The application deadline is fast approaching for NIA’s prestigious summer training opportunity: the Butler-Williams Scholars Program. I hope that you’ve already applied, or have encouraged your mentees to do so. To help you understand a bit more about this program and what it offers, I interviewed NIA Deputy Director Marie A. Bernard. Marie is a longtime advocate of this program, an intensive week-long training whirlwind to boost the careers of emerging scholars in aging research. Read More
While we are beginning to understand the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities through medical research, one area that needs attention is research on the health of older LGBT Americans. Efforts such as the recent NIA-supported Caring and Aging with Pride study, the first national, federally funded project examining LGBT aging and health, are providing us with the beginnings of a solid knowledge base—but we still have a long way to go. Read More
The Advisory Council of the National Institute on Aging is holding one of its thrice yearly meetings today. Did you know you can watch online? The next meeting is on May 21, 2014, from about 8am to 3pm EST. Please save the date! We invite you to tune in, so I hope you'll mark it on your calendar. How do I catch up on today's meeting? Read More
You’ve now figured out which NIA program officer handles your kind of science. But how to get in touch? I hope you’re not agonizing over whether now is the right moment or whether your message will be well received. If you’ve spent a few minutes reviewing published resources related to your questions—for example, the NIA and NIH grants websites—your remaining questions are probably good ones to ask. We really are here to help, though of course if you all contact us all at once, we’re doomed. So, here are some tips that might make you more comfortable hitting send on that email to a program officer. Read More
Last month, the NIA got good news about our budget for fiscal year 2014: $130 million more than last year. We are grateful for this increase. It means that this year there will be more funding than last for aging research, including a focus on Alzheimer’s disease. Read More
Just last month, NIA-funded researchers reported on a relationship between racial discrimination and telomere length among a community sample of African American men. Telomere length, of course, has been associated with aging. And the study found that men with more experience of discrimination and more internalized racial bias had shorter telomeres, thus, perhaps, contributing to premature aging. While these types of findings need further research to determine causality, this fascinating finding illustrates the importance of research on health disparities in the basic biology of aging. Disparities are the focus of the NIA Office of Special Populations. Read More
With paylines being what they are at NIA and NIH, we tend to hear that discriminating among applications in the narrow range of scores represented by the top 20 percent of applications reviewed by the Center for Scientific Review is a lottery. Surely, it is too much to ask of peer review to discriminate reasonably among applications of such quality. So what sense, then, in drawing a payline? Why not hold a lottery instead? Or at least allow program and senior Institute staff considerable discretion in selecting priorities for award among this set. Read More
Posted on January 22, 2014 by David Schlessinger, NIH Distinguished Investigator and Chief, Laboratory of Genetics, Intramural Research Program.
When I first entered my mentor Jim Watson’s office as a graduate student in ancient times (i.e., 1957), I saw a slip of paper fastened by scotch tape to the fluorescent light fixture over his desk. On it he had clearly printed in ink: DNA --> RNA --> protein. So, there it was—a clear guiding principle; a new science was starting. Read More
Posted on January 15, 2014 by Nancy Nadon, Program Officer of the Biological Resources Program and Chief, Biological Resources Branch, Division of Aging Biology.
The NIA has invested heavily in resources to support the study of aging biology. In part, this is because the resources needed to conduct such research simply don’t exist elsewhere. Recently, investigators using NIA biological resources have been affected by many new rules. The quick summary of these changes? Biological resources are now provided at no cost to researchers, but the eligibility criteria for use of the resources have necessarily been tightened. Read More
NIH program officers—what do they really do? How can you get the best from your program officer? Our main job is to make sure the NIA is funding the best research projects, career development, and research training in the areas of science we cover. A big part of “turning discovery into health,”—NIH’s credo—is advising applicants. If an application fails, it should be because something else was judged a better bet, not because one applicant was poorly informed. Program officers assist you throughout the funding process, after you get a grant as well as when your idea is still just… an idea. It is often important to get in touch with us before you submit your grant application. Read More