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About NIA

NACA Meeting: February 25-26, 2014

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

SOBC Harnessing Neuroplasticity for Behavior Change – September 23-24, 2013 – Bethesda MD

This NIA-administered Common Fund meeting explored the value of identifying neurobiological targets and harnessing neuroplasticity in the service of behavior change. Planning committee included Jonathan W. King and Lisbeth Nielsen, NIA/BSR (301-402-4156).

Network on Reversibility Meeting – October 15-16, 2013 – London, UK

This exploratory meeting coordinated by Dr. David Reiss, BSR IPA, in conjunction with researchers at the UK Economic and Social Research Council. NIA/BSR staff could not participate because of the government shutdown. Meeting participants explored how existing datasets can be used (a) to identify pathways linking early social adversity to late life health outcomes, and (b) to accelerate understanding of the malleability of risk and the effects of interventions. For additional information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen at BSR (301-402-4156).


The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) sponsored a symposium at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology on October 22, 2013 in Newport, RI. Two speakers gave presentations at this symposium which is titled “Leukocyte Function/Significance in the Aging Host”.

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


The GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) is focused on identifying innovative approaches to better understand the relationships between the biological processes of aging and age-related chronic diseases and disabilities. Researchers in the biology of aging study the underlying molecular and cellular processes of aging, with a goal of using this knowledge to decrease the occurrence and severity of chronic disease and maximize health across the life span. This approach emerges from the simple fact that aging is itself the major risk factor for the majority of chronic diseases. Until recently the biological processes of aging were viewed as irreversible. However, current research suggests otherwise, raising the hope that there might be ways to capitalize on these discoveries to improve health as the population ages. These considerations led members of the GSIG to organize a summit that brought together leading researchers who study diverse molecular and cellular process in the biology of aging with leaders who study these same processes in the context of specific diseases. The goals of the summit were to find intersections among the biological pathways of aging and the multiple chronic diseases and conditions of aging, to promote these as fulcra on which to leverage new research on aging as the major risk factor for chronic disease, and – ultimately – to envision new ways to facilitate the translation of these findings into better health for the aging population.

The Summit was attended by approximately 500 people, including scientists, policy makers, disease-focused associations and others. It was opened by Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH. A Keynote Session set the stage with three talks covering frailty and disease in the elderly, an overview of the global burden of disease, and a status report on the current research in the biology of aging. Seven Scientific Sessions each used short thematic talks to open discussions on the interplay between specific aspects of the biology of aging and chronic diseases. Those sessions, the speakers and the topics for discussion are listed on the Summit Agenda.

Links: Summit on GSIG Website
GSIG Summit on NIA Website
GSIG Summit at Gerontological Society of America Website

Natcher Auditorium, NIH Campus, Bethesda MD
Organized by the trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group
DAB Contacts: Felipe Sierra and Ron Kohanski
GSIG Contacts: Felipe Sierra, Ron Kohanski and Kevin Howcroft (NCI)

The NIA Office of Special Populations collaborated with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to convene a seminar to highlight research innovations and translational opportunities to impact the healthy aging of boys and men at risk for disproportionate health outcomes. The workshop was co-organized by Dr. Cheryl Boyce from NIDA and Dr. Carl V. Hill at NIA. Both speakers were emerging investigators from underrepresented groups in biomedical research. Dr. Wizdom Powell from the University of North Carolina delivered a presentation titled “Masculine (Dis)advantage: Understanding Determinants of Health Disparities in Vulnerable Boys and Men.” Next, Dr. Waldo E. Johnson discussed contextual influences on African American male’s perceptions of manhood and masculinity. This seminar could be the first in a series to highlight important determinants of healthy aging among boys and men from health disparities populations.

The 10th Annual Nathan W. Shock Symposium was held on Thursday November 14, 2013 at the Asthma and Allergy Center and the Biomedical Research Center, on Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus. This event was cosponsored by NIA and the Nathan W. and Margaret T. Shock Aging Research Foundation. The Shock Symposium honored the life of Reubin Andres and was entitled, "Reubin Andres: The Man, His Science, and His Legacy" featured presentations by colleagues and students of Dr. Andres:

  • Dr. Jack Rowe, Columbia University
  • Dr. Edward Lakatta, National Institute on Aging
  • Dr. Jordan Tobin, Applied Physiology Section, NIA- Retired
  • Dr. Mitch Harman, Phoenix VA Health Care System
  • Dr. Dariush Elahi, University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Andrew Goldberg, University of Maryland
  • Dr. John Sorkin, University of Maryland
  1. Future Meetings

First Semi-annual Meeting of Steering Committee for the Diffusion of Health Care Technology – March 12, 2014 – Bethesda MD

This is the first meeting of a Steering Committee that will synthesize results from three Common Fund cooperative agreements dealing with diffusion of new medical care technology. The committee will plan joint activities, dissemination of results, and data infrastructure. For additional information please contact Dr. John Haaga at BSR (301-496-3131).

Advances in Biodemography: Cross-Species Comparisons of Social Environments, Social Behaviors, and their Effects on Health and Longevity – April 8-9, 2014 Washington DC – [Funded via IAA]

NIA/BSR is partnering with the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Population to conduct an exploratory workshop to promote and advance the field of biodemography by expanding it conceptually to include cross-species comparisons of social environments, social behaviors, and their effects on health, longevity, and life histories. The workshop, chaired by Dr. Maxine Weinstein, will occur on April 8-9, 2014, with expert presentations. The workshop presentations will be based on papers submitted for the workshop at the direction of the planning committee. A volume will be produced based on the workshop and papers to serve as a guide to future aging research in biodemography. For additional information please contact Dr. John Phillips at BSR (301-496-3138).

Advances in Affective Science of Aging - New Directions and interdisciplinary Research Opportunities – April 24, 2014 – Bethesda MD

This special pre-conference workshop will be held in conjunction with the upcoming inaugural conference of the Society for Affective Science. Discussions will raise important methodological and conceptual issues involved in conducting lifespan research in affective science of relevance to the aging population in four key areas: Motivation and Self-regulation; Well-being Measurement and Analysis; Stress and Affect; and Affective Influences on Decision-making. The goal is to stimulate innovative and creative research ideas with the hopes of fostering collaborative relationships and inspiring younger researchers to take a lifespan approach to affective science questions. For additional information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen at BSR (301-402-4156).

NIA-sponsored talk by Laura Carstensen at Society for Affective Science – April 25-26, 2014 – Bethesda MD

At the inaugural conference of the Society for Affective Science in Bethesda, Maryland, on April 24 through 26, 2014, NIA will sponsor a talk by Dr. Laura Carstensen, NIA grantee, member of the National Advisory Council on Aging, and leader in the study of emotion and aging. For additional information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen at BSR (301-402-4156).


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).

We propose a workshop to be held in Spring, 2014 either in San Antonio, TX or in Bethesda, MD.

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


NIA will bring together computational biologists, aging biologists, geneticists and molecular biologists and experts in computational technologies to determine how well NIA has positioned itself in the challenging and evolving area of –omics, imaging and other mass producing data technologies. A particular focus will be on determining the logistical challenges resulting from the rapid expansion of high-throughput technologies and high resolution DNA sequencing,.

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


The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) is sponsoring a symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunology on May 4, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA. Four speakers will be giving presentations at this symposium which is titled “B Cell Regulation of Immunity in Old Age”.

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


Recent studies have shown that aging may involve structural organization of chromatins and their interaction with other nuclear structures. A greater understanding of these chromatin changes during aging may provide new insights for the mechanisms of aging and aging-related diseases. This workshop will evaluate recent progress in this scientific area and identify research opportunities in this emerging scientific area.

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in Spring, 2014 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact: Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402).


The Division of Aging Biology is planning to hold an exploratory workshop to discuss recent findings in our understanding of tissue repair and aging. Uncovering the molecular mechanisms underlying tissue repair is an active area of basic biomedical research but there are few investigators focusing on the impact of aging on these repair processes. Elucidating the mechanisms by which organisms respond to tissue damage is key to developing therapeutic strategies that can improve the body’s endogenous repair mechanisms. The workshop will bring together researchers who are interested in the basic biology and translational applications of tissue repair and regenerative processes and will focus on what is currently known about the effect of aging on these processes.

We propose a workshop to be held in Summer, 2014 in Bethesda, MD.

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


The Division of Aging Biology has had a long-standing interest in measures of healthspan in mice, a primary model in non-genetic aging research. There is preliminary agreement within the community that healthspan is determined both by an increase in frailty and a decrease in resilience. Though no clear consensus is yet available, frailty measurements have been discussed at multiple previous venues, with a focus on the age-dependent loss in different physiological functions (muscle strength, sensory acuity, cognitive function, etc.). It is generally considered that these age-associated losses of function are best measured by stressing the system under study, and this is in fact a measure of resilience. Areas that could be explored include:

  • Response and rate/extent of recovery from physiologically relevant insults
  • Changes in the threshold at which perturbations become clinically recognizable disease
  • Recovery time needed between two similar or different injuries
  • Switches between hormesis and deleterious perturbations

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in Summer, 2014 in Bethesda, MD.

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