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January 2023 Director’s Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the January 2023 Director’s Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2023 Budget

Appropriations

  • On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law H.R. 2617, legislation that provides fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding to federal agencies. The bill was passed by the Senate on December 22, 2022, and by the House on December 23, 2022. The bill provides $47.5 billion for NIH, including $3.7 billion for research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD), an increase of $226 million over the FY 2022 enacted level. This increase in AD/ADRD appropriations includes $151 million for NIA and $75 million for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In total, the bill provides nearly $4.41 billion for NIA, an increase of more than $187 million over the FY 2022 enacted level.

Continuing Resolution

  • On December 23, 2022, Pres. Biden signed into law H.R. 4373, legislation that provides funding to federal agencies at FY 2022 levels through December 30, 2022. Two earlier continuing resolutions, H.R. 1437 and H.R. 6833, extended funding at FY 2022 levels through December 16 and December 23, 2022, respectively.

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Legislative Update

Legislation of Interest

  • On September 30, Pres. Biden signed into law S. 4900, the SBIR and STTR Extension Act, which extends authorizations for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, as well as pilot programs, through September 30, 2025. The bill was introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) on September 20, 2022. It passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on the same day and passed in the House on September 29, 2022.

Hearings, Visits, and Other Topics of Interest

Briefing on amyloid and Alzheimer’s research for the Senate HELP Committee — October 28, 2022

On Friday, October 28, NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes and Dr. Eliezer Masliah, Director of the Division of Neuroscience, briefed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee minority staff on amyloid and Alzheimer’s research.

Senate HELP and Labor-HHS Appropriations Staff Visits to NIH Sites in Ghana and Kenya — week of October 24, 2022

The Senate HELP and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee minority staff visited several NIH-supported sites in Ghana and Kenya, including an NIA-funded site at Aga Khan University.

Briefing on the 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers for the staff of Rep. Barragán (D-CA) — October 14, 2022

On Friday, October 14, Dr. Lis Nielsen, Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research; Cindy McConnell, Director of the Office of Communications and Public Liaison; and other NIA subject matter experts briefed the office of Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) on the 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers.

House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Staff Briefing — September 28, 2022

On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, Dr. Hodes and NIA subject matter experts briefed the health subcommittee majority and minority staff of the House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees on AD/ADRD research and clinical trials.

Dedication Ceremony for the Roy Blunt Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Research — September 19, 2022

On Monday, September 19, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) attended a dedication ceremony naming the building housing the NIH Center for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (CARD) in Sen. Blunt’s honor. The ceremony included a guided tour of the CARD facility and remarks from NIH and NIA leadership.

Briefing on geroscience research for the staff of the House Science Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations — September 6, 2022

On Tuesday, September 6, Dr. Ron Kohanski, Director of the Division of Aging Biology (DAB); Dr. Luigi Ferruci, Director of the Division of Intramural Research; and Dr. Viviana Perez Montes, a Health Science Administrator in DAB, briefed the staff of the House Science Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the state of research in geroscience and improving health.

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General Information

Staff Changes

Amanda Boyce, Ph.D., joined the Division of Aging Biology (DAB) as a Program Director and the Chief of the Aging Physiology Branch. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Ph.D. in Cell Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). During her graduate studies, Dr. Boyce conducted research on epithelial cell ion channels under the mentorship of Dr. Erik Schwiebert. As a post-doctoral fellow, she studied under Dr. Rosa Serra at UAB and then Dr. Rocky Tuan in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) working in cartilage development, osteoarthritis, and fracture healing. She joined NIAMS as the Program Officer for Muscle Development and Physiology in 2006 and served through 2022. Dr. Boyce manages a portfolio of grants focused on the basic biology of muscle.

Aleksandra Dakic, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience (DN) as a Health Specialist in the Clinical Interventions and Diagnostics Branch. She supports the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers and the implementation of the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. Dr. Dakic has more than 20 years of experience in basic science and medical research. She completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Belgrade (Serbia) and Georgetown University. She spent 12 years at Georgetown University conducting research on the basic biology of papillomaviruses and their role in human cancers. During her research career, she has gained extensive experience in cell immortalization and reprogramming, as well as three-dimensional and organoid modelling. As a Scientist at American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), Dr. Dakic collaborated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) team to develop and implement new mouse cell line authentication standards that will enable more traceable and reproducible research. Before joining NIA, she conducted stem cell differentiation research in the Section on Developmental Neurogenomics at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to clarify mechanisms for atypical macroscale brain organization in neuropsychiatric disorders. Her specific interest was developing induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived in vitro neuronal cellular models to enhance our understanding of sex chromosome influences on human neurodevelopment.

Maryam Ghaleh, Ph.D., joined DN as a Program Officer in the Population Studies and Genetics Branch. Dr. Ghaleh manages a portfolio of grants related to the epidemiology of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with a focus on vascular AD/ADRD and global health. Prior to transitioning to NIA, she was a Health Program Specialist within the NIH BRAIN Initiative, supporting different BRAIN dissemination efforts including the BRAIN U24 program. Before joining the NIH, Dr. Ghaleh was a postdoctoral researcher at Georgetown University investigating the neural correlates of language and other cognitive functions, their impairments in stroke survivors, and post-stroke neural plasticity. She received a master’s degree in Linguistics/Neurolinguistics from Ferdowsi University in Iran, and a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Yi-Ping Fu, Ph.D., joined DAB as a Program Officer in the Cell Biology Branch. Dr. Fu manages a research portfolio focused on molecular epidemiology of aging, which aims to broaden the understanding of aging as a risk factor for functional decline that permits or contributes to dysfunction, deficit accumulation and/or morbidities. Previously, Dr. Fu held positions at the Office of Biostatistics Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 2015-2022 and at the Framingham Heart Study of NHLBI in 2013-2015. Dr. Fu received her doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and her post-doctoral training at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Jeanne Jarvis-Gibson, M.A., joined the Office of Clinical Research (OCR) in the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) as a Health Communication Specialist. Ms. Jarvis-Gibson earned her master’s degree at the University of Liverpool in digital culture and communication. She has served as a contractor at OCR since March 2021, where she developed communication strategies and plans that align with the overall goals and objectives of NIA’s outreach program for clinical trial recruitment. She will continue to focus on clinical trial recruitment activities, including developing messages and materials for OutreachPro, NIA’s clinical trial recruitment materials generator.

Kaitlyn Hardell, Ph.D., joined the Scientific Review Branch (SRB) in DEA as a Scientific Review Officer. Dr. Hardell brings perspectives from the fields of basic science and epidemiology to SRB. She completed a pre-doctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology at NIA where she studied the roles of diet, pharmacological interventions, and cytoprotective pathways in health- and lifespan. Dr. Hardell earned her Ph.D. in Cellular and Structural Biology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where she focused on the biology of aging and used comparative biology to study the roles of stress and xenobiotic resistance in aging and longevity. She then joined Calico Life Sciences, LLC as a post-doctoral fellow where she leveraged multiple omic platforms, primary tissue culture, and histological techniques to investigate senescence and cancer resistance mechanisms of different rodent species, with a focus on the long-lived naked mole-rat. Dr. Hardell returned to the NIH in 2019 through the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program in the Division of Cancer Prevention at NCI. She completed an MPH at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics and performed research in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. Dr. Hardell’s most recent research projects include elucidating the effects of aging-associated genes and comorbidities on the risk of second cancers in cancer survivors.

Joshua Hooks, Ph.D., joined the Office of Strategic Extramural Programs (OSEP) in DEA as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow. He will be working with the Small Business and Training teams. Dr. Hooks completed his Ph.D. in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering in 2019 from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He continued as a Burrough's Wellcome Fund postdoctoral fellow at John Hopkins University where he focused on studying the immune response following injury and biomaterial implantation in order to reduce fibrosis and improve tissue regeneration. His interests include emerging health technologies, entrepreneurship, diversity-focused initiatives, and STEM education programs.

Dinesh John, Ph.D., joined the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program to work in the Individual Behavioral Processes Branch, principally within BSR’s Digital Health portfolio. Previously, Dr. John was an Assistant Professor in the Health Sciences Department of Northeastern University. Dr. John recently participated as a member of an NCI working group to harmonize a coding approach for behavioral data collection using sensor-based tools to improve the comparability of prediction algorithms critical to understanding relationships between behavior and health/disease. His research includes using advanced sensor-based measurement techniques to accurately quantify physical activity and sedentary behavior. Dr. John is a trained Exercise Physiologist and an expert on the application of wearable sensors to measure and modify physical behavior. Prior to joining Northeastern University, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts. Dr. John earned an M.S. at Ithaca College and a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, both in Exercise Science.

Richard Kwok, Ph.D., joined DN as a Program Officer in the Population Studies and Genetics Branch. He is an environmental epidemiologist with expertise in multi-site epidemiologic studies of chronic disease outcomes across the lifespan. Dr. Kwok manages a portfolio related to the epidemiology of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, with a focus on the environmental epidemiology of AD/ADRD and precision environmental health. Prior to joining NIA, he served as Program Director of the Disaster Research Response Program within the Office of Scientific Coordination, Planning and Evaluation, Office of the Director at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). He has extensive knowledge of the environmental health sciences from exposure assessment and personal dosimetry to biomonitoring and the exposome. He is also experienced with data harmonization and common data elements for use in pooled analyses and gene X environment (GxE) studies and helped launch the PhenX toolkit and the Disaster Research Response (DR2). He has co-authored 92 publications and hundreds of talks. Dr. Kwok received his B.S.P.H. in environmental science and M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Francesca Macchiarini, Ph.D., moved from DAB to the Clinical Gerontology Branch of the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG), where she will oversee the research program on juvenile protective factors. While in DAB, Dr. Macchiarini was a Program Director and the Chief of the Biological Resources Branch. She holds a M.S. in Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in Molecular Immunology, both from the University of Maryland. She has been a member of the NIH family for nearly forty years, starting with undergraduate and graduate internships and predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships. She joined NIA in 2016 after thirteen years at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) where her portfolio covered broad scientific areas including pediatric and aging immunology; host immunity to pathogens in immune-compromised populations such as the young, elderly, and pregnant women; animal models of organ transplantation; immune effects of radiation exposure; radiation biodosimetry; and radiation medical countermeasures product development. Dr. Macchiarini directed the operations of the NIA aged animal resources, served as the NIH Scientific Officer for NIA’s Intervention Testing Program, and was the Program Officer for the Resilience Assays Development Program and Dog Aging Project.

Viviana Perez left DAB to accept a new position at Hevolution Foundation. Dr. Perez was a Program Director in DAB’s Cell Biology Branch.

Joe Pottackal, Ph.D., joined DN as a Health Specialist in the Neurobiology of Aging and Neurodegeneration Branch. Prior to joining NIA, Dr. Pottackal conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studied synaptic connectivity and integration within the central circadian pacemaker of the mammalian brain. Dr. Pottackal received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, where his research focused on mechanisms that enable parallel processing at subcellular scales within single retinal neurons. Dr. Pottackal’s published work spans a wide range of topics, including synaptic physiology, sensory processing, neuroplasticity, and neurotoxicology.

Ivan Rebustini, Ph.D., joined SRB within DEA as a Scientific Review Officer. Dr. Rebustini received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Sao Paulo. He then joined the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) as a Postdoctoral Fellow and a Research Fellow, working in areas related to developmental and regenerative biology. In 2011, he moved to Brigham and Women’s Hospital as an Instructor of Medicine, where he studied RNA biology in organ development and provided grantsmanship support for the Systems Consortium for Organ Development and Engineering (SysCODE) Training Program. He moved back to the NIH to NIAID in 2016 as a Contract Scientist using deep-sequencing methodologies in immunological studies. In 2018, he joined the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), where he developed expertise in super resolution microscopy. Before joining NIA, Dr. Rebustini was a Staff Scientist at the National Eye Institute (NEI), where he worked with neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging, and collaborated with the private sector in generating neuroprotective strategies to prevent age-related blindness. His expertise includes molecular and cell biology, genomics, proteomics, microRNA and RNA biology, and super resolution microscopy applied to research models in developmental, regenerative, and aging biology.

Elise Rice, Ph.D., joined BSR as a Program Director in the Individual Behavioral Processes Branch. Dr. Rice’s Community and Behavioral Intervention Development program focuses on the systematic development, testing, and implementation of individual and community-based interventions to promote health across the life course, with an emphasis on understanding mechanistic processes and moderating factors. Prior to joining NIA, Dr. Rice served as a Program Director in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Branch at NIDCR, where she was a representative on the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee and other trans-NIH efforts. She continues to co-lead the NIH Health Behavior Theories Working Group in her role at NIA. Dr. Rice earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Behavioral Research Program at NCI. Her research drew from social psychology and affective science to address how positive spontaneous thoughts underlie approach motivation for health-related behaviors and other aspects of everyday life.

Cristina Salas joined SRB within DEA as a NIH Pathways Fellow. Ms. Salas is currently a Political Science major at the University Maryland, Baltimore County. Her most recent employment was with the Montgomery County Family Justice Center where she assisted the legal team defending domestic abuse victims. Ms. Salas has provided interpretation services and championed equity, inclusion, and social justice in her community.

Sandhya Sanghi, Ph.D., joined SRB within DEA. After completing her doctoral degree in Biochemistry, she joined the University of Virginia (UVA), Charlottesville as a Research Associate in cell and molecular biology. She discovered a novel gene whose protein product has an important role in tear production. From UVA, she moved to Texas A&M University where she held positions of Postdoctoral Research Associate and Instructor in Molecular Cardiology. During this time, she worked on deciphering cell signaling mechanisms that lead to heart disease. After working full-time as a basic biomedical researcher for over 10 years, Dr. Sanghi obtained an MPH in Health Policy and Management from the School of Public Health, Texas A&M University. Dr. Sanghi joined Scott & White Healthcare (now Baylor Scott & White Health, BSWH) in 2009 to manage an intramural research grant program designed to support basic science investigators and the development of physician-scientists. She subsequently moved to a Research Scientist/Assistant Investigator position at the Center for Applied Health Research (CAHR) of BSWH that focuses on research in aging, dementia, and family caregiving. Before joining NIA, Dr. Sanghi was a Manager for Research Shared Services at the CAHR.

Jui Shah, Ph.D., joined OCR within DEA as the new Chief of the Regulatory Support Branch. Dr. Shah will help support and streamline NIA’s clinical research activities. She has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and five years of postdoctoral research experience. Dr. Shah began her government career at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research as a Pharmacology/Toxicology Reviewer. She first came to NIH as a Regulatory Affairs Officer in NIAID’s Division of Allergy Immunology and Transplantation. Dr. Shah joins NIA from NIAID’s Division of AIDS where she was Chief of the Protection of Participants, Evaluation and Policy Branch. She has almost 25 years of experience with regulatory affairs, human participant protection, and policy development. Dr. Shah is also a certified Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR, level 3) and has overseen both ID/IQ as well as performance-based contracts.

Raquel Sitcheran, Ph.D., joined DAB as a Program Officer for Synthetic Biology/Cancer-Aging Cell Biology. Dr. Sitcheran earned a B.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of California, San Francisco, working with Dr. Keith Yamamoto on glucocorticoid receptor signaling. She did her postdoctoral work at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Dr. Albert Baldwin before joining the faculty in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine at the Texas A&M School of Medicine, rising to the rank of Associate Professor. Her laboratory made key contributions to understanding the role of NF-kB signaling in brain tumor pathogenesis. Specifically, Dr. Sitcheran established the non-canonical NF-kB regulatory pathway as an important driver of the invasive growth of glioblastoma (GBM) cells. Her work also identified new functions for NF-kB-inducing kinase (NIK/MAP3K14) in promoting GBM pathogenesis through regulation of mitochondrial dynamics, trafficking, and metabolic adaptation to bioenergetic stress. In her most recent work, she demonstrated that NIK governs mitochondrial respiration to shape innate immune myeloid cell functions, metabolic homeostasis, and systemic inflammation.

Dory Sullivan joined BSR as a Pathways Intern, working with the Administrative Team. She is currently pursuing her MPH at the George Washington University’s Milken School of Public Health with plans to graduate in the Spring of 2023. Prior to joining BSR, Ms. Sullivan received her B.S. in Behavioral and Community Health from the University of Maryland and was an intern with NIA’s Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation. She looks forward to expanding on what she has learned through her studies to explore new interests within behavioral health and social research, as well as learn and grow in the field.

Melissa Treviño, Ph.D., joined BSR as a Program Director in the Individual Behavioral Processes Branch. Prior to joining NIA, Dr. Treviño was a Health Program Specialist at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), where she supported NCCIH’s Training and Career Development program. Dr. Treviño serves as a representative to the Cognitive Science and Cancer Related Cognitive Impairment Network. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at NCI and received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Treviño’s research focused on bridging the gap between basic cognitive science and clinical neuropsychology to advance cognitive measures used to assess cancer survivors.

Staff Honors

Dr. Emerald Nguyen, from BSR, received recognition at the 2022 National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Awards and 2022 Office of the Director (OD) Awards for her efforts on the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) and NIH UNITE.

Dr. Michele K. Evans, Deputy Scientific Director, NIA, and Senior Investigator in the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Science (LEPS), received the 2022 NIH Director Award for the NIH UNITE Initiative. This award was a special recognition given by Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Lawrence Tabak to UNITE members for extraordinary dedication, teamwork, and leadership in support of NIH's UNITE Initiative to address structural racism and promote racial and ethnic equity.

Capt. Christopher Ramsden, M.D., Ph.D., Tenure-Track Investigator (Clinical) in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) and Medical Officer in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), received the Health and Human Services 2022 Part of Something Bigger Award for his above and beyond contributions in providing medical care for SARS-CoV2+ patients through numerous deployments.

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Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

Past Meetings

Minority Health and Health Disparities in Neuroscience Webinar Series — Virtual (Quarterly: September 2022, January 2023, and Spring 2023)

DN works to strengthen knowledge and understanding of aging and AD/ADRD in minority and health disparity populations to achieve health equity. To this end, DN is hosting a new webinar series, "Minority Health and Health Disparities Research in Neuroscience," to provide an opportunity for grantees to share research advances, lessons learned regarding challenges, and opportunities in the field. The first webinar by Dr. Elizabeth Rose Mayeda (UCLA) occurred on September 27, 2022. Dr. Mayeda’s presentation, entitled "Toward Health Equity in Brain Aging: Nontraditional Data Sources and Innovative Tools," covered a number of methodological considerations for AD/ADRD disparities research. The next webinar will include a presentation from Dr. Kacie Deters, Assistant Professor at UCLA, on January 30th, 2023. A third webinar is currently being scheduled for Spring 2023. All webinars will be recorded and shared with the scientific community and general public (Dr. Mayeda’s webinar is available through YouTube). For more information, please contact Damali Martin (martinda@mail.nih.gov), Dallas Anderson (andersda@nia.nih.gov), or Camille Pottinger (camille.pottinger@nih.gov).

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Working Group on Aging Symposia — Austin, TX (September 11, 2022)

Annually there are 12 to 20 Working Groups that meet on the same night of the ASBMR meeting after the regular scientific sessions. These Working Groups are not funded or sponsored by the ASBMR but are organized by people with similar interests. There is only one Working Group devoted to the science of aging, while there are a wide range of other topics like rare diseases, certain clinical problems, etc. We anticipate that the Working Group on the science of aging will improve and sustain the quality of the program. For more information, please contact John Williams, DAB (williamsj6@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6403), and Lyndon Joseph, DGCG (Lyndon.joseph@nih.gov, 301-496-6761).

Economic Vulnerability, Work Across the Life Course, and Health Disparities Workshop — Virtual (September 28-29, 2022)

BSR organized a workshop on Economic Vulnerability, Work Across the Life Course, and Health Disparities, which took place September 28-29, 2022. The purpose of the workshop was to (1) review existing research on how economic vulnerability and uncertainty in three channels (work, health care, and housing) affects overall health and health disparities, (2) identify opportunities to better understand how economic vulnerability interacts with health across the life course, and (3) determine the data needed to address these gaps. Workshop participants discussed research gaps and methods to better measure economic vulnerability; ways to evaluate the influence of family and intergenerational relationships on economic vulnerability; how to assess the interactions between safety net programs and economic vulnerability; and how to minimize the barriers that hinder access to large datasets, particularly for early-stage researchers, those at under-resourced institutions, and researchers of color. A publicly shared workshop summary is forthcoming. For more information, please contact John Phillips (John.Phillips@nih.gov) or Charlie Le (Charlie.Le@nih.gov).

Animal Models for Geroscience: Needs for Translational and Preclinical Research — Virtual (October 6-7, 2022)

The geroscience hypothesis states that slowing the rate of aging will delay the appearance and decrease the severity of adult-onset diseases and ameliorate age-related decline in function observed in human populations. Recently there has been a great deal of attention on leveraging geroscience insights from the laboratory to develop anti-aging or "geroprotective" therapies. In order to move potentially effective therapies toward the clinic, we must understand if we currently have the appropriate animal models to effectively translate geroscience findings into effective and safe therapies for humans. To begin to address that question, the Trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) hosted a virtual public workshop on the topic of Animal Models for Translational and Preclinical Geroscience Research. This workshop gathered background information on the use of animals in basic geroscience-focused research studies across academia, government, and industry settings. Speakers at the workshop examined the challenges and opportunities with studying a variety of animal models for translational geroscience research and the development of interventions that target fundamental aging processes. Workshop themes included: current efforts in translational geroscience using laboratory mice, rats, domesticated animals, and non-human primates; applying comparative biology to gain new insights in geroscience; understanding the impact of nutrition and the microbiome in animal research; finding new ways to utilize data from animals that are retired from research; and exploring new and alternative models for translational geroscience. This virtual workshop was open to the public, and the target audience included basic and clinical researchers with an interest in the biology of aging from academia, government, and industry. Additional audience members included drug development experts, regulators, patient advocates, and trainees at a variety of career stages. For more information, please contact Siobhan Addie (Siobhan.addie@nih.gov, 301-827-6099).

The 14th Annual Baltimore Fellows Symposium (BFS) — Virtual (October 18, 2022)

The NIA IRP sponsored the 14th Annual Baltimore Fellows Symposium. Dr. Michael Rosbash, 2017 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, was the keynote speaker for the event. The event also featured talks by NIA and National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) winners of the FY 2023 Fellows Award for Research Excellent (FARE) and career development sessions hosted by the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE). For more information, please contact Taya Dunn Johnson (dunnt@grc.nia.nih.gov).

The Cancer-Alzheimer's Disease Nexus: Exploring Relationships, Mechanisms, and Therapeutic Implications — Virtual (October 18-19, 2022)

DN and DGCG, in collaboration with the NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences hosted the 2022 workshop on the cancer-Alzheimer’s disease nexus. Recent research has suggested a complex relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and cancers. Several potential mechanisms have been proposed and warrant further investigation. Understanding the intersection of the underlying causes and biology for these two distinct families of diseases may offer novel approaches to identify new therapeutic approaches and possible opportunities to repurpose existing cancer drugs for AD. The goal of this two-day workshop was to identify research gaps and opportunities, inform scientific priorities, and determine possible future directions for research in this area. The workshop covered several areas, including: 1) the link between cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; 2) genes, mechanisms, and epidemiology evidence for the inverse relationship between cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; 3) cancer chemotherapy and cognitive dysfunction; and 4) medicines, mechanisms, and drug repurposing. For more information, please contact Damali Martin (martinda@mail.nih.gov), Dallas Anderson (andersda@nia.nih.gov), Paul Grothaus (grothausp@mail.nih.gov), or Marcel Salive (marcel.salive@nih.gov).

The Role of the Behavioral and Social Sciences in the Geroscience Agenda: Bridging Biological and Social Hallmarks of Aging — Virtual (October 31, 2022)

This meeting was organized jointly by DAB and BSR. A series of essays published in Ageing Research Reviews in 2020, presentations at the third Geroscience Summit in 2019 and at the 2021 meeting of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research highlighted the value of integrating behavioral and social science measures and frameworks with geroscience approaches in biology and geriatrics. A geroscience research agenda informed by the behavioral and social sciences would address disparities in the aging process driven by behavioral patterns and social environmental exposures and aid in the identification of interventions with the potential to improve function, health span, and reduce morbidity among all population subgroups in our society. This October 31, 2022, virtual workshop was the first step toward an integration of behavioral and social approaches to understanding aging and health disparities with the biological frameworks of geroscience. The workshop discussions were framed around four motivating questions: (1) What key terms, concepts, and constructs do we want those studying the biological hallmarks of aging to understand about the social hallmarks of aging and vice versa? (2) What do those studying the biological hallmarks of aging and those studying the social hallmarks of aging need from each other and what do they have to offer each other? (3) What are the dominant causal frameworks for these fields? How does hypothesis generation and testing differ for those studying the biological hallmarks of aging compared to those studying the social hallmarks of aging? (4) Under the geroscience assumption that aging is malleable, how do causal models of resilience and reversibility/plasticity/compensation in biology and behavioral and social science converge? Is there a resilient phenotype? A workshop summary is forthcoming. For more information, please contact Lis Nielsen (Lis.Nielsen@nih.gov), Ron Kohanski (Ron.Kohanski@nih.gov), or Chandra Keller (chandra.keller@nih.gov).

Pre-conference Workshop "Resilience and Aging" at the Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting — Indianapolis, IN (November 2, 2022)

Damage and stress to cellular components, tissues, and organs can result in a loss of function, the onset of diseases, and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. As we age, the ability of our cells to respond to stress and maintain healthy function declines. When faced with a stressor or challenge (e.g., surgery, fractures, infections, etc.) a subset of patients will recover quickly, while others face a more difficult road to recovery despite not having any known underlying conditions. This ability of an organism to respond to challenges or stress and return to homeostasis represents the concept of resilience. It has been hypothesized that the loss of resilience may lead to the onset of age-related diseases, and heterogeneity in resilience among individuals may be predictive of their aging trajectory. NIA hosted a pre-conference workshop at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, as a way to explore and discuss possible stressors and responses as metrics of physical resilience. Speakers were asked to share their perspectives on potential biomarkers of physical resilience and how those markers are similar or different to the established hallmarks of aging. Discussions also covered research on a variety of stressors and how those stressors can impact certain organ systems or tissues in different ways. For more information, please contact Siobhan Addie (Siobhan.addie@nih.gov, 301-827-6099).

The 32nd Annual Nathan W. Shock Award Lecture — Virtual (November 10, 2022)

Honoree Dr. Jamie Justice, Assistant Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at Wake Forest University, received the Nathan W. Shock award and presented her research. Dr. Nir Barzilai, Professor of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, also presented as a guest lecturer. This Award Lecture aims to honor the legacy of Dr. Shock and invites leaders in the aging community to share their work with NIA researchers in an effort to increase collaborations within the field of aging research. For more information, please contact Sarah Lewis (sarah.lewis@nih.gov).

2022 State of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias' Research in Sub-Saharan Africa — Nairobi, Kenya (December 5, 2022)

DN hosted an in-person workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, entitled “The State of AD/ADRD Research in sub-Saharan Africa,” implemented in conjunction with the annual Dementia and Brain Aging in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) conference. The objectives of the workshop were to examine the state of research for AD/ADRD in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), to encourage collaborative research between investigators from the U.S. and SSA LMICs, and to determine gaps and opportunities for AD/ADRD research in SSA. The meeting was attended by over 80 investigators from SSA, the U.S., and other countries. Speakers included both African and U.S. investigators who presented on the landscape of AD/ADRD research in the region, challenges, and opportunities, as well as some existing resources. Finally, the in-person meeting facilitated small group discussions around three questions designed to identify scientific priorities, identify available resources for research for AD/ADRD in SSA, and identify gaps and opportunities for increasing collaborations and research in this area. For more information, please contact Damali Martin (martinda@mail.nih.gov).

Photobiomodulation and Chronic Disease Workshop — Baltimore, MD (January 10, 2023)

This workshop, sponsored and hosted by the IRP, featured speakers with expertise in red light therapy for chronic disease. The objective of this workshop was to educate and spread awareness on the applications of photobiomodulation in research to generate ideas and identify potential areas to use this tool in future research. For more information, please contact Matt Hasek (matthew.hasek@nih.gov) or Sarah Lewis (sarah.lewis@nih.gov).

Future Meetings

NIA/NIDA Tenure-Track Symposium — Baltimore, MD (February 2, 2023)

The jointly sponsored NIA/NIDA Tenure-Track Symposium will showcase presentations by Tenure-Track Investigators from both Institutes as a means of sharing research, bringing together NIA and NIDA staff, and encouraging collaboration. Investigators in their second year will be reviewed by the Institute Promotions and Tenure Committee. For more information, please contact Sarah Lewis (sarah.lewis@nih.gov).

The 28th Annual NIA IRP Scientific Retreat — Baltimore, MD (March 6-7, 2023)

The 28th Annual NIA IRP Scientific Retreat will feature large poster sessions, brief talks from IRP scientists, and a keynote address by Dr. Amy Kelley, NIA Deputy Director. The IRP Retreat serves as a platform to showcase IRP research and bring together staff with the goal of fostering collaboration and promoting the research of IRP trainees. For more information, please contact Sarah Lewis (sarah.lewis@nih.gov).

NIA Symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Physiology Summit (APS) — Long Beach, CA (April 20, 2023)

The purpose of the symposium is to highlight recent advances in aging-related changes in the physiological interactions of organs at the American Physiological Society’s new world-class meeting. The speakers will be asked to give a 20-minute presentation on their recent research findings with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging-related changes in the physiological interactions of the year’s topic (2023 is TBD). The symposium will be chaired by DAB program staff (Dr. John Williams). For more information, please contact John Williams (williamsj6@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6403).

The Fourth Summit: Geroscience for the Next Generation — Bethesda, MD (April 24-26, 2023)

The basic tenet of geroscience is that slowing the rate of aging yields better health at older ages. In the original formulation of the geroscience hypothesis, the “pace of aging” refers to the speed of molecular changes that eventually determine the typical phenotypic manifestations of aging both instantaneously and over the lifespan. The ultimate goal of geroscience is to promote a state of health at any age, but particularly in old age when the mechanisms of resilience start to fade. Thus, a core goal of geroscience is to produce informed evidence-based clinical tools for a more comprehensive health assessment through measures of the rates of biological aging and of its impact on losses of function and morbidities accumulation. The Trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) is developing this Fourth Geroscience Summit as a way to strengthen the links between the biology of aging with clinical practice to better achieve the goal of geroscience. One aim of the Summit is to push the field toward the development of new, most informative, precise and reliable measures of aging and ask how those measures might contribute to more effective translation, turning discoveries into better health. To facilitate this goal, Summit participants will look for a common language that might bridge the gaps between biological changes and clinical outcomes.

The Fourth Geroscience Summit will take place on April 24-26, 2023, in both the virtual and in-person settings. The objectives of the Fourth Geroscience Summit are to:

  1. Emphasize the need to further develop and implement geroscience while considering the breadth and heterogeneity of physiology among individuals across all populations. Such emphasis requires expanding the geroscience hypothesis in the contexts of precision medicine, minority health, and health disparities.
  2. Consider how and whether multimorbidity and geriatric syndromes, which are important for the implementation of geroscience in clinical practice, could be implemented in research on the biology of aging.
  3. Review metrics to assess health as fundamental to the understanding of “biological age” in contrast to “chronological age” as a means to develop a common language between research in basic biology and implementation of geroscience in clinical care.
  4. Review and discuss new attempts to model aging through mathematical and artificial intelligence approaches, and what these new approaches add to our understanding of aging and their potential impact on development of biomarkers for aging.
  5. Examine the importance of inclusive geroscience in clinical trials, medical training and practice.
  6. Find language that might bridge gaps between research on the biological mechanisms of aging and clinical practice.

For more information, please contact Ronald Kohanski (kohanskir@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6402) or Siobhan Addie (Siobhan.addie@nih.gov, 301-827-6099).

NIA-Sponsored Symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunology (AAI) — Washington, DC (May 11-15, 2023)

The purpose of the symposium is to highlight recent advances in aging and immunity research at a national meeting. The speakers will give 30-minute presentations of research findings on interaction of the immune system with the microbiome, with a focus on aging. One of the missions of NIA is to encourage new research in areas of interest to the Division of Aging Biology, NIA, NIH. By highlighting research in the area of immunity, microbiome and aging, other investigators will be made aware of how they might expand their research into the aging field. The symposium encourages new investigations and serves to inform immunologists of recent research on immunology and aging. For more information, please contact Mulualem Tilahun (Mulualem.tilahun@nih.gov, 301-496-6402).

Mid-life Stress and the Hallmarks of Aging Workshop — Virtual (April 28, 2023)

Middle-aged adults in today’s society report more stress in their lives than their younger and older peers, resulting in a need to understand the impacts of stress on the biology of aging in this population. Although several epidemiological studies have been conducted to determine the association between exposure to mid-life stress and alterations in the hallmarks of aging, the results have been variable, presumably due to inconsistencies in the severity and duration of the stressors as well as differences in the study participants’ age, sex, backgrounds, lifestyles, or medication use. The use of laboratory animals could resolve these discrepancies, as it would allow for the analysis of the relationships between the hallmarks of aging and mid-life stress in a controlled environment. Such studies in shorter-lived species could also be carried out longitudinally until natural death to measure the subsequent impact on lifespan and health metrics.

The goal of this NIA-sponsored workshop will be to bring together researchers who study the impacts of mid-life stress on aging in human populations with experts in animal models of stress to discuss questions about the impact of mid-life stress on the hallmarks of aging and the animal models that could be used to address them. Feedback from this workshop will inform future research opportunities supported by DAB. For more information, please contact Dr. Jennifer Fox (jennifer.fox@nih.gov, 301-496-6402).

Synthetic Biology for Aging Research — Virtual (May 2023)

To meld tools of synthetic biology with research in biology of aging for the identification and manipulation of gene regulatory and signaling networks underlying aging biology.

This workshop will help define goals and implementation options for synthetic biology to improve our understanding of aging biology and explore mechanisms to impact aging processes (molecular) and aging outcomes (physiology). Among the options to explore are building synthetic regulatory circuits to: Create novel clocks to measure rates of aging; Alter hallmarks of aging (globally or with cell-lineage specificity); and accelerate or decelerate rates of aging. For more information, please contact Drs. Dave Rampulla (NIBIB-Lead, david.rampulla@nih.gov), Ronald Kohanski (DAB, kohanskir@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6402), and Raquel Sitcherin (DAB, Raquel.Sitcherin@nih.gov).

Harnessing Computational Approaches to Advance Aging and AD/ADRD Research — Virtual (March 1-2, 2023)

Recent years have seen a rapid development of several fields at the intersection of computation and biology/medicine, from computational biology to imaging and modeling to systems and bioinformatics.

Computational neuroscience (CN) is an interdisciplinary field for development, simulation, and analysis of multi-scale models and theories of neural function. CN approaches span levels of analysis from molecules, through cells and networks, up to cognition and behavior. While the origins of CN can be traced back to early algorithmic approaches to modeling neuronal firing, more recent advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and availability of large-scale data sets have facilitated an explosion of research across levels of neuroscience and behavior. CN models can integrate data across spatial and temporal scales to allow them to be understood in terms of each other, identify potential latent variables, and make predictions for new experiments. However, the application of this growing field to questions of aging and neurodegenerative disease is still in its infancy, with investigators using computational approaches often working in isolation from those doing more experimental work.

The workshop will feature a series of brief presentations and discussion including, but not limited to, the following topics: identifying computational techniques uniquely suited to answer aging and neurodegeneration research questions; developing computational models of biological and behavioral changes across the lifespan; identification and development of needed resources and techniques to effectively interrogate large- and multi-scale datasets; and strategies to promote collaboration between computational scientists and aging researchers.

Additional areas would be profiled, including computational approaches to imaging. aging hallmarks, biomarkers, and senescence, and potentially biohorology. Finding complex patterns in large volumes of longitudinal data is where modern computational approaches add a valuable edge.

This workshop of thought leaders in aging research across experimental and computational perspectives will address the gaps in our understanding and the opportunities for further exploration of the impact of computational approaches to the study of aging and AD/ADRD. The workshop will have three sessions, along with an open discussion.

  1. Computational Analysis of Molecular Systems (chaired by Dr. Vadim Gladyshev)
  2. Computational Analysis of Large-Scale Brain Systems (chaired by Dr. David Jones)
  3. Computational Analysis of Complex Behavior (chaired by Dr. Anne Collins)

For more information, please contact Drs. Matt Sutterer (DN-Lead, matt.sutterer@nih.gov, 301-496-9350), Leonid Tsap (DAB, tsapl@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6402), Luke Stoeckel (BSR, luke.stoeckel@nih.gov, 301-496-3136), Janine Simmons (BSR, simmonsj@mail.nih.gov), or Dave Frankowski (DN, dave.frankowski@nih.gov).

Advances in Immune Aging, Immunity, and Chronic Inflammatory Diseases — Bethesda, MD (May 9-10, 2023)

This workshop will be a partnership between NIA and NIAID/DAIT and will focus on recent advances (biological and technological) in our knowledge of immunosenescence, aging, and their impact on chronic disease development The past few years have seen major advances in our knowledge of immune function during aging, and improved methods to define immunological states. Notably, advances in single cell technologies have the potential to permit interrogation of metabolic and phenotypic variation of leukocytes, including rare tissue resident populations, and circadian gene regulation in macrophages. The workshop will highlight recent advances, clarify mechanisms involved in accelerated development of immune aging and chronic disease, and promote collaboration between investigators. For more information, please contact Drs. Mercy Prabhudas (NIAID-Lead) and Mulualem Tilahun (DAB/NIA, Mulualem.tilahun@nih.gov, 301-496-6402).

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Content, Media, Outreach, and Meetings

Web Content

Research Highlights

Health Information Articles

Alzheimers.gov Health Information Articles

Inside NIA Blog

Print Publications and PDFs

Media & Outreach

NIH News Releases

Web Statements and Announcements

Outreach

Infographics, Videos, and Graphics

Social Media

Email Listservs

Sent 70 separate messages from August 1 to November 30, 2022, to the following lists:

  • Healthy Aging Highlights: 56,024 subscribers
  • Alzheimers.gov Highlights: 32,637 subscribers
  • Recruitment Resources for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Clinical Trials: 5,381 subscribers
  • Caregiving Tips and Resources: 19,530 subscribers
  • Inside NIA Blog: 20,544 subscribers
  • NIA Funding Opportunities for Researchers: 14,424 subscribers
  • Consejos para el Envejecimiento Saludable (Spanish Healthy Aging Tips): 3,104 subscribers
  • NIA Training and Career Development Updates: 3,131 subscribers

Webinars

Meetings

Conferences, Exhibits, and Events

Meetings with Stakeholders

  • Sleep Research Society, August 15, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes, Dr. Amy Kelley, and NIA senior staff met with representatives of the Sleep Research Society, discussing NIA administrative updates and research advancements, as well as research priorities put forth by the Sleep Research Society.
  • Butler-Williams Scholars Program, August 23, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes provided welcoming remarks and an introduction to NIA to the 2022 cohort of Butler-Williams Scholars.
  • NIH Diversity Supplement Awardee Workshop, August 31, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes shared with diversity supplement awardees an overview of NIA, its mission, organizational structure, and research priorities.
  • Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, October 4, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes, Dr. Amy Kelley, and NIA senior leaders met with representatives of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research. Discussion topics included the NIA budget, advances in AD/ADRD research, ongoing COVID-19 research, and NIA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • AD/ADRD International Funder Consortium, October 18, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes provided welcoming remarks to participants. The meeting focused on funding collaborations and updates from the AD/ADRD research funding community.
  • Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Advisory Board Meeting, November 3, 2022 — Dr. Melinda Kelley provided policy and programmatic updates on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research.
  • Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting, November 2-4, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes and Dr. Amy Kelley, along with other NIA senior leaders, were featured speakers in symposia for early-career and established investigators, respectively.
  • University of Pittsburgh Aging Research Day, November 9, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes delivered a keynote address, discussing progress on the frontiers of aging research in such areas as geroscience, genetics and biomarkers, and interventions and clinical trials.
  • Friends of NIA Science Advances Meeting, November 14, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes and NIA senior leaders shared recent scientific advances from across the NIA research portfolio with members of the Friends of NIA.
  • Beeson Annual Meeting, November 16, 2022 — Dr. Amy Kelley presented opening remarks at the Beeson Annual Meeting, providing NIA administrative and budgetary updates, as well as information on upcoming events.
  • NIA Director’s Regional Meeting, December 2, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes and NIA leaders convened with researchers and trainees for the NIA Director’s Regional Meeting. The meeting afforded attendees the opportunity to learn more about NIA, its research priorities, the grant application process, and other training and research resources.
  • Population Association of America/Association of Population Centers (PAA/APC), December 12, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes, Dr. Amy Kelley, and NIA senior leaders met with representatives of PAA/APC to discuss population aging research activities, advances, and opportunities. Dr. Hodes also shared administrative updates from NIA.
  • American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), December 16, 2022 — Dr. Richard Hodes, Dr. Amy Kelley, and NIA staff met with AUGS to discuss NIA administrative updates and relevant NIA-funded science advances, as well as research priorities and recommendations put forth by AUGS.

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New Notices and Initiatives Relevant to the National Institute on Aging

For “Notices” and “Research Initiatives” with NIA’s participation or interest, please visit these two websites: NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts and How to Find NIA Funding Opportunities.

nia.nih.gov

An official website of the National Institutes of Health