January 2019 Director's Status Report
- Budget and Appropriations
- Legislative Update
- Staff Changes and Honors
- Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences
- Content, Media, Outreach, and Meetings
- Relevant Notices and Initiatives Published in the NIH Guide
Status of FY 2018 Budget:
The President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018 on March 23, 2018 to keep the government operating through September 2018. The enacted bill provides NIA $2.574 billion, a $526 million increase over the FY 2017 level. This amount included an additional $414 million for Alzheimer's Disease research funding.
The President signed into law the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 on September 28, 2018 which funds NIA for the entirety of FY 2019 through September 2019. The enacted bill includes $3.081 Billion for NIA, a $509 million increase over the FY 2018 level. This includes an additional $425 million for Alzheimer's Disease research funding.
Legislation of Interest:
On September 26, 2018, the House voted 361-61 to approve H.R. 6157, which was previously approved by the Senate. On September 28, 2018, the President signed this spending package that includes full year FY19 funds for the departments of Defense, Education, Labor and HHS.
On December 31, 2018, the President signed into law S. 2076, the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act calls for the creation of an Alzheimer's public health infrastructure, focused on public health issues such as; increasing early detection and diagnosis and reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act also directs the CDC to establish Alzheimer's public health centers of excellence, providing cooperative agreements to public health departments, and increasing data collection, analysis and timely reporting. While the Act does not specifically direct activities for the NIH, it does require coordination across HHS to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.
Hearings, Visits, and Other topics of interest:
On September 25, 2018, House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) accompanied a group of his constituents who represent the Alzheimer’s Association on a visit to the NIH campus. While on campus the group met with NIA Director, Richard Hodes, and NINDS Director, Walter Koroshetz, and visited dementia focused labs at NIA and NINDS.
On October 2, 2018, NIA Director Richard Hodes met with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and activities at the NIA.
On October 2, 2018, NIA Director Richard Hodes met with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and activities at the NIA.
On October 17, 2018, NIA Director Richard Hodes met with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and activities at the NIA.
On November 28, 2018, NIA Director Richard Hodes met with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and activities at the NIA.
On November 29, 2018, NIA Director Richard Hodes and HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Kara Townsend participated in a briefing to discuss the National Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias with Senate Aging Committee staff and Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease staff.
On November 1, 2018, Dr. Richard Hodes and other senior NIA staff met with a broad range of researchers and trainees from several research institutions in and around Kansas. Attendees learned more about the organization of NIA and the many training and research opportunities available. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) also participated in the event.
Submitted by: Dawn Beraud, Ph.D., Public Health Analyst, National Institute on Aging
Traci Lafferty has been appointed as Chief Grants Management Officer. Traci has served at as a Supervisory Grants Management Specialist since 2006, and most recently served as Deputy Chief Grants Management Officer since 2016. Traci has over 22 years of experience as a Grants Manager and has been with the NIA for 19 years.
On November 9, 2018, Francesca Macchiarini, M.S., Ph.D., Chief, Biological Resources Branch, Division of Aging Biology was recognized with a certificate and letter for her contribution, 2014-2016, to Administrative Reviews of petitions under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act or 2000 (EEOICPA), by Admiral. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, DHHS.
Dr. Birgit Neuhuber, Ph.D. has been appointed Deputy Chief, Scientific Review Branch. She comes from NINDS where she was involved in reviewing highly visible programs, including, Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research, R35 research program awards, and programs in Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias. In addition, she was the SRO for the NSD-B study section, which reviewed early- and late-stage translational grant applications related to neurodegenerative disorders and neuromuscular diseases. She holds a master’s degree in Histology and Endocrinology and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Salzburg, Austria. Following her graduate work, which focused on studying the formation of the skeletal muscle triad, she pursued postdoctoral training at the NHLBI where her research work was on the properties and characteristics of the neuromuscular junction. From NIH, she moved to Drexel University College of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy. At Drexel, Dr. Neuhuber studied the basic biology of stem cells and worked on designing therapeutic strategies for stem cell transplantation into spinal cord injury using combinatorial strategies including neurotrophic factors, bioengineered matrices and exercise as well as minimally invasive delivery methods. Her research expertise includes neural injury and neurodegeneration/regeneration, stem cell biology and translational research.
Elizabeth Newman, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience as a Health Specialist in the Neurobiology of Aging Branch. Dr. Newman earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Her dissertation and postdoctoral research (also done at JHU) focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of the hypothalamus. Specifically, she studied the role of canonical Wnt signaling in early patterning of hypothalamic organization and the transcriptional regulation of the development of the suprachiasmatic nucleus. While at JHU, Dr. Newman also was a leader of Project Bridge, a science outreach organization, which planned community-wide events by JHU and visiting faculty designed to introduce science to a lay audience.
Ms. Rayven Simms has joined the OD staff assuming the Deputy Director support role previously held by Lauren Davis. Rayven comes to OD from the Lab of Epidemiology and Population Science.
After 43 years of Federal Service at NIH, Linda Whipp has retired as the Chief, Grants Management Officer.
THE 29TH ANNUAL NATHAN W. SHOCK AWARD LECTURE – September 18, 2018 – Bethesda, MD
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 2018 awardee, Dr. Nathan K. LeBrasseur, presented his talk entitled “The Interplay between Cell Fate and the Rigors of Age.” No recommendations from the meeting will result in initiatives, and the lecture was a NIA-sponsored event.
DECIPHERING THE GLYCOSYLATION CODE IN ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – September 19-20, 2018, Bethesda MD
The NIA-sponsored glycosylation meeting was held in the NIA Gateway office. The meeting included leaders in the field who evaluated the current status of glycobiology in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and determined what areas of research will be needed to move the field of glycoscience forward. In particular, the focus was on understanding the importance of glycobiology in the area of biomarker discovery and early AD pathogenesis.
For more information, contact Austin Yang.
THE NIA AND THE NIH COMORBIDITY SCIENTIFIC INTEREST GROUP WORKSHOP ARE SPONSORING A WORKSHOP ENTITLED, “MEASURING MULTIMORBIDITY: MATCHING THE INSTRUMENT AND THE PURPOSE” – September 25-26, 2018, Bethesda, MD
The goals of the workshop included reviewing current state-of-the-art empirical studies of the role of comorbidity and/or multimorbidity, and the selection of valid and reliable measurement tools. The purpose of this workshop was to a) identify the best available instruments for measuring multimorbidity, and characterize their validity, reliability, and ease of use, as well as their statistical analysis and interpretation, b) propose a set of recommendations that would facilitate adoption of particular tools and methods for specific purposes (e.g., research vs. practice; observational studies; RCTs; large population-based samples; type of outcome (morbidity, mortality, healthcare utilization, quality of life, costs), and c) identify areas of research needs and gaps to improve measurement of multimorbidity. Other co-sponsors included the National Cancer Institute, NIH Office of Disease Prevention, NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities.
(NIA DGCG Contact: Marcel Salive)
NIA SPONSORED SATELLITE SYMPOSIUM “MICROBIOME, MUCOSAL IMMUNOLOGY AND AGING” AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOCIETY FOR LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY (SLB) (October 13, 2018)
This NIA-sponsored satellite symposium was held at the 51th Annual Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology which took place in Chandler, AZ on October 13, 2018. The NIA has sponsored satellite symposia previously at SLB to highlight recent findings in the areas of Aging and Immunity. The topic of the symposium held in October 2018 was the Microbiome and Mucosal Immunity and Aging.
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 research related to the alterations in mucosal immunity and the microbiome with aging.
(Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)
NIH INCLUDE PROJECT: ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE CLINICAL TRIALS IN THE DOWN SYNDROME POPULATION PRELIMINARY MEETING – November 7, 2018, Bethesda
Through support and guidance from the Office of the Director, both NIA and NICHD coordinated a planning group meeting on conducting Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials within the Down syndrome population. This initial meeting convened leaders (researchers and advocacy organizations) in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, recruitment, and Down syndrome. This meeting meets the aims of the Investigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndrome (INCLUDE) Project, a directive in the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Report.
For more information on this event, contact Laurie Ryan.
BIOMARKERS OF RESILIENCE IN MURINE MODELS (November 14, 2018)
In humans, loss of resilience precedes the development of frailty by decades. As such, measurements of resilience could potentially be used as predictors of healthspan. While significant advances have been made in studying resilience in the psychosocial domain, resilience to physical challenges has been largely unexplored. Important questions remain that need addressing: when does resilience to specific challenges begin to decline? Which molecular/cellular mechanisms are engaged by different challenges? Which measures of resilience are most informative of the overall health of the organisms? And most importantly: which (if any) measures of resilience are predictive of future health/longevity? For many of these questions, and for future mechanistic and interventional studies, studies in humans are limiting. For this reason, the NIA has started a program to study resilience in mice, using both physical and chemical stresses, that should help answer the questions above. The presentation, given at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, focused on the conceptual basis for the project, and the state of the science.
(Contacts: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/451-4515; and Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301-827-4013)
GEROSCIENCE AND THE HALLMARKS OF AGING (November 14, 2018)
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. Identification of the main hallmarks of aging has allowed the development of the field of geroscience. The workshop explored in-depth the current status of some of these hallmarks: inflammation, cell fate, metabolism and nutrient sensing. An independent purpose is to promote the basic science represented by geroscience in a broader meeting such as the Gerontological Society of America Annual meeting.
(Contact: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/451-4515)
SPECIFICITY OF MOLECULAR AGGREGATES IN AD AND RELATED NEURODEGENERATION (November 27, 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 α-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 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 (November 28, 2018)
The purpose of this workshop was 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)
THE EPIDEMIOLOGY OF AGING WORKSHOP – December 18, 2018 (BRC)
The goal of this workshop was to engage experts in the field to discuss how data already collected from longitudinal studies can be used to maximize the effectiveness of future clinical trials, as well as designing a new generation of epidemiological studies that can be directed to best accomplish this goal. The two primary focuses were: 1) Investigating age-related biomarkers; and 2) Developing indexes of biological, phenotypic, and functional aging that can be applied to different populations and are sensitive to change, potentially capturing the effect of interventions aimed at slowing down the “rate of aging.” No recommendations from the meeting will result in initiatives, and the workshop was a NIA-sponsored event.
MEETING ON CONSENSUS STUDY ON RISING MIDLIFE MORTALITY AND SES – NATIONAL ACADEMIES, Washington DC – February 11-13, 2019
This Consensus Study will articulate a research agenda that can help NIA assess and evaluate the current state of knowledge in this area, identify potentially modifiable risk factors, recognize key knowledge gaps, and make recommendations for future research and data collection, and explore potential policy implications. This Consensus Study builds on a June 2017 CPOP meeting that explored issues surrounding worsening health in middle ages. For additional information contact Dr. Amelia Karraker.
EXPERT MEETING ON DEMOGRAPHY OF SEXUAL AND GENDER MINORITIES – NATIONAL ACADEMIES, Washington DC – February 15, 2019
This meeting is a follow-on to the planning meeting on this topic held April 16, 2018. The expert meeting cross-cutting topic will be “intersectionality.” This NAS-organized meeting is funded via a task order.
For additional information contact Ms. Georgeanne Patmios.
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AS A RISK FACTOR FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND RELATED DEMENTIAL – February 26-27, Bethesda
This NIA workshop is being organized in collaboration with the Office of Research and Development at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The goals of this endeavor are to: (1) synthesize what is and is not known about the relationship between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and dementia, (2) identify how current resources can be leveraged, and (3) identify what changes in infrastructure or new resources are needed to address current and future research questions. The workshop will be organized into three sessions that address the following areas of research: 1) epidemiology, 2) diagnosis and clinical Assessment, and 3) foundational science. On the first day of this workshop, invited speakers will give presentations followed by, discussions to summarize each session and identify research gaps. On the second day, participants will spend the morning synthesizing conclusions from day one and defining gaps in knowledge regarding the role of TBI as a risk factor for dementia. The research gaps and opportunities identified from this workshop will help shape future funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).
For information on this event, contact Lisa Opanashuk.
WORKSHOP ON TECHNOLOGY AND DEMENTIA – Bethesda MD – March 7, 2019
The objective of this meeting is to identify research areas of how technology could contribute to (1) Early Detection of Cognitive Decline, (2) Assistive Technology for Dementia Care, and (3) Improving Health Care Delivery for Persons with Dementia. The meeting will seek insight on how NIA can develop a robust Small Business research grant portfolio which intersections with technology and dementia.
For additional information contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya.
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE CENTERS (ADCS) RESEARCH EDUCATION COMPONENT (REC) TRAINEES WORKSHOPS – March 13, 2019, Bethesda.
The goal of this NIA sponsored workshop is to enhance young investigator training among NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADCs) on the NIH grant process. The workshop will be an all-day postdoctoral trainee bootcamp for 30 participants nominated from each Center. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the NIH peer review process as presented by NIH Program Officers and Scientific Review Officers. The participants will have the opportunity to serve as reviewers on a “Mock study section” reviewing fellow participants’ draft grant application. This workshop aligns with a key recommendation in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) on training next generation workforce in AD/ADRD. Trainees will be encouraged to participate in the ADRD Summit (hosted by NINDS) on March 14-15, 2019.
AGE-INDUCED TRANSFORMATION OF ADULT STEM CELLS (March 20, 2019)
This one-day workshop will be a joint effort between DAB and NCI. The purpose of this workshop will be to discuss recent advances in aging of stem cells and their involvement in cancer initiation and progression with a focus on metabolic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate the aging process and promote the transformation into cancer initiating cells (CICs). The speakers will be asked to give a 30-minute presentation on their recent research findings with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging and cancer, “onco-aging” research. The symposium will be chaired by Division of Aging Biology program staff (Dr. Candace Kerr, Rebecca Fuldner), as well as appropriate NCI staff.
While DAB will be handling all speakers’ travel logistics (flights, hotel accommodations and per diems) through the services of a contractor, NCI will advise on the science topic and potential speakers. NCI will transfer to DAB the funds to cover its invited speakers.
(Contact(s): Dr. Candace Kerr, DAB, 301/827-4474; and Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)
APPLICATION OF MACHINE LEARNING AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO IMPROVE HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE DELIVERY – Bethesda MD – March 21, 2019
This meeting will bring together investigators in multiple disciplines (such as Informatics, Computer Science, Health Services Research, Geriatrics/Primary Care, and Psychology) to consider the advantages and potential of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications for improving health and healthcare delivery for older Americans.
For additional information contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya.
BEYOND NAD+: NOVEL ROLES OF METABOLITES IN AGING (April 23, 2019)
Metabolites have been increasingly recognized, beyond metabolic by-products, as signaling molecules for a range of cellular functions from protein modification, to gene expression and epigenetic regulation. Notably, the metabolite nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) has been shown to play an important role in the aging process. Emerging research in the field has recently identified additional metabolites implicated in aging regulation. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss recent findings of novel roles of metabolites in aging and longevity regulation and identify new research directions to advance the field.
Metabolism and aging are tightly linked, where nutrient sensing and caloric restriction mechanisms are conserved pathways modulating healthspan and longevity. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider small molecules generated in various metabolic processes, known as metabolites, to be crucial elements in the aging process. Indeed, in addition to the known regulatory role of the metabolite NAD+ in aging, many other metabolites with a potential role in aging have been identified through the development of novel metabolomics technologies. These include, for example, the Krebs cycle metabolite succinate, the fermentation product acetate and the polyamine spermidine. Additional energy metabolites such as citrate, pyruvate or butyrate, known to regulate cellular homeostasis have been implicated as potential regulators in the aging process.
Building upon these recent findings, the emerging research area in non-NAD+ metabolites in the regulation of aging warrants further exploration with a DAB-supported Workshop.
(Contact: Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-7847)
ALZHEIMER’S AND RELATED DEMENTIAS (AD/ADRD) DIGITAL BIOMARKER WORKSHOP – April 25-26, 2019, Bethesda
The objective of this NIA-sponsored workshop is to further stimulate research in digital technology for application in early diagnosis and monitoring AD and ADRD. The meeting will bring experts to discuss digital technology approaches and innovations in assessing cognition and lifestyle changes in people as well as in diagnosis of AD/ADRD. The workshop will also discuss its clinical trial application and management of data collected from mobile devices. Development of tools for diagnosis of AD/ADRD is a key goal of National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and it aligns closely with the AD research implementation milestones on translational tools—enabling technologies and improve AD monitoring.
For more information, contact Yuan Luo.
ALTERATIONS OF THE GLYCOSYLATION PROCESS DURING AGING (Spring 2019)
The goal of this workshop is to bring experts in the biochemistry of glycosylation, aging, and state-of-the-art high throughput mass spectroscopy and imaging technologies to promote understanding of the potential role that glycosylation mechanisms play during the aging process. Glycosylation can affect various cellular and physiological functions—including regulation of enzymatic activities, cell differentiation, and morphogenesis.
Glycosylation plays critical roles in the early pathogenesis and progression of many diseases, e.g., diabetes; and might play a key role in the cellular changes that are associated with aging.
(Contact: Dr. Jose Velazquez, DAB, 301/496-6428)
IMPACT OF AGED IMMUNE SYSTEM ON WOUND HEALING PROCESS (Spring 2019)
This one-and-a-half-day workshop will be a joint effort between NIAID and NIA. The purpose is to bring together experts studying the role of the immune system in wound healing to discuss current and future needs. Wound healing is a complex process aimed at restoring tissue integrity and function and encompasses several overlapping events including the recruitment of inflammatory cells (local and systemic), activation of local stem cell populations, homing of circulating progenitors, epithelialization, matrix deposition and ultimately resolution of inflammation with the scar formation. Advanced age is associated with alterations in innate and adaptive immune responses, which may play a significant role in the impairment of wound resolution in the elderly resulting in an increased incidence of chronic wounds and wound infection in this population. Current knowledge in the field is limited on how different aspects of aging may affect wound healing, but the current workshop will focus specifically on the role of altered inflammatory and innate immune responses. The participants will be asked to identify key gaps in our understanding of immune factors that contribute to delayed wound healing in aged tissues. The relevance of various aged animal models as experimental systems to address these questions will be addressed as well as mechanisms that link aging and development of the inflammatory phenotype to impaired wound healing. This meeting will be held at NIAID auditorium at Fisher’s Lane in Rockville, MD in spring of 2019.
(Contact: Dr. Rebecca A Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)
OSTEOCLAST BIOLOGY AND AGING (Spring 2019)
It is widely accepted that the bone marrow niche changes with age. Given that the large number of cell lineages in the marrow and their changing abundance and activities with age, strongly suggests that these interactions are much more complex than currently appreciated. The fact that hematopoiesis becomes skewed to the myeloid lineage with age has been widely appreciated by the field and this skewing is significant since osteoclasts are derived from the myeloid lineage. This, at least partially, explains the age-associated increase in osteoclast numbers. These overall age-related changes have profound effects on the cells in the marrow and on their respective activities. In addition, alterations in the marrow niche have been reported to have numerous effects on the osteoblast/osteocyte lineage and osteoblasts have been reported to contribute to maintaining the marrow niche. The commitment of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (osteoblast, adipocyte and chondrocyte progenitors) to the bone forming osteoblast phenotype declines changes with age; with a concomitant increase in number of marrow adipocytes. These observations have dominated the bone field, largely to the detriment of mechanistic studies of the molecular signaling between the osteoblast and osteoclast, and in combination with recent advances on changes in circulating signaling factors with aging as evidenced by various parabiosis experiments strongly suggests that the complexity of these interactions is under appreciated. Given the dynamic interactions between osteoclasts and osteoblasts and the dependence of osteoclasts on osteoblasts for differentiation, it is time to reexamine how aging affects both the differentiation and physiological activity of osteoclasts.
(Contact: John P Williams, DAB, 301/496-6403)
GSIG SEMINARS (Spring, Summer and Fall 2019)
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. Ronald A Kohanski, DAB, 301/402-0836)
NIA SPONSORED SYMPOSIUM “IMMUNOMETABOLISM, INFLAMMATION AND AGING” AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF IMMUNOLOGY (AAI) (May 9, 2019)
This NIA-sponsored symposium will be held at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in May 9-13, 2019 in San Diego, CA. 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 “Immunometabolism, Inflammation and Aging.”
The purpose of this symposium is to have presentations on state of the science findings on this research topic.
(Contact: Dr. Rebecca A Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)
IMPACTS OF THE SECOND DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION ON MID- AND LATER-LIFE HEALTH – Bethesda MD – May 29-30, 2019
The overarching goal of this meeting is to explore current and future research on the impacts of the Second Demographic Transition (i.e., increasing family complexity, instability, heterogeneity) on middle- and later-life health and wellbeing for individuals directly experiencing the transition. The meeting will seek to establish the current state of knowledge as well as important substantive and methodological areas for future research.
For additional information contact Dr. Amelia Karraker.
CONCEPTS IN GEROSCIENCE POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS SYMPOSIUM ON TISSUE-RESIDENT IMMUNE CELLS (JUNE 4-6, 2019)
This workshop will be the second Concepts in Geroscience – Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium. It is organized by members of the Geroscience Interest Group. A novel feature of this Series is a focus on the next generation of researchers. Therefore, the organizers identify postdoctoral fellows with career development awards and principal investigators doing research at the cutting edge of their fields 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 geroscience in the diverse areas that are supported by NIH institutes and centers.
The geroscience hypothesis states that slowing the rate of aging should delay the onset and reduce the severity of late age-onset degenerative conditions, frailties and diseases. Underlying aging are the multiple molecular and cellular processes that have been grouped within hallmarks of aging, or pillars of geroscience. Recent advances in the basic biology and physiological functions of tissue-resident immune cells provide opportunities to also consider them in the context of aging. Tissue-resident immune cells are found in diverse tissues and have diverse tissue-specific functions, but they represent a common link that might be viewed as a “universal target.”
Nine NIH institutes are participating in addition to NIA and the majority of speakers are postdoctoral fellows, most of whom do not work specifically in aging and who therefore can bring fresh perspectives to geroscience.
(Contact: Dr. Ronald A Kohanski, DAB, 301/402-0836)
THE THIRTEENTH ANNUAL DIVISION OF AGING BIOLOGY NEW INVESTIGATORS FORUM (DABNIF) (June 27-28, 2019)
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 to meet and interact with NIA program staff as well as to allow participants to network with each other. 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 “elevator speech” presentations by new awardees, as well as presentations by DAB staff and NIA leadership, on issues such as scope of the science supported by DAB, funding mechanisms, grant 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 2018 forum participants’ evaluation.
(Contact: Dr. Manuel Moro, DAB, 301/480-1796)
Publications and Web Content
Booklets, Fact Sheets, DVDs:
- Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Need to Know
- Workout to Go: Mini Exercise Guide
- Safe Use of Medicines
- Eureka prize postcard
- SBIR postcard
- Stay Connected-Researchers postcard
- Older Drivers AgePage
- Online Health Information: Is It Reliable? AgePage
- Calorie Restriction and Fasting Diets: What Do We Know?
- Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: What Do We Know?
- National Strategy for Recruitment and Participation in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Clinical Research
- Hearing Loss: A Common Problem for Older Adults (online-only update)
- Stay Connected to Combat Loneliness and Social Isolation
- Together We Make the Difference! Participate in Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Clinical Research
- No More Excuses! Overcome Exercise Barriers
- Spotting the Signs of Elder Abuse
Spanish articles translated and posted:
- Cuidados al final de la vida para personas con demencia (End-of-Life Care for People with Dementia)
- ¿Es confiable la información sobre la salud que se encuentra en el Internet? (Online Health Information)
- Ponga sus asuntos en orden (Getting Your Affairs in Order)
- Proporcionar cuidados de confort al final de la vida (Providing Comfort at the End of Life)
- ¿Qué son los cuidados paliativos y los cuidados de hospicio? (What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?)
Media & Outreach
Press Releases and Research Highlights
NIA posted and distributed the following press releases:
- Better mouse model built to enable precision-medicine research for Alzheimer’s (12/27/2018)
- Hypothermia: A cold weather hazard (12/20/2018)
- Common use of antipsychotics shown ineffective for delirium in intensive care patients (10/22/18)
- Daily low-dose aspirin found to have no effect on healthy life span in older people (9/16/18)
- Longer daily fasting times improve health and longevity in mice (9/6/18)
- Notification of patient overdose deaths reduces clinician opioid prescriptions (8/9/18)
NIA posted the following featured research:
- Abnormal RNA splicing in the aging brain may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease (12/21/18)
- Studies explore Alzheimer’s risk factors, biomarkers in Latinos (12/12/18)
- Healthy gut bacteria help ward off age-related insulin resistance in animal models (12/12/18)
- Loss of vision associated with loss of cognition (11/29/18)
- Setting goals to be more active slows memory decline in older African Americans (11/15/18)
- Researchers map how Alzheimer’s pathology spreads across brain networks (11/2/18)
- New study gives insights on sedation and postoperative delirium risk in older patients (10/25/18)
- Clearing senescent cells from the brain in mice preserves cognition (10/19/18)
- Daytime sleepiness linked to elevated brain amyloid (10/11/18)
- Cognitive stress test predicts high levels of beta-amyloid (9/26/18)
- Group class reduces urinary incontinence symptoms in women (9/24/18)
- Unique protein networks in blood could offer new way to detect diseases of aging (9/7/18)
- Could boosting lymphatic function combat age-related cognitive decline? (8/23/18)
- Imaging of brain synapses could be novel test for Alzheimer’s (8/9/18)
- @NIAGo4Life Twitter account was closed in favor of engaging more with the audience in other ways (email and Facebook).
- @Alzheimers_NIH Twitter followers total 9,820 as of 12/15/2018. Twitter digest emails were retired with switch to new email system.
- NIHAging Facebook has 11,030 followers as of 12/15/2018; quarterly peak reach (approximately 21,000 people) on 11/9 for Alzheimer’s brain animation video.
A new email content management system was implemented on 9/14/18. During the switch from GovDelivery to MailChimp, email subscriber lists were trimmed down significantly, which has resulted in increased list engagement. Overall, NIA’s list has a 23.50% open rate and 3.5% click through rate, well above industry standards. A total of 60 emails from 8/1/2018–12/31/2018 were sent to the following email lists (subscribers as of 12/15/2018):
- Go4Life Fitness Tips: 26,717 subscribers
- Healthy Aging Highlights: 32,430 subscribers
- Alzheimer’s News & Announcements: 23,328 subscribers
- NIA for Caregivers: 12,982 subscribers
Go4Life worked with the Not Older, Better Podcast to promote messages encouraging older adults to be physically active. Seven podcasts featured Go4Life partners and the activities they are conducting in communities around the country:
- About Go4Life Month “Go4Life Month A-Z”
- City of Daly City “Seven Years of Exciting Go4Life Activities”
- Let’s Move in Libraries “Exercising at Your Local Library!”
- International Council on Active Aging “ICAA’s Active Aging Week”
- Massachusetts Councils on Aging “Start a Walking Club”
- Sunrise Senior Living “Young and Old Can Exercise Together!”
- National Park Service “Biking at 50+ along the Mississippi River!”
- Staying Active over the Holidays
Meetings and Exhibits
- Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), September 2018 – Dr. Richard Hodes and several NIH IC directors, met with representatives from AAMC and various medical school deans. Discussion topics of this meeting included: new investigators, diversity of the research community, faculty compensation, and sexual and gender harassment policies.
- Friends of the NIA (FoNIA), October 2018 – Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with senior NIA staff, met with FoNIA leadership to provide 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.
- NIA Regional Meeting in Kansas, November 2018 – 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.
- Population Association of America (PAA), November 2018 – Dr. 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.
- Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, November 2018 – Dr. Marie Bernard, along with senior NIH staff and IC representatives met with Ad Hoc Group leadership to discuss NIH funding increases, support for early career investigators, and other relevant topics.
- NIA/VA meeting, December 2018 -- 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.
Conferences and Exhibits
- Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting, Nov. 14-17, Boston, MA
- International Council on Active Aging, Oct. 18-19, Long Beach, CA
(For more information about NIA’s conferences or exhibits, contact Melissa McGowan, Acting Director, OCPL, Ph. 301-496-1752. For more information about NIA’s professional meetings, contact Dr. Melinda Kelley, Legislative Officer, Ph. 301-451-8835.)
NEW NOTICES AND INITIATIVES RELEVANT TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING (NIA) For the September 2019 Council Meeting
For ‘Notices’ and ‘Research Initiatives’ with NIA’s participation or interest please visit these two websites: http://www.nia.nih.gov/research/funding and http://www.nia.nih.gov/research/dea/nih-funding-policies (Please look for ‘Recent Changes in NIH Policy’ on this web link).