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May 2016 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the May 2015 Director's Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2016, 2017, and 2018 Budgets:

FY 2016

The President signed into law a $1.149 trillion Omnibus spending bill on December 15, 2015 to keep most of the federal government funded through September 2016. For NIA, the FY 2016 level is $1,600.191 million. An amount of $1.945 million was transferred to the NIH Office of AIDS Research for HIV/AIDS, resulting in a revised operating level of $1,598.246 million. This amount includes $350 million for Alzheimer's Disease funding. The operating budget allows for 2,276 total research project grants (RPGs), including 882 new and competing awards. The estimate includes $108.544 million for research centers, $40.092 million for other research, and $27.838 million for research training. The R&D contract mechanism will be supported at a level of $61.020 million.

FY 2017

The FY 2017 President's budget was released to the public on February 9, 2016. The President's request for NIH is $30.237 billion, which is -$1.067 billion lower than the FY 2016 level of $31.304 billion. The difference of a little over $1 billion is proposed as mandatory funding for NIH instead.

The NIA budget request for FY 2017 is $1,598.246 million, flat to the FY 2016 enacted level. This amount includes $333.113 million of mandatory financing. The NIA FY 2017 Congressional Justification can be viewed at https://www.nia.nih.gov/about/budget/fiscal-year-2017-budget.

For NIA, the FY 2017 President's Budget will allow for 2,217 total research project grants (RPGs), including 603 new and competing awards. The estimate includes $108.224 million for research centers, $49.092 million for other research grants, and $27.838 million for research training. The R&D contract mechanism will be supported at a level of $67.520 million.

FY 2018

Preliminary work on the budget for FY 2018 has begun using the FY 2017 President's budget request as the base. After intermediate stages of review, the President's budget request for FY 2018 will be presented to Congress in February 2017, at which time it will become available to the public.

BUDGET MECHANISM (in thousands)
MECHANISM FY 2015 Final Allocation FY 2016 Operating Plan* FY 2017 President's Budget
Research Grants: No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount
Research Projects:            
Noncompeting
899
493,020
875
549,615
1,105
709,806
Administrative Supplements
(90)
14,214
(109)
17,250
(68)
10,750
Competing
452
271,222
882
559,669
603
391,675
Subtotal
1,351
778,456
1,757
1,126,534
1,708
1,112,231
SBIR/STTR
76
32,383
117
49,728
122
52,122
Subtotal, RPG
1,427
810,839
1,874
1,176,262
1,830
1,164,353
Research Centers:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Specialized/Comprehensive
82
92,301
97
108,013
96
107,693
Clinical Research
0
0
0
0
0
0
Biotechnology
0
0
0
0
0
0
Comparative Medicine
0
1,021
0
531
0
531
Research Centers in Minority Institutions
0
0
0
0
0
0
Subtotal, Centers
82
93,322
97
108,544
96
108,224
Other Research:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Research Careers
212
29,681
233
32,681
219
32,681
Cancer Education
0
0
0
0
0
0
Cooperative Clinical Research
0
0
0
0
0
0
Biomedical Research Support
0
0
0
0
0
0
Minority Biomedical Research Support
0
0
0
0
0
0
Other
54
12,329
72
16,411
72
16,411
Subtotal, Other Research
266
42,010
305
49,092
291
49,092
Total Research Grants
1,775
946,171
2,276
1,333,898
2,217
1,321,669
Training:
FTTP
 
FTTP
 
FTTP
 
Individual
134
5,653
144
7,041
141
7,041
Institutional
408
19,375
416
20,797
408
20,797
Total, Training
542
25,028
560
27,838
549
27,838
Research & Development Contracts
102
57,584
109
61,020
111
67,520
(SBIR/STTR)
(4)
(1,779)
(0)
(0)
(0)
(0)
Intramural Research
244
124,096
244
129,060
244
132,932
Research Management & Support
155
44,644
159
46,430
159
48,287
Total, NIA
 
1,197,523
 
1,598,246
 
1,598,246

NOTES: 1) Does reflect the recent reallocation as of 3/31/2016

Legislative Update

Legislation of Interest:

H.R. 2029 – On December 18, 2015, the House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, (Omnibus) by a vote of 316-113, and the Senate immediately thereafter passed it by a vote of 65- 33. The President signed it into law.

H.R. 653 – On January 11, 2016, the House passed, by voice vote, H.R. 653, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act. ​The bill would, among other provisions, codify the "presumption of disclosure" of information requested under FOIA (see 01/21/09 Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act), require each agency to post electronically documents requested more than three times through FOIA, amend Exemption 5 (intra-agency memoranda or letters) by excluding information created 25 years or more before the date on which a request is made and by excluding "records that embody the working law, effective policy, or the final decision of the agency." On January 12, 2016, the bill was passed to the Senate (S.337) and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On March 15, 2016, the Senate passed, by Unanimous Consent, S. 337, the FOIA Improvement Act.

H.R. 2347 – On March 1, 2016, the House passed, by voice vote, H.R. 2347, the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments. The bill requires that all appointments to advisory committees be made without regard to political affiliation or political activity; extends all of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requirements (except charters) to working groups; allows the public to make recommendations for committee members; requires that advisory committee members be designated as a "special government employee" or "a representative"; curtails the ability of contractors to create "FACA-type" committees; and expands transparency requirements (for example, who nominated each member and why the selectee was appointed).  H.R. 2347 contains an additional provision that requires the head of each agency to ensure that advisory committee advice and recommendations are the result of independent judgment. Further, when transmitting advice and recommendations, each advisory committee would be required to include a statement describing the process used in formulating its advice and recommendations. On March 2, 2016, the bill was passed to the Senate and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

S. 2624 – On March 3, 2016, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced S. 2624, the National Biomedical Research Act. The bill establishes a Biomedical Innovation Fund within the Treasury and directs the Treasury Secretary to transfer $5 billion not later than September 1, 2016, and each year through 2025. As long as the discretionary appropriations increase, the fund allocates money for PMI; BRAIN Initiative; Cancer Moonshot Initiative; research that fosters disruptive innovation; research related to diseases that disproportionately account for Federal healthcare spending; early career scientists; research efforts that increase the potential for breakthrough discoveries across a diverse set of investigators, research groups, and institutions, among other areas. S. 2624 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R. 1831 – On March 16, 2016, the Senate passed and on March 17, the House passed (both by Unanimous Consent), H.R. 1831, the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act. The bill establishes a Commission to study how to best use data to evaluate the effectiveness of federal programs and "tax expenditures" (e.g. tax credits, deductions, and subsidies) to assist in policy-making.  The Commission would also consider whether a data clearinghouse should be established for policymakers and study how to best protect the privacy rights of individuals who interact with federal agencies. The impetus for this legislation is partly the result of a GAO Report on the limited usefulness of the Federal Program Inventories required by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010. The bill now heads to the President's desk for signature.

S. 2713 – On March 17, 2016, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced S. 2713, the Advancing Precision Medicine Act of 2016. The bill provides a broad authorization for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish and carry out the Precision Medicine Initiative. S. 2713 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions. The bill was marked up by the Committee on April 6, 2016, as part of the Senate's Innovation Initiative.

S. 2014 – On April 4, 2016, the Senate HELP Committee reported S. 2014, the Next Generation Researcher Act. The bill establishes the Next Generation Researchers Initiative through which the NIH Director will coordinate all policies and programs within the agency aimed at promoting and providing opportunities for new researchers and earlier research independence. The legislation also consolidates NIH's current loan repayment programs (LRPs) into extramural and intramural LRPs with the current LRPs listed as subcategories under each section and raises the cap to $50,000. Finally, the bill requires a GAO report within 18 months after enactment on NIH efforts to attract, retain, and develop emerging scientists. The Committee intends to combine this legislation into a comprehensive Senate innovation bill.

S. 2745 – On April 5, 2016, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), introduced S. 2745, the Advancing NIH Strategic Planning and Representation in Medical Research Act. On April 6, the Senate HELP Committee ordered to be reported, as amended, by voice vote, S. 2745. This bill requires NIH to develop a six year, NIH wide strategic plan, and includes several provisions promoting the inclusion of women, racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, and various age groups in clinical research. The Committee intends to combine this legislation into a comprehensive Senate innovation bill.

S. 2700 – On April 6, 2016, the Senate HELP Committee ordered to be reported, as amended, by voice vote, S. 2700, the FDA and NIH Workforce Authorities Modernization Act. Of interest to NIH, the bill exempts scientific meetings from reporting requirements and restrictions based on OMB Memo 12-12 in annual appropriations acts, exempts NIH research from Paperwork Education Act requirements, and expands the Senior Biomedical Research Service appointment authority primarily by increasing the cap on slots from 500 to 2,000 and raising the salary cap to that of the President's ($400,000). The Committee intends to combine this legislation into a comprehensive Senate innovation bill.

S. 2713 – On April 6, 2016, the Senate HELP Committee ordered to be reported, as amended, S. 2713, the Advancing Precision Medicine Act of 2016. The bill provides a broad authorization for the HHS Secretary to establish and carry out the Precision Medicine Initiative. The bill also authorizes the NIH Director to require data sharing; provides Other Transactions Authority to ICs and OD office; and allows the Secretary to exempt from disclosure under FOIA biomedical information that is about an individual and that is gathered or used during the course of biomedical research. The Committee intends to combine this legislation into a comprehensive Senate innovation bill.

Hearings, Visits, and Other topics of interest:

On February 15, 2016 NIA Director, Richard Hodes joined Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) – at his invitation - for a tour of the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center in Kansas City.

On February 25, 2016, the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Chair, Tom Cole (R-OK), held a hearing on the FY 2017 HHS Budget. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary, HHS, testified.

On February 29, 2016, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK), visited NIH and was accompanied by Subcommittee members and staff. Other members in attendance were Representatives Nita Lowey (R-NY), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Steve Womack (R-AR), Andy Harris (R-MD), and Charlie Dent (R-PA). The Chairman, Members, and staff visited the laboratories of Steve Rosenberg, NCI, where they met with two patients who had been treated with immunotherapy for their cancer; Daniel Reich, NINDS, and Susan Resnick, NIA, where they viewed brains scans of Alzheimer's disease patients; and heard from Carlos Zarate, NIMH, and a patient about the use of ketamine for treatment for severe depression and suicide prevention.

On March 16, 2016, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Chair, Tom Cole (R-OK), held a hearing on the FY2017 President's budget for NIH. Francis Collins, Director, NIH testified accompanied by Anthony Fauci, Director, NIAID; Richard Hodes, Director, NIA; Doug Lowy, Acting Director, NCI; and Nora Volkow, Director, NIDA

On March 31, 2016, Laura Friedel, Clerk, and Alexander Keenan, Minority Clerk, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies, came to NIH and were briefed on some specific initiatives and programs of interest to them in advance of the Subcommittee's April 7 hearing on the FY2017 proposed budget. Richard Hodes, Director, NIA, participated in this briefing.

On April 7, 2016, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Chair, Roy Blunt (R-MO), held a hearing on the FY2017 President's budget for NIH. Francis Collins, Director, NIH, testified accompanied by Douglas Lowy, Acting Director, NCI; Walter Koroshetz, Director, NINDS; Richard Hodes, Director, NIA; Christopher Austin, NCATS; and Nora Volkow, Director, NIDA.

On April 11, 2016, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) visited NIH to have a private meeting with Dr. Collins and hold an event in Masur auditorium to thank NIH employees for their support during her tenure as a Senator.

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

Staff Changes

Effective February 21, 2016, Dr. John W.R. Phillips left NIA/BSR for a position at the Social Security Administration as Associate Commissioner for the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics. In this role Dr. Phillips will manage the production of information on the main source of income for 80% of US households with older people, and for disabled Americans of all ages, just as the nation is experiencing the largest increases ever in both populations.

Ms. Laura Major, MPH, joined NIA/BSR as a Research Program Analyst on March 14, 2016. Ms. Major received her B.A. from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, with a major in Anthropology and Psychology and her MPH in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in May 2012. Prior to joining NIA, Ms. Major worked for Westat on research operations for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), where she was responsible for training data collectors, writing manuals and user guides, ensuring quality control of data collection, and assisting in the introduction of technological innovations.

DAB is pleased to announce that a new program officer has joined the division to fill the vacancy in the Biological Resources Branch. Dr. Francesca Macchiarini comes to DAB from NIAID, with years of experience managing portfolios of grants and contracts. She was involved in the Geroscience Interest Group while at NIAID, and has experience in aging biology through her NIAID portfolio on the immunology of aging and radiation exposure. Dr. Macchiarini will cover the Animal Models portfolio in the Biological Resources Branch and the Tissue Physiology portfolio in the Aging Physiology Branch, as well as participate in the oversight of the resource contracts.

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

THEORIES OF AGING (JANUARY 27-28, 2016)

On January 27-28, 2016, the NIA sponsored, "Theories of Aging: a Translational Perspective Workshop." The workshop, led by Dr. Rafael de Cabo, was devoted to discussions and brainstorming about the question: "Can we measure in humans the biological and physiological processes that are supposedly responsible for aging, as shown in animal models?"

The following 7 topics that were selected from the current literature were discussed:

  • Macromolecular Damage, DNA Damage, Proteostasis and Autophagy
  • Cell Senescence
  • Epigenetics
  • Inflammation
  • Stem Cell Exhaustion
  • Bioenergetics, Mitochondrial Function and Metabolism
  • Challenges in Translation From Model Organisms to Humans

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

EFFECTS OF AGING ON HEMATOLOGY - January 28-29, 2016

Older adults are faced with a significant burden of non-malignant hematologic disease. The molecular bases of these hematologic disorders are largely unknown, which prevents the development of rational treatment approaches and delays effective diagnostic and prevention strategies. This workshop aims to review the most recent progress in the field and to promote discussion of the gaps in our knowledge of these biological processes and pathways. We also expect to gain a specific understanding of the current scientific and technologic barriers to the hematology research community in the pursuit of knowledge in this area. Once these areas have been defined by the research community, NIH staff with the assistance of Advisory Council members can consider the most appropriate ways to try to address defined gaps.

The explanatory workshop was held on January 28-29, 2016 in Bethesda, MD.

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

GSIG SEMINARS - February 4, 2016 and May 12, 2016

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(s): Drs. Felipe Sierra/Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).

NAS CNSTAT Meeting on CMS Data and Research Uses – Washington DC – May 4, 2016

This meeting is supported by NIA via a task order. CMS data are used by many NIA-supported researchers, including projects that link CMS administrative data to NIA-supported surveys. The meeting considered potential uses of data, sharing and confidentiality, and linkages to other data sources. For additional information contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya in BSR, 301-496-3138.

  1. Future Meetings

NIA SPONSORED SYMPOSIUM "THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN CHRONIC VIRAL INFECTION AND IMMUNOSENESCENCE" AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF IMMUNOLOGY (AAI) - May 15, 2016

This NIA sponsored symposium will be held at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting on May 15, 2016 in Seattle, WA. The NIA sponsors a symposium each year to highlight recent findings in the area of Immunity and Aging and this year's session is entitled: "The interplay between chronic viral infections and immunosenescence"

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

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

NAS BBCSS Seminar on Dyadic Analyses in the Context of the Family and Intimate Relationships – May 26, 2016

This meeting is supported by NIA via a task order. The goal of this meeting is to identify the most promising targets and methodological approaches for advancing research that can identify and better specify the dyadic processes within interpersonal relationships which influence health; particularly, in the context of intimate and family relationships. For additional information contact Dr. Melissa Gerald in BSR, 301-402-4156.

Modifying Specific Aspects of Personality in Midlife To Promote Well-being and Healthier Aging – June 9-10, 2016

This meeting is supported by NIA/BSR RMS funds. The goal of this meeting is to explore early stage development of targeted, personalized behavioral interventions to modify specific aspects of personality to promote well-being and healthier aging in mid-life. For additional information contact Dr. Lisa Onken in BSR, 301-402-4156.

On June 17, 2016, the NIA will sponsor "Biomarkers of Preclinical AD." The goal of this symposium, which will be led by Dr. Susan Resnick, is to inform and provide an update for the broader NIH community on recent advances in the development of biomarkers for detecting and tracking preclinical Alzheimer's Disease at the earliest stage of the disease process. The event will be held at Masur Auditorium at the NIH Clinical Center, in Bethesda, MD.

NAS CPOP meeting on Regional and SES Differences in Mortality Trends– June 23-24, 2016

This meeting is supported by NIA via a task order. The purpose of this meeting is to consider implications for research priorities to identify findings in the recent paper by Case and Deaton entitled "Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans." For additional information contact Dr. John Haaga and Ms. Georgeanne Patmios in BSR, 301-496-3138.

TENth Annual Division of Aging Biology New Investigators Forum (DAB NIF) - June 29-30, 2016

The purpose of the forum is to bring together new awardees of grants from DAB in the spring of the year following their award. The goal of the conference is to encourage their continued success in this field by allowing them to get acquainted with us (NIA program staff) as well as learn from each other. The new investigators will be asked to make short presentations describing their planned work and results to date with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging research. This is the tenth annual DAB NIF, and feedback from prior years' attendees indicate it is a highly valued meeting for new investigators. Twenty new investigators, with awards ranging from F32 postdoctoral fellowships to R21 grants, will attend the 2016 DAB NIF. The meeting will start with a keynote address by an eminent aging researcher, Dr. Holly Brown-Borg, UND Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

We propose a workshop to be held on June 29-30, 2016 on NIH campus.

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

ADVANCING AND EXTENDING A PALLIATIVE CARE RESEARCH AGENDA IN THE SPECIALTIES - August 2-3, 2016

Palliative care (PC) is an essential element for optimal care of older adults facing many acute and chronic medical conditions. Clinician-scientists focusing on palliative care have made significant and recent strides in advancing care focused on older adults. Medical and surgical specialties have recently formed specific palliative care interest groups to advance PC within their specialties including cardiology, nephrology, pulmonary/critical care medicine, and surgical subspecialties. This workshop aims to harness this growing interest and focus on advancing PC and provide a venue to synergize research goals, strategies, collaboration and resources, many of which are being developed in parallel within the specialties. This NIA-sponsored workshop, with additional support from NINR, NHLBI, and NINR, will bring together physician-scientists and researchers in PC within these medical and surgical specialties with leaders in the PC research field, geriatrics, and other key stakeholders to exchange current and future PC research agendas and identify mutual areas to foster; identify PC research gaps and develop strategies for transdisciplinary initiatives; promote networking and collaboration for future PC research; and develop a plan to augment the number of trainees and junior investigators focusing on PC in their respective specialties and devise strategies to bolster their mentoring and career development.

(Contacts): Drs. Basil Eldadah and Susan Zieman, DGCG, 301/496-6761

GSIG Seminar - August 4, 2016

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. The seminar will focus 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(s): Drs. Felipe Sierra/Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).

MITOCHONDRIAL DYNAMICS, MITOPHAGY AND AGING - August 17, 2016

Deterioration of mitochondrial quality control is implicated in aging and common age-related diseases such as metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. Autophagy of damaged mitochondria, a.k.a. as mitophagy is a major cellular process for removal of dysfunctional mitochondria involving the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Mitochondrial dynamics of fusion and fission are integral to mitochondrial quality control as efficient mitophagy requires mitochondrial fission whereas fusion promotes exchange of mitochondrial content and maintains mitochondrial health.

While defective mitochondrial quality control is associated with neurodegenerative diseases whereas mitochondrial fusion facilitates metabolic health, less is known about how mitochondrial quality control impacts the aging process. Recent studies have begun to shed light on i) genetic manipulation of an autophagy protein in extending Drosophila lifespan, ii) regulation of mitochondrial fusion during Drosophila aging and iii) on how the pro-fission protein DRP-1 cooperates with the insulin signaling pathway to modulate C. elegans longevity. Therefore, the under-studied regulatory control of the dynamic process of mitochondrial fusion and fission in the context of aging and healthspan represents a nascent and exciting area in identifying potential novel molecules and pathways to regulate aging.

The purpose of the proposed workshop is to assemble the leaders in the field to discuss the current knowledge on mitochondrial quality control and aging, emerging research findings and development of novel techniques in assessing mitochondrial quality control during aging or as an outcome of anti-aging interventions.

We propose an explanatory workshop to be held on August 17, 2016 on NIH campus.

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

Developing Informed Primate Models of Human Aging – a seminar at the American Society of Primatologists and the International Primatological Society meeting – Chicago IL – August 22, 2016

This meeting is supported by NIA/BSR RMS funds. The goal of this seminar is to address the central question: How might primate models fill critical knowledge gaps about processes involved in the affective, cognitive, and social domains? For additional information contact Dr. Melissa Gerald in BSR, 301-402-4156.

What has been Learned from Evaluation of the Experience Corps – August 26, 2016

Two evaluations of the effects of participation in the Experience Corps program produced somewhat conflicting results. The goal of this meeting is to bring together analysts involved in the two studies, and independent experts, to assess which methodological differences were likely most crucial, and to determine what can be said with confidence about the effects of the Experience Corps. For additional information contact Dr. John Haaga and Ms. Georgeanne Patmios in BSR, 301-496-3138.

AUTONOMOUS AND NON-AUTONOMOUS MECHANISM OF AGING AND LONGEVITY - August 31, 2016

Research in the past several decades suggest that the underlying cause of aging is the time-dependent accumulation of stochastic damage to cells, organelles and biomolecules. This is consistent with the free radical theory of aging, which posits that organisms age because cells accumulate damage caused by free radicals, primarily from mitochondria. These theories imply that aging is primarily driven by cell autonomous mechanisms. However, cell autonomous mechanisms alone may be inadequate to explain aging. In the past several years, emerging evidence indicate that cell non-autonomous mechanisms also play a key role in regulating aging, lifespan and healthspan. Recent studies strongly support the notion that aging is driven, at least in part, by systemic factors, but we know very little about the mechanisms by which damage drives the aging process. These conflicting autonomous and non-autonomous theories of aging pose a barrier to aging research. This workshop will evaluate these aging theories and discuss the future research directions on understanding the roles of autonomous and non-autonomous mechanisms of aging.

We propose an explanatory workshop to be held on August 31, 2016 on NIH campus.

(Contact(s): Drs. Max Guo/Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).

NAS CPOP Meeting on the Effect of Education on Recent Dementia Trends – Washington DC – September 14, 2016

This meeting is supported by NIA via a task order. The goal of this meeting is to critique the evidence for a significant contribution of increasing educational attainment to the observed decline in cognitive impairment; consider the mechanisms by which education contributes to declines; consider implications for future trends in prevalence and incidence of dementia. For additional information contact Ms. Georgeanne Patmios in BSR, 301-496-3138.

ADVANCES AND GAPS IN MUSCULOSKELETAL BIOLOGY - Summer, 2016

To explore recent advances in our understanding of age-related changes in musculoskeletal tissue cross-talk and identify gaps in our knowledge.

We propose an explanatory workshop to be held in Summer, 2016 in Bethesda, MD.

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

Disruptive Approaches to Understand the Initiation and Transmission of Misfolded Proteins in Alzheimer's Disease - August 2016

Currently, the biochemical processes and molecular machinery involved in the transmission of misfolded proteins such as tau and Abeta are only partially known. This NIA-sponsored workshop will bring together a group of NIA-funded investigators and experts in the cutting-edge areas of molecular and structural biology, precision top-down and shotgun proteomics and next-generation AD animal models to foster and exchange ideas for new approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the transmission of these misfolded proteins during the early pathogenesis of AD. Participants will also identify needs, gaps and opportunities in this new area of basic, discovery and translational AD research. For more information please contact Austin Yang (301-496-9350) or austin.yang@nih.gov.

Behavioral and Neuropsychiatric Complications in Dementia: Mechanisms, Moderators and New Treatment Targets - Summer 2016

This workshop sponsored by NIMH and NIA is a two day workshop to identify research needs and opportunities to enhance mechanistic understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders in dementia and to discuss clinical research opportunities for improving their treatment. For more information please contact Laurie Ryan (301-496-9350 or at ryanl@mail.nih.gov.

NIA SPONSORED SATELLITE SYMPOSIUM "INNATE IMMUNITY AND AGING" AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOCIETY FOR LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY (SLB) -September 15, 2016

This NIA sponsored satellite symposium will be held at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology which will take place in Verona, Italy on September 15, 2016. The NIA has sponsored satellite symposia previously at SLB to highlight recent findings in the area Innate Immunity and Aging.

The purpose of this symposium is to have 4 speakers present state of the science findings on this research topic and to hold discussions on promising areas of research on rejuvenating the aged immune system.

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

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR BONE AND MINERAL RESEARCH (ASBMR) WORKING GROUP ON AGING SYMPOSIA - September 16-19, 2016

Provide the convention center costs for the Working Group on Aging Symposia at the Annual meeting of the ASBMR on September 16-19, 2016 in Atlanta, GA so as to improve and sustain the quality of the presentation.

(Contact(s): Dr. John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402; Dr. Lyndon Joseph, DGCG, 301/496-6926).

General Information/Staff Awards

Andrew Singleton, Ph.D., Chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics (LNG), National Institute on Aging (NIA) was approved for the designation of NIH Distinguished Investigator with an effective date of March 20, 2016. Under Dr. Singleton's direction, the LNG has been a key laboratory in furthering our understanding of the basic biology leading to Parkinson's disease (PD) occurrence and progression and the lab is now applying these techniques to a host of other diseases. These neurological diseases include Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, stroke, and in particular, a number of movement disorders, restless legs syndrome, dystonia, ataxia, myasthenia gravis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

On April 14, 2016, the Women Scientist Advisors (WSA) of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) held a special program in conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to honor the 2016 WSA Excellence in Research Achievement Awardees. The program will feature presentations by the following awardees: Leslie Whitaker (NIDA Fellow), Huiling Wang (NIDA Staff Scientist), Anna McCarrey (NIA Fellow), Monica Bodogai (NIA Staff Scientist), and Michele Evans (NIA Senior Investigator).

Madhav Thambisetty, M.D., Ph.D. of the National Institute on Aging's Intramural Research Program won the 2016 Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology. Dr. Thambisetty is a Clinical Investigator and Chief of the Unit of Clinical and Translational Neuroscience in the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience. His research focuses on enhancing the understanding of disease mechanisms operating in Alzheimer's Disease and on identifying novel biomarkers that might predict disease before the onset of clinical symptoms. He also evaluates and cares for patients with memory disorders at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center. The Norman Geschwind Award in Behavioral Neurology is presented through the American Academy of Neurology and the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology yearly in honor of Geschwind.

Grantee Honors

The article, "Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century," by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, published in PNAS in 2015, won the Cozzarelli Prize for recently published papers of outstanding scientific excellence and originality.

NIA grantee and Council Member Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi jointly won the 2016 APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. This award honors psychologists who have made distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to basic research in psychology.

Press Releases

World's older population grows dramatically: NIH-funded Census Bureau report offers details of global aging phenomenon.
March 28, 2016.

PUBLICATIONS

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). Directory of Research on Ageing in Africa: 2004-2015 (ST/ESA/SER.A/391).

Dedication

This report is dedicated to the late Richard Suzman, former director of the United States National Institute of Aging's Division of Behavioral and Social Research; and to the late Barney Cohen, former chief of the United Nations' Population Studies Branch. Richard and Barney are remembered with admiration and affection.

Dr. Suzman was passionate about the science of multidisciplinary aging research globally, including in Africa, the continent of his birth. He supported the production of the first Directory in 2003. The evidence of his considerable influence and vision is in the pages that follow.

Dr. Cohen also had a deep affinity for sub-Saharan Africa, including his lifelong work in demography and aging. He was very keen to see an update of the Directory of Research on Ageing in Africa.

This publication includes descriptions of research activities submitted by primary investigators, with minimal editing. The submissions were summarized according to how the research results addressed the policy directions of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging (MIPAA), and the research methods that have been applied. It is clear that research has been less active in some countries, and that some high-priority areas of research remain under-investigated.

Filling the evidence gaps on the status and needs of older persons in Africa requires concerted efforts from individual countries and the pan-African community, together with contributions from the international research community. It is hoped that this Directory will enhance networking and political action and facilitate collaborative research efforts to focus on older persons in Africa.

Wan He, Daniel Goodkind, and Paul Kowal; U.S. Census Bureau, International Population Reports, P95/16-1, An Aging World: 2015, U.S. Government Publishing Office, Washington DC, 2016.

In Memory of Dr. Richard M. Suzman

The Population Division of the U.S. Census Bureau wishes to express our deep gratitude and pay tribute to Dr. Richard M. Suzman, director of Division of Behavioral and Social Research, National Institute on Aging, who passed away on April 16, 2015. A pioneer and champion for the science of population aging, Dr. Suzman played a critical role in developing the aging research program in the Population Division. For over three decades he steadfastly supported numerous Census Bureau publications focused on population aging trends and demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics of the older populations in the Unites States and the world. Enormously popular report series such as 65+ in the United States and An Aging World are a remarkable testimony to Dr. Suzman's dedication to research on population aging which, in his words, is reshaping our world.

The world population continues to grow older rapidly as fertility rates have fallen to very low levels in most world regions and people tend to live longer In 2012, 8% of the global population were aged 65 and over. In 2015 the proportion of the older population reached 8.5%. The older populations in more developed countries are projected to continue to grow in size, but at a much slower pace than those in less developed countries, particularly in Asia and latin America. By 2050, less than one-fifth of the world's older population will reside in more developed countries.

PUBLICATIONS AND WEB CONTENT

Booklets, AgePages, Fact Sheets, DVDs:

  • "Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting Fit for Life" AgePage (update/print)
  • "Forgetfulness: Knowing When to Ask for Help" AgePage (update/print)
  • Go4Life Everyday Exercises DVD (reprint)
  • NIA Research Program Contacts tip sheet (reprint)
  • "Talking With Your Older Patient: A Clinician's Handbook" (update, redesign both print and online versions, and print)
  • "Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals" (update/print)

Web Projects

(For more information about NIA's publications and web content, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, 301-496-1752.)

MEDIA & OUTREACH

Press Releases

NIA posted and distributed the following press releases:

Social Media

  • @NIAGo4Life Twitter followers now more than 5,500 with an additional 6,500+ subscribing to a daily e-alert of tweets
  • More than 51,700 users on Go4Life monthly e-alert list
  • @Alzheimers_NIH Twitter followers now more than 4,700 with more than 6,800 daily e-alert subscribers

Go4Life launched a bimonthly webinar series for partners on March 10 introducing the 2016 Go4Life month theme – #Fit4Function and featuring NIA scientific staff discussing current research on exercise and aging.

(For more information about NIA's media and outreach, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, 301-496-1752.)

MEETINGS AND EXHIBITS

Chilean health delegation, November 2015 -- Dr. Marie Bernard, along with other NIA staff, met with a Chilean health delegation. Topics discussed included the Alzheimer's Disease Centers program and other Alzheimer's planning activities; the Health and Retirement Study; recent advances related to longevity; and international aging projects, among others.

Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, January 2016 -- Drs. Hodes and Bernard, along with other NIA senior staff, met with a broad range of NIA stakeholder organization representatives that comprise the Ad Hoc Group. Topics discussed included recent FY2016 dollars appropriated for AD research, shared interests in research, health disparities, and the costs of dementia.

University of Pennsylvania scientists, February 2016 -- Dr. Hodes traveled to the University of Pennsylvania to meet with scientists at various NIA-funded centers, including the university's Alzheimer's Disease Center, the Penn-CMU Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health, and the Population Aging Research Center, as well as other researchers.

American Association of Medical Colleges, February 2016 -- Drs. Hodes and Bernard, along with other NIA senior staff, met with Dr. Alexander Ommaya, current Interim Chief Scientific Officer, AAMC. Topics discussed included recent FY2016 dollars appropriated for Alzheimer's research, shared interests in research, and possible collaborations.

Dementia Discovery Fund, February 2016 -- Drs. Hodes and Bernard, along with other NIA staff, met with managers of the Dementia Discovery Fund. Topics discussed included possible collaborations, Alzheimer's clinical trials, drug discovery, and NIH initiatives such as AMP-AD.

Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, February 2016 -- Dr. Bernard, along with representatives from NIMH, NCI, and ACL, met with the Chief Executive Officer of the Research Council, Professor Anne Kelso. Topics discussed included areas of collaboration, areas of shared research interest, and various Alzheimer's research initiatives at the NIA.

Act for NIH, March 2016 -- Drs. Hodes and Bernard, along with other NIA staff, met with Act for NIH. Topics discussed included NIA paylines, Alzheimer's science advances and related activities, among others.

Friends of the NIA, March 2016 -- Drs. Hodes and Bernard, along with other NIA staff, met with the Friends for a budget-focused meeting. Topics discussed included recent FY2016 dollars appropriated for Alzheimer's and related dementias research, new PARs released by NIA, and updates for tracking Alzheimer's spending.

American Geriatrics Society, March 2016 -- Drs. Hodes and Bernard, along with other NIA staff, met with the AGS. Topics discussed included the NIA budget, new PARs released by the NIA, the NIA strategic plan, and collaborations at the AGS Annual Meeting.

Northeast Ohio Medical University, March 2016 -- Dr. Bernard, along with other NIA staff, met with representatives from the university. Topics discussed included recent FY2016 dollars appropriated for Alzheimer's research, new PARs released by the NIA, and funding opportunities for new and young investigators.

Korean Delegation, March 2016 – Dr. Robin Barr and Mr. Patrick Shirdon met with a Congress person from the National Assembly of Korean and other delegates. Topics discussed included NIA's budget, research program areas of interest, and family caregivers.

NIA exhibited at the American Society on Aging, March 21-22, 2016, Washington, DC.

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

Relevant Notices and Initiatives Published in the NIH Guide

For ‘Notices’ and ‘Research Initiatives’ with NIA’s participation or interest please visit these two websites: https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/funding and https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/dea/nih-funding-policies (Please look for ‘Recent Changes in NIH Policy’).