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About NIA

NACA meeting: January 25–26, 2011

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

The 8th Annual Nathan W. Shock Symposium on Aging was held on September 13, 2010. This year’s symposium entitled, “Aging and Stress Responses: Modern Views of Homeostatic Deregulation,” was held at the Asthma and Allergy Center Auditorium on the campus of Johns Hopkins Bayview, in Baltimore, Maryland. Speakers included 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), and Andrew Feinberg, M.D. (Johns Hopkins Medical School)

  1. Past Meetings

Using Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) to Explore Fundamental Questions about Aging in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) Sample — September 23-24, 2010

BSR 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 was 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.)

Planning Meeting for a Workshop on the Continuing Epidemiological Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa- Accra, Ghana - September 26, 2010

The Committee on Population (CPOP) at the National Academy of Sciences appointed a planning committee of experts to organize and conduct a public workshop on the continuing epidemiological transition in Sub-Saharan Africa. The planning meeting was held in Accra, Ghana, and reviewed new developments and methods in field demographic surveys. The planning committee discussed the structure and content, papers to be commissioned and developed a list of invited speakers for the forthcoming workshop to be held in Fall 2011 in South Africa. (For more information, please contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-496-3131.)


The Rapamycin and mTOR Signaling in the Modulation of Healthspan and Lifespan: Potential and Problems workshop was held at The Union Club in New York City, NY on October 4, 2010.

This workshop was co-sponsored with AFAR, and it aimed at harvesting the excitement generated by the publication, about a year earlier, of findings from the Intervention Testing Program of DAB, showing that rapamycin extends lifespan in mice. The findings have spawned great enthusiasm in the research community, and have raised hopes that this will lead to a new era of pharmacological interventions in aging and age-related diseases. The meeting itself had 8 speakers, and Dr. Sierra from DAB led a final round table panel discussion on the future of research in this area.

Cognitive Aging Summit II
October 4-5, 2010
Washington DC

The Cognitive Aging Summit II, an advisory meeting supported by the NIA and the Foundation for NIH (FNIH) through a generous grant from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation (MBRF), was held October 4-5, 2010 in Washington, D.C. The Summit brought together approximately 350 participants with expertise in a variety of research fields to discuss cutting edge advances in our understanding of age-related brain and behavioral changes. An Executive Session including approximately 60 of the Summit participants was held on the final day of the conference and generated several recommendations for ways to further advance the study of cognitive aging. General themes for the recommendations included: (1) better interface of basic and clinical scientists to enhance the clinical trial enterprise; (2) encouragement of more integrative models of mechanisms for age-related decline/maintenance and more multidisciplinary research in the field; (3) use of a uniform set of measures of cognition in both animal and human studies; (4) more investment in research examining the role of education and social networks in cognitive maintenance/decline with age. The scientific portion of the meeting was videotaped and will be posted in its entirety and in a searchable format on the NIA, MBRF, and FNIH websites by January 2011.(For further information, contact: Dr. Molly Wagster, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; wagsterm@nia.nih.gov or Dr. Jonathan King, DBSR, Ph: 301-402-4516; kingjo@nia.nih.gov ).

First Cognitive Aging Research Annual Investigators Meeting – October 6, 2010

This NIA-supported meeting was held directly after Cognitive Aging Summit II, and provided a forum for grantees funded by RFA-AG-09-009 (Interventions To Remediate Age-related Cognitive Decline) and RFA-AG-09-010 (Neural and Behavioral Profiles of Cognitive Aging) to interact and discuss experimental design and initial findings from their ongoing studies. These awards were co-supported by NIA and FNIH, through a generous gift from The McKnight Brain Research Foundation (MBRF). The meeting included didactic presentations on best practices and processes in linking basic and clinical research approaches in order to foster the clinical enterprise by Dr. Michael Marsiske (site PI of the ACTIVE trial, on cognitive training interventions), Dr. Michela Gallagher (PI of a clinical trial in MCI, on translational research) and Dr. Howard Fillit, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery Foundation (on drug discovery and the research enterprise to move pharmacological compounds from bench to trial). Attendees also included representatives of FNIH, MBRF, as well as NCCAM, and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (which co-funded two awards). (For more information, contact: Dr. Jonathan King, BSR, 301-402-4156 or Dr. Molly Wagster, DN, 301-496-9350.)

Economic Phenotypes – October 14, 2010

This NIA-funded exploratory meeting on Economic Phenotypes was held on October 14, 2010, in conjunction with the 2010 Society of Neuroeconomics Meeting in Evanston, Illinois. The purpose of the meeting was 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.)

Alzheimer’s Disease Preclinical Therapy Development Advisory Meeting
October 21-22, 2010
Bethesda, MD

The goal of this meeting, convened by the Division of Neuroscience, NIA on October 21-22, 2010 in Bethesda, MD was to further develop, prioritize and formulate an implementation plan for the recommendations emanating from the meeting of the AD Translational Research Advisory Panel. To this end, this advisory meeting convened leading therapy development experts from academia, biopharma and disease-focused foundations to consider the following recommendations: the establishment of a new public- private partnership consortium that will leverage and build upon existing government, industry and disease foundation resources and coordinate the strategic planning for future development of AD therapeutics; the establishment of an external advisory/oversight committee that would review progress of funded preclinical (U01) programs and provide guidance to NIA-funded investigators and advice to NIA- Program Staff; improve translation of preclinical animal model efficacy to the clinic by defining guidelines and standard methods for use of animal models in AD therapy development; provide formal education, on topics germane to AD therapy development, to potential applicants, funded-investigators, NIH-program staff and reviewers.
(For further information, contact: Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; petanceskas@nia.nih.gov).

Planning Meeting for New Directions in Social Demography and Social Epidemiology of Aging - November 4, 2010

The Committee on Population (CPOP) at the National Academy of Sciences appointed a planning committee consisting of experts from multiple fields to evaluate the recent contributions of social demography, social epidemiology and sociology to the study of aging and to prepare a report. The committee will have the task of mining new and emerging research in the field of sociology and allied fields to identify areas which are likely to produce a reinvigoration of research in the sociology of aging. Working with CPOP staff, the planning committee discussed the structure of the planned workshop, made lists of papers to be commissioned for the forthcoming workshop to evaluate the recent contributions of social demography, social epidemiology and sociology to the study of aging and to prepare a report which highlights potential areas of fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as identifying important research questions that can be addressed using new methodologies or frameworks. (For more information, please contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-496-3131)

Subjective Well-being and Public Policy: Collaborative Meeting with the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences - November 8-9, 2010

The U.K. Economic and Social Research Council and the U.S. National Institute on Aging, in collaboration with the National Academies of Science, hosted an exploratory workshop on application of subjective well-being (SWB) measurement to public policy. The workshop brought 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. The meeting explored 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 focused 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. (For more information, contact Drs. Lis Nielsen and Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Aged Experimental Rodents Mini-Symposium

The National Institute of Aging IRP held a mini-symposium entitled, "Aged Experimental Rodents: The Challenge of Assessing Animal Health and Determining Human Endpoints for Research" on Tuesday, November 30, 2010. This event was held at the Biomedical Research Center, in Baltimore, MD and included several prestigious speakers including Dr. Richard Miller, (University of Michigan) and Dr. Donald Ingram (Pennington Biomedical Research Center.)

Policy Research and Data Needs to Meet the Challenges of Aging in Asia—Beijing, China - December 9-11, 2010

The first of two planned conferences convened by the Committee on Population (CPOP) at the National Academies of Science, this meeting, supported by NIA, assembled leading scientists to present the latest trends in population aging in Asia, to discuss the potential for greater international collaboration and to engage senior Asian policymakers and planners in dialogue. (For more information, please contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-496-3131)

Conscientiousness and Healthy Aging – January 6-7, 2011

This NIA-funded exploratory workshop was designed to determine what new research would further our understanding of the links between personality, health, economic security and aging, aimed at understanding of mechanisms and identification of potential targets for intervention. The workshop focused 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.)

  1. Future Meetings

Measurement of Psychosocial Stress, University of California-San Francisco - February 2-3, 2011.

This NIA-funded exploratory meeting is designed to advance dialogue between measurement, laboratory, and population-based stress researchers, in order to lay the groundwork for development of measures suitable for inclusion in large surveys, appropriate for use across geographic regions, populations, and societies. This meeting should help to inform our understanding of health inequalities that are attributable to psychosocial stress exposures and experiences. (For more information, contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Conference on Policy Research and Data Needs to Meet the Challenges of Population Aging in Asia, New Delhi, India - Spring 2011.

The second of two planned conferences convened by the Committee on Population (CPOP) at the National Academies of Science, this meeting will gather leading scientists to present the latest trends in population aging in Asia, to discuss the potential for greater international collaboration, and to engage senior Asian policymakers and planners in dialogue. (For more information, please contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-496-3131.)

Harmonizing Existing Longitudinal Studies for the Purpose of Genetic Analyses – May 2-3, 2011

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.)

Roundtable on Psychology and Economics, Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., May 2011.

This NIA-supported meeting will bring together leading researchers in behavioral and social research on decision making from the psychological and economic sciences to discuss potential areas of integration for advancing research on aging relevant themes, including: Behavior Change and Decision Making (including behavioral and neuro-economics), Subjective Well-being, and Measurement of Economic Phenotypes. (For more information, contact Drs. Lis Nielsen and Jonathan King, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Behavioral Economics and Aging. Symposium to be held at the Third Annual Meeting of the Behavioral Economic Society, New Haven, CT - May 2011.

This NIA-supported session will report on research related to the application of behavioral economics to the health and well-being of older adults. (For more information, contact Drs. Jonathan King, 301-402-4156, and Partha Bhattacharyya, 301-496-3131.)


Purpose: Outreach

The purpose of the forum is to bring together new awardees of grants from DAB in the spring of the year following their award, to encourage their continued success in this field by allowing them to get acquainted with us (NIA program staff) as well as network with each other. The new investigators will be asked to make short presentations describing their planned work (or results to date) with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging research. As for previous meetings, the invitation letter will include the following language:

“Since you are being funded by the National Institute on Aging, we presume that your talk will clearly and explicitly demonstrate to us (and to the other forum participants) how your research is related to the area of aging.”

The meeting will start with a keynote address by an eminent aging researcher (tbn).

Owing to the large number of new investigators added to the DAB portfolio in FY 2010, we anticipate that we will need to divide the DAB NIF into two parts. One part for R01 awardees and the other part for K and F, small grant and post doc awardees.

We propose both workshops (Part 1 – R01s and Part 2 – Ks & Fs) to be held in spring, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. David Finkelstein, DAB, 301/496-6402).


The overall objective of the proposed exploratory workshop is to assemble research experts in aging biology, comparative biology, and TOR (Target of Rapamycin) -associated pathways, to obtain input that may help us strengthen comparative physiology approaches to explore conserved and divergent aspects of the TOR pathway across various vertebrate species. TOR plays a key role in development and aging. The aberrant regulation of mTOR (mammalian TOR) has been implicated in several diseases, including cancer, diabetes, ocular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders and in the regulation of lifespan and age-related diseases. Given the rapidly evolving findings on the role of TOR in lifespan extension and in a wide range of age-related diseases, a comparative approach across short-lived and long-lived species of mammals may provide evolutionary insights into conserved aspects of the expression of TOR and its downstream pathways. This workshop will help NIA develop this area further through special initiatives or efforts through existing resources.

We propose a workshop to be held in spring, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. Mahadev Murthy, DAB, 301/496-6402).


The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) is planning to hold an exploratory workshop in June to discuss recent findings in our understanding of immune regulation of bone cell differentiation. The Division of Aging Biology is interested in investigating the role of immune cells in modulating bone cell differentiation and normal bone responses to pathological challenges. There have been recent reports indicating a role of senescent T cells in the development of osteoporosis with aging. In addition, there is strong evidence demonstrating that the immune regulation of bone is dynamic and in view of recent data indicating a the endocrine regulation of both the immune system and bone remodeling, there is a basis for further investigating the mechanisms involved in mediating cross talk between these systems and understanding the role of aging in this process.

We propose a workshop to be held in June, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contacts Drs. Rebecca Fuldner or John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402).


New technologies are making it possible to probe gene expression, DNA integrity, protein damage, etc. in living cells with single molecule sensitivity in real-time. Many important proteins are expressed at extremely low levels, thus making them inaccessible by classical genomic and proteomic techniques. The single molecule sensitive reporter systems that have been developed open up possibilities for system wide characterization of the expression of these low copy number proteins. Similarly, latest generation DNA sequencing allows the analysis of single genomes, thus providing important cell-to-cell variability in genome stability, mutation frequency, etc. This level of analysis is important since individual cell biochemical composition may be diluted by the surrounding cells. By studying single cells at the molecular level it will be possible to obtain fingerprints of bioprocess from different cell types and disease states and to change the response to various challenges by altering the level of these biological processes in a predictable manner. The insights into the biology of single cells will have important implications for the study of tissue and organ homeostasis.

The proposed meeting will assemble the leaders in the field of single cell analysis, together with researchers from the aging community to discuss new, cutting-edge developments and techniques in this fast-moving area. The presentations will focus on probing genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and imaging in living cells.

We propose a workshop to be held in June, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. Jose Velazquez, DAB, 301/496-6402).


In 2009, DAB awarded three supplements to Nathan Shock Centers, to allow them to develop panels of measurements of healthspan in mouse models of aging. Testing is being done in wild type (but inbred) mice, as well as several models of accelerated and reduced longevity. The awards went to Shock Centers in U. Washington, U. Texas (San Antonio) and U. Michigan. The awards were for 2 years and will come to an end at the end of FY 2011. At that time, DAB will invite up to 3 members of each of these teams to meet in Bethesda to discuss progress and possibly establish a set of panels of possible measurements to be proposed to the community.

We propose a workshop to be held in August, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/496-6402).