Skip to main content

January 2017 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the September 2016 Director's Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2016, 2017, and 2018 Budgets:

FY 2016

The NIA closed out fiscal year 2016 with final obligations of $1.596 billion in appropriated money. This amount included $474 million of Alzheimer's Disease funding. NIA awarded 1,648 research project grants (RPGs), including 624 competing awards. The FY 2016 success rate for the Institute was 22.8 percent which compares to 17.7 percent in FY 2015 and 15.9 percent in FY 2014.

Support levels for other key extramural funding mechanisms included $113.6 million to fund 88 research centers; $25.3 million to support 500 full-time training positions; and $55.7 million for research and development contracts.

FY 2017

NIA is currently operating under a 7-month Continuing Resolution, which provides $914.4 million in appropriated money for the period of October 1, 2016 through April 28, 2017. The FY 2017 President's budget included a request of $1.598 billion for NIA. The FY 2017 House appropriations bill included $1.982 billion for NIA and the Senate bill recommended $2.067 billion. NIA's final FY 2017 funding level will be determined through negotiations between the new incoming Presidential administration and Congress.

FY 2018

Preliminary work on a budget for FY 2018 has begun. We are waiting for guidance from the new incoming Presidential Administration.

BUDGET MECHANISM (in thousands)
MECHANISM FY 2016 Actuals
Research Grants: No. Amount
Research Projects:    
Administrative Supplements
Subtotal, RPG
Research Centers:
Clinical Research
Comparative Medicine
Research Centers in Minority Institutions
Subtotal, Centers
Other Research:
Research Careers
Cancer Education
Cooperative Clinical Research
Biomedical Research Support
Minority Biomedical Research Support
Subtotal, Other Research
Total Research Grants
Total, Training
Research & Development Contracts
Intramural Research
Research Management & Support
Total, NIA

Legislative Update

January 2017

Legislation of Interest:

H.R. 5325 – On September 28, 2016, the Senate took up the FY2017 Continuing Resolution (CR), Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act, providing funding for the Federal government through December 9, 2016. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 72-26, sending it to the House. The House passed the CR by a vote of 342-85. The bill was signed by President Obama on September 29, 2016, and in addition to providing FY 2017 funding for all federal agencies, the bill includes the FY 2017 MilCon-VA bill, $1.1 billion for Zika, flood assistance, and an across-the-board cut of 0.5 percent.

H.R. 34 – On November 30, 2016, the House passed, by a vote of 392-26, H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act. The compromise measure authorizes an additional $4.8 billion over a 10-year period to carry out the Precision Medicine Initiative ($1.45B), the BRAIN Initiative ($1.5B), cancer research ($1.8B), and regenerative medicine research ($30M). On December 7, 2016, the Senate also passed the bill. This bill was signed in to law on December 13, by President Obama. Offsets for the funding included in the Act come primarily from rescinding money in the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the ACA and sales of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In contrast to H.R. 6, the original Cures Act that passed last July, the funding is not mandatory but will be set aside in an account in the Treasury. The funding must be appropriated each year and will not count against the budget caps. Amounts appropriated cannot exceed what is authorized for each fiscal year and they are available until expended.

S. 2943 – On December 1, the House agreed to the conference report on the National Defense Authorization Act, by a vote of 375 – 34. On December 8, the Senate also agreed to the conference report. Of interest to NIH, it includes an extension of the SBIR and STTR programs through FY2022.

H. R. 2028 – On December 8, 2016, the House passed, by a vote of 326-96, H.R. 2028, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and short-term CR. On December 6, 2016, the House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced this measure, to prevent a government shutdown and continue FY2017 funding for federal programs and services through April 28, 2017. Included in this bill is a continuation of funding for NIH and $352 million provided in the 21st Century Cures Act, including $300 million for the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot, $40 million for the PMI Cohort Study, $10 million for BRAIN, and $2 million for regenerative medicine. The bill was signed into law on December 10, 2016, by President Obama.

Hearings, Visits, and Other topics of interest:

On November 28, 2016, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) visited the NIH campus and met with Francis Collins, Director, NIH, and NINDS/NIA leadership and researchers to learn about ALS-related research supported by the NIH. Dr. Richard Hodes participated in the visit as did Dr. Bryan Traynor, Chief, Neuromuscular Diseases Research Section, Laboratory of Neurogenetics. Dr. Traynor provided a brief tour of his intramural laboratory.

Submitted by: Dawn Beraud, Ph.D., Public Health Analyst, National Institute on Aging

Staff Changes

Dr. Anita Undale comes from Leidos Biomedical Research Inc., where as a Director of Scientific Programs, she successfully led and managed several NIH-sponsored research studies, including the Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project which provided valuable insights into the mechanisms of gene regulation in multiple tissues from older individuals and disease-related perturbations in a variety of human diseases including Alzheimer's disease. Prior to joining to joining Leidos, she was a Staff Scientist at Mayo Clinic and at NIAMS/NIH where she led and conducted several clinical trials and research projects to evaluate the immune responses in older patients affected with autoimmune and degenerating diseases. Dr. Undale earned an MD with distinction followed by a fellowship in Pathology from the University of Mumbai, India and a PhD in Immunology from the Mayo Clinic, MN. She has authored several publications in high impact journals such as Science and Genetics in Medicine. Dr. Undale was an invited speaker at several national and international conferences and her outstanding achievements in scientific research have been recognized with numerous honors and awards. She brings her wealth of experience in aging research to effectively serve as a Scientific Review Officer at NIA.

Desmond Bibio, MPH, joined BSR on October 16, 2016, as a Research Program Analyst with specific responsibility for supporting Alzheimer's Disease research. Mr. Bibio received a BSc in Statistics from the University of Ghana. He received his MPH in Epidemiology and a Certificate in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City. Mr. Bibio is a U.S. Army veteran who has worked as an Epidemiologist and Health Specialist/Analyst at the Defense Health Headquarters Agency, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Army, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs. Previously he was a Project Coordinator for the Institute of Cultural Affairs-Ghana/UN Children's Educational Fund, where he supported the management and implementation of activities of the Early Childhood Development Program.

On October 31, 2016, Laura Major, MPH, joined BSR as a Research Program Analyst in the Individual Behavioral Process Branch. Ms. Major received her B.A. from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, where she majored in Anthropology and Psychology. She received her MPH in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in May 2012. As part of the requirements to obtain her degree, she participated in a year-long field training experience with the Orange County Department on Aging. Her student group developed a 5-year strategic plan for aging services in the county, which the Department still uses today. Before coming to NIA, Ms. Major worked for Westat on research operations for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), where she was responsible for training data collectors, writing manuals and user guides, ensuring quality control of data collection, and assisting in the introduction of technological innovations.

Dr. Dana Plude joined BSR as Deputy Director effective December 25, 2016. During the past 14 years, Dr. Plude has served in various positions in the NIH Center for Scientific Review, including Associate Director and Research/Review Integrity Officer, Division of Receipt and Referral; Acting Division Director in the Division of AIDS, Behavioral and Population Sciences; and Chief of the Biobehavioral and Behavioral Process Integrated Review Group. Prior to joining NIH in 2002, Dr. Plude was Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, and was Vice President for Gerontological Research in a small corporation. Dr. Plude earned his MA and PhD degrees from Syracuse University, and was an NRSA Post-Doctoral Fellow at Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Boston.

Dr. Amelia Karraker joined BSR's Population and Social Processes Branch as a Health Scientist Administrator effective December 27, 2016. Dr. Karraker comes to us from Iowa State University, where she was an Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies. Prior to that, she was an NIA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan. Dr. Karraker has conducted research in health and aging using the NIA-funded Health and Retirement Study, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, and National Social Life Health and Aging Project. She has presented research findings at the Population Association of America, Gerontological Society of America, and the American Sociological Association, and she was a participant in the 2016 Annual Retirement Research Consortium where she provided advice regarding Social Security policy. Dr. Karraker earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

BSR welcomed new Health Scientist Administrator Dr. Elena Fazio on January 8, 2017. Dr. Fazio's portfolio will focus on behavioral and social research related to Alzheimer's Disease. She has experience in a broad range of topics including aging, disability, family supports and caregiving, community-based services, healthcare, physical and mental health disparities, and advance-care planning/advanced illness. Dr. Fazio comes to us from the Administration for Community Living, Center for Policy and Evaluation, Office of Performance and Evaluation, where she was a Social Science Analyst. Prior to that experience, she was Staff Director at the National Center for Health Statistics, and for the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, in which NIA/BSR is an active participant. Dr. Fazio earned her BA in Psychology and in Human Services from Villanova University, and her MA and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Giovanna Zappalá joined the Clinical Gerontology Branch of the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG) in July 2016. She came to the National Institute on Aging (NIA) after working with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer, and previously with the NCI and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) intramural programs. She received her Ph.D. in experimental physiopathology from the University of Rome School of Medicine, a doctoral-equivalent Degree in medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutics from the University of Catania, and an M.P.H. from George Washington University's School of Public Health.

Kristina McLinden, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience as a Program Director in the Dementias of Aging Branch. Dr. McLinden comes to the NIA from the National Institute on Mental Health where she was a program officer since 2015, managing clinical research and training grants in the Division of Translational Research. Kristina received her Ph.D. in General Experimental Psychology from Texas Christian University. Her research focused on the effects of acute inflammation on learning and memory in the aging rodent brain. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the intramural program at NINDS conducting research on the role of aging in the onset and progression of neurodegeneration using a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease.

Ruth Lucille Roberts, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience as a Program Director in the Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience of Aging Branch. Dr. Roberts earned her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Maryland. Her dissertation research was on the sexual dimorphism and cooperative breeding system of the prairie vole. She continued her work on prairie and meadow voles as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Zoological Park in Washington, DC, and then moved to the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development as a Staff Fellow, where she examined mechanisms for pair bonding and parental care in common marmosets. Dr. Roberts joined the Center for Scientific Review, NIH, in 2001, where she managed the Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology study section. From 2010 until joining NIA, Dr. Roberts was Director of the Division of Planning, Evaluation and Analysis, a component of the Office of Extramural Research (OER), NIH. As Division Director, Dr. Roberts provided managerial leadership for major trans-NIH initiatives, planned program evaluations of OER activities, and coordinated Congressional activities on behalf of OER.

Lisa Opanashuk, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience as Program Director in the Neurobiology of Aging Branch. Dr. Opanashuk comes to the NIA from the Department of Veterans Affairs where she was a Scientific Program Manager managing a portfolio of grants on neurodegenerative diseases, epilepsy, trauma to the peripheral nervous system, demyelinating disorders, neuromuscular disorders and pain. She received her Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Rochester and did postdoctoral research at the University of Kentucky Medical School and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Opanashuk held faculty positions at the University of Rochester in the Departments of Environmental Medicine and Neurobiology & Anatomy before moving to the VA in 2014. The focus of her research examined environmental pollutants or drugs of abuse as risk factors for neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative, and psychiatric disorders.

Yuan Luo, Ph.D., joined Division of Neuroscience as a Program Director in the Dementias of Aging Branch. Dr. Luo earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Pharmacology at the State University of New York. After two postdoctoral fellowship positions at MIT and Harvard Medical School, she joined the faculty of the Department of Biology at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she worked on mechanisms of aging and neuroprotection using transgenic mouse and C. elegans models. She subsequently moved to a faculty position at the University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy. Dr. Luo comes to the NIA from the Center for Scientific Review where she has been a Scientific Review Officer since 2010 and has managed a Sensory, Motor and Cognitive Neuroscience Fellowship study section and, most recently, the Drug Discovery for Aging, Neuropsychiatric and Neurodegenerative Disorders study section.

Adam Steinmetz, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience as a Research Program Analyst in the Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience of Aging Branch. Dr. Steinmetz received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Iowa. His dissertation examined the role of cannabinoid receptors in the formation and maintenance of plasticity within the cerebellum during learning and memory. He then joined a cellular and molecular neuroscience laboratory at New York University as a postdoctoral research fellow for two years where he conducted research examining the use of insulin-growth factor 2 as a therapeutic substrate in aging and autism spectrum disorder.

Amanda DiBattista, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience as a Research Program Analyst in the Neurobiology of Aging Branch. Dr. Battista earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georgetown University. Her dissertation research was supported in part by an NIH predoctoral fellowship (F31) and focused on understanding how the ApoE4 gene increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease using molecular, cellular and behavioral approaches. After her graduation and prior to coming to the NIA, she worked at an editorial services company researching and matching academic editors and reviewers with manuscripts submitted to the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings


This workshop was sponsored by NIA and NCI. The purpose of the meeting was to examine the potential outcome-based health care quality measures and assess a set that would be especially relevant for patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions. Most of the extant measures are "process" measures of care delivery. The participants evaluated potential measures based on existing evidence, compared the candidates, and identified needed research and data collection. (Contact: Dr. Marcel Salive, DGCG, 301/496-5278).

Alzheimer's Biomarkers Consortium of Down Syndrome Meeting (ABC- DS)- September 29-30, 2016 - Bethesda, MD

The ABC-DS Consortium is an endeavor, undertaken by two academic teams, which will look at the Alzheimer's-related biological and imaging markers within a special population, middle-age adults with Down syndrome. The efforts of this intra-agency supported Consortium (funded by NIA and NICHD) align with key recommendations in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. This is the first meeting of the ABC-DS Consortium. The goal of this first face-to-face meeting is to coordinate and harmonize the collection, generation, analysis and sharing of data generated from the Consortium efforts. The meeting will convene key academic and NIH leaders in the fields of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. For more information please contact Dr. Laurie Ryan (DN) 301-496-9350, or at

GSIG SeminaR - November 3, 2016 – Bethesda, MD

Dr. Green's independent research career has included significant involvement in the Human Genome Project from its inception. These efforts eventually blossomed into a highly productive program in comparative genomics that provided important insights about genome structure, function and evolution. As NHGRI's Director, Dr. Green has led the institute in broadening its research mission, including design and launch of a number of major programs to accelerate the application of genomics to medical care and is foundational for personalized medicine. With the rapidly expanding scope of genomics, his has also involved significant coordination with multiple components of the NIH, as well as other agencies and organizations. Beyond NHGRI-specific programs, Dr. Green has also played an instrumental leadership role in the development of diverse high-profile efforts relevant to genomics, including the Smithsonian-NHGRI exhibition "Genome: Unlocking Life's Code", the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program, the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy, and the U.S. Precision Medicine Initiative. Dr. Green's seminar for the GSIG covered a broad range of activities supported by NHGRI, taking note of the importance of genome structure and its importance in the biology of aging.

This seminar series is sponsored by the trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG). The GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG), now in its fifth year, was formed to enhance opportunities for discussion of the intersection between the biology of aging and the biology of disease and conditions that are of interest across ICs. It is focused on basic biology, but with a longer view towards translation. The Geroscience Interest Group organizes Summits, Workshops and a quarterly seminar series, and publishes or edits reviews on topics in geroscience.

(Contact: Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Panel – November 7, 2016 - Bethesda, MD

A panel convened by the NIA composed of scientists not directly affiliated with the ADRCs along with NIH staff from several institutes will develop recommendations for how the network of ADRCs can best support the implementation of the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's: To treat and prevent AD by 2025. The recommendations will be based on input from ADRC Directors as well as other sources and will assist the ADRC Program in continuing to meet its Congressional mandate as the science of AD evolves. The Division of Neuroscience aims to ensure that the next generation of AD Research Centers can be best positioned to facilitate the new integrated translational research agenda put forward at the 2012 and 2015 Alzheimer's Research Summits and outlined in the research milestones developed based on recommendations from these strategic planning events. Most of the discussions are being accomplished by phone and email. Two face to face meetings will occur, with the second being the presentation of the final recommendations in March of 2017. For more information, please contact: Dr. Nina Silverberg (DN) 301-496-9350 or at


Changes in the vasculature with age create risks for cardiac failure and disease but also have negative impacts on numerous tissues. The effects range from whole tissue to the microscale, in the vessels themselves with aging-dependent dysfunction emerging from the endothelium, the smooth muscles and the extracellular matrix. Several molecular pathways have been identified as underlying the aging-related changes, but new pathways are emerging. The possibilities are now improved to understand the specifics of vascular aging in the broader context of the biology of aging, and through the principles of geroscience to advance translational research between laboratory animals and human populations.

The workshop was held in conjunction with Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting on November 16, 2016 in New Orleans, LA.

(Contact: Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).


The long-term goal of aging research is to develop interventions that, by targeting aging, potentially delay the onset of multiple chronic diseases and conditions. Translation in biomedicine often fails because the animal models used to study diseases rarely mimic the real life situation in humans. Aging researchers have an advantage in this domain in that interventions are often tested across the phylogenetic scale, thus providing a solid foundation for testing in humans. The workshop will explore the evolutionary perspectives of aging, and the contributions to knowledge made by multiple animal models across the phylogenetic scale.

The workshop was held in conjunction with Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting on November 16, 2016 in New Orleans, LA.

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

The 27th Annual Nathan W. Shock Award Lecture was held on November 14, 2016. The Award was created to honor Dr. Nathan Shock, the Father of American Gerontology, and the lecture was a NIA-sponsored event. This lecture was organized in an effort to increase collaborations within the aging research field. The 2016 awardees were Thomas Kirkwood, Ph.D., the Keynote speaker, and Donald K. Ingram, Ph.D.

AMP-AD Meeting- November 28-29, 2016 - Bethesda, MD

The NIA funded AMP-AD is a consortium of two major projects that look at anti-amyloid therapeutics as well as discovering potential drug targets for pre-clinical validation. The Consortium projects are highly complex and align with the National Alzheimer's Project Act Milestones. The full AMP-AD Consortium meets face-to-face one time per year, which is necessary for the Consortium members to coordinate and harmonize sample collection, data generation, data sharing and analytical approaches for research projects awarded under RFA-AG-13-013.

This all-hands meeting of the AMP-AD investigators and advisors and NIH staff will focus on findings from the Target Discovery and Biomarkers Projects. For more information, please contact Dr. Suzana Petanceska (DN) 301-496-9350, or at

  1. Future Meetings

GSIG SeminarS – (February 2, 2017; May 2017; August 2017)

This seminar series is sponsored by the trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG). The GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) was formed to enhance opportunities for discussion of the intersection between the biology of aging and the biology of disease and conditions that are of interest across ICs. It is focused on basic biology, but with a longer view towards translation. These seminars were focused on the areas of aging and diverse aging-related diseases, with emphasis on the intersections between the basic biology of aging and the basic biology of the disease. Such topics are important to further the goals of the GSIG.

(Contact: Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers Panel- March 9-10, 2017- Bethesda, MD

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Neuroscience is initiating a strategic planning effort for the future of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers Program. The last time such an effort was carried out was in 2001-2002. The primary focus of this planning effort will be to develop recommendations for how the network of AD Centers can best support the implementation of the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's: To treat and prevent AD by 2025. Specifically, we want to ensure that the next generation of AD centers can enable the implementation of the new integrated translational research agenda put forward at the 2012 and 2015 Alzheimer's Research Summits and outlined in the research milestones (PDF, 139K) developed based on recommendations from these strategic planning events.

The principal objectives of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers Program have been to promote research, training and education, technology transfer, and multi-center and cooperative studies of diagnosis, treatment and clinic-neuropathological correlations. They also serve as shared research resources that facilitate research in AD and related disorders, distinguish them from the processes of normal brain aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), provide a platform for training, develop novel techniques and methodologies, and translate these research findings into better diagnostic, prevention and treatment strategies. Through this strategic planning and evaluation endeavor we are seeking input from leading experts from academia, industry and non-profit foundations, working in Alzheimer's and other complex diseases to ensure that the next generation of AD Centers is aligned with the key recommendations from the NIH AD Research Summits. For more information, contact Dr. Nina Silverberg (DN).


The Aging sessions at the Genetics Society of America (GSA) annual meetings provide dedicated discussion forums on research advances in using Drosophila to study the biology of aging. The speakers are often trainees (i.e., postdocs and grad students), although PIs are selected to speak occasionally. For the proposed sessions at the 2017 GSA meeting, the session chairs, Daniel Promislow (Univ. Washington) and Benoit Biteau (Univ. of Rochester) have been invited. Together with a postdoctoral fellow, they will review abstracts (due by mid-Dec) to select the speakers. The postdoctoral fellow will also review poster abstracts to decide on an award for best poster by a graduate student and also by an undergraduate. Recognizing the importance of a dedicated biology of aging forum at the GSA annual meeting, DAB supported the Aging sessions in 2015. Therefore, continued support from DAB at the 2017 GSA meeting is proposed.

(Contact(s): Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Cognitive Aging Summit- April 6-7, 2017-Bethesda, MD

The third Cognitive Aging Summit will be held April 6-7, 2017 in Bethesda, Maryland. The Summit will feature presentations and discussion on promising areas of research into age-related brain and cognitive changes, with a special focus on neuroplasticity, compensation, resilience, and reserve. The two-day meeting will build on priorities and research directions identified at the last two Cognitive Aging Summits held in 2007 and 2010. The Summit is convened by the NIA and made possible by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation through a generous grant to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.For additional information, contact Dr. Molly Wagster or Dr. Jonathan King.

NAS BBCSS Expert Meeting on Developing Informed Animal Models of Social Aging – Washington DC – May 8-9, 2017

This meeting will be organized by NAS under a task order. The meeting will convene active human and animal researchers, to address the central question: How might animal models fill critical knowledge gaps about the processes involved in the affective, cognitive, and social domains, in ways which could accelerate scientific discoveries about the impact of the social environment on the health and well-being of humans in midlife and older age? For additional information contact Dr. Melissa Gerald in BSR 301-402-4156.


This symposium is a collaborative effort between the National Institute of Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The symposium upholds the NIA mission by supporting a better understanding of the immunological changes that occur during the aging process, and which contribute to impaired responses to infections and/or vaccines. The information gained from this workshop may be used to inform and design studies that improve the immune status and reduce the burden of infection-related morbidity and mortality in the elderly.

This symposium will bring together researchers studying aging and immunity in animal models and humans to summarize recent progress in research on immunology of aging; to promote a critical discussion on key findings and how they apply to improving immune responses of the elderly to infectious agents and vaccines, as well as controlling inflammatory conditions; to optimize interactions by fostering collaborations among scientists from the US and across the world; and to attract and train new investigators in this research area. This symposium will provide the opportunity to also serve as a basis for obtaining and identifying new scientific areas and research gaps in order to restructure the Immunity in the Elderly program that will be coming up for renewal in 2019.

There will be presentations that are divided into eight sessions, which cover the major areas in the forefront of aging immunity research. There will also be poster sessions on both days to provide opportunities for junior investigators and trainees to present their work and interface with senior researchers in the field. Thus, a two-day meeting is necessary to accommodate presentations, poster sessions and discussions amongst attendees (see attached agenda).

We anticipate approximately 180 attendees at this symposium because many researchers studying aging and immunity will be attending the upcoming Immunology 2017 conference in Washington DC from May 12-16, 2017. (Contact(s): Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/496-6402).


This NIA sponsored symposium will be held at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in May 12-16, 2017 in Washington, DC. The NIA has sponsored a symposium each year to highlight recent findings in the area of Immunity and Aging and this year's session is entitled "Innate Immunity and Aging".

The purpose of this symposium is to have presentations on state of the science findings on this research topic.

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


NIH Roadmap funded the Human Microbiome Project in 2008. The reference genomes from over 5000 bacterial and viral strains collected from human airways, blood, eye, GI tract, heart, lymph node, oral, cavity, skin, urogenital tract, and other parts of body have now been sequenced and made available to researchers in the field. In addition to the sequencing of many microbiomes and tool development, fifteen demonstration projects have been funded to test hypothesized correlations between the microbiome and human health and disease. Although none of the funded demonstration projects funded from the Human Microbiome Project had focused on age -related changes in the microbiome, there are now multiple reports that changes in the composition of the microbiome, also known as dysbiosis, happen with aging and that alterations in diet, different classes of medications and the living environment are important drivers of these observed changes. Links are emerging between the microbiota and a variety of clinical problems plaguing older adults, including physical frailty, Clostridium difficile colitis, vulvovaginal atrophy, colorectal carcinoma, atherosclerotic and neurodegenerative diseases. Many of the mechanisms behind these links are largely unknown. However, the role of the metabolites produced by different bacterial species in health and disease is beginning to be appreciated. For example, the effects of one class of products that is referred to as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including butyric acid is beginning to be studied more extensively. Butyrate and other fermentation-derived SCFAs are produced in the mammalian gut by the fermentation of dietary fiber by several different bacterial species. The effects of butyrate and related compounds on various age-related diseases that have an inflammatory basis such as colon cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders are areas of active research. The alteration of bacterial composition can affect the levels of various metabolites which in turn can affect energy metabolism, immune function and epigenetic alterations in tissues including the aging brain. Manipulation of the microbiota and microbiome of older adults therefore holds promise as an innovative strategy to influence the development of comorbidities associated with aging.

A workshop is being planned to discuss the status of the field and research opportunities on studies of the microbiome and aging. The proposed 1 1/2-day workshop may identify effective strategies to stimulate research on changes of microbiomes during aging and the effects on aging-related conditions and diseases.

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

NAS BBCSS Expert Meeting on Targeting Attitudes, Beliefs and Values for Behavior Change and Health in Older Adults – Washington DC – June 2, 2017

This meeting will be organized by NAS. This meeting will examine the current evidence for the use of brief interventions to manipulate attitudes about aging, ability to change, self-efficacy, etc. in adult populations as interventions to motivate or sustain behavior change, or to influence psychological processes that support adaptive aging. Building on research on mindset interventions in children and young adults, studies of stereotype threat and aging attitudes, and examples of "psychologically precise" value- or belief-focused interventions in young adults, this seminar will consider next steps for application of these motivational interventions in older adult populations. The approach is consistent with the SOBC experimental medicine approach to behavior change. For additional information contact Dr. Lis Nielsen in BSR 301-402-4156.

NAS CNSTAT Workshop on Developing a Methodological Research program on Longitudinal Studies – Washington DC – June 5-6, 2017

This meeting will be organized by NAS. The meeting will convene experts and researchers in longitudinal studies, survey researchers, and experts in alternative sources of data, such as administrative records and private sector data. Topics to be addressed may include Use of Alternative Interview Modes and Innovative Designs for Communication with Study Participants; Expanding the Use of Linkages to Administrative and Private Sector Data; Optimizing the Periodicity and Content of Surveys; Developing More Effective Incentives; and/or Facilitating the Sharing of Information. For additional information contact Dr. John Haaga in BSR 301-496-3131.

NAS CPOP - Planning Meeting on SES Status and Increasing Midlife Mortality – Washington DC - June 15, 2017

This meeting will be organized by NAS. This meeting will convene experts to discuss the evidence about causes of the widening socioeconomic status (SES) gradient in life expectancy, especially in later middle ages, and identify gaps in the research needed both to understand and to reverse the trend. For additional information contact Georgeanne Patmios in BSR 301-496-3138.

BBCSS - Workshop on Understanding Pathways to Successful Aging: Behavioral and Social Factors Related to AD – Washington DC - June 29-30, 2017

This workshop will be organized by NAS will address specific recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Aging to develop effective interventions to maintain health, well-being, and function; improve our understanding of the aging brain, Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases; and develop interventions to address Alzheimer's and other age-related neurological conditions. The workshop will also address NIA's objectives in the social and behavioral sciences that are consistent with strategies in the National Alzheimer's Plan, including to expand research aimed at prevention. For additional information contact Dr. Lis Nielsen or Dr. Jonathan King in BSR 301-402-4156.


The purpose of the forum is to bring together new awardees (i.e. Principal Investigators who can be identified as "new investigators") in the spring of the year following their award, in order to allow NIA program staff to get acquainted with new PIs as well as allow the participants to network with each other. This year it will be opened up to a broader group of new investigators, including R01 and R56 recipients. In order to accommodate the larger number of participants, each new PI will give a poster describing the planned research (or results to date). Two plenary sessions will be held, one for a keynote speaker to kick off the meeting and one for Dr. Nadon to give an overview of NIH funding mechanisms. This format will provide a significantly expanded opportunity for networking amongst the investigators and interactions with NIA staff. In addition, the second day will include a technical assistance workshop to provide new investigators with more in-depth discussion on writing successful grant applications, with a Q&A session at the end. The overriding goal of the meeting is to encourage continued success for the new PIs as well as encourage interactions and collaborations. As a result of past meetings, we have found that the PIs have indeed set up new collaborations. They also are much more likely to keep us informed of their new publications and progress.

(Contact(s): Dr. Nancy Nadon, DAB, 301/496-6402).


The Geroscience hypothesis states that slowing the rate of aging will delay the onset and/or reduce severity of aging-related diseases without necessarily altering life span, thus improving health at older ages. This is based on the observation that aging is a major risk factor for development of chronic diseases and degenerative conditions. Measuring the rate of aging is still an open question, which should take into account the following variables: What are the metrics used to measure physiological aging? Do these metrics – or biomarkers of aging – explain the "risk factor" aspect of aging that underlies the geroscience hypothesis? Do these biomarkers of aging account for the variation in health for each age group in a population? This symposium is organized to address these issues.

The workshop will be held in conjunction with the International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (IAGG) and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Joint Meeting on July 23-27, 2017 in San Francisco CA. The four confirmed speakers are: Rozalyn Anderson, Daniel Belsky, Nathan LeBrasseur and P. Eline Slagboom.

(Contact(s): Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).


This meeting will be a session held in the American Society of Primatologists (ASP) annual meeting in Washington, DC, August 25-28, 2017. The meeting will be coordinated by Drs. Nadon and Macchiarini (NIA) and Dr. Corinna Ross (Texas A&M University San Antonio) who will chair the session. The marmoset has many advantages over larger non-human primates as research subjects, and there has been an effort within the research community to characterize the aging process in marmosets. The focus of this session at ASP 2017 is to summarize the current knowledge of marmoset biology and discuss what needs are still unmet for using the marmoset to study the biology of aging. Topics and speakers to be proposed to the ASP meeting committee include:
Dr. Corinna Ross (TAMUSA) – locomotion changes with age in the marmoset
Dr. Suzette Tardif (UTHSCSA) – advances in marmoset husbandry and experimental potential
Dr. Adam Salmon (UTHSCSA) – update on the rapamycin and aging study
Dr. Agnes Lecreuse (U MA) – menopause and cognitive changes in the marmoset
Dr. Daniel Promislow (U WA) – metabolomics and aging

(Contact(s): Dr. Nancy Nadon and Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301/496-6402).

NAS CPOP - Workshop on the Future Directions for the Demography of Aging – Washington DC - August 17-18, 2017

This workshop will be organized by NAS under a task order. The workshop will convene experts who will review recent trends and discuss future directions for research on the demography of aging, including the study of mortality trends and differences, disability trends and healthy life expectancy, evolutionary and comparative demography and biodemography, economic demography and family demography. The workshop may address Demography of Families and Aging, Living Arrangements of the Elderly, Social Networks and Caregiving and Support, Integration of Biogenetic Information, and/or Understanding Later Life Implications of Early Life Events. For additional information contact Dr. John Haaga in BSR 301-496-3131.


This proposed workshop will be a collaborative effort between NIA and NIDDK. The goal of MoTrPAC is to document what molecular changes occur in response to exercise while staying away from the more granular interests of specific NIH Institutes. The goal of this workshop will be to capitalize on the NIH investment in the MoTrPAC initiative to develop plans to discuss and identify more Institute specific gaps that can be exploited with animal models in light of the MoTrPAC. NIDDK is interested in the role of exercise in brain regulation of metabolism/obesity/ingestive behavior and in standardizing rodent models of exercise for metabolic and homeostasis experiments.

DABs interest would be to build on the animal models to expand on the molecular mechanisms of how and why the responsiveness to exercise changes with aging. We anticipate that the design of the study should follow the procedures developed in the MoTrPAC so as to be comparable as possible.

(Contact(s): Dr. John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402).


A Workshop has been proposed by Dr. Giovanna Zappala at DGCG on "Nutritional Interventions to Promote Healthy Aging" (see below). The topics are of great interest to DAB as basic mechanistic studies of caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, and methionine restriction on longevity and healthspan effects represent significant research areas in the metabolic regulation portfolio. Therefore, by co-sponsoring the workshop, DAB would be able to bring basic researchers to the broader discussion on those emerging research areas by complementing more translational studies, which are the focus of DGCG.

Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology

Nutrition is a crucial determining factor of health across the life span. Different dietary patterns can affect aging processes and represent important determinants of health in the aging population. Importantly, nutritional regimens may play a key role in the prevention of a wide range of age-related debilitating conditions and diseases—including metabolic dysfunction, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, cognitive impairments, and most inflammatory-based disorders. Dietary interventions that can influence aging processes have the potential to prevent, delay, or even reverse multiple chronic diseases, improve well-being and quality of life in older populations, as well as increase life expectancy. While a variety of nutritional interventions have been tested in animal models and to a lesser degree in humans, there are several research avenues which remain to be explored to identify clinical interventions to promote healthy aging.

For example, caloric restriction (CR) has been shown in many (but not all) model organisms to increase life span and to delay or slow the progression of a wide variety of aging changes and age-related pathologies. The CALERIE clinical trial (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) was conducted to examine the effects of sustained caloric restriction in humans. DGCG is planning a one-and-a-half-day workshop (to be held Spring/Summer 2017) to discuss potential follow-up studies to the CALERIE trial and to further explore other types of nutritional regimens which may influence human health span. This workshop will also consider clinical translational research opportunities based on different types of dietary interventions demonstrated to affect health and life span in model organisms. Specific topics to be covered include:

  • Caloric restriction
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Diversified macronutrient regimens

For each of the above topics, the workshop will review the current literature and identify potential small-scale intervention studies or clinical trials to improve our understanding of the impact of different nutritional regimens on aging outcomes and disease risk factors. In addition, attention will be devoted to behavioral factors and/or strategies influencing adherence to various types of nutritional interventions and the feasibility of such studies in humans.

(Contact(s): Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-6402).

General Information/Staff Awards

The 27th Annual Nathan W. Shock Award Lecture was held on November 14, 2016. The Award was created to honor Dr. Nathan Shock, the Father of American Gerontology, and the lecture was a NIA-sponsored event. This lecture was organized in an effort to increase collaborations within the aging research field. The 2016 awardees were Thomas Kirkwood, Ph.D., the Keynote speaker, and Donald K. Ingram, Ph.D.

Staff Honors

Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, NIA Scientific Director, was awarded the Joseph A. Pignolo, Sr. Award in Aging Research at the University of Pennsylvania on October 27, 2016, and served as the Keynote speaker for the one-day event. The annual award is given to "recognize an outstanding contribution to the field of biogerontology."

Dr. John Haaga has been appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to the Maryland Commission on Aging.


Booklets, AgePages, Fact Sheets, DVDs:

  • Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet (update/reprint)
  • Alzheimer's Disease Medications Fact Sheet (update/reprint)
  • Understanding Alzheimer's Genes (new easy-to-read booklet)
  • Menopause: Treatment for Symptoms - Tip Sheet (new)
  • End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care eBook (new; online only)
  • Go4Life DVDs (reprint)
  • Go4Life bookmarks (reprint)
  • Prostate Problems AgePage (update/reprint)
  • Mourning the Death of a Spouse AgePage (update/reprint)
  • NIA Research Programs Contacts tip sheet (update/reprint)

Web Content


Press Releases and Research Highlights

NIA posted and distributed the following press releases:

NIA posted the following research highlights:

Social Media

  • @NIAGo4Life Twitter followers now more than 6,500 with an additional 8,760+ subscribing to a daily e-alert of tweets
  • More than 44,000 users on Go4Life GovDelivery monthly e-alert list
  • @Alzheimers_NIH Twitter followers now more than 6,300 with more than 8,500 daily e-alert subscribers


  • Gerontological Society of America, Nov. 16-20, New Orleans
  • Strategies for Increasing Enrollment in Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Trials, Dec. 2, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD

Professional Meetings

  • Friends of the NIA (FONIA), October 2016 -- Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with NIA senior staff, met with representatives from FONIA. The meeting focused on the latest scientific advances from work funded by NIA as well as work done in the NIA intramural program.
  • Population Association of America (PAA), October 2016 -- Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with other NIA staff, met with representatives from PAA. Topics discussed included NIA’s budget, funding opportunities, and population studies funded by NIA.
  • Regional Meeting at Morehouse, October 2016 -- Dr. Richard Hodes and other senior NIA staff met with a broad range of researchers and trainees from several research institutions in the surrounding area. Attendees learned more about the organization of NIA and the many training and research opportunities available.
  • NIA/VA meeting, November 2016 -- Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and various NIA staff met with VA staff to share programmatic updates. Meeting participants discussed joint interests and initiatives and provided status updates regarding several ongoing projects.
  • Cure Alzheimer’s Webinar, December 2016 -- Dr. Hodes along with Tim Armour, President and CEO of Cure Alzheimer's Fund, moderated by David Shenk, senior advisor to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund reviewed NIA’s efforts to advance Alzheimer's research. They discussed ways in which the NIA is allocating additional Alzheimer's research funding received from Congress, how private groups play a role in research, and how public private partnerships extend the research pipeline.
  • Sleep Research Society (SRS), December 2016 -- Dr. Marie Bernard and other NIA staff met with representatives from SRS. Topics of discussion included recent program announcements and topics of mutual interest, including sleep and circadian research, among other issues. Opportunities to share new NIA funding announcements with SRS members were also considered.<

(For more information about NIA's conferences or exhibits, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, Ph. 301-496-1752. For more information about NIA's professional meetings, contact Dr. Melinda Kelley, Legislative Officer, Ph. 301-451-8835.)

Relevant Notices and Initiatives Published in the NIH Guide

For ‘Notices’ and ‘Research Initiatives’ with NIA’s participation or interest please visit these two websites: and (Please look for ‘Recent Changes in NIH Policy’).