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January 2018 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the September 2017 Director's Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2018 Budget:

FY 2017


Given the tremendous promise of regenerative medicine to enhance human health and treat disease, Congress included a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act to support a Regenerative Medicine Innovation Project ($30 million distributed over FY17 through FY20) for the funding of clinical research to further the field of regenerative medicine (RM) using adult stem cells, including autologous, non-autologous use as well as eligible induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). A total of $2 million was provided for FY 2017. This year, NIH and FDA issued RFA/RFPs for competitive revisions to utilize those funds to support ongoing clinical research studies in RM across several ICs including NIA. New applications will be accepted next year. The FOA will support revision projects that utilize rigorous science and reproducible methods to establish proof of concept and a robust evidence base for clinical applications that will advance the field of RM more broadly, such as proposing solutions to widely recognized issues in the development of safe and effective regenerative medicine therapies. Emphasis will be given to projects that address critical issues in product development relevant for regulatory submissions. Areas of focus may include improved tools, methods, standards, or applied science that support a better understanding and improved evaluation of product manufacturing, quality, safety, or effectiveness. The Act stipulates that the NIH, in coordination with FDA, award funds contingent upon the recipient making available non-Federal contributions in an amount not less than $1 for each $1 of Federal funds provided in the award (i.e., a matching funds requirement). Program staff from DAB (Dr. Kerr) and DN (Dr. Wise) are members of the RM working group and Dr. Hodes is a member of the oversight committee involved with its implementation.

FY 2018

The NIA FY 2018 President's Budget funding level is $1.3 billion, - $745 million below our FY 2017 appropriation of $2.05 billion. On July 13, 2017, the House Appropriations Subcommittee released a proposal with $2.5 billion for NIA, which includes an additional $400 million above the FY 2017 funding level for Alzheimer's research. On September 6, 2017, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee also released a proposal including additional funds for NIH. They proposed an additional $486.7 million above the FY 2017 funding level for NIA including, $414 million targeted for Alzheimer's research.

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Legislative Update

September 2017

Legislation of Interest:

On September 6, 2017, the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies marked up and reported out to the full Appropriations Committee, the FY 2018 Labor, HHS, Education bill. The full Committee reported out the bill without change the next day, September 7, 2017. The bill contains funding for NIH in the amount of $36.1 billion, a $2 billion increase over FY 2017, including $1.8 billion for Alzheimer's disease research, a $414 million increase over FY 2017 funding levels.

On September 6, 2017, the House passed H.R. 601– "Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017." The bill provides funding for hurricane relief, keeps the government operating at current levels, and extends the debt limit and the flood insurance program until December 8, 2017. The bill was passed by the Senate on September 8, 2017 and signed by the President the following day. On December 4, 2017, the House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) introduced H.J.Res.123, legislation to maintain current funding for federal operations and prevent a government shutdown. The Continuing Resolution (CR) is a stop-gap measure that will extend government funding until December 22, 2017. In absence of this legislation, existing funding would run out on December 8, 2017. On December 21, 2017, the House and Senate took up and passed the third Continuing Resolution for FY 2018, (Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018). This bill extends government funding through January 19, 2018. The bill includes $2.85 billon to keep the Children's Health Insurance Program running through March 31, 2018. Additionally, sequestration reports for fiscal 2018 would be delayed by 10 days for the Congressional Budget Office and 15 days for the Office of Management and Budget. This prevents across the board cuts prior to the January 19th expiration of the CR.

On September 14, 2017, the House passed H.R. 3354 – "Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018." H.R. 3354 packages together eight regular appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2018 in discrete divisions. They are: Interior & Environment; Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. The bill would provide a total of $35.2 billion for NIH, an increase of $1.1 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, including an additional $400 million for Alzheimer's research.

On October 4, 2017, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ordered to be reported without amendment H.R. 70, the FACA Amendments Act. The bill, if enacted, would require that all appointments to advisory committees be made without regard to political affiliation or political activity; extend all of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requirements (except charters) to working groups; allow the public to make recommendations for committee members; require that advisory committee members be designated as a "special government employee" or "a representative"; curtail the ability of contractors to create "FACA- type" committees; and expand transparency requirements (for example, who nominated each member and why the selectee was appointed). The bill contains an additional provision that would require the head of each agency to ensure that advisory committee advice and recommendations are the result of independent judgment. Further, when transmitting advice and recommendations, each advisory committee would be required to include a statement describing the process used in formulating its advice and recommendations.

On October 12, 2017, the House passed, by voice vote, H.R. 2763, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017. This bill, if enacted, would extend through FY2022 the "phase flexibility" authority conferred under Section 9(cc) of the Small Business Act. This authority allows the NIH, DoD, and the Department of Education to make a Phase II SBIR award to a small business concern without regard to whether the small business concern was provided an award under Phase I of an SBIR program. The bill also would convert the commercialization assistance pilot program created under Section 9(gg) of the Small Business Act to the "Civilian Agency Commercialization Readiness Program," as well as extend through FY2022 the authority granted under Section 9(mm) of the Small Business Act to agencies to utilize not more than 3 percent of the funds allocated to the SBIR program for administrative, oversight, and contract processing costs.

On November 6, 2017, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 2076, the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act. The House version of the bill, H.R. 4256, was introduced on the same day by Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY). The bill, if enacted,
would establish Alzheimer's Centers of Excellence in communities around the country to expand and promote the most current version of the "Healthy Brain Initiative: Public Health Road Map" developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These Centers would not serve as research centers and are not to be confused with the NIA-supported Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers. These centers would issue funding to state and local public health departments to promote cognitive health, risk reduction, early detection and diagnosis, and the needs of caregivers. This bill would also increase collection, analysis and timely reporting of data on cognitive decline and caregiving to inform future public health actions.

On December 7, 2017, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced S. 2208, a bill to provide for the issuance of an Alzheimer's Disease Research Semipostal Stamp. The bill, if enacted, would authorize the recently-released United States Postal Service Alzheimer's research stamp for an additional six years, providing more time to raise additional Alzheimer's research funds for the National Institutes of Health. The House introduced a companion bill, H.R. 2973, in June. The current stamp will be in rotation for two years, while the Senate and House legislation would make the stamp available for six years.

Hearings, Visits, and Other topics of interest:

On October 5, 2017, Dr. Richard Hodes spoke at the Research!America Hill briefing "From Discovery to Delivery: Research at Work Against Alzheimer's Disease."

On November 29, 2017, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing on "A Global Update on Alzheimer's Disease." NIA Deputy Director Dr. Marie A. Bernard and FIC Director Dr. Roger Glass testified. Other witnesses were Mary Mittleman, D.P.H., Research Professor, New York University Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program, Richard Mohs, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Global Alzheimer's Platform Foundation, and Michael Splaine, Splaine Consulting.

On November 30, 2017, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled, "Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act: An Update from FDA and NIH." NIH Director Francis Collins and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb testified.

On November 30, 2017, the Postmaster General, Megan J. Brennan, hosted a dedication ceremony for the Alzheimer's Semipostal Fundraising stamp at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. By law, revenue from sales of the Alzheimer's Semipostal stamp — minus the postage paid and the reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred by the Postal Service — will be distributed to the National Institutes of Health for Alzheimer's research. Representative Elijah Cummings and Dr. Marie A. Bernard gave remarks at the ceremony.

On December 7, 2017, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing entitled, "Implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act: Progress and the Path Forward for Medical Innovation." NIH Director Francis Collins and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb testified.

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

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Staff Changes

Dr. Stephanie Studenski retired from the NIA in December 2017. Dr. Studenski received her M.D. in 1979 from the University of Kansas. After receiving her degree, Dr. Studenski worked at the Duke University Medical Center as an Assistant Professor. She was then a Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center before moving on to the University of Pittsburgh where she was a Professor of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Allied Health. She also served as a Principal Investigator of the Pittsburgh Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center before starting at the NIA in January 2014. During her time at the NIA, Dr. Studenski served as the Director of the Longitudinal Studies Section (LSS) of the Translational Gerontology Branch (TGB) and the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA).

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Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

NIA Sponsored Satellite Symposium "Aging, Inflammation and Fibrosis" at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology (SLB) October 4, 2017

This NIA-sponsored satellite symposium was held at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology which took place in Vancouver, Canada on October 4, 2017. The NIA has sponsored satellite symposia previously at SLB to highlight recent findings in the areas of Aging, Inflammation and Fibrosis. The purpose of this symposium was to have speakers present state of the science findings on this research topic and to hold discussions on promising areas of research in immunity and aging. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)

Roundtable on Opportunities and Challenges for Translating Geroscience into Interventions (october 6, 2017)

This roundtable was developed in conjunction with FNIH to begin a conversation between NIA and the private sector interested in geroscience, including the pharmaceutical industry and biotech. The roundtable explored potential pre-competitive activities that might help the development of a public-private partnership to move forward the geroscience concepts. A major goal of the NIH is to improve health and the quality of life in human populations. A goal of the NIA is to do so in the aged population. The goal of geroscience is to develop the basic biology necessary to develop interventions that might prevent or delay a panoply of age-related diseases and conditions. Moving forward, geroscience aims to develop collaborative partnerships with the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. (Contact: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301-496-6402)


The goal of this research summit was to identify what we know and what we need to know to accelerate the development, evaluation, translation, implementation, and scaling up on comprehensive care, services, and supports for persons with dementia, families, and other caregivers. The Summit focused on research that is needed to improve quality of care and outcomes across care settings, including quality of life and the lived experience of persons with dementia and their caregivers. It was convened by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of its activities under the National Alzheimer's Project Act, or NAPA, along with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Led by a steering committee of experts, advocates, patients and caregivers, the conference was supported by the private sector through donations to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), as well as a generous donation from HHS Office of Women's Health. For additional information contact Dr. Elena Fazio.

The 28th Annual Nathan W. Shock Award Lecture – Bethesda, Maryland, October 19, 2017

The Award was created in 1991 to honor Dr. Nathan Shock, the Father of American Gerontology, and was organized in an effort to increase collaborations within the aging research field. The 2017 awardee, Dr. Vishwa Deep Dixit, presented his talk entitled "Immune to Aging."

NEURO-HIV IN THE ART ERA - October 23-24, 2017, Rockville MD

The purpose of Neuro-HIV in the ART Era Conference was to bring together researchers from neuro-HIV and from outside the field of neuro-HIV to discuss recent advances in the field. Specifically, the goals were: to (1) understand the mechanisms and pathways modulating patterns of HIV-1 induced CNS symptomatology in the ART era, by deconstructing the readouts of impairments observed in the current era; (2) examine the role of factors like gender, cognitive reserve, chronicity of infection, aging, vascular disease, viral reservoirs, co-infections, legacy effects and mental health problems in causality of neuronal dysfunction and their impact on diagnosis of impairment; (3) better understand the clinical picture of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction and whether current assessments capture the impairments accurately; (4) discuss the feasibility of incorporating newer assessment practices including biological markers and advanced neuroimaging techniques to get to a more definitive and palpable diagnosis. The Conference identified key research gaps in neuro-AIDS research and outlined new research directions to better comprehend mechanisms of HIV-1 induced CNS impairments in the patients suppressed on ART. The new clinical guidelines incorporating neuroimaging and biomarkers for diagnosis of HIV-1 induced CNS impairment were discussed by participants. The conference was a collaborative effort of Office of Aids Research, NIA, NINDS, NIMH, NIDA, and NICHD. For more information, contact Dr. Miroslaw Mackiewicz.


This meeting brought together experts in new ways to detect cognitive decline, including passive means such as "Big Data" analyses of medical or financial records and sensors and more active means such as mobile phone apps. The meeting included experts from universities as well as those from healthcare providers, Google, and small businesses. For further information contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya or Dr. Nina Silverberg.


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 projects funded from the Human Microbiome Project have 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.

This workshop discussed the status of the field and research opportunities on studies of the microbiome and aging. The 1 1/2-day workshop identified 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).

GSIG Seminar (November 16, 2017)

Dr. Morrison is the Director of the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern and is the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics as well as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Morrison laboratory studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the function of stem cells and cancer cells in the nervous and hematopoietic systems. The laboratory is particularly interested in the mechanisms that regulate stem cell self-renewal and stem cell aging, as well as the role these mechanisms play in cancer. Dr. Morrison was a Searle Scholar (2000-2003), was named to Technology Review Magazine's list of 100 young innovators (2002), received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2003), the International Society for Hematology and Stem Cell's McCulloch and Till Award (2007) the American Association of Anatomists Harland Mossman Award (2008), and a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Morrison has also been active in public policy issues surrounding stem cells. He has twice testified before Congress and was a leader in the successful "Proposal 2" campaign to protect stem cell research in Michigan's state constitution.

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. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402)

Hot Topics in Alzheimer's Disease: Role of Microbiome – November 29-30, 2017, Rockville MD

The "Understanding the Role of the Microbiome in Aging and Age-Related Disorders – Implications for Disease Treatment and Prevention" meeting was co-hosted by the Divisions of Neuroscience, Aging Biology, and Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology. The meeting focused on several topics, including understanding the role of the gut-brain axis and the microbiome in neurodegeneration; the influence of diet in AD patients and on the microbiome/metabolites; the impact of stress on the microbiome; insights on microbiome research in animal models; and, treatment targets for age-related chronic diseases. The meeting also featured a highlight on the efforts by the NIH Common Fund's Human Microbiome Project and the White House's National Microbiome Initiative. For more information about this meeting, contact Suzana Petanceska, Rebecca Fuldner, and Francesca Macchiarini.


This NIA-sponsored meeting brought together senior non-profit executives, academic leaders, and government stakeholders to discuss the current model for data sharing and identify the challenges associated with open data sharing. For more information, contact Laurie Ryan and Suzana Petanceska.

REGENERATIVE MEDICINE INNOVATION WORKSHOP – Focus on Adult Stem Cells (December 6-7, 2017)

This two-day symposium was a trans-NIH effort in collaboration with FDA. The goal of the meeting was to assess the state of the science and development of safe and effective regenerative products targeting adult stem cells with a special focus on 1) identifying critical gaps that must be addressed to enable significant innovation and rapid advancement of regenerative approaches and 2) to explore issues related to product development and standards, regulatory science and clinical applications. Over sixty speakers participated in addition to an FDA panel focused on opportunities in clinical trial design. The fourteen speakers including several invited by NIA included leading experts on a range of biological systems focusing on the use of adult stem cells for regenerative-based treatments including musculoskeletal, skin, endocrinology, ophthalmology, neurology, hematology and cardiovascular biology. (Contact(s): Dr. Candace Kerr, DAB, 301/827-4474, and Dr. Bradley Wise, DN, 301/594-7880)

  1. Future Meetings

GSIG Seminars (February 2018; May 2018 and August 2018)

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 four seminars will focus on the intersection between aging and diverse aging-related diseases and/or functional loss. Such topics are important to further the goals of the GSIG.
The dates of seminars are to be announced in February, May and August 2018.
(Contact: Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402)

Planning Meeting for Demography of Sexual and Gender Minorities – NAS Keck Bldg., Washington DC – March 1, 2018 (date may change)

This planning meeting will identify crucial issues and the most consequential opportunities for a full-fledged assessment of the available research and assess the state of the SGM population on several dimensions including: (1) family formation and parenting; (2) social stratification and mobility; (3) attitudes and social acceptance; (4) mental and physical health; (5) military service; (6) workplace and school experiences; and (7) integration in American society. Special attention will be paid to state level policy contexts that may signal different outcomes. For additional information contact Dr. Dana Plude.

ALZHEIMERS DISEASE SUMMIT 2018 – Bethesda, Maryland – March 1 – 2, 2018

BACKGROUND: The NIH AD Research Summits are key strategic planning meetings tied to the implementation of the first goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's: Treat and Prevent AD by 2025. They bring together a multi-stakeholder community including government, industry, academia, private foundations and patient advocacies to formulate an integrated, translational research agenda that will enable the development of effective therapies (disease modifying and palliative) across the disease continuum for the cognitive as well as neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The 2012 and 2015 AD Research Summit delivered recommendations that served as the basis for developing research implementation milestones detailing specific steps and success criteria for the NIH and other stakeholders towards the development of effective treatment and prevention for AD. The milestones span the entire AD research landscape including basic, translational, clinical and health services research and serve as the basis for the development of the NIH Alzheimer's Disease Bypass Budget.

GOAL: The 2018 Summit will build on the foundation laid by the NIH AD Research Summits held in 2012 and 2015. It will feature progress towards achieving the AD research implementation milestones and to continue the development of an integrated multidisciplinary research agenda necessary to enable precision medicine for AD. Key to achieving this goal is the identification of: i) resources/infrastructure and multi-stakeholder partnerships necessary to successfully implement this research agenda; ii) strategies to engage patients, caregivers and citizens as direct partners in research.

PROGRAM STRUCTURE: The central programmatic themes of the 2018 Summit are: i) understanding disease heterogeneity, ii) enhancing research rigor, reproducibility and translatability and iii) enabling rapid translational learning through open science systems and incentives. The Program agenda will be organized around seven sessions.

  1. Novel Mechanistic Insights into the Complex Biology and Heterogeneity of AD
  2. Enabling Precision Medicine for AD
  3. Translational Tools and Infrastructure to Enable Predictive Drug Development
  4. Emerging Therapeutics
  5. Understanding the Impact of the Environment to Advance Disease Prevention
  6. Advances in Disease Monitoring, Assessment and Care
  7. Building an Open Science Research Ecosystem to Accelerate AD Therapy Development

The program will begin with an overview of progress achieved to date, followed by three plenary lectures. Each of the seven sessions will feature up to four brief presentations followed by a moderated discussion that will include 6-9 panelists with diverse expertise; collectively, the session speakers and panelists will highlight major advances and discuss key issues. The composition of speakers and panelists for each session will include representatives from academia, industry, federal agencies, private foundations and public advocacy groups working on Alzheimer's and other complex diseases.

OUTCOME: The general program will be followed by a writing session during which a select group of experts together with NIA/NIH staff and representatives from other US AD-funding agencies and NAPA Council members will discuss and help finalize the recommendations put forward by the Summit participants; these recommendations will inform research priorities and serve as the basis for updating and refining the NAPA research milestones for measuring progress towards the goal to prevent or treat AD by 2025.

Imaging: Innovations to Enhance Aging Research (March 12-13, 2018)

Research over the past several decades suggests that aging results from deleterious changes at the level of biomolecules, organelles and cells. These are manifest in tissues and the whole organism as declining resilience and losses of function, with increased frailty and susceptibility to disease. It is important to observe in vivo these tissue, cellular and sub-cellular changes in ways that can be related to the aging of tissues and organisms. In this way, the primary goal of geroscience can be reached: Improved understanding of the biology of aging will reveal ways to slow the rate of aging, thereby increasing resilience and decreasing chronic disease in an aging population. The recent advances in imaging technologies provide opportunities to expand their use for research in the biology of aging.

Toward this end, a 2-day symposium will be held in Bethesda in March of 2018. The program will involve two plenary talks from established investigators, but the program will be filled-out by talks from postdoctoral fellows working in diverse imaging technologies. A novel feature of this Concepts in Geroscience Series is a focus on the next generation of researchers. Therefore, the organizers have identified Principal Investigators doing research at the cutting edge of imaging technology who provide names of senior postdoctoral fellows from their respective laboratories to present at the symposium. This approach will foster interactions among these up-and-coming investigators, give them access to NIH program staff that will help them advance in their careers, and provide new concepts for NIH to consider in promoting imaging technologies in the diverse areas that are supported by NIH institutes and centers. (Contact(s): Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/402-0836, Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/402-7747, Dr. Maren Laughlin, NIDDK, 301/594-8802, and Dr. Luke Stoeckel, NIDDK, 301/741-9223)

Spring Meeting of the NAS Committee on Population - NAS Keck Bldg., Washington, DC – March 16, 2018

This regular meeting of the Committee will include a half-day seminar, with topic to be decided by NIA BSR staff. For additional information contact Dr. Dana Plude.

BD2K Behavioral and Social Sciences Workshop: Opportunities and Challenges – Bethesda, Maryland – March 19-20, 2018

The goal of this workshop, which is being funded in full by the Common Fund Program, is to bring behavioral and social scientists together with data scientists to further Big Data science theoretically and methodologically. The workshop will examine expanding research at the intersection of BSS and Big Data science, explore ways to integrate BSS research into Big Data research more generally, and address the active dissemination of resources in both the BSS and Big Data science communities. For additional information contact Dr. Jonathan King.

ALZHEIMERS DISEASE SEQUENCING PROJECT – Bethesda, Maryland – February 2018

The ADSP will have its fifth face to face meeting in February 2018 in Bethesda MD. The overarching goals of the ADSP are to: (1) identify new genes involved in Alzheimer's disease (AD), (2) identify gene alleles contributing to increased risk for or protection against the disease, (3) provide insight as to why individuals with known risk factor genes escape from developing AD, and (4) identify potential avenues for therapeutic approaches and prevention of the disease (see ADSP Study Design). The milestones of this NIA funded consortium align with key recommendations of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) and Public Law 111-375. The consortium is comprised of eight work groups, an Analysis Coordination Group, and an Executive Committee. The ADSP is counseled by a highly-qualified panel of consultants and is supported by significant NIA funded infrastructure including the National Cell Repository for Alzheimer's Disease (NCRAD), the National Alzheimer's Coordination Center (NACC), the NIA Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease Data Storage Site (NIAGADS), and the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers (ADRCs).

Generative Ideas in Geroscience (Spring 2018)

One of the missions of NIA is to encourage new research in the areas of aging biology and translational research. Geroscience seeks to understand the role of aging biology as the major risk factor for chronic diseases and losses of resilience. It has a goal of developing preventative strategies to reduce the burden of disease, frailty and disability in older individuals. The trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) is organizing a workshop to devise a set of generative ideas in geroscience. The outcomes should serve as a framework for different ICs, as well as the outside research community, to use geroscience as a supportive conceptual framework for their IC-specific interests. The symposium will seek to identify the most pressing ideas in geroscience that will need to be developed in the next few years. Thus, this symposium directly supports the mission of the NIH and NIA.

The goal is to develop a highly interactive meeting, promoting discussion among the investigators and NIH staff, to guide future activities of the GSIG, as well as individual ICs. In addition, it is expected that the meeting will serve as an avenue for establishing collaborations, sharing data, resources and expertise.

We anticipate approximately 60 attendees at this workshop, and the organizing leadership has been taken by Dr. Merriline Vedamony (NIAID). The meeting will be held in Fisher's Lane and logistics will be carried out by a contractor. NIA will support 2 speakers, and the other institutes will support 10-13 speakers. Due to the nature of the meeting, all participants (including those supported by other ICs) will cover areas relevant to the mission of DAB. (Contact: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/451-4515)

Lipid Signaling in Stress and Aging (Spring, 2018)

The purpose of the workshop is to assess the current and emerging knowledge of lipid signaling in stress and during aging while discussing evolving technologies that could advance our understanding of these processes. Lipids are hydrophobic small molecules that can function as hormones, intermediate signaling molecules, structural elements in biological membranes, and vehicles for energy storage. Disruption in either storage lipids (triglycerides) or circulating lipid-protein complexes (lipoprotein particles) has been associated with age-related conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Recently, molecular mechanisms linking lipids to lifespan have been explored. For example, lipidomics studies in human hint at an association between lipid composition and long life where higher ratios of monounsaturated (MUFA) to polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids appear to favor longevity. Interestingly, a similar trend for higher MUFA: PUFA ratios is found in long-lived animals in model systems. Additional studies have revealed a critical role of fatty acid desaturases in controlling the level of MUFAs, supporting a link between fatty acid metabolism and aging. Although these studies suggest a pro-aging role of PUFAs, specific PUFAs such as ω-6 PUFAs have been found to activate autophagy and promote survival under nutrient deprivation. Consistently, increased expression of certain lipases that produce free fatty acids results in extended lifespan.

Lipid metabolism produces lipid signaling molecules. Current evidence suggests that lipid signaling pathways can modulate lifespan. For example, high levels of the lipid oleoylethanolamide (OEA) can extend lifespan in the worm by interacting with specific transcription factors. To deliver OEA to target tissues and organs, a lipid binding protein LBP-8 has been identified. Taken together, emerging evidence points to an important role of lipid metabolism and lipid signaling in influencing the process of aging. However, several central questions remain.

A workshop is proposed to address the following topics:

  1. How are of lipid signaling pathways altered during aging and physiological stress and what are the mechanisms?
  2. Lipid profiling studies are needed to understand how genetic variants and metabolism are integrated to modulate lifespan.
  3. How do epigenetic mechanisms control lipid signaling during aging?
  4. What is the role of fatty acid binding proteins in lifespan regulation?
  5. How does lipid signaling contribute to different modes of longevity interventions, e.g. genetic vs environmental interventions?

(Contact(s): Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-7847, and Dr. Jose Velazquez, DAB, 301/496-6428)

Age-Related Changes in OsteoImmunology (Spring, 2018)

The role of the immune system in regulating bone differentiation and homeostasis, and how this tissue cross talk is affected by aging has been of interest to DAB and NIA. A decline in immune function with aging has been known for decades and many alterations in the function of both the adaptive and innate immune systems have been documented. The knowledge that immune cells are mobilized from bone marrow led to the demonstration that different types of immune cells interact with both osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and that these interactions can modulate bone homeostasis.

Five pilot awards ($125,000 Direct Cost/year) were issued by NIA in 2013 to examine the regulation of a variety of pathways involved in this aspect of integrative biology. The Division of Aging Biology is planning to hold a workshop in May/June of 2018 in Bethesda, MD to discuss recent progress in our understanding of the role of aging in osteoimmunology. The five previously funded investigators will be asked to present their findings from aged animals. In addition, several other investigators working in the field will be invited to discuss recent developments in the field. Discussion of gaps as well as newly identified opportunities in our understanding of the interactions between immune cells and bone will be addressed.

(Contact(s): Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748, and Dr. John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6403)

Workshop on Epigenetic Regulation of Stem Cell AGING (Spring, 2018)

The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) is planning to hold an exploratory workshop in May 2018 to discuss an emerging field which has begun to elucidate the role of epigenetic regulation in stem cell aging. Stem cells play a vital role to maintain tissue homeostasis during aging, by contributing to both normal cellular regeneration and repair. It is known that stem cells utilize mechanisms for their survival and proliferation that are distinct from non-stem cells and that aged stem cells have reduced survival, proliferative, and differentiating capacities, compared to younger counterparts. Over the last decade, these findings have identified genes and protein regulatory pathways that contribute to the aging stem cell phenotype. More recently, it has been observed that the epigenomic signature of "old" cells (such as from centenarians or progeria models) can be reversed to a more youthful-like state by forced expression of the Yamanaka stem cell factors (OSKM), and that expression of OSKM in vivo improves recovery from metabolic disease and muscle injury in older transgenic mice by altering the epigenomic landscape. The amelioration of age-associated phenotypes by epigenetic remodeling of stem cells engaged in cellular reprogramming highlights a possible role for epigenetic dysregulation as a driver of mammalian aging. In view of this recent data and the evidence that stem cell epigenetic regulation is involved in aging, there is a scientific basis and growing need for further investigation to identify the epigenetic changes that occur with aging in stem cells and whether or not they can be reversed with appropriate interventions. Specifically, this workshop will help generate cross fertilization between researchers studying epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to aging in a variety of stem cells and to discuss future challenges and opportunities in this field. (Contact: Dr. Candace Kerr, DAB, 301/827-4474)

Behavioral Economics and the Promotion of Health Among Aging Populations – NAS Keck Bldg., Washington, DC – April 12-13, 2018

This workshop will explore the potential for extending research on behavioral economics into older populations, with a focus on interventions that will generate longer-term benefits. The focus will be on better mechanistic understanding of interventions and how they are sensitive to aging. The workshop will explore specific areas of high interest to NIA, such as (1) decreasing sedentary behavior; (2) promoting volunteering and social engagement; (3) improving appropriate uptake usage of medical devices; and (4) improving medical regimen adherence. The workshop may also explore ideas about what modifications might be required to make interventions "work" in middle-aged or older adults, and continue to work over longer periods of time. This meeting is funded via a task order. For additional information contact Dr. Jonathan King.

Leveraging Rarely-Investigated Populations for Research on Behavioral and Social Processes in an Aging Context – NAS Keck Bldg., Washington, DC – April 19-20, 2018

This one-and-a-half-day expert meeting will examine the potential value of examining individual variation and normative, age-related changes in behavioral, affective, cognitive, and social processes and the unique contributions that can be made in studies that are pursued in non-Western or small-scale societies. A set of three to four exemplar processes and/or exposures will be selected to focus the discussion. These may include, but are not limited to: (1) how poverty or resource scarcity and uncertainty impacts cognitive aging and decision-making; (2) how social norms and practices alter aspects of decision-making across the life-span; (3) how social environment/cultural norms impact age-related changes in emotional function in midlife and older age; (4) how different social norms and environmental constraints impact the association between social connectedness and health. This meeting is funded via a task order. For additional information contact Dr. Melissa Gerald.

NIA Sponsored Symposium "Aging and Hematopoiesis" at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunology (AAI) (May 4, 2018)

This NIA sponsored symposium will be held at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in May 4-8, 2018 in Austin, TX. The NIA has sponsored a symposium at this venue each year to highlight recent findings in the area of Immunity and Aging and this year's session is entitled "Aging and Hematopoiesis." The purpose of this symposium is to have presentations on state of the science findings on this research topic. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)

Improving Patient Outcomes Through Effective Caregiver-Clinician Communications and Relationships – NAS Keck Bldg., Washington, DC – May 10-11, 2018

NIA seeks to identify and address crucial knowledge gaps and research needs for understand­ing polyadic communication and relationships and their consequences, in the context of patient-clinician interactions. Caregivers can convey and influence both relational and informational content in ways which could impact care delivery and care quality. They may play the role of facilitator, promoting disclosure by the patients, contributing to shared decision making, and serving as advocates. But caregivers bring their own values, beliefs and expectations into the clinical encounter, and these may not always coincide with those of the patient. Caregivers may disrupt and obstruct communication between the clinician and patient in ways that constrain disclosure, complicate the diagnostic process or obfuscate clinician instructions. In the worst cases, caregivers may deliberately omit important details or provide false information to discredit the patient and intentionally mislead the clinician, to conceal signs of neglect and abuse. NIA seeks expert input on research needs for improving our understanding of the role of caregivers in patient-centered care, including promising conceptual frameworks and approaches for investigating dynamic features of polyadic interactions and for assessing their contribution to psychological and physical health outcomes of older patients. This meeting is funded via a task order. For additional information contact Dr. Melissa Gerald.

Spring Meeting of the NAS Committee on National Statistics – Keck Bldg., Washington, DC - May 10-11, 2018

This regular meeting of the Committee will include a half-day seminar, with topic to be decided by NIA BSR staff. For additional information contact Dr. Dana Plude.

Using Longitudinal Studies of Younger Cohorts for Aging Research – NAS Keck Bldg., Washington, DC – June 25-26, 2018

Demographic, economic, and institutional changes from across the life course may also have important consequences for the forces that shape inequalities in later life between and among cohorts. For example, a series of recent papers document a disturbing but poorly understood trend: socioeconomic inequalities in morbidity and mortality in middle and later life are increasing. Studies that account for differences in cohort experiences at early and middle ages may help us understand the mechanisms driving this troubling trend. Promising opportunities lie in ongoing cohort research, including studies of younger populations and those with multi­gener­ational designs. At this expert meeting approximately 12 experts will make presentations describing crucial issues in the use of longitudinal studies of younger cohorts and highlighting important directions for future research that have significant promise and are expected to have major influence on research on aging. At this one-and-a-half-day expert meeting, approximately 12 investigators will make presentations focused on the role and impact of caregivers in the context of patient-clinician interactions and relationships. For additional information contact Dr. Amelia Karraker.

The Biology of Metformin in Aging and Longevity (Summer 2018)

Metformin, used for the past six decades, is the most commonly used drug for treating type 2 diabetes. Recent epidemiological studies also suggest that metformin slows cancer cell growth and protects against multiple cancers. Metformin has drawn wide attention among aging researchers after a large British epidemiological study suggested that it may slow aging and multiple aging-related diseases. A randomized clinical trial, TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin), has been proposed to test the effect of metformin on possibly delaying the time to a new event related to a composite outcome that includes cardiovascular health, cancer, dementia, and death as an endpoint in 3000 subjects who are 65–79 years old ( Although it has been widely used and prescribed as a glucose-lowering and insulin-sensitizing drug for patients, its underlying mechanisms remain elusive. This workshop will evaluate the current status of the metformin studies on aging and age-related diseases and health, and discuss potential opportunities of mechanistic studies that may aid in the development of metformin as an agent for its anti-aging and anti-aging diseases effects. (Contact(s): Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/402-7747, and Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-7847)

Specificity of molecular aggregates in AD and related neurodegeneration (Summer, 2018)

Aggregates consisting of amyloid beta (Aβ, derived from the APP protein) or hyperphosphorylated Tau are considered the major pathological hallmarks of AD. Similarly, aggregates with different specific molecular identities are hallmarks for several other proteinopathies, and in fact, more than 50 such diseases are listed in Wikipedia. In addition to Aβ, and Tau, well characterized proteinopathies affecting neurodegeneration include -synuclein (Parkinson's), huntingtin (Huntington's), TDP-43 (Frontotemporal dementia) and many more. In addition to neurodegeneration, disease-causing proteinopathies exist in the periphery, examples of which include transthyretin (senile cardiac amyloidosis), amylin (type 2 diabetes), superoxide dismutase (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,), crystallins (cataracts), cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (cystic fibrosis) and many others. Pathology-causing aggregation of these proteins has been described in familial cases of each disease, usually driven by mutations in the protein or its processing that lead to a change in metastable forms of the protein in question. In contrast, sporadic forms of the same diseases also display molecularly similar aggregates, but in the absence of such direct genetic relationships. In these cases, the underlying common etiology appears to be aberrant proteostasis, which results in aggregation of different proteins in different tissues. To explore this possibility, researchers working on varied proteinopathies will be convened, to discuss commonalities and potential collaborations and cross-talks. It is expected that this effort might lead to the development of early markers of potential risk of developing proteinopathies in general, though the specificity of the pathological manifestation will still require measurements in the tissue of interest, including tissues of the central nervous system. (Contact: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/451-4515)

New Animal Models of Alzheimer Disease (Summer 2018)

The purpose of this workshop is to assess the current status of suitable, animal models of neurodegenerative disease conditions, focusing primarily in Alzheimer disease (AD) and discuss potential, new, emerging and translational models that may not only replicate all pathological features of the human disease but also contribute to the development of novel anti-dementia drugs.

AD is the most common cause of dementia, affecting more than 40 million people worldwide. Despite considerable investment and effort, the prevalence is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades due to an increase in the aging population. Unfortunately, there is no animal model available that can mimic the cognitive, behavioral, biochemical and histopathological abnormalities observed in patients with AD. However, partial reproduction of dementia and AD neuropathologies and cognitive deficits have been achieved with pharmacological and genetic approaches utilizing mice, fish, flies and worms.

Most of the animal models used to study AD rely on the use of transgenic mice carrying mutations associated with early onset familial forms of AD, although sporadic cases represent the clear majority. There is a translational gap in AD studies, with promising drugs developed in rodent models failing in AD patients in clinical trials. Further studies are needed to develop and characterize new models from animals with naturally developing aspects of cognitive decline and memory loss that better recapitulate human dementia. The identification, characterization and development of genetic and histological tools of these potential models should permit further advances in the study of aging-related dementias and AD. (Contact: Dr. Manuel Moro, DAB, 301/480-1796)

Twelfth Annual Division of Aging Biology New Investigators Forum (DAB NIF) (July 9-10, 2018)

The purpose of the forum is to bring together new awardees (i.e. Principal Investigators who are new to funding by DAB) in the spring/summer of the year following their award, in order to allow NIA program staff to get acquainted with new PIs as well as to allow participants to network with each other. Following last year's success, the forum will be open to a broad group of new investigators, including R01 and R56 recipients. To accommodate the large number of participants, each new PI will present a poster describing the planned research (or results to date). In addition to a keynote speaker, sessions will include short "dating-style" presentations by grantees, as well as presentations by DAB staff and NIA leadership, on issues such as scope of the science supported by DAB, funding mechanisms, review issues and other related topics. The format will also provide a significantly expanded opportunity for networking among the investigators and plenty of opportunities for interactions with NIA staff. The overriding goal of the meeting is to encourage continued success for the new PIs as well as encourage interactions and collaborations. The format of this forum has been adjusted to reflect the 2017 forum participants' evaluation. (Contact: Dr. Manuel Moro, DAB, 301/480-1796)

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Working Group on Aging Symposia (September 2018)

Annually there are 12 to 20 Working Groups that meet on the same night of the ASBMR meeting at the end of the regular scientific sessions. These Working Groups are not funded or sponsored by the ASBMR but are organized by people with similar interests. The level of attendance and the quality of these Working Group programs are wide ranging. There is only one Working Group devoted to the science of aging, while there are a wide range on things like Rare Diseases, certain Clinical problems etc. Historically the Working Group on Skeletal Aging has had modest success but is always financially strapped. In order to build attendance and improve the quality of the program we hope to give the Working Group a more reliable financial base to operate. For obvious reasons we would like to build the NIA presence at ASBMR since most of the current research funding for attendees comes from NIAMS. The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) on September 28 – October 1, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Contact: Dr. John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6403)

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Major Reports:

Booklets, AgePages, Fact Sheets, DVDs:  

  • Workout to Go booklet
  • Participating in Activities You Enjoy: Tips from the National Institute on Aging tip sheet
  • Legal and Financial Planning for People with Alzheimer's Disease fact sheet
  • New postcards: Stay Connected-Consumers; Stay Connected-Researchers; SBIR


  • Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting Fit for Life
  • Forgetfulness: Knowing When to Ask for Help
  • Healthy Eating After 50
  • Skin Care and Aging

Web Content


Press Releases and Research Highlights

NIA posted and distributed the following press releases:

NIA posted the following featured research:

Social Media

  • @NIAGo4Life Twitter followers now total nearly 7,800, with an additional 12,635 subscribing to a daily e-alert of tweets
  • @NIHAging Twitter followers now total over 8,100, with 11,656 daily e-alert subscribers
  • NIHAging Facebook has more than 6,200 followers; quarterly peak reach (18,464 people) on 9/6 when the video "What Happens to the Brain during Alzheimer's Disease" was posted


Sent a total of 54 emails from 8/9/17-12/18/17 to the following NIA GovDelivery email lists:

  • Go4Life Fitness Tips: 64,289 subscribers
  • Healthy Aging Highlights: 61,467 subscribers
  • Alzheimer's News & Announcements: 62,012 subscribers
  • NIA for Caregivers: 9,818 subscribers

Go4Life Month

  • Go4Life appeared on local morning TV in Washington, DC. Dr. Lyndon Joseph of the National Institute on Aging at NIH was joined by eight volunteer exercisers representing Go4Life Partners Easter Seals, Fit & Well Seniors of the YMCA, Oasis, and Sunrise Senior Living.
  • To celebrate Strength Week, Go4Life held a Facebook Live event featuring Fit & Well Seniors of the YMCA at Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center in Washington, DC.
  • AARP published an article encouraging people to Move More for Go4Life Month.
  • Go4Life Month events were held by organizations in California, Washington, Nebraska, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada.


Professional Meetings

  • Friends of the NIA (FoNIA), September 2017 – Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with senior NIA staff, met with FoNIA leadership to give them an update on recent scientific advances funded by the NIA. NIA staff from each division were able to highlight a range of findings that move aging research forward.
  • Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), September 2017 – Dr. Richard Hodes and senior NIA staff, met with representatives from AAMC and various medical school deans. Dr. Hodes reviewed the Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists' Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program and other initiatives pertinent to the group.
  • Leidos Online Partnership to Advance Research (OnPAR), October 2017 – Dr. Richard Hodes and various NIA staff met with Martin Duenas of Leidos who reviewed the OnPAR system. During the meeting NIA staff learned about the system and how to inform applicants.
  • Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC), November 2017 – Dr. Marie Bernard and senior NIA staff met with DRRC leadership to discuss NIA's current initiatives in rehabilitation research. Other topics of discussion included future initiatives, pre-habilitation, training, and data sharing.
  • NIA Regional Meeting in Colorado, November 2017 – 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.
  • Wellcome Trust, November 2017 – Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with senior NIA staff met with representatives from Wellcome Trust. Information was shared on the current health economics related priorities of the NIH as well as related topics.

Conferences and Exhibits

  • Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers and Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study, October 13-15, San Diego
  • National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers, October 16-17, NIH Campus, Bethesda
  • International Council on Active Aging Conference, October 12-14, Orlando FL
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Health Benefits & Wellness Fair, November 14, Washington, DC

(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.)

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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’ on this web link).

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An official website of the National Institutes of Health