About NIA

NACA meeting: September 21–22, 2010

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

The 4th Baltimore Area Repair Symposium (BARS) was held at Sheppard-Pratt Conference Center in Baltimore, Maryland on March 18th, 2010. The Symposium is jointly sponsored by the NIA IRP, The University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University. The program serves as a forum for spotlighting the most exciting local research efforts in the area of DNA damage and repair and its impact on cancer, virology and the diversity of the immune response. NIA IRP Participants included Drs. Vilhelm Bohr, Michael Seidman, Patricia Gearhart, Weidong Wang, David Wilson III and Robert Brosh Jr.

A one day meeting, jointly sponsored by the NIA and Sanofi Aventis was held on April 21, 2010. The goal of the meeting was to identify potential collaborative research opportunities related to the aging process, diseases and conditions associated with aging, and other special problems and needs of older people. NIA IRP participants included Drs. Josephine Egan, Edward Lakatta, Luigi Ferrucci, Huaibin Cai, Nigel Greig, Cathy Wolkow and Irving Wainer.

The 8th Annual Nathan W. Shock Symposium on Aging will be held on September 13, 2010. This year’s symposium entitled, “Aging and Stress Responses: Modern Views of Homeostatic Dysregulation,” will be held at the Asthma and Allergy Center Auditorium on the campus of Johns Hopkins Bayview, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Speakers will include

  • David Sinclair, Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School)
  • Judith Campisi, Ph.D. (Buck Institute)
  • Brian Kennedy, Ph.D. (University of Washington)
  • Valter Longo, Ph.D. (University of Southern California)
  • Andrew Feinberg, M.D. (Johns Hopkins Medical School)
  1. Past Meetings

An Integrated Genetic-Epigenetic Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease

June 7-8, 2010
Bethesda, MD

The Division of Neuroscience, NIA, convened an exploratory workshop that brought together ADGC (AD Genetics Consortium) investigators funded through the Roadmap Epigenomics RFA, other leading epigenomics experts working on related diseases and conditions, and NIA’s leading geneticists involved in the major AD genetics initiatives such as LOAD (Late Onset AD Family study). The purpose of this workshop was to explore synergies between these two approaches and to facilitate interactions between leading experts in AD genetics, leading epigenomics experts, and review the current state of AD genetics and the emerging epigenetic approach to AD. An extensive report of the conference was featured on Alzforum: Alzforum: Bethesda- Dawn of the Epigenetics Era (For further information, contact: Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; petanceskas@mail.nih.gov).

Aging Rapidly in an Economic Storm—June 10-11, 2010

BSR supported a National Academy of Sciences two-day expert meeting on the Challenges of Assessing the Impact of Severe Economic Recession on the Elderly to respond to the need for more information on the potential consequences of economic downturns and economic recession on older Americans. This exploratory meeting brought together a group of expert researchers to help delineate the nature and dimensions of potential scientific inquiry in this area, to review existing research, and to highlight the contribution that empirical work could make to policy formulation in this area. The outcome of the meeting was a meeting summary, which highlights potential areas of future data collection and research within this general area. (For more information, contact Ms. Elizabeth Hamilton, BSR, 301-496-3138.)

CIRCADIAN CLOCKS AND THEIR ROLE IN AGING: MOLECULAR MECHANISMS (June 18, 2010; Bethesda, MD)

It is now widely recognized that many aspects of circadian rhythms are impacted by age, and that biochemical pathways implicated in the aging process have a role in circadian rhythms. Importantly, there is evidence to suggest that a decline in circadian function contributes to deficits associated with aging. Therefore, the Divisions of Aging Biology and Neuroscience co-sponsored an exploratory workshop to bring together experts in circadian clocks, genetic and epigenetic regulation, metabolic control, and aging biology to address the interconnections of the various cellular processes controlled by clock genes and to explore new avenues for research on circadian research and aging. The Workshop explored how molecular components of the central and peripheral clocks change with age, and assessed a link between age-related disruption of clock and the central nervous system and periphery physiology in health and disease. The workshop reviewed the current status of research on the interactions between aging and circadian rhythms, and developed a set of recommendations for future research directions.

(Contact Dr. Jose Velázquez, DAB, 301/496-6402 or Dr. Mack Mackiewicz, DN, 301/496-9350).

NIA/NAS Meeting on Research Progress on Elder Mistreatment – June 22, 2010

NIA and NAS organized an exploratory meeting to assess the state of the science on Elder Mistreatment. It has been seven years since the NIA sponsored an NAS Panel resulting in the landmark publication Elder Mistreatment. Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America. Since then NIA has funded nine projects resulting from Elder Mistreatment RFAs, funded several unsolicited projects on this topic, and worked with other funders (e.g., Department of Justice/National Institute on Justice). The resulting funded research addresses problems identified by the NAS panel on Elder Mistreatment. This meeting assessed the scientific knowledge gained in that interval and further clarified the direction of future research on Elder Mistreatment. State-of-the-science papers assessing scientific progress and knowledge gaps remaining after the collective investment of these various agencies in Elder Mistreatment research were written by 14 extramural investigators and nine agency representatives (AoA, DoJ, CDC, ASPE, American Bar Association, and the Wilson Center). (For more information, contact Dr. Sidney M. Stahl, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Progress and Gaps in Osteoarthritis Research at NIA (July 23, 2010; Bethesda, MD)

The Division of Aging Biology sponsored an exploratory workshop to highlight recent advances in osteoarthritis research and identify gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed in order to accelerate the pace of research in this disabling age-related disease. The primary focus of the workshop was on the potential uses of cartilage stem cells for treatment of OA. The workshop was held July 23rd, 2010 in Bethesda, MD.

A summary of the workshop highlights will be available at a later date.
(Contact: Dr. John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402)

Inflammation, Inflammatory Mediators and Aging (August 2-3, 2010; Bethesda, MD)

An exploratory NIA-sponsored workshop was held on August 2 and 3rd, 2010 in Bethesda, MD. The purpose of this workshop was to have awardees from RFA AG-05-011 present their findings and to have other investigators working in this area of research also participate to discuss recent research advances and future research directions. The RFA on Inflammation, Inflammatory Mediators and Aging was funded in FY 2006 by three different divisions within NIA. Since that time, there has been much research published on the role of inflammation in the development and progression of various age-related pathologies such as osteoporosis, kidney fibrosis, sarcopenia, lung inflammation and fibrosis, among other conditions. At the recent Biology of Aging Summit, the need to further explore the source of inflammatory cytokine production and the role of adipose tissue and cells of the innate immune system in triggering inflammation was discussed. Therefore, DAB organized this workshop to discuss recent progress as well as to identify gaps in our understanding of the role of inflammation in the aging process.

(Contacts: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301-496-6402).

Retirement Modeling Second Generation – August 4, 2010

In 2007, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) initiated a call for applications to solicit research projects to develop comprehensive models of retirement that integrate health and disability, wealth, and family structure. The initiative was cosponsored by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and four awards were made to the most meritorious projects in the competition. While each project was distinct in approach, it was clear that synergies between projects could be exploited to move the science forward more efficiently. Further, the potential for these projects to inform SSA modeling efforts was seen as particularly valuable. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, NIA and SSA co-sponsored this exploratory meeting at which researchers presented their progress on the next generation of retirement models, which integrate the components of wealth, health, disability and family structure. (For more information, contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya, BSR, 301-496-3138.)

Sensory and Motor Dysfunction in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease
August 9-10, 2010
Bethesda, MD

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia among older adults at the age of 65 or above. Currently, there is no cure for AD; early detection of the disease is primarily based on neuropsychological assessment. In the past two decades or so, studies have begun to suggest that changes in sensory and/or motor function are associated with AD, in particular at the early or even pre-symptomatic stages, and that examining sensory and motor changes in the context of AD may provide us with fresh perspectives regarding the etiology, early detection, assessment, and treatment of AD and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases. DN held an exploratory workshop in Bethesda, MD on August 9-10, 2010 to explore 1) the relevance of sensory and motor dysfunctions to the understanding, detection and treatment of AD and aging; 2) knowledge gaps in understanding sensory and motor dysfunctions in the context of AD and aging; 3) scientific, technological, and other barriers in advancing the understanding of sensory and motor dysfunctions in the context of AD and aging; and 4) strategic suggestions to advance this area of research. Participants included experts from the fields of sensory systems, motor systems, cognitive aging, and dementia research. (For further information, contact: Dr. Wen G. Chen, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; chenw@mail.nih.gov).

Expert Panel Discussion on Pharmacologic Management of Chronic Pain in Older Adults
September 14-15, 2010
Rockville, MD

NIA co-sponsored an exploratory workshop titled, “Expert Panel Discussion on Pharmacologic Management of Chronic Pain in Older Adults” on September 14-15, 2010, in Rockville, MD. This workshop is convened under the aegis of the NIH Pain Consortium, with direct support from NIA, NINR, NINDS, and NIDA. The goal of the meeting is to receive expert recommendations on research priorities for improving pharmacological management of chronic pain in older adults, often the latter phase of the stepped approach to pain management, by comparing the effectiveness, efficacy, and safety of various pain management paradigms in different clinical situations or conditions, with particular emphasis on appropriate uses of opioids and NSAIDs.
(For further information, contact: Dr. Wen G. Chen, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; chenw@mail.nih.gov or Dr. Basil A. Eldadah, DGCG, Ph: 301-496-6761; eldadahb@mail.nih.gov

LAG 2010 and Beyond: Comprehensive Analysis of LAG Signaling Pathways and Crosstalk and Downstream Targets of LAG Genes (September 16, 2010; Bethesda, MD)

The one-day exploratory symposium brought together a select group of LAG investigators and their progeny (young investigators trained in the laboratories of members of the LAG Interactive Network who have made major research contributions to expanding the field of longevity research as independent researchers) to highlight the scientific advances in longevity research for the NIH community and to define future research opportunities to advance this field of basic aging biology.
(Contact: Dr. Anna McCormick, DAB, 301/496-6402)

  1. Future Meetings

The Cognitive Aging Summit II
October 4-5, 2010
Washington, D.C.

The Cognitive Aging Summit II, an advisory meeting supported by the NIA and the Foundation for NIH through a generous grant from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation (MBRF), will be held in October 2010. The Summit will bring together experts in various fields of study pertaining to cognition and aging. The goals and objectives of this second Summit are to: discuss the advances made in the field since the first Cognitive Aging Summit in 2007 and what gaps in the body of scientific knowledge may still need to be addressed; explore novel methodologies and technologies to address research concerns; explore avenues for interventions and preventive measures to mitigate the effects of age-related cognitive decline and maintain cognitive health throughout life; and raise the level of awareness both within the scientific community and among the public about the importance of this area of research and its value to society. Updates on grants awarded through two RFAs on cognitive aging research stemming from the first Summit will be presented. (For further information, contact: Dr. Molly Wagster, DN, Ph: 301-496-9360; wagsterm@nia.nih.gov or Dr. Jonathan King, DBSR, Ph: 301-402-4516; kingjo@nia.nih.gov ).

Economic Phenotypes – October 14, 2010

This exploratory meeting on Economic Phenotypes will occur in October of 2010, in conjunction with the 2010 Society of Neuroeconomics Meeting in Evanston, Illinois. The purpose of the meeting is to integrate approaches from neuro- and behavioral economics with survey research methods for measuring aging-relevant economic behaviors, traits, and outcomes, with the goal of developing a Toolkit for measurement of economic phenotypes to enhance links between laboratory and survey science and provide a foundation for genetic studies of fundamental economic behaviors. (For more information, contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Using Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) to Explore Fundamental Questions about Aging in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) Sample — late September 2010

BSR has commissioned the Committee on Population (CPOP) at NAS to organize a two-day expert meeting on potential uses and new directions for research which could result from the introduction of genetic data into the Health and Retirement Study. The ultimate goal of this exploratory meeting is to discuss how GWAS and the HRS can be used to expand behavioral and social research perspectives by focusing on (1) how genetic information can add to existing seminal work coming from the HRS and (2) what new and innovative questions regarding behavioral and social science can be asked now that there will be genetic information in the HRS. (For more information, please contact Dr. Erica Spotts, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Harmonizing Existing Longitudinal Studies for the Purpose of Genetic Analyses – Fall 2010

It is becoming increasingly clear that genetic analyses of complex traits require larger sample sizes than initially envisioned. To make the most of existing investments in behavioral and social research, strategies for pooling data across existing studies should be explored. This exploratory meeting is designed to bring together existing longitudinal studies of aging to discuss strategies of pooling data and harmonizing phenotypes with the eventual goal of genetic studies of behavioral and social phenotypes. (For more information, contact Dr. Erica Spotts, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Conscientiousness and Healthy Aging – Fall 2010

The proposed exploratory workshop is designed to determine what new research would further our understanding of the links between personality, health, economic security and aging, aimed at understanding mechanisms and identifying potential targets for intervention. The workshop is designed to focus discussion around four themes: (1) advances in measurement of the conscientiousness phenotype, (2) examination of the role of social context in influencing the prevalence or utility of personality traits, (3) exploration of causal pathways through experiments and interventions, and (4) harmonization and integration of existing lifecourse data on personality and health. (For more information, contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Subjective Well-being and Public Policy: Collaborative Meeting with the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences, Fall 2010

The U.K. Economic and Social Research Council and the U.S. National Institute on Aging, in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences, are hosting an exploratory workshop on application of subjective well-being (SWB) measurement to public policy. The workshop will bring together leading academic and policy personnel from the U.S. and U.K. to examine the potential for measures of subjective well-being to inform the design and evaluation of specific social and economic programs. This meeting will explore research needs and practical challenges surrounding the integration of measures of subjective well-being into the planning and evaluation of policies by local and national governments and agencies. Discussion will focus on (1) Challenges in measurement of subjective well-being at the population level, (2) Successes and pitfalls in applications of SWB measures for policy purposes, and (3) Research and data needs for the field.

Older Workers - Winter 2010

One important aspect of population aging on which NIA has not yet devoted focused attention is the older worker, and the interaction between work and the aging process. NIA cosponsored with NIOSH a 2004 IOM Panel and NRC volume on Health and Safety Needs of Older Workers, and as part of our 2008 NACA Review we began to think about a variety of initiatives in this area. An exploratory workshop is proposed to focus our program development efforts. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which has an interest and growing portfolio on America’s aging work force and issues facing employers of older workers, will collaborate on this workshop which likely will be held at NBER in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (For more information, contact Ms. Georgeanne Patmios, BSR, 301-496-3138.)

The Role of Genetic and Environmental Factors across the Life Course: Improving the Rigor of Causal Inference – Winter 2010

There is an established consensus across several disciplines on the need to adopt a lifecourse perspective to understand the evolution of health and the aging process. The aim of this exploratory workshop is to bring together researchers at the frontier of their fields to integrate biological, econometric, genetic and medical approaches to advance our knowledge on the developmental origins of health and aging, and to set priorities for future research agendas. The focus of the workshop is to explore the potential synergies and to combine insights from evolutionary biology and medicine, together with genetic analysis and rigorous econometric modeling to understand: (1) the mechanisms through which genetic endowments and early life conditions affect the evolution of health across the lifecourse; (2) the importance of selection effects in estimating the causal role of social and biological factors relevant to aging; (3) the nature of the selection effects, their evolution across the lifecourse and the mechanisms through which they operate. Particular emphasis will be given to the analysis of interventions, and how to characterize heterogeneity in their effects as function of genetic endowments. Methods will be discussed to analyze both planned interventions (such as behavioral programs or policies) and naturally occurring quasi-experiments; particular emphasis will be given to the mechanisms (both biological and socioeconomic) through which these interventions operate, and translate into outcomes. While the main aim of the workshop is to understand how the effect of environments in which individuals self-select varies as function of genetic endowments, the analysis of the interventions will be instrumental in scaling down the complexity of the problem and in improving the causal modeling of behavioral responses. (For more information, contact Dr. Erica Spotts, BSR, 301-402-4156.)