NINDS Advisory Council Meeting Minutes, May 18, 2017

Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council

Summary of Meeting1
May 18, 2017

The National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NANDS) Council was convened for its 199th meeting on May 18, 2017, in the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, Building 35, Conference Room 620/630, on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland.  Dr. Walter Koroshetz, Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), served as Chairperson.

In accordance with Public Law 92-463, the meeting was:

Open:    May 18, 2017:  8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the review and discussion of program development, needs, and policy; and

Closed:  May 18, 2017: 2:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. for the consideration of individual grant applications and 4:50 p.m. to 5:35 p.m. for the review of the Board of Scientific Counselors’ reports.

Council members present:

Dr. Laurence Abbott
Dr. Issam Awad
Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal
Dr. Karen Chen
Dr. Timothy Coetzee
Dr. David Gutmann
Ms. Janet Hieshetter
Dr. David Julius
Ms. Ilene Penn Miller
Dr. Jonathan Mink
Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele
Dr. Steve Perrin
Dr. Indira Raman
Dr. Steven Roberds
Dr. Ralph Sacco
Dr. S. Lawrence Zipursky

Council members absent:

Dr. Beverly Davidson
Dr. Gordon Fishell

Ex officio members present:

Captain Michael Colston, Department of Defense  
Dr. Christopher T. Bever, Jr., Department of Veterans Affairs         

Council Roster (Attachment 1)

Members of the public present for portions of the open meeting included:

Brigid Brennan, The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance
Dr. Alex Ommaya, Association of American Medical Colleges
Anne Berry, Association of American Medical Colleges
Philip Goglas II, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation

Federal attendees are listed at the end of these minutes.

I.  Call to Order and Opening Remarks

Dr. Koroshetz welcomed Council members, visitors, and staff to the 199th meeting of the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council.

II.  Report of the Director, Division of Extramural Research, NINDS

Approval of Council Minutes—Dr. Finkelstein requested, and the Council voted approval of the February 9, 2017, Council meeting minutes.

The following future Council meeting dates were confirmed:

September 7-8, 2017            (Thursday and Friday)

February 1-2, 2018               (Thursday and Friday)

May 24-25, 2018                  (Thursday and Friday)

September 13-14, 2018         (Thursday and Friday)

February 7-8, 2019               (Thursday and Friday)

May 9-10, 2019                    (Thursday and Friday)

September 5-6, 2019            (Thursday and Friday)

Expedited Review Process—Each Council round, a subset of Council members approve applications in advance of the meeting with scores within the payline. This expedited review process focuses on applications for which there are no unresolved issues. Dr. Finkelstein thanked Council members Timothy Coetzee, Bruce Ovbiagele, and Ralph Sacco for handling this responsibility for this meeting and the upcoming year. For the current Council round, 90 applications were eligible to be expedited. Forty-five (45) of these awards already have been issued, and the others will be issued shortly after Council.

Extramural Announcements

The following new staff members were introduced:

Dr. Amy Adams, Office of Scientific Liaison, introduced Dr. Kristin Dupre.

Dr. Kristin Dupre serves as a Scientific Content and Communication Strategist in the Office of Scientific Liaison (OSL) at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Prior to joining OSL, Dr. Dupre was an IRTA Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Judith Walters in the Neurophysiology Pharmacology Section of NINDS, following a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Binghamton University (State University of New York), where she studied the neural mechanisms of dyskinesia in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Paul Scott, Office of Scientific Policy and Planning, introduced and welcomed back Dr. Cara Long.

Cara worked in OSPP from 2007 until 2015, before taking a short sabbatical from the federal government with the American Epilepsy Society, where she was Senior Manager for Research. Prior to first coming to NINDS, Cara received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCSD, then worked at Nature Neuroscience as an associate editor and then at Cold Spring Harbor as a project manager. Cara rejoins OSPP as a Health Science Policy Analyst covering a number of genetic and pediatric disorders.

III.  Report of the Director, NINDS

NIH and NINDS Budget—Dr. Koroshetz provided an overview of funding trends and the status of the NIH and NINDS budgets. The Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) NIH budget is $2 billion higher (6.2%) than for FY16, which includes a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research and a $110 million increase for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The NINDS budget increased from $1.69 billion in FY16 to $1.78 billion in FY17, including about $30 million for the BRAIN Initiative.

The FY17 NINDS budget allocates 83.4% of funds to extramural activities, 9.6% to intramural research, 3.9% to research management and support, and 3.1% to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. The number of competing awards increased from 699 in 2010 to an estimated 830 in 2017. The combined number of noncompeting and competing research project grant (RPG) awards projected for FY17 totals 2,927. Success rates have settled between 19% and 22%, and average cost of grants has remained fairly stable.

The FY18 President’s Budget Blueprint calls for decreasing the NIH budget by about $5.8 billion and reorganizing NIH to focus on the highest priority research and training activities. Specifically, the Blueprint proposes to eliminate the Fogarty International Center and to consolidate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within NIH.

Dr. Koroshetz explained that, with the potential FY18 budget cuts in mind, NINDS is considering funding R56 awards to applicants ranked at the 13th and 14th percentile so as to not incur outyear costs that may not be supported by the FY18 budget. 

NIH and NINDS Leadership Changes—Dr. Koroshetz summarized recent changes to the NIH and NINDS leadership teams.  Although the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not lifted the hiring freeze, selective exceptions are being considered.  Ongoing NINDS leadership searches include those for the Deputy Director, Scientific Director, and BRAIN Director, with a search for the Director of the Division of Neuroscience planned for this summer.

Key NIH and NINDS Projects—Dr. Koroshetz outlined NIH initiatives of interest. The Accelerated Medicines Partnership in Parkinson’s Disease is a public-private partnership to identify and validate diagnostic, prognostic, and progression biomarkers.  Activities around Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome include development of an NIH-wide intramural protocol and establishment of common data elements.  NIH is supplementing existing research efforts with a public-private collaborative research initiative to end the opioid crisis and advance pain treatment.  The Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee has posted a draft Federal Pain Research Strategy for public comment.

NINDS and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) are working together to oversee expenditure of additional funds received for Alzheimer’s Disease-related dementias (ADRD) research.  These funds will be used in two primary ways: funding announcements for ADRD and investigator-initiated Alzheimer’s Disease/ADRD research beyond the NINDS payline.

Dr. Koroshetz described continuing efforts to improve the quality of research funded by NINDS. Led by Dr. Shai Silberberg, NINDS Director of Research Quality, these activities include conversations with scientific/professional societies to increase transparency at meetings and journal editors to develop recommendations for minimizing publication bias, and developing and disseminating training materials.

Advances—Dr. Koroshetz reported on four new treatments for neurological disease that recently received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval: Brineura™ (cerliponase alfa), an enzyme replacement therapy for injection into the ventricles for pediatric patients with Batten’s disease; gammaCore®, a vagal nerve stimulation shown to be effective in cluster headache; ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), a monoclonal antibody against CD20 B lymphocytes that is effective at preventing progression of multiple sclerosis; and Radicava (edaravone), a free radical scavenger for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Two recent Nature articles highlight that antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) administration is beneficial in mouse models of spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) and ALS.  Dr. Stefan Pulst and colleagues administered ASO7 in two mouse models of SCA2, leading to improved motor function.  Dr. Aaron Gitler and colleagues increased survival and improved motor function in a mouse model of ALS by decreasing ataxin-2.

Dr. Mark Kahn, NINDS Council Member Dr. Issam Awad, and colleagues demonstrated the role of the gut microbiome and innate immune signaling in formation of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) in mice.  The team’s research suggests that altering the biome in CCM patients may be an effective therapy for the disease.

Training Activities—In April, the NINDS Diversity Workgroup released the “Why” survey designed to identify factors that influence science career decisions of past and current Ph.D. or Ph.D./M.D. trainees who have applied for NINDS funding.

Details about the new NINDS Landis Mentor Award are forthcoming.  Intended to send the message that NINDS values strong mentorship, the award will provide supplementary funding to excellent mentors who are doing excellent science to enable them to mentor additional pre- or postdoc trainees.

NINDS Non-Profit Forum—Dr. Koroshetz encouraged attendees to promote the forum planned for September 5 and 6 at NIH. The annual event offers an opportunity for a real dialogue among non-profit disease organizations, FDA, NIH, and industry.

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research ProjectsThis trans-NIH neuroscience effort is planning three new projects.  The first will examine dynamic interactions of multiple neural-immune components in the transition from brain function to dysfunction.  The second aims to develop and optimize novel technologies and methods for rapid isolation, detection, and downstream analysis and characterization of extracellular vesicles of central nervous system (CNS) origin.  The third project will facilitate development of tools and technologies to map CNS small blood and lymphatic vessels in health and disease.  Dr. Koroshetz noted that NINDS provides about one-third of the funding for Blueprint projects.

The ongoing Blueprint Connectome Project is an ambitious effort to map neural pathways that underlie human brain function.  Dr. Koroshetz described the project’s library of diffusion and resting-state magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of human brain circuits that are available for study.  Scans from infants, children, and the aged are being added to current holdings primarily from young and middle-aged adults.

BRAIN Initiative—Funding for the BRAIN Initiative has increased from $46.1 million in FY14 to $260 million in FY17.  The Initiative aims to increase our understanding of circuit activity in the brain, with a long-term goal of making circuit abnormalities the basis of diagnostics and normalization of circuit function the target of intervention.

IV.  Neuroethics and the BRAIN Initiative

Dr. Christine Grady, Chief, NIH Clinical Center Department of Bioethics, provided an update on activities of the Neuroethics Division of the BRAIN Initiative Multi-Council Working Group (MCWG).  The group was created to work with BRAIN leadership, investigators, and the MCWG with the purpose of helping to identify ethical concerns associated with BRAIN funded research and approaches to handling them; helping to identify neuroethics questions important to the BRAIN Initiative that might be amenable to focused research; providing ethics consultation upon request; and developing relevant information for investigators in the BRAIN Initiative.

To identify ethical issues that might arise from these kinds of research, the division scanned publicly available information about BRAIN Initiative awards; priority areas include: conduct of research with invasive technologies (e.g., consent and risk determination, long-term obligations); alteration, enhancement, and/or manipulation of the self, agency, or authenticity (e.g., via brain stimulation, brain-computer interface, prosthetics, enhancers of attention, reasoning); privacy/discrimination concerns and  cyber security; and ethics of commercialization, public-private partnerships, and the wider application of novel neurotechnologies for commercial and legal purposes.

Dr. Grady noted that neuroethics is one of the NIH BRAIN Initiative priority research areas for FY17, and NIH issued several relevant funding opportunities. Also, division members have hosted several workshops that focus on a variety of topics: ethical foundations of novel neural technologies (September 2016); issues around stem cells, neural organoids, and ex-vivo human brain tissue (May 2017); development of ethical guidelines for neurotechnologies (May 2017); and ethical issues in research with neural devices (planned for October 2017).  Lastly, the division has provided an ethics consultation to an NIH BRAIN investigaor, which involved one day of deliberation and preparation of a report and responses. 

V.  Concept Clearance for Proposed Initiative: Neurobiology of Small Blood and Lymphatic Vessels in Health and Disease

Dr. Francesca Bosetti, Program Director, Neural Environment Cluster, NINDS, requested concept clearance for the Neurobiology of Small Blood and Lymphatic Vessels in Health and Disease initiative on behalf of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.  The proposed initiative aims to develop innovative approaches, tools, and technology to structurally and functionally characterize small blood and lymphatic vessels in CNS; advance mechanistic understanding of these vessels across the life span; and conduct human studies of these vessels in health and disease.

Two funding announcements are proposed for publication in mid-October 2017 with submission dates in December, Council review in May 2018, and awards in September 2018.

Council voted to approve concept clearance for this initiative.

VI.  NIH Updates

Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Principal Deputy Director, NIH, discussed a proposed approach to distribute NIH grant support in a way that optimizes stewardship of taxpayer dollars and promotes a stronger, more stable biomedical research workforce.  He presented an analyses using the weighted Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) metric which suggests that output is proportionally greatest with an investigator’s first and second R01-level grant award but diminishes incrementally as grant support increases.  Further analyses suggest that funding more researchers could increase overall research productivity and the likelihood that some of them will make major discoveries.

Dr. Tabak noted that several approaches were considered to rebalance the NIH portfolio, and went on to describe a proposed policy intended to reset expectations for the amount of NIH support provided to any single investigator.  In this proposal, the level of a PI’s research project support will be monitored using the Grant Support Index (GSI), which assigns a point value to various kinds of grants with consideration of the grant’s type, complexity, and scope.  Applications for NIH-funding that will support researchers whose GSI points exceed 21 (the equivalent of three single-PI R01 awards) will be asked to explain how they will adjust their existing grant load to be within GSI limits if their application is awarded.  If the maximum GSI across all of NIH is 21 and only includes research project grants, approximately 3.1% of investigators would be affected.  It is estimated that implementation of this proposed approach would redirect resources to make roughly 900 new awards over the next several years.

Implementation of the plan is expected to begin with applications submitted this fall.  IC Directors will initiate a rigorous exceptions process that takes into account unique research requirements of an IC, a commitment to support investigators at all career stages, and the need to maximize productivity of grant resources.  The NIH Director’s Office will make final decisions.

VII.  Discussion of NIH Updates

Dr. Finkelstein presented results of a pilot analysis of potential effects of the NIH GSI limits on NINDS programs and NINDS-funded investigators.   Following the presentations by Drs. Tabak and Finkelstein, Council discussed the process for determining exceptions to the policy, whether other sources of funding (external to NIH) would be considered, and expressed concern for the proposed plan for allocating points for multi-PI grants.

VIII. Update from the Scientific Director of Intramural Research

Dr. Alan Koretsky, Scientific Director of Intramural Research, NINDS, presented an overview of the NINDS intramural research program (IRP) and budget.  The NINDS IRP currently includes 50 PIs/senior staff, 65 staff scientists and staff clinicians, and 250 Fellows engaged in 130 clinical protocols, 95 animal protocols, and 15 active collaborative research agreements with industry.  IRP scientists publish approximately 350 papers (10% in high-impact journals) each year and receive 300 speaking invitations. 

Dr. Koretsky described distribution of funds in the NINDS IRP FY17 budget: $172 million total, with $62 million in central costs, $23 million in administrative and PI salaries, and $14 million for benefits, which leaves $73 million for science, including research facilities, programs, new equipment, training, and renovations/maintenance.  Dr. Koretsky noted that the costs of doing business continue to grow faster than the IRP budget such that increases to central costs and/or major budget cuts have the potential to lead to rapid deterioration of science. 

IX.  Charting Our Future Together: Setting an Agenda for the NHLBI

Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), outlined NIHLBI’s strategic vision and put forward scientific opportunities for collaboration with NINDS.

NHLBI’s strategic vision is founded upon these enduring principles: recognizing the value of investigator-initiated fundamental discovery science; maintaining a balanced, cross-disciplinary portfolio that spans basic, translational, clinical, population, and implementation science; training a diverse new generation of scientific leaders; supporting implementation science that improves the health of the nation; and employing innovation toward the evidence-based elimination of health inequities in our nation and around the world.  Key areas for implementation in the next decade include faster cures for rare diseases such as sickle cell disease, remission of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, and molecular phenotyping of lung disease.

Dr. Gibbons reported on major NHLBI programs of relevance to NINDS.  These include the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program, which supports NHLBI’s larger precision medicine activities by collecting and coupling whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and other –omics data with molecular, behavioral, imaging, environmental, and clinical data from studies focused on heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.  TOPMed currently has 92,000 participants and has exceeded the 80,000 whole-genome sequences mark.

Dr. Gibbons highlighted current and past collaborations among NHLBI, NINDS, and other NIH ICs such as the landmark Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) study and the Strategies to Innovate EmeRgENcy Care Clinical Trials Network (SIREN).  He described other opportunities for future NHLBI-NINDS collaboration such as addressing stroke risk among those with sickle cell disease, understanding the determinants of cognitive decline among high-risk populations, and using multidimensional, multi-scale data in complex biomedical systems to build a communal discovery platform for multi-disciplinary open science.

X.  Council Consideration of Pending Applications

This portion of the meeting, involving specific grant review, was closed to the public.  The Council gave special attention to applications from foreign institutions and other applications requiring specific discussion.  Prior to discussion of the grants, Dr. Finkelstein reminded Council members regarding conflict of interest and confidentiality.


Conflict of Interest—Regulations concerning conflict of interest were reviewed.  Council members were reminded that materials furnished for review purposes and discussion during the closed portions of the meeting are considered privileged information.  All Council members present signed a statement certifying that they had not been involved in any conflict-of-interest situations during the review of grant applications. 


Confidentiality—During the closed session, any information that is discussed and the outcome of any recommendation are considered privileged information.  They may not be discussed outside of the closed session.  If an applicant requests support for his or her application from a Council member, the Council member must respond that he/she is not permitted to discuss the application.  Any inquiry should be referred to Dr. Robert Finkelstein, NINDS Advisory Council Executive Secretary, who then will refer the question to the appropriate staff member for response.

Research Training and Career Development Programs – The Council reviewed a total of 317 research career development and institutional training grant applications with primary assignment to NINDS, and 183 of them (57.7 percent) were scored in the amount of $12.5 million first-year direct costs.  It is anticipated that, of the research career development and institutional training grant applications competing at this Council, NINDS will be able to pay first-year direct costs of approximately $5.27 million (82 grants).

Research Project and Center Awards – The Council reviewed a total of 1,655 research project and center applications with primary assignment to NINDS, and 922 of them (55.7 percent) were scored/percentiled in the amount of $303.4 million first-year direct costs.  It is anticipated that, of the research grants competing at this Council, NINDS will be able to pay first-year direct costs of approximately $60.57 million (251 grants).

Senator Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Awards – The Senator Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Awards are made to distinguished investigators who have a record of scientific excellence and productivity, who are actively pursuing an area of research of strategic importance, and who can be expected to continue to be highly productive for a seven-year period.  Candidates are nominated and selected at each Council meeting.  Council approved three Javits nominations at this meeting.

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Award Programs – The Council reviewed a total of 139 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer Award (STTR) grant applications with primary assignment to NINDS, and 68 of them (48.9 percent) were scored in the amount of $25.94 million first-year direct costs.  It is anticipated that, of the SBIR and STTR applications competing at this Council, NINDS will be able to pay first-year direct costs of approximately $3.1 million (8 grants).

XI.  Review of the Division of Intramural Research Board of Scientific Counselors’ Reports

Dr. Alan Koretsky, Scientific Director, Division of Intramural Research, NINDS

This portion of the meeting, to review and evaluate the Division of Intramural Research Board of Scientific Counselors’ Reports, was closed to the public.

XII.  Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 5:35 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

NINDS employees present for portions of the meeting included:

Dr. Amy Adams
Dr. Deborah Babcock
Ms. Kelly Baker
Ms. Sarah Bell
Dr. Patrick Bellgowan
Dr. Moria Bittmann
Dr. Francesca Bosetti
Dr. Chris Boshoff
Dr. Vanessa Boyce
Dr. Andrew Breeden
Dr. Emily Carifi
Ms. Stacey Chambers
Dr. Daofen Chen
Dr. Robin Conwit
Ms. Janice Cordell
Ms. Jessica Corley
Dr. Roderick Corriveau
Dr. Devon Crawford
Dr. Diana Cummings
Dr. Charles Cywin
Dr. Tijuanna Decoster
Dr. Kristin Dupre
Dr. Edgardo Falcon
Ms. Stephanie Fertig
Dr. Robert Finkelstein
Dr. Jane Fountain
Ms. Marie Gill
Dr. Amelie Gubitz
Dr. Mohamed Hachicha
Dr. Adam Hartman
Dr. Lyn Jakeman
Dr. Sophia Jeon
Dr. David Jett
Dr. Michelle Jones-London
Dr. Jimok Kim
Dr. Jim Koenig
Dr. Alan Koretsky
Dr. Steve Korn
Dr. Walter Koroshetz
Dr. Pascal Laeng
Ms. Christine Lam
Dr. Nick Langhals
Dr. Tim LaVaute
Dr. Miriam Leenders
Dr. Cara Long
Ms. Quynh Ly
Dr. Ernie Lyons
Dr. Laura Mamounas
Dr. Linda McGavern
Dr. Meghan Mott
Dr. Daniel Miller
Dr. Jill Morris
Dr. Birgit Neuhuber
Dr. Ana Olariu
Dr. David Owens
Dr. Katie Pahigiannis
Dr. Mary Ann Pelleymounter
Dr. Shanta Rajaram
Dr. Ipolia Ramadan
Dr. Khara Ramos
Dr. Nagarajan Rangarajan
Dr. Matthew Raymond
Dr. Robert Riddle
Dr. Heather Rieff
Ms. Sara Rue
Dr. Jonathan Sabbagh
Dr. Alisa Schaefer
Dr. Paul Scott
Ms. Shalini Sharma
Dr. Beth-Anne Sieber
Dr. Shai Silberberg
Dr. Andrew Skinner
Dr. Victoria Smith
Dr. Shardell Spriggs
Dr. Randall Stewart
Dr. Natalia Strunnikova
Dr. Marg Sutherland
Dr. Christine Swanson-Fisher
Dr. Ned Talley
Dr. Amir Tamiz
Dr. Anna Taylor
Ms. Melissa Tipton
Dr. Christine Torborg
Dr. Natalie Trzcinski
Dr. Lauren Ullrich
Dr. Ursula Utz
Ms. Christina Vert
Ms. Joanna Vivalda
Ms. Margo Warren
Dr. Elizabeth Webber
Dr. Letitia Weigand
Dr. Samantha White
Dr. Vicky Whittemore
Dr. Ling Wong
Dr. May Wong
Dr. Clinton Wright
Dr. David Yeung
Dr. Robert Zalutsky
Dr. Ran Zhang

Other federal employees present for portions of the meeting included:

Dr. Seetha Bhagavan, CSR
Dr. Thomas Cheever, NIAMS
Dr. Mary Custer, CSR
Dr. Rene Etcheberrigaray, CSR
Dr. Christine Grady, Clinical Center
Dr. Bruce Reed, CSR
Dr. Afia Sultana, CSR
Dr. Lawrence Tabak, NIH
Dr. Wei-Qin Zhao, CSR

We certify that, to the best of our knowledge, the foregoing minutes and attachments are accurate and complete.


Robert Finkelstein, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary
National Advisory Neurological Disorders
and Stroke Council

Director, Division of Extramural Research
National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke


Walter Koroshetz, M.D.
National Advisory Neurological Disorders
and Stroke Council

National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke

These minutes will be formally considered by the Council at its next meeting.  Corrections or notations will be incorporated in the minutes of that meeting.


1For the record, it is noted that members absent themselves from the meeting when the Council is discussing applications (a) from their respective institutions or (b) in which a real or apparent conflict of interest might occur.