for NIH, CDC and AHRQ) by going to conference with the Senate-passed bills. However, it appears that the funding package for State-Foreign Ops/Homeland Security/CJS (where NSF is housed) is mired in controversies around the 2020 census and funding for the border wall. We’ve heard rumors that a CR (“flat-funding”) for these agencies will be rolled into the Labor-H/Defense minibus. Even a limited CR can seriously impact advances in science and innovation, particularly one in which NSF, NASA and other science agencies are affected. Please take a moment to tweet your congressional representatives on the importance of completing all FY19 appropriations on time.

There are many reasons for scientists to engage the public, but if the goal is to increase awareness and support, imparting knowledge may be less compelling than sparking curiosity. That’s the conclusion of a short essay in The Conversation last week. University of Pennsylvania Postdoctoral fellow Matthew Motta reviewed survey data to test this theory, which is supported by other social sciences research, as well. Motta concludes that sparking curiosity to overcome a ‘motivational deficit’ is more determinative of increased public support for science than is providing information to overcome a ‘knowledge deficit.’

Speaking of topics that engage feelings, I hope you’ll mark your calendars now for two upcoming alliance member meetings/calls. On Friday, September 14 at 11:00 AM EST we’ll convene with special guests Joel White and Catherine Pugh from the Health IT Coalition to discuss how to expand access to health data for research purposes. On Thursday, October 11 at 1:00 PM EST we’ll be joined by Rob Smith and Kim Monk of Capital Alpha Partners to review the Trump Administration’s drug pricing proposals, as well as those receiving the most attention in Congress. As usual, we’ll also discuss the state of play on appropriations and other research-relevant issues. More info on both meetings in next week’s letter.

This Friday, September 7, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is partnering with Stand Up To Cancer for its 2018 fundraising special. The telecast, which will begin at 8 PM EST and PST and 7 PM CST, will mark 10 years since the first telecast and showcase a decade of research achievements in the fight against cancer. More on the program can be found here.

AACR is extra-busy this time of year -- next week is the Rally for Medical Research, September 12 and 13. The Rally regularly attracts hundreds of advocates from across the country for meetings on Capitol Hill in support of increased funding for NIH. More info here.

Also coming up soon and also engaging -- on September 13 the annual Golden Goose Award Ceremony will be held. Countering the tendency of some members of Congress to malign research projects based on some “cosmetic” feature rather than their actual significance, these awards honor federally funded research that, at first blush, may seem frivolous, but is actually high impact. More info here.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
February 15, 2018

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
February 15, 2018

Dear Research Advocate,

I write tonight’s letter grieving for the Parkside, Florida victims’ families and all those touched by yesterday’s shooting. Americans should feel safe to gather at a concert, go to work, go to school, and live our lives without fear of gun violence. Sadly, as I have noted too many times before, (see this post-Las Vegas weekly letter and statement post Orlando), our nation’s leaders are failing to act. We urge that this time be different.

President Trump has decried the tragedy and announced a trip to Parkside. HHS Secretary Azar asserted before Congress that gun violence research will (finally) go forward again at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Surgeon General Jerome Adams is calling for a cross-sector effort to prevent gun violence. As advocates, our role is to ensure these statements translate into action.

The President’s Budget was released on Monday. Despite language suggesting alignment with last week’s bipartisan deal that raised the budget caps, the president’s proposal instead backtracks, funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) at FY17 levels, dramatically underfunding the CDC (see the relevant editorial from today’s Post and Courier), and neglecting other key health and science agencies. Further, the Administration proposes incorporating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and several other HHS agencies into NIH, the reasoning behind these changes unclear and the funding insufficient.

When it comes to AHRQ, as I argued in an interview with The Scientist, the proposed organizational change will not help combat our nation’s health and fiscal challenges. If AHRQ were funded at three times its current budget, that would only amount to $3.00 per American per year to identify much needed ways to fix our broken health care delivery system. You can read more in Research!America’s statement on the budget.

One positive element of the president’s proposal is support for heightening the nation’s efforts to address opioid addiction and unmet mental health needs. On this point, he is aligned with public demand and the intent of the Congress. Another bright spot is a robust increase for systems improvements at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As is the norm in recent years, the president’s budget includes a variety of legislative proposals outside the appropriations arena. Among them are several that target federal prescription drug spending. As is also typical of recent budgets, these proposals are extreme in nature (e.g. one-drug-per-class formularies), and are unlikely to gain traction in Congress.

While informative as a statement of Administration priorities, the president’s budget is a proposal, not a mandate. Congress can (and typically does) go its own way.

Research!America sent a letter this week to congressional and appropriations committee leaders thanking them for raising the budget caps and urging them to deploy the resulting funding flexibility in FY18 to speed medical and public health progress. And, consistent with our joint #Raisethecaps ad campaign, we organized a letter from the CEOs of 25 prominent science organizations making the case for greater federal investment in R&D across all the agencies that support and conduct it. Take a moment to reinforce either or both of these complementary asks, using these editable emails.

Today we held a Research!America alliance member meeting to discuss the president’s FY19 budget and other salient advocacy topics. A thank you to special guests from PCORI Greg Martin and Andrew Hu, who provided a terrific overview of the Institute’s exciting work. Alliance members will receive a recap of the meeting shortly.

President’s Day is coming up on Monday. One of those we honor is President Abraham Lincoln, who famously commented that “public sentiment is everything; without it, nothing is possible; with it, anything is possible.” Support for science, like all else, depends upon the good opinion of the public. A new report from the American Academies of Arts and Sciences reviews the current state of public perception. It’s mixed news; check out the findings here.

Please join us as Research!America invites our member organizations to join the Board of Directors for our 2018 Annual Meeting and luncheon on Wednesday, March 14, noon–2:00 p.m. ET in Washington, D.C. The meeting will feature a keynote address by House Science Committee Ranking Member, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and a panel discussion on the latest developments in mental health research.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
January 25, 2018

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
January 25, 2018

Dear Research Advocate,

Wake-up news this week: the U.S. has dropped out of the top ten on the list of “innovative countries” (see Bloomberg Innovation Index.) Also: for the first time, China is producing more scientific publications than the U.S. and recently released data from the National Science Board indicate that China is on track to overtake the U.S. in government investment in science research and development in two years or less.

Meanwhile, among budget priorities, U.S. investment in R&D is treated like an afterthought -- with a broken budget system to boot. The fact that critically important government functions are in a “state of suspended animation,” as Ellie put it in a recent Hill article, is an excellent reason to speak out if you have not yet done so, and to speak out again, if you already have (our “How to be an Advocate” page can show you how.)

Here’s a recap of the state of play: the current continuing resolution (CR) flat funds the government until February 8. (Thanks to advocacy, the CR does suspend the medical device tax - a welcome development.) To prevent another shutdown, Congress must either pass another temporary CR or a final budget. In addition to the enormous immigration issues at stake, the debt ceiling showdown may be thrown into the mix as budget decisions are made. So what’s the most likely scenario? My admittedly murky crystal ball predicts that Congress will pass a fifth temporary CR that will raise the caps and increase the debt ceiling, paving the way, finally, for a final FY18 budget. This would be progress, if not yet a resolution.

The Senate has confirmed Alex Azar to become the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. As I mentioned in a previous letter, the new Secretary will be under pressure to address drug prices. If that’s the goal, the best path entails maximizing the return on the health care dollars we spend and defeating the diseases that drive that spending. There is no room anywhere in the healthcare continuum for bad actors who price gouge or in other ways cheat patients and taxpayers, but there is far more room for seeding and incentivizing life- and cost-saving medical (and health care!) innovation.

President Trump has extended the declaration establishing the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency, through April 23. The declaration, however, is not nearly enough. Each day, 116 Americans die from their addiction. Journalist Sam Quinones’ exceptional written testimony to the Senate HELP Committee highlights some of the actions that must be taken to address this crisis, including greater investment in addiction and pain research and expanding the use of medically assisted treatments. As we argue in a January 24 letter to President Trump and congressional leadership, research gaps are a major obstacle to actionable solutions. Consult our opioid addiction fact sheet for more information on the scope of this crisis and the power of research to play a big role in facing it down.

Back to the wake-up call. Is there anything scientists can do to ensure policymakers answer that call? It starts with public engagement! Last week, I visited Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, SD, and the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). What these research institutions have in common includes partnership with Research!America, a track record of excellence in the conduct of innovative research and strong, effective public outreach programs that touch residents of their states in many ways, building relationships, a talent pipeline, and public support for medical and health research.

A researcher at JABSOM told me me he believes his outreach to the non-science public, including elected officials, is a sort of scientific civic responsibility, ‘like jury duty.’ If a K-12 teacher in Hawaii requests a visit for their class or a speaker, JABSOM meets every request. In South Dakota and adjoining states, Sanford delivers quality public outreach, with an extraordinary PROMISE program for K-12 and additional programs for the general public. Their innovative CoRDS program is a rapidly growing international patient registry for all rare diseases.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
January 18, 2018

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
January 18, 2018

Dear Research Advocate,

It’s “deja vu all over again” -- the current continuing resolution (CR) is set to expire tomorrow (January 19) at midnight. It may go to the wire, but Congress will likely pass a fourth CR to keep the government running until February 16.

Last year, CRs dragged on and on until May 5! These serial deadlines are increasingly used as leverage by both sides of the aisle to push for legislative priorities, and thus it is increasingly difficult to pass a budget in a timely fashion. Still, a CR is far, far better than a government shutdown, which shortchanges the American public in many ways and can trigger serious and long-lasting effects on public health. Here is a good review of the budget state of play (at least as of this writing) and the implications of a shutdown.

The pending CR includes another two-year suspension of the medical device tax (repeal is still the goal, but a pause is important), as well as additional funding for CHIP and several other key public health programs (thankfully, not paid for by raiding the Prevention and Public Health Fund). However, the bill neither raises the budget caps, nor shores up science funding.Thus the drumbeat of the #RaisetheCaps advocacy and grassroots campaign continues.

The #RaisetheCaps campaign has driven huge social media engagement, with over 1 million impressions on Twitter alone on the first day of the initiative. I remain confident that if stakeholders continue to push for a budget deal that raises the caps, a deal will be struck. The most likely scenario is that higher spending levels will be incorporated into an omnibus bill that is signed into law before the next CR expires. Check out our letter to Congressional Appropriations Leadership reinforcing our agency funding requests for FY18.

It was not so long ago that fighting for higher caps was considered ambitious at best, a fool’s errand at worst. Now policymakers on both sides of the aisle are treating it as unfinished business. Our collective efforts have helped evolve those dynamics. Research!America’s VP of Communications Suzanne Ffolkes addressed the need for heightened advocacy in a relevant Chemical and Engineering News piece. We applaud the work of our advocacy partners, including Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation President Claire Pomeroy’s op-ed on the power of medical research.

Speaking of the power of research, we’re honored to announce that Dr. Atul Gawande, renowned surgeon, public health researcher and prolific author, whose work has vastly lifted the profile of health systems research, will receive the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 14. He joins a stellar group of honorees, including former Congressman John Edward Porter. John’s leadership in advocacy for medical, health and scientific research has fueled progress to the profound benefit of patients, their loved ones, and us all. For more details about the event and honorees, please visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards.

Uncertainty continues regarding changes to the Common Rule, which provides protection of human volunteers participating in research. The regulation effectuating these changes was put on hold during a government wide review of all federal regulatory policies. Subsequently, a number of stakeholders requested a delay in the compliance date to permit the necessary systems changes. There is more to this story, but the bottom line is the Trump Administration delayed both the effective date and the compliance date by six months. There is a possibility that the Administration will pursue additional or different changes to the Common Rule during this period of time, but our understanding is that major revisions are unlikely. Research!America alliance member, the American Medical Informatics Association, released a press statement providing a valuable summary of key changes in the rule. We will continue to monitor developments closely and keep you updated.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
December 7, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
December 7, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Today the House and Senate passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to flat-fund the government through December 22. Congressional leaders hope this stop-gap will buy them enough time to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal that raises the Defense and non-Defense (NDD) spending caps. If the budget deal (#RaisetheCaps) is finalized by the 22nd, Congress may well pass yet another short-term CR to allow a month or two to complete an FY18 omnibus spending bill based on the new, higher funding levels.

Continued momentum behind a budget deal is definitely good news, but momentum can wane; here is a new resource, culled from our state-by-state fact sheet series, that provides local examples of research need. How about making use of it to email or Tweet your representatives in Congress in support of a budget deal?

What isn’t good news is the ongoing reliance on CRs, rather than regular order, to keep the government running. One of the many reasons CRs are a bad way of doing business, particularly for grant-making agencies like NIH, AHRQ and NSF, is that they don’t just prevent budget increases (or decreases or re-allocations), they typically bar federal agencies from initiating new activities, even if doing so is the most strategic, pragmatic and cost-efficient path. In the case of NIH, for example, innovative new and promising grant proposals are in limbo, even as scientific opportunity emerges and public health issues shift. Marking time instead of making use of it to advance the best interests of Americans is an egregious form of government waste. (Learn more about CRs here.)

On to the tax package and thus to the rumor mill, which has it that the House-Senate compromise bill or “conference report” will look more like the Senate than the House version of tax reform. As the conferees continue their work, we thought it might be useful to provide a comparison of the two bills, focusing on provisions alliance members have contacted us about. Here’s a side-by-side of those provisions.

Taxation of graduate tuition waivers and other provisions related to higher education appear in the House bill only. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) is leading a congressional sign-on letter for the House and Senate in opposition to the tuition waiver provision. I encourage you to personalize and send this email to your representatives urging them to join the letter, and/or call their offices first thing in the morning to make the case! The deadline for signing on is tomorrow, December 8th at noon EST, so the sooner you weigh in, the better!

This story about Prathik Naidu, a Stanford freshman selected to present at the Nobel Awards program this weekend, connects to heart and mind about why it’s important not to change the tax code in ways that could block the path to STEM careers for so many young people like Prathik. Squandering young talent, passion, curiosity and determination is too high a price to pay for a nation committed to security, health, prosperity and global leadership.

The medical device tax repeal is not part of the tax reform package, but Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) is reportedly working on a separate, bipartisan agreement that could include another two-year suspension of the medical device tax. A repeal is better than a pause, but a pause is far better than a reinstatement of this counterproductive tax. Write your representatives and ask them to act this year to stop the tax.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
November 30, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
November 30, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Congressional leaders have reportedly negotiated a new, two-year budget deal with the White House that would raise the non-defense budget cap by about $37 billion and the defense cap by about $54 billion in FY18, and raise the FY19 caps by the same amounts. With the current continuing resolution (CR) expiring next Friday, December 8, another CR seems all but certain. The question remains whether congressional leaders will: 1) use this CR to give themselves an extra week or two to finish up negotiations on a budget deal and a subsequent omnibus package, or 2) settle on a longer CR that delays budget decisions until January, February or even later next year. A third option -- an unlikely one, thankfully -- is to do nothing and trigger a government shutdown.

The longer the delay in securing a final FY18 appropriations bill, the more our scientific infrastructure suffers as planning and budgeting for the unknown create more and more inefficiencies and waste. Members of Congress must hear from constituents that a deal is of immediate importance to the people they serve. Please take time now to visit our #RaiseTheCaps page to email, call and tweet your members of Congress; and share the page with your friends, family and social media followers.

While we have been pulling all the advocacy levers we can to urge Congress to #RaiseTheCaps, that is not the only high priority item on our year-end advocacy to-do list. Also of importance is repeal of the medical device excise tax, which is set to return in full force on January 1. While it is not included in broader tax reform, congressional leaders are considering attaching the medical device tax repeal to insurance market stabilization legislation or another legislative vehicle likely to receive a vote before year-end.

“The device tax selectively disincentivizes investment in new medical devices,” Ellie Dehoney, VP of Policy and Advocacy, explains in a Morning Consult op-ed, “It is easy to undervalue research and development because it creates potential, not certainty. R&D is not a bird in the hand. But R&D, including the R&D behind new medical devices, gives a fighting chance to [those] facing life-threatening diseases. We undervalue it at their peril.” Weigh in on this issue with your representatives in Congress!

When you boil it down to the basics, it is counterproductive to target a tax such that it discourages activity beneficial to our nation, whether that activity is R&D or higher education. A provision in the House tax reform package would treat graduate school tuition waivers as income. As MIT economics Ph.D. candidate Ryan Hill explains in a recent op-ed, “when the government taxes a good, service or activity, the economy will produce less of it.” Disincentivizing graduate education as countries like China foster it is more than shortsighted, it’s self-destructive. We signed on to a letter spearheaded by AAAS in opposition to the waiver provision; more from AAAS here.

In case you missed statements made by iconic public health leaders like Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Dr. Georges Benjamin last week for Public Health Thank You Day, we have compiled the full list of quotes. Additionally, we are pleased to share this statement for the record Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) submitted in honor of Public Health Thank You Day. Thanks again (there are never too many!) to our public health workforce, and to all those who joined us last week in celebrating their contribution.

Research!America, in partnership with the Society for Neuroscience, is hosting a webinar, Leveraging Public Opinion in Support of Science, next Monday, December 4, at 1:00 pm EST. The first in a series, this session will discuss public opinion surveys, describe messaging techniques, and draw on experience in crafting compelling narratives. Dr. Christopher Volpe, Executive Director of ScienceCounts, and Dr. Navneet Matharu, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California San Francisco will join me for this discussion. I hope you will, too! Register here.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
SeptNovember 16, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
November 16, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Yesterday, a high energy discussion on Advocating for Basic Science in a Disease-Focused World once again revealed the strong appetite for advocacy among scientists, and young scientists in particular. The audience resonated with my point that “you can’t outsource advocacy,” and many were inspired to tweet on the spot.

In case you doubt the impact of scientists engaging in advocacy, consider this: Research!America’s Board Chair, former Congressman (R-DE) and Governor Mike Castle, was recently interviewed by the Society for Neuroscience: “Scientists deepened my understanding of the promise of embryonic stem cell research during a time when there was huge opposition in Congress and the White House for federal support of such research. This interaction led to the development of bipartisan legislation introduced by me and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) in 2005 that expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.”

To drive more bipartisan support for science, and in the process give scientists and friends of science a way to engage in timely advocacy, Research!America and many partners across the broad science community teamed up on a joint print and digital ad campaign to urge Congress to pass a deal that raises the budget caps. The ads were published this week in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard, Politico, and other media outlets. The ads make science much more visible and top of mind as congress weighs key public priorities.

Complementing the #RaisetheCaps ad campaign is a letter making the case for a budget deal from the leaders of science-focused organizations to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his counterparts in congressional leadership. The campaign may be getting the attention of decision-makers: according to an article in The Hill today, there is growing support for a two-year budget deal to raise the caps! Research!America has also made the case in an op-ed in the Huffington Post and an LTE in the St. Louis Post Dispatch; and our partners are active on social media. There is so much power in numbers -- please do your part by taking action now.

Today, the House passed its tax package largely along party lines (227-205); the plan is for the Senate Finance Committee’s tax package to be on floor after Thanksgiving. Research!America signed on to a letter led by AAAS expressing our concern about provisions in the House bill that would have a negative impact on academic researchers, and by extension, on science and all of us. Earlier today, Research!America held a special alliance members meeting with tax experts Robert Bradner, Nicole Elliott and Kathleen Nilles from Holland & Knight to discuss the House and Senate bills and their possible impact on many aspects of R&D. We’ll send a recap shortly!

Tax reform will surely impact future R&D investments. Where those investments stand now, and insights on trends, are addressed in our just-released annual Investment Report. Despite an uptick across sectors, investments in research have been essentially stagnant when viewed as a percentage of total U.S. health spending. Medical and health R&D accounts for less than 5 cents of each health dollar. If we expect to make progress in finding solutions to a growing list of challenges to health and our economy, we have to do better than that. Read more in the new report.

We hosted a stellar briefing on Capitol Hill yesterday, showcasing the power of a well-functioning research continuum working to address Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and underscoring that this high burden, high cost illness simply does not receive the attention it deserves and requires. The briefing was followed by an opportunity for the audience to engage in an exercise (literally) that imparts a sense of what it is like to live with COPD. It proved a powerful awareness and advocacy tool.

Another health threat that receives less attention than it calls for is antibiotic resistance. The White House has announced a renewed commitment to implementing the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. We will soon release (and will share here) a factsheet on this challenge, which poses a significant threat to our children and future generations.

Please join us on social media for Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD) this coming Monday, November 20th. The outpouring of enthusiasm we’ve witnessed in the four week run up is a preview to what we anticipate on PHTYD: thousands of kudos delivered to the men and women who underpin our nation’s health security. The bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Public Health Caucus, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Kay Granger (R-TX), Gene Green (D-TX), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), have introduced a PHTYD resolution. Please urge your Representatives to cosponsor by contacting Rep. McGovern’s office at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
November 2017

This is the time for all hands on deck advocacy to assure that the draconian caps on federal discretionary spending are lifted. “Sequestration” budget caps established under the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) will come back into full force after a partial, two year reprieve. If Congress does not lift the spending caps again, science is in trouble. And that means finding solutions to what ails us, which are dependent on research and innovation, is also in trouble. Our initiative to raise the caps is designed to give you advocacy tools to weigh in with members of Congress to help guarantee they are hearing from their constituents that the status quo is in fact not okay. Read more.


From Research!America
September 21, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
September 21, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Last Friday, I attended the 2017 Lasker Awards luncheon. The awards program honors the legacy of Mary Lasker, who once crisply noted: “If you think research is expensive, try disease!” I was struck by Lasker Laureate John Schiller’s provocative observation in his acceptance remarks that ensuring the “nurturing stream” of a robust science infrastructure may be more important than celebrating outstanding individual scientists. I take his point and am glad there is room to celebrate both, and it is certainly true to Mary Lasker’s legacy that our community advocates for both -- for the institutions and policies and funding that make science possible, and for the individuals and partnerships that work to give us all better health and quality of life.

One way Research!America drives advocacy is through our public opinion surveys. In a recent survey, we noted that ‘lack of trust’ has become less of a barrier to clinical trial participation, particularly among minority populations. Also, majorities of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and non-Hispanic whites say they would participate in a trial if recommended by their doctor. We must work together to build even more trust and help drive participation in clinical trials among all segments of the population.

An advocate’s work is never done! Despite its proven return to members of our military, their families (who in a very real sense are also members of our military), and taxpayers across the nation, medical research conducted through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD) has been placed at risk by the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Blunt (R-MO) attempted, but were unable, to block Senator McCain (R-AZ) on this point. A final bill still needs to be conferenced (negotiated) with the House. We need all hands on deck to convince the appointed negotiators or “conferees” to reject the damaging restrictions in the Senate legislation when they craft the final bill. Check out next week’s message for a letter template; we hope you will make use of it to help protect life-saving research!

Very much in the news, the Senate HELP Committee has abandoned an effort to craft a bipartisan bill that would shore up the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the chances are growing that the controversial “Cassidy-Graham” replacement bill will secure enough Republican votes to pass Congress. Cassidy-Graham is controversial for a number of reasons, one of which is that it would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). Research!America sent a letter to Senate leadership reiterating our opposition to ending this common sense fund. With hurricane season and its numerous public health challenges upon us, it makes far more sense to increase the PPHF than to even contemplate -- much less pursue -- its elimination. Use this 2017 action alert to make your voice heard.

Two good reads: FBR President Matthew Bailey’s Wall Street Journal article on the importance of animal research, framed from the vantage point of pet owners, and an article about speeding medical progress by Dr. Mikael Dolsten, President of Worldwide Research & Development at Pfizer. Dr. Dolsten shares how he has been inspired by the Biden Cancer Moonshot’s goal to achieve ten years of progress in five. Dolsten writes, “In that spirit, I am challenging us all to think about what a decade’s worth of progress in half the time could mean – not just in cancer research, but in battling every single disease that’s plaguing society, and devastating patients and families around the world.” It is a worthy goal; accomplishing it means we all need to push for eliminating barriers to progress and raising more voices and more resources to support research and innovation.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
September 6, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley 
September 6, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Earlier today, the Senate Labor-H Appropriations Subcommittee, the jurisdiction of which includes NIH, CDC and AHRQ, passed their FY18 bill out of subcommittee, to be considered by the full committee tomorrow. For the third year in a row, Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) put together a bipartisan bill, and despite difficult budgetary conditions, included a $2 billion increase for NIH. We are hopeful for good news about CDC and AHRQ, too, but we must wait for the bill text to be released to know for sure. Stay tuned.

We truly appreciate the Subcommittee’s ongoing support for NIH. Unfortunately, we have more work to do. All of the appropriations bills making their way through the House and Senate are premised on achieving some kind of budget deal. (The House bills assume a ‘cap-busting’ overall defense budget, and the Senate bills bust both defense and nondefense caps.)

If signed into law without a deal to raise the caps, these appropriations bills would trigger a “sequestration” (in this context, “sequestration” means an across-the-board budget cut. The term is also used to signify a reduction in the budget caps...believe me, I know how confusing this is.) The bottom line is that without a bipartisan budget deal, science funding will at best stagnate, and could well shrink. We can't let that happen.

Congress and the President are reportedly coalescing around the idea of adding a short term continuing resolution (CR) and debt ceiling relief to the Hurricane Harvey emergency supplemental. While this news is still fresh and in flux, I would say the odds are good that Congress will take this path. This approach makes sense given the long list of action items on the agenda for Fall. While a CR is far from ideal, it does provide breathing room for Congress to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal. We have to keep our eye on that ball.

As I write this, Research!America Chairman, Governor Michael Castle, and Research!America Board Member and AAAS President, Dr. Rush Holt, are making the case for a budget deal with key Members of Congress, including Sen. Murray and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA-15). Join us in fighting for a budget deal by taking part in two digital days of action to #RaiseTheCaps, on September 11 and 12. It’s easy! Here’s how.

As I think about tomorrow’s Forum and the opportunity it presents to engage a diversity of individuals who contribute so meaningfully to research and public health, I am reminded of the thousands of people who continue to bear the brunt of Harvey, and countless others in the path of Irma. It is a privilege to advocate for work that helps people rebuild, literally and figuratively, when times are at their toughest. Thank you for what you do everyday, whether in the path of danger or safe but willing and eager, nonetheless, to help those who are.


Mary Woolley 
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
August 24, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley 
August 24, 2017


Dear Research Advocate,

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, was not only riveting, it was a reminder that Americans are as enraptured as ever by science. The challenge is not to convince the public that scientific exploration is meaningful, it is to convince them that scientific exploration is at risk.
Which brings me back, inevitably, to the federal budget. When they return from August recess, members of Congress face formidable budget challenges: to prevent default, they need to raise the debt limit. To prevent a government shutdown, they need to pass an FY18 budget bill. There are only 12 days in September when both houses of Congress are in session, and President Trump needs to sign these bills (or a combined bill) by September 30. To complicate matters, he is threatening to force a government shutdown if Congress doesn’t fund the border wall.
Congress is also under pressure to stabilize the individual insurance market by shoring up the ACA (Obamacare), a tightrope walk that has the feel of impossibility, but is fast becoming an imperative.
But that’s not all, or it won’t be if advocates push hard enough. As I have asserted in every letter for many weeks now, Congress must raise the FY18 budget caps or science funding will falter. There is no room under the current caps for advancing our nation’s strategic interests; there isn’t even enough room for stasis. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), which put these caps in place, is a drag on our nation. Here is Center on Budget and Policy Priorities-produced background on the BCA that reinforced my determination to help untether our nation from the law’s outdated and out-of-touch strictures.
Any interest in writing an op-ed, blog post or LTE making the case for raising the caps or against a government shutdown? We’d be thrilled to help. Email Anna Briseno at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
For inspiration, here’s an op-ed Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) penned about the importance of NIH. He writes “...we should make certain we continue to prioritize medical research and its ability to save lives tomorrow through today’s investments.” If the caps stay in place and the government shuts down, we will save fewer lives tomorrow.
Nor would the present would be well served. An article in today’s New York Times about the reemergence of syphilis drives that point home. Consider the federal health care dollars our nation saves because CDC-supported health departments undertake the laborious, thankless job of tracing and containing infections like this one.
Another example: the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project forecasts 16 named storms and eight hurricanes this season (science at work). And according to a recently released public survey, Americans fear natural disasters more -- actually far more -- than other broad-scale threats. It is always a mistake to shut down the government, but it is hard to imagine worse timing than hurricane season.
First responders like CDC are already grossly underfunded, in part because we take for granted the essential functions they fulfill, and in part because of the budget caps. But to let their budgets lapse altogether…
Advocacy isn’t discretionary.
Join our digital push to #RaiseTheCaps a two-day, concerted effort to convince Congress that a bipartisan budget deal is imperative. Mark your calendars for September 11 and 12, and keep an eye on our Facebook page, Twitter, and website for more info.
One final advocacy option: if you didn’t get a chance last week, urge your congressional delegation to champion repeal of the medical device tax. The lifesaving role these technologies play in cardiovascular care alone justifies removing a disincentive to their development.
When it comes to medical and public health progress, where is the road taking us? Are we even on the right one? What is a reasonable “endpoint?” How, and how quickly, can we reach it? At our 2017 National Health Research Forum on September 7 at the Newseum, we’ll be taking a critical look at the path we’re on and where we are on it. RSVP today and join the discussion!


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
August 10, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
August 10, 2017


Dear Research Advocate,

This afternoon I participated in a stimulating forum on “Transformational Imperatives,” hosted by the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Board members and friends of the Institute engaged speakers on topics of the moment; in fact, my presentation was all about the moment, i.e., “Research in Context.” Scientific opportunities can be enabled or derailed by our elected representatives, who determine funding and policies-- which is to say, a major part of the ‘context’ of research. While they don’t do their decision-making in a vacuum, it can seem like that, especially when scientists and all of us who want scientists to succeed, sooner rather than later, fail to speak up.
Many members of Congress are hearing what is top of mind for their constituents during the August recess. Are they hearing about making medical research a higher priority? I urge you to engage with your representatives one-on-one or at a town hall (check out upcoming in-district events)-- speak up for science! In a recent op-ed, Sen. Coons (D-DE) urged the scientific community-- and by extension advocates for science-- to action, “...don’t just publish your research-- publicize it. Scientists simply can’t be silent, or else science truly will be silenced.”
There are some disturbing threats to science right now. You likely share concerns expressed last week about the reemerging (although it is never out of sight) threat to fetal tissue and stem cell research. Potential cuts and changes to indirect costs also place research in the crosshairs and threaten to shutter labs across the nation. In addition, the “Homeland Security Minibus,” which funds 4 of the 12 appropriations bills (Defense, Energy-Water, Legislative Branch and Military Construction-VA) includes a troubling amendment that bans funding for research using dogs at the VA. We have a responsibility to those suffering from deadly and disabling diseases-- including those who have served our country and who now look to the VA for hope-- to put every avenue of research to work to find solutions. Here are some resources on fetal tissue, indirect costs and animal research to help you navigate these critically important conversations.
In order to achieve sustained, robust federal funding support for research, we must keep up the drum beat for a bipartisan budget deal. Send a message to your representatives to make the case. My Wall Street Journal letter-to-the-editor in response to an op-ed by Sen. Cotton (R-AR), who calls for the repeal of the Budget Control Act of 2011, ending the boom and bust cycle that “cripples the military’s planning ability,” makes the point that budget caps are also having a crippling effect on the nation’s scientific research enterprise. Join us in urging Congress to #RaiseTheCaps.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
July 27, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
July 27, 2017


Dear Research Advocate,

In a week with lots of mixed signals on health care, we released new survey data that shows a striking increase in public support for empowering patients (and we are all patients!) to participate in clinical trials. A strong majority say joining a clinical trial is as valuable as donating blood. And a new question shows the public would value providers discussing clinical trials as a routine part of health care. These findings come just as NIH’s “All of Us” initiative launches a new grant program to encourage enrollment in the ambitious one million-enrollee clinical research effort.
Read more about our survey, and plan to attend our National Health Research Forum in Washington, D.C., on September 7 to hear more on this and other research-relevant topics!
Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill with $7.3 billion for NSF, which is a cut of 2% from fiscal year 2017. According to CJS Subcommittee Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), that would mean 456 fewer grants, cutting support for 5,000 researchers, students teachers and technicians. As Senator Shaheen stated:“This legislation should do more to invest in infrastructure, science, and law enforcement, which is why Congress must approve a new budget deal that provides the necessary resources for both military and domestic programs.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again and again): To support priorities like science, education and health, as well as defense, we must have a budget deal to lift the FY18 sequestration budget caps. Better yet, instead of revisiting the caps every couple of years, Congress could repeal the bill that established them: the 2011 Balanced Budget Act. Read Senator Cotton’s (R-AR) op-ed calling for repeal, then write your own. We’ll help! Contact Anna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Meanwhile, as in previous years, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would choke off crucial DoD funding for medical and health research. (Did you know that DOD funding enabled Dr. Dennis Slamon to develop the miracle drug Herceptin? This language would stop that kind of progress.) Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) have drafted an amendment to prevent the McCain provisions from taking effect. Read our letter thanking these stalwart research champions, as well as one to all Senators asking them to support the Durbin/Blunt amendment. Then take a moment to reinforce this with your Senators.
In regulatory news, it appears the Senate will not pass the Food and Drug Reauthorization Act (FDARA) before the end of July. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who will be joining us at our Forum on September 7, has indicated that he fully expects Congress to pass FDARA before the current user fee agreements expire on September 30, thus avoiding the need for layoffs. We’ll continue to keep a close watch and provide advocacy opportunities as needed!
Finally, our friends at FASEB are hosting a timely webinar to equip science advocates to act locally, capitalizing on the August congressional recess to make the case for robust science funding. In solidarity with FASEB’s intent, I spoke last evening to a group of vascular biologists from across the nation about the importance of speaking to their members of Congress in August. It's important to overcome the “invisibility” of science and scientists, which is holding back more robust support for science. One of several good questions came from a researcher whose own member of Congress is already a great champion -- my advice is (1) it's never superfluous to say thank you, and (2) think about someone you know who lives in another part of the country -- perhaps somewhere that is less “science intensive” -- and ask them to connect with their member of Congress. Please get involved; find a way to make a difference in August.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
July 13, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
July 13, 2017


Dear Research Advocate,

Former Congressman John Porter, Research!America’s esteemed Chair Emeritus, does not mince words in his Washington Post LTE today, cautioning against state-level education policies that could be misused to subvert science education. Treating knowledge that has been affirmed by years of scientific exploration as negotiable jeopardizes our nation’s ability to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities before us. It is a path to decline rather than progress. We cannot afford to shy away from straight talk about misguided policies. Fortunately for our nation, John never does.
This afternoon, the House Labor-H Subcommittee, formerly chaired by Mr. Porter, “marked up” its appropriations bill. Given that the subcommittee was working with total funding $5-$7+ billion below the FY17 level -- depending on how you do the math -- it is striking that the bill provides NIH an increase of $1.1 billion (inclusive of Cures funding), cuts AHRQ funding, but doesn’t eliminate it (as previous House bills have), and sustains the NIH Fogarty International Center, refuting the president’s budget. Alarmingly though, CDC would receive a $200 million cut and there is language in the bill to impose new restrictions on fetal tissue research.
It is fair to be both appreciative of this legislation -- especially the leadership of Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) -- and concerned about the distance between this bill and the investment actually needed to protect and advance health. See our statement.
As Harvard President Dr. Drew Faust eloquently conveyed in her recent alumni letter, the long-standing partnership between the federal government and universities is a driving force behind medical progress. The Labor-H subcommittee took a stand on behalf of this partnership by including language in the bill that would prevent the Administration from advancing the 10% indirect costs cap included in the president’s FY18 budget proposal.
That’s not to say this issue has been put to rest - far from it. First, the indirect cost language in this bill -- like the bill as a whole -- remains a proposal until signed into law. Second, the House is planning to explore the indirects issue more closely this Fall. In an LTE this week, Former House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert observes that “Research does not get cheaper if you leave [indirect] costs out; it just becomes less likely to get undertaken at all.” Exactly the straight talk that is called for! Compelling op-eds by university leadership in Illinois and Florida echo this message. A community sign-on letter on indirect costs is currently circulating-- email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to include your organization.
Objecting to the counter-productive sequestration constraints appropriators face this year, 20 House Republicans sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) last week encouraging a budget deal to raise the FY18 sequestration caps. Our sign-on letter, with over 200 organizational signatories, reinforces the call for Congress to #RaiseTheCaps. Keep the drumbeat going by sending a message to your representatives! (In case you’re wondering, it is entirely possible to raise the caps after the appropriations committees act; in fact, the annual appropriations process was well underway before the last two budget deals were signed into law.)
Adding to the House’s busy week: the full chamber passed the FDA User Fee Reauthorization Act of 2017 (FDARA). The Senate has yet to act. The Trump Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the bill that reflects some concerns, but reportedly none that would lead to a veto. Make sure to tweet House and Senate Leaders, thanking the former and urging the latter to pass the bill ASAP!
Speaking of urgent issues, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a report this afternoon recommending actions to overcome the opioid crisis. FDA has weighed in with plans to modify the risk/benefit calculation they use when evaluating pain medications, and CDC released a new Vital Signs report with key facts and resources to promote responsible opioid prescribing practices. Check out our new fact sheet on the pivotal role research is playing as our nation intensifies its response to this threat.
Ending on positive note: HHS Secretary Price has appointed Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, obstetrician-gynecologist and former Georgia public health commissioner to serve as CDC Director. Dr. Fitzgerald brings a wealth of experience to this crucially important post.


Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
June 1, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley 
June 1, 2017


Dear Research Advocate,

Word of a plan to pass an FY18 omnibus bill in the House by the end of July has surfaced. The plan would require the House to rapidly draft, mark up and stitch together 12 appropriations bills. If House leadership takes this route, it is unclear what overall budget numbers they would work from; rumor has it they may adhere relatively closely to the “sequestration” budget caps established in 2011. Ironically, that would be significantly better than the president’s budget but, as I discussed last week, far worse than what is needed: an agreement to raise the caps and permit more budget flexibility. Call your members of Congress to make the case; and follow up with a message.    

The opioid epidemic is one of the major challenges that clearly call for more research and underscore the importance of more budget flexibility to help make that research possible. In an op-ed co-authored by NIH Director Francis Collins and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, NIH announced a joint effort with industry to help accelerate the pace of novel overdose-reversal and prevention methods. Tying their hands now via an inadequate budget is in no one’s best interest.  

Research not only brings benefits to the nation writ large -- including driving the innovation needed to combat the opioid epidemic -- but also brings benefits close to home. In a joint op-ed, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston write: “Here in the Granite State, federally funded research has given birth to cutting-edge companies, addressed threats to key sectors of our economy and saved lives with new cures.” Are you interested in penning an op-ed about the impact of research in your state? Consult our newly completed state-by-state fact sheets for local stats and contact Anna Briseno () if we can help.  

A topic that has been top of mind for many is expenditures variously termed “indirect costs,” “overhead,” and “facilities and administration.” These include specially purposed laboratory space, utilities, disposal of hazardous waste, compliance with a broad range of regulations, and other essential aspects of conducting and administering research. The President’s budget proposes a drastic reduction in reimbursement for these costs and hearings on the topic are ongoing. This is a complicated issue; I am pleased to announce a Research!America alliance members call next Thursday (6/8) at 2 p.m. ET that will feature two top experts on the topic: Jennifer Poulakidas, VP of Congressional and Government Affairs at APLU and Toby Smith, Vice President for Policy at AAU. Members can get call-in information by emailing Jacqueline Lagoy at . In the interim, check out AAU’s FAQs on the topic.  

If you’re in the DC area, consider joining us for two Congressional Luncheon Briefings: The first, Innovation Intersection, will be held on June 12 and will drill down into the clinical research phase of the discovery, development, delivery pipeline. The second, The Value of Research and Prevention in Addressing the Societal Burden of Migraine, on June 15 will focus on a condition that affects an estimated 12% of the world’s population and is emblematic of why we must invest in more research. 



Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America

From Research!America
May 23, 2017

Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
on President Trump’s FY18 Budget Proposal
May 23, 2017

The president’s proposed FY18 budget is an imbalanced, heavy-handed approach to bolstering national defense at the expense of other American priorities, including the research and innovation crucial to national security. Instead of weakening our nation with this approach, we urge the 115th Congress to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal that will ensure that both defense and non-defense priorities are sufficiently funded. While labeled as ‘discretionary,’ research and innovation supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration strengthen our nation’s security and economic prosperity. Consistently, surveys show how highly Americans rank securing better health and quality of life; the president’s blueprint is tone-deaf to that reality. Steep funding cuts for the federal health agencies are counterproductive at a time when innovative research is moving us closer to identifying solutions for rare diseases, new prevention strategies to protect Americans from deadly and costly conditions, advances in gene therapy, new technologies for understanding the brain, and treatments that harness the ability of our immune system to fight cancer. Health services research, supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is folded into NIH in the budget proposal, but funding is far below what’s needed to combat deadly errors and costly inefficiencies in our health care system.
Congress recognizes the urgency in keeping research for health at the forefront of national priorities, as it has signaled with back-to-back, significant increases for the NIH in FY16 and FY17. Strong bipartisan support for research must continue in FY18, and at the same time, Congress should act to lift the budget caps that threaten to hamstring non-defense discretionary appropriations. To seize this opportunity in medical and health research and innovation, and address the twin specters of disease and ever-rising health care costs held over every family and the nation as a whole, we must urge our congressional representatives to step up. Chairmen Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and Ranking Members Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are among those to be specially commended for their ongoing leadership and commitment to protecting the health of Americans.
For current estimates on how the proposed FY18 budget could impact medical and health research agencies, visit http://bit.ly/2qdxXiJ.


May 10, 2017

Webinar: The Trump Budget: How scientists can fight proposed cuts to NIH

Join FASEB for a special webinar on:
Tuesday, May 23 at 2 p.m. EST
You must RSVP by Monday, May 22 to participate in the webinar.

The Trump Administration proposed deep cuts in funding for the federal science agencies in 2018. Congress is now considering the President's proposal. Jennifer Zeitzer, Director of Legisative Affairs, and Benjamin Krinsky, Senior Legislative Affairs Officer, will provide an overview of the recommended cuts, the timeline and key steps involved in the federal budget process, and guidance on what individual scientists can do to urge lawmakers to reject the President’s plan.

More advocacy information is available on the FASEB website

From the Coalition for Life Sciences
May 8, 2017

The week of May 1, Congress introduced and passed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that funds the federal government and its various programs for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17).
The Omnibus bill provides:

  • A $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health for a total funding level of $34 billion.
  • A $9 million increase for the National Science Foundation for a total of $7.5 billion.
  • A$22 million increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a total of $6.3 billion.
  • FDA was roughly flat funded for a $2.76 billion funding level for FY17. This number doesn’t include anticipated user fees.

Now is the time to thank your Member of Congress for his/her support. The CLS has a letter found here that you can use or edit to automatically send to your elected official.

You could also utilize social media to reach your elected official. Here are some sample tweets:

  • @RepSmith thank you for your steadfast leadership and support for @NIH.
  • @RepJohnson thank you supporting the Omnibus that provided increases for life science research.
  • @RepJones thank you for supporting important @NIH funding critical to saving lives and growing our economy.
  • @RepMoran my work relies on @NIH funding. Thank you for your continued support.

It is evident, the voice of scientists are heard on Capitol Hill. Advocacy matters. Your elected leaders do respond, but now you must thank them for hearing you.
Thank you for your time, efforts, and advocacy. We are all in this together.

Visit the CLS website:  http://www.coalitionforlifesciences.org/

From Research!America
May 5, 2017

Review the May/June Research Advocate here.  Please note the call for action to encourage Congress to increase the FY 2018 NIH Budget.

From Research!America
May 4, 2017

Excerpts from letter from Mary Woolley, R!A Executive Officer -
Research funding: After months and months of hard work by Congress and advocates, an FY17 appropriations deal providing a $2 billion increase for NIH and modest increases for NSF and FDA is on track to become law. While the news is not 100% positive (e.g. CDC received a cut, as did AHRQ), the headline is that Congress neither defaulted to flat-funding under a long-term CR nor acquiesced to OMB’s request for additional budget cuts. This is real-time evidence that advocacy works! See our statement and budget chart, and this terrific analysis by Matt Hourihan of AAAS.

I urge you to tweet or otherwise contact congressional and appropriations leaders to recognize their incredible efforts on this bill. Saying thank you is so important; don’t outsource it! Do it yourself.

FY18: The House “New Democrat” coalition sent a letter to House Republican leaders encouraging them to focus on six key policy areas in FY18. Two of the six: scientific research funded by agencies such as NSF and DARPA, and a $40 billion budget for NIH. In addition, Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) are circulating a letter asking their Senate colleagues to join them in requesting robust NIH funding in FY18. Urge your Senators to sign on.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, former Administrator of NOAA and Distinguished University Professor and Adviser at Oregon State University, received the National Academy of Science’s most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Jane’s speech was extraordinary; I urge you to take a few minutes to listen to her remarks (begins at 1:19:00). What particularly resonated was her call for scientists to “provide hope.” She beautifully articulated how important it is for every scientist to learn, and work, to change hearts and minds for science.



Housing Vasculata 2017

Housing at Vasculata 2017

July 24-27, 2017
Chicago, IL


The following is information for those staying on campus.

The organizers of Vasculata 2017 have arranged for participants to stay in the Marie Robinson Hall dorms on the East Campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), located at 811 W. Maxwell Street Chicago, IL 60608.


Each person will have their own private bedroom in a suite with two or four bedrooms. Two roommates will share a bathroom and all four roommates will share a living area and kitchenette. Each bedroom is fully furnished with an extra-long twin bed, desk and chair, clothes closet and storage drawers. All suites have air conditioning.
Each guest will receive full bedding, which includes a blanket, pillow, pillowcase, sheets, towels and a washcloth. Hand soap and a drinking glass also are supplied, and toilet tissue will be provided in the bathrooms.

It is suggested that all guests lock their rooms when not occupied and carry their room key with them. Neither UIC nor NAVBO is responsible for the loss of money or valuables belonging to any person or for loss or damage to an individual’s property. Provisions for storing luggage and other personal property of guests are not available.
In the event that any damages occur in your private bedroom room during your stay, you will be charged. Damages to common areas will be divided amongst the total number of suitemates.

UIC is a smoke-free campus. Smoking is prohibited in the residence halls and campus buildings.

For Check-In:

Regular check is Sunday, July 23 and check out is July 27.  Please check-in at the desk located on the first floor at 811 W. Maxwell Street between the hours of 10am-10pm. The building may be locked, however if you press the buzzer by the door our desk worker will buzz you in. Someone will be at the front desk until midnight.  For after midnight, a security officer can help you call the RA on call for check in.

Let the desk staff know you are there for the Vasculata Conference and they will provide all the information needed for check-in. You need to present a photo ID at the time of check-in. Each guest will be assigned keys that they will use to enter the building and their room. Inform them that you are there to check-in to the UIC Conference Housing under the Vasculata 2017 conference. 

Lost Key Fees:

Once you are checked in, you will be provided with a key to access your suite and private bedroom. Do not lose your key, or loan it to other guests. Keys cost up to $350 to replace.


Dining options are available at both the East and West Campus Student Centers, including Chick-Fil-A, Panda Express, Subway, Freshii, and more. See their website for a complete list, as well as hours of operation: http://dining.uic.edu/hours.shtml.

Note: There will be three meals (Networking Lunches on Monday & Tuesday in the College of Medicine Research Building, and a Group Dinner in the Student Center West on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.) provided for any guests that wish to join, free of charge.

Internet/WiFi Access:

You will be provided with WiFi login information upon check in at the Vasculata registration desk.

Transportation Around Campus:

While MRH is located at 811 W. Maxwell St. on the East Campus, the conference will be held on the West Campus in College of Medicine Research Building at 909 S. Wolcott Ave. A UIC shuttle bus has been arranged to ensure your safe and easy travel between the two sites. In order to take the shuttle, you must show the driver the temporary pass card that you received with your room key and a photo ID each time you ride. There is an online bus tracker, which can be accessed through this link: https://uic.doublemap.com/map/.

In addition, the Chicago Transit authority offers a variety of bus and train options that will allow for travel between the two campuses at $2.25/ride.



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