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May 2018 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the May 2018 Director's Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2018 Budget:

FY 2017

The NIA closed out fiscal year 2017 with final obligations of $2.048 billion in appropriated money. This amount included $875 million in funding for research on Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and Alzheimer Disease Related Dementias (ADRD). NIA awarded 2,033 research project grants (RPGs), including 812 competing awards. The FY 2017 success rate for the Institute was 26.6 percent.

Support levels for other key extramural funding mechanisms included $116.5 million to fund 88 research centers; $26.4 million to support 550 full-time training positions; and $67.0 million for research and development contracts.

FY 2018

The President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018 on March 23, 2018 to keep the government operating through September 2018. The enacted bill provides NIA $2.574 billion, a $526 million increase over the FY 2017 level. This amount included an additional $414 million for Alzheimer's Disease research funding.

FY 2019

The President's Budget request for FY 2019 was presented to Congress in April 2018 and includes $1.988 billion for NIA, a $586 million decrease from the FY 2018 enacted level.

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Legislative Update

September 2017

Legislation of Interest:

On December 12, 2017, Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) introduced H.R. 4621, the Global Brain Health Act of 2017. The bill, if enacted, would galvanize United States Government programs in support of brain health for individuals affected by autism, hydrocephalus and Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and for other purposes. H.R. 4621 was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Energy and Commerce.

On December 22, 2017, the President signed the third Continuing Resolution for FY 2018, Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018. Government funding including NIH (PL 115-90) was set to expire on December 22, 2017 at midnight, and this bill extended funding through January 19, 2018.

On January 22, 2018, the President signed a three-week CR (P.L. 115-120) which extended government funding through February 8, 2018. The previous CR expired at midnight on Friday, January 19.

On February 9, 2018, the President signed a six-week CR and budget deal, the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892), extended government funding through March 23, 2018. The previous CR expired at midnight on Thursday, February 8, 2018.The bill increases the caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending for the next two years by about $300 billion; provides $90 billion in additional emergency disaster aid, including $50 million for the NIH; suspends the debt limit through March 1, 2019; retroactively extends numerous tax breaks that expired at the end of 2016; extends the CHIP program for another four years (through FY 2027); funds community health centers for another two years; and extends the Special Diabetes Program for two years.

On March 23, 2018 the President signed The Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2018. The omnibus extends government funding through September 30, 2018. The Labor-HHS-Education spending bill provides $88.1 billion for the Health and Human Services Department. Within that total, the bill provides $37.1 billion for NIH, an increase of $3 billion over FY 2017. Within the $3 billion increase for NIH, the bill provides $500 million over two years for opioid addiction research, $414 million for Alzheimer's disease research, $140 million for the BRAIN initiative, $50 million for antibiotic resistance research, $60 million for All of Us (precision medicine), and $40 million for development of a universal flu vaccine.

On April 10, 2018, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced H.R. 5455, the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act. The bill, if enacted, would prioritize funding for NIH to discover treatments and cures, to maintain global leadership in medical innovation, and to restore the purchasing power which the NIH had after the historic doubling campaign that ended in fiscal year 2003. H.R. 5455 was referred to the House Committee on the Budget.

Hearings, Visits, and Other topics of interest:

On February 22, 2018, NIA Director Richard Hodes and NIA Division of Neuroscience Director Dr. Eliezer Masliah participated in a Congressional Delegation Visit to Colombia with Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John Kennedy (R-LA), and Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Lacy Clay (R-MO). The group toured the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative site at the Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Columbia.

On April 9, 2018, NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research Director, Dr. John Haaga, participated in a briefing, Grave Consequences: Why Some Americans Are No Longer Living Longer, hosted by the Population Association of America. The panel of speakers also included Dr. Andrew Fenelon (U. of Maryland), Dr. Shannon Monnat (Syracuse U.), and Dr. Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) as moderator.

On April 11, 2018, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the NIH Budget. NIH Director Francis Collins testified, accompanied by NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, NICHD Director Diana Bianchi, NCI Director Ned Sharpless, and NIDA Director Nora Volkow.

On May 9, 2018, NIA Director Richard Hodes and NIA Deputy Director Marie Bernard participated in a briefing entitled "Advancing the Health of an Aging Population: Translating Groundbreaking NIA Research into Sound Policy and Practice." This briefing was hosted by the Friends of NIA. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) also gave remarks.

On May 11, 2018, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, Majority Clerk Laura Friedel and Professional Staff Alex Keenan visited NIH. They met with Dr. Tabak and several IC directors, including Dr. Hodes. Dr. Hodes provided an update on AD/ADRD research and our progress toward the 2025 goal.

On May 17, 2018, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the NIH Budget. NIH Director Francis Collins testified accompanied by NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, NIA Director Richard Hodes, NCI Director Ned Sharpless, NINDS Director Walter Koroshetz, and NIDA Director Nora Volkow.

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

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Staff Changes

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), Intramural Research Program (IRP) welcomes Norman (Ned) Sharpless, M.D., Director, National Cancer Institute (NCI), as an Adjunct Investigator. His section, the Aging Biology and Cancer Section, will be located in the Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics (LGG). Dr. Sharpless earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and, later, his hematology/oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Center. Before coming to NCI and NIA, Dr. Sharpless was the Director of the NCI-Designated Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, as well as a Welcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research. Dr. Sharpless was also a member of the National Advisory Council on Aging.

Staff Honors

On September 20, 2017, the Foundations for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) recognized Richard J. Hodes, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and Eli Lilly & Company (Lilly) as recipients of the second annual Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award. Named for former Chairman of the FNIH Board Dr. Charles Sanders, the award honors persons and/or organizations that have made significant contributions to the FNIH's work to build, implement and nurture private-public partnerships in support of the mission of the NIH. Through their longstanding work with the FNIH over more than a decade, Dr. Hodes and Lilly have advanced trailblazing biomedical research in critical disease areas, including age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, and helped structure innovative public-private partnerships. "We are pleased to recognize two outstanding partners that helped create and lead keystone programs at the FNIH and, in turn, develop new models for public-private alliances in biomedical research," said Steven M. Paul, M.D., Chairman of the FNIH Board. "For their unwavering commitment and leadership in biomedical research, we are proud to present the second annual Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award to Dr. Richard Hodes and Lilly."

In May 2018, Dr. Felipe Sierra, Director DAB, received the Pioneer/Beacon Award, given to honor a scientist who has made significant, groundbreaking contributions to the field of aging. Recent awardees include NIA's Deputy Director Dr. Marie Bernard, as well as multiple NIA grantees.

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Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

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

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

2018 NIH Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit - March 1-2, 2018, Bethesda, MD

The 2018 NIH Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit meeting was held at the Natcher Conference Center in Bethesda, MD. Sponsored by the NIA and the Foundation for the NIH, the Summit was attended in-person by more than 400 people and remotely through live videocast by more than 2,200 people. Unfortunately, inclement weather conditions required the Government to close on March 2nd. As a result of this closure, the Day 2 Program of the Summit is being scheduled for May 24, 2018.

The goal of the 2018 Summit is to highlight the progress, to date, towards achieving the AD research implementation milestones set from the 2012 and the 2015 AD Summits. In addition, the discussions during the Summit will inform an integrated multidisciplinary research agenda needed to enable precision medicine for Alzheimer's disease. A deliverable from the Summit is the development of new and refinement of the existing Summit recommendations. For more information, contact Laurie Ryan, or Suzana Petanceska.

Imaging: Innovations to Enhance Aging Research – March 12-13, 2018, Bethesda, MD

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

Toward this end, a 2-day symposium was held in Bethesda on March 12-13, 2018. The program involved two plenary talks from established investigators, but the program was filled-out by talks from postdoctoral fellows working in the latest imaging technologies. A novel feature of this Concepts in Geroscience Series was a focus on the next generation of researchers. Therefore, the organizers identified Principal Investigators doing research at the cutting edge of imaging technology who provided names of senior postdoctoral fellows from their respective laboratories to present at the symposium. This approach fostered interactions among these up-and-coming investigators, gave them access to NIH program staff that will help them advance in their careers, and provided new concepts for NIH to consider in promoting imaging technologies in the diverse areas that are supported by NIH institutes and centers.

(Contact: Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/402-0836, Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/402-7747, Dr. Maren Laughlin, NIDDK, 301/594-8802, and Dr. Luke Stoeckel, NIDDK, 301/741-9223)

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

The goal of this workshop, funded in full by the Common Fund Program, was to bring behavioral and social scientists together with data scientists to further Big Data science theoretically and methodologically. The workshop examined expanding research at the intersection of BSS and Big Data science, explored ways to integrate BSS research into Big Data research more generally, and addressed the active dissemination of resources in both the BSS and Big Data science communities. For additional information contact Dr. Jonathan King Jonathan.King@nih.gov.\

Emotional Well-Being: Emerging Insights and Questions for Future Research – April 3-4, 2018, Bethesda, MD

NCCIH and OBSSR, in collaboration with NIA, NICHD, NIMH, and NIDA, co-sponsored a roundtable discussion with the goal of advancing research in the role of emotional well-being in health promotion and disease prevention. The meeting highlighted questions to be addressed in developing, testing, and implementing intervention strategies to promote emotional well-being, including interventions to promote successful and adaptive aging. For additional information contact Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen.

Trans-NIH Alzheimer's Disease Workgroup Meeting - April 6, 2018, Bethesda, MD

The 2018 Trans-NIH Alzheimer's Disease (AD) Working Group meeting sponsored by NIA was held on April 6, 2018 at the Natcher Conference Center in Bethesda, MD. This annual event is a venue for participants from various Institutes and Centers (ICs) to discuss AD and AD-related dementias research and collaborations. The following ICs were in attendance: FIC, NCATS, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NICHD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS and NINR. Dr. Richard Hodes (NIA) presented updates on plans and progress relating AD and AD-Related Dementias (ADRD) funding and research, while Dr. Walter Koroshetz (NINDS) presented on ADRD research collaborations. Discussion following presentations was focused on further expanding collaboration with other ICs. For more information, contact: Eliezer Masliah.

2018 WOMEN SCIENTIST ADVISORS, EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH – April 17, 2018, Bethesda, MD

Women Scientist Advisors (WSA) of the NIA held a special program in conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to honor the 2018 WSA Excellence in Research Achievement Awardees. The program featured presentations by the following awardees: Melissa Sharpe (NIDA Fellow), Jennifer Ding (NIA Fellow), Elisabeth Caparelli (NIDA Staff Scientist), Yazhou Li (NIA Staff Scientist), and Mia Sung (NIA Investigator).

CANCER AND AGING – April 30, 2018, Bethesda, MD

The NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR) and the NIA/IRP held a collaborative, one-day workshop on "Cancer and Aging" in Building 35. The workshop was informal, with the primary goal of identifying opportunities for joint projects between CCR and NIA/IRP investigators.

NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE TRANSMISSIBILITY MEETING – May 2, 2018, Bethesda, MD

The NIA Neurodegenerative Disease Transmissibility Meeting was held on May 2, 2018, at the NIA Gateway Office. The goal of the NIA-sponsored meeting was to discuss the potential infectious risk associated with biospecimens from individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. The discussion focused on best practices and approaches to be considered in handling biospecimens and on recommendations for improvements or modifications to the current best practices. Specifically, the modifications will focus on the aspects of transmission from exposure to biospecimens collected in the important pursuit of developing disease-modifying and disease-preventing therapies for neurodegenerative disorders. For more information on this meeting, contact Nina Silverberg.

CELEBRATING SIX DECADES OF SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION, DR. DAVID SCHLESSINGER – May 3, 2018, Rockville, MD

NIA hosted a one-day symposium, "Celebrating Six Decades of Scientific Contributions by Dr. David Schlessinger," at the Biomedical Research Center. The symposium ended with a keynote address from Dr. Schlessinger, entitled "What I learned in my first 63 years in research."

NIA Sponsored Symposium "Aging and Hematopoiesis" at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunology (AAI) – May 6, 2018, Austin, TX

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

The Biology of Metformin in Aging and Longevity – May 8, 2018, Bethesda, MD

Metformin, in use for the past six decades, is the most commonly used drug for treating type 2 diabetes. Recent epidemiological studies also suggest that metformin slows cancer cell growth and protects against multiple cancers. Metformin has drawn wide attention among aging researchers after a large British epidemiological study suggested that it may slow aging and multiple aging-related diseases. Although it has been widely used and prescribed as a glucose-lowering and insulin-sensitizing drug for patients, its underlying mechanisms remain elusive. This workshop evaluated the current status of the metformin studies on aging and age-related diseases and health and discussed potential opportunities of mechanistic studies that may aid in the development of metformin as an agent for its anti-aging and anti-aging diseases effects. A workshop report will be generated. (Contact(s): Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/402-7747, and Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-7847)

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

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

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

This regular meeting of the Committee included a half-day seminar, on a topic selected by NIA BSR: "Alternative Work Arrangements among Older Workers." This meeting was funded via a task order. For additional information contact Dr. Dana Plude.

Generative Ideas in Geroscience – May 14, 2018, Rockville, MD

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

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

We had approximately 60 attendees at this workshop, and the organizing leadership was headed by Dr. Merriline Vedamony (NIAID). The meeting was held in Fisher's Lane. NIA supported 2 speakers, with the other institutes supporting 10-13 speakers. All participants (including those supported by other ICs) covered areas relevant to the mission of DAB. (Contact: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/451-4515)

Improving Patient Outcomes Through Effective Caregiver-Clinician Communications and Relationships – NAS Keck Bldg. – May 17-18, 2018, Washington, DC

The goal of this meeting was to identify knowledge gaps and research needs, better understand the role and involvement of caregivers in patient-centered care and identify characteristics of the clinician-patient relationship and how it may be affected by the caregiver. Discussions focused on conceptual frameworks and approaches for investigating dynamic features of polyadic interactions and their contribution to psychological and physical health outcomes of older patients; and strategies for optimizing communication among patients, clinicians and caregivers This meeting was funded via a task order. For additional information contact Dr. Melissa Gerald.

23rd Annual NIA/IRP Scientific Retreat – May 17-18, 2018, Rockville, MD

This two-day, NIA-sponsored event featured two large poster sessions, brief talks from IRP scientists, and a keynote address from Dr. Norman (Ned) Sharpless, Director, NCI, entitled "The Dynamic Interplay between Aging and Cancer."

Workshop on Epigenetic Regulation of Stem Cell AGING – May 21-22, 2018, Bethesda, MD

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

  1. Future Meetings

2018 NIH Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit (day 2) May 24, 2018, Bethesda, MD

The 2018 NIH Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit meeting was scheduled to be held at the Natcher Conference Center in Bethesda, MD. Sponsored by the NIA and the Foundation for the NIH, the Summit was attended in-person by more than 400 people and remotely through live videocast by more than 2,200 people. Unfortunately, inclement weather conditions required the Government to close on March 2nd. As a result of this closure, the Day 2 Program of the Summit is being scheduled for May 24, 2018.

The goal of the 2018 Summit is to highlight the progress, to date, towards achieving the AD research implementation milestones set from the 2012 and the 2015 AD Summits. In addition, the discussions during the Summit will inform an integrated multidisciplinary research agenda needed to enable precision medicine for Alzheimer's disease. A deliverable from the Summit is the development of new, and refinement of the existing, Summit recommendations. For more information, contact Laurie Ryan, or Suzana Petanceska.

Behavioral Economics and the Promotion of Health Among Aging Populations – NAS Keck Bldg., Washington, DC – June 4-5, 2018

This workshop will explore the potential for extending research on behavioral economics into older populations, with a focus on interventions that will generate longer-term benefits. The focus will be on better mechanistic understanding of interventions and how they are sensitive to aging. The workshop may also explore ideas about what modifications might be required to make interventions "work" in middle-aged or older adults and continue to work over longer periods of time. For additional information contact Dr. Jonathan King.

GSIG SEMINAR, Dr. Scott Budinger's – June 6, 2018, Bethesda, MD

GR Scott Budinger is the Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care in the Department of Medicine at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and is the Ernest S Bazley Professor of Airway Diseases as well as a Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care) and Cell and Molecular Biology. He will present a seminar on aging lung as part of an ongoing series organized quarterly by the GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG). The 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 NIH institutes and centers. It is focused on the intersection between the basic biology of aging and the biology of diseases and conditions of aging, but with a longer view towards translation. (Contact(s): Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402)

Spring Meeting of the NAS Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences - NAS Keck Bldg. – June 7-8, 2018, Washington, DC

This regular meeting of the board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences will include a half-day seminar on a topic selected by NIA/BSR: "Indirect Social Influences in Midlife and Older Age." This meeting is funded via a task order. For additional information contact Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen.

NIA Workshop: Paradoxical Lucidity in Late-Stage Dementia – June 18-19, 2018, Bethesda, MD

Patients with late-stage dementia have been reported to exhibit unexpected episodes of relevant verbal communication. These episodes, referred to here as Paradoxical Lucidity (PL), are characterized by spontaneous meaningful communication in patients who are assumed to have lost coherent verbal capacity. PL may point to preservation of neural structures and functions that, if better understood, may lead to greater insights into the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The goals of the workshop are to discuss the current state of knowledge about PL and to identify important research questions that may lead to greater understanding of PL and its implications for treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Workshop participants include investigators with expertise from several relevant research areas including dementia, geriatrics, cognitive assessment, neurophysiology, systems neuroscience, computational linguistics, caregiver research, and palliative and end-of-life care. Program staff from NIA, NINR, and possibly other NIH IC's, will be in attendance. NIA DGCG Contact: Basil Eldadah

AGE-RELATED CHANGES IN OSTEOIMMUNOLOGY – June 21, 2018, Bethesda, MD

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

Five pilot awards ($125,000 Direct Cost/year) were issued by NIA in 2013 to examine the regulation of a variety of pathways involved in this aspect of integrative biology. The Division of Aging Biology is planning to hold a workshop in May/June of 2018 in Bethesda, MD to discuss recent progress in our understanding of the role of aging in osteoimmunology. The five previously funded investigators will be asked to present their findings from aged animals. In addition, several other investigators working in the field will be invited to discuss recent developments in the field. Discussion of gaps as well as newly identified opportunities in our understanding of the interactions between immune cells and bone will be addressed. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748, and Dr. John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6403)

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

Demographic, economic, and institutional changes from across the life course may have important consequences for the forces that shape inequalities in later life between and among cohorts. At this meeting experts will consider crucial issues in the use of longitudinal studies of younger cohorts, highlighting important directions for future research that are expected to have major influence on research on aging. For additional information, contact Dr. Amelia Karraker.

Spring Meeting of the NAS Committee on Population – June 27-28, 2018, Washington, DC

This regular meeting of the Committee on Population will include a half-day seminar on a topic selected by NIA/BSR: "Leveraging Existing Data for the Study of Consequences of Disasters for Older Adults." For additional information contact Georgeanne Patmios.

New Animal Models of Alzheimer Disease (Summer 2018)

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

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

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

Leveraging Rarely-Investigated Populations for Research on Behavioral and Social Processes in an Aging Context – NAS Keck Bldg. – July 2-3, 2018, Washington, DC

This meeting will examine the potential value of examining individual variation and normative, age-related changes in behavioral, affective, cognitive, and social processes and the unique contributions that can be made in studies that are pursued in non-Western or small-scale societies. Discussion may include poverty or resource scarcity and uncertainty; social/cultural norms and practices; and how these affect decision-making, emotional function, and social connectedness and health. For additional information contact Dr. Dana Plude Dana.Plude@nih.gov.

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

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

Lipid Signaling in Stress and Aging –July 11, 2018, Bethesda, MD

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

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

A workshop is proposed to address the following topics:

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

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

NEURAL PROCESSES OF AFFECTIVE CHANGE IN AGING – August 2-3, 2018, Bethesda, MD

The NIA Division of Neuroscience and the Division of Behavioral and Social Research will co-sponsor a workshop entitled "Neural Processes of Affective Change in Aging" to be held on August 2-3, 2018 in Bethesda MD. The workshop will review the current state of affective neuroscience and explore future directions that might be facilitated by emerging theories and approaches from allied fields. The goal of the workshop is to inspire new ideas, foster research collaborations, and stimulate innovative strategies to deepen our understanding of the neural processes that underlie normative developmental and maturational affective processes in aging. For more information, contact Luci Roberts.

Contributions of Artificial Intelligence to Research on Determinants and Modulation of Health Span and Life Span – August 29-30, 2018, Bethesda, MD

This workshop will achieve an overview of ways that artificial intelligence (AI) methods could contribute to understanding of the determinants of health span and life span. Research on determinants of longevity and health span poses a variety of methodological challenges. Longevity and health span involve a multiplicity of interacting contributory factors. The interactions of such factors also change with advancing age and are influenced by phenotypic changes over the life span. During the workshop, we would like to explore how AI methods could address these complexities. Our interest is both in AI analyses that could be done on existing data, and on needs for new primary data that would allow productive application of AI methods for increased understanding of determinants of longevity and health span. Participants will include experts from different fields (computer scientists, engineers, bioinformaticians, biologists and geriatricians). NIA DGCG Contact: Nalini Raghavachari

Enhancing the foundations for natural product clinical trials – September 13-14, 2018, Bethesda, MD

Office of Dietary Supplements and NIA cosponsored workshop on development of criteria for the prioritization of critical research needs for enhancing natural product clinical trials. The purpose of the workshop is to contribute to enhancing return on investment from natural product (NP) clinical research by bringing together multi-disciplinary experts (phytochemistry, nutrition, clinical trials, cell biology, predictive mathematical modeling, health economics, etc.) for a structured discussion of 1) good practices and priorities in rigorously assessing the foundational preliminary data needed to optimize the translation of NP research to public health outcomes, and 2) related knowledge (information) gaps. NIA DGCG Contact: Giovanna Zappala

The 29th Annual Nathan W. Shock Award Lecture – September 18, 2018 – Bethesda, MD

The Award was created in 1991 to honor Dr. Nathan Shock, the Father of American Gerontology, and was organized in an effort to increase collaborations within the aging research field. The 2018 awardee, Dr. Nathan LeBrasseur, will present a talk and meet with staff.

DECIPHERING THE GLYCOSYLATION CODE IN ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE – September 19-20, 2018, Bethesda MD

The NIA-sponsored glycosylation meeting is scheduled for September 19-20, 2018, to be held at the NIA Gateway office. The meeting will include leaders in the field to evaluate the current status of glycobiology in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and to determine what areas of research will be needed to move the field of glycoscience in AD. In particular, the focus will be on understanding the importance of glycobiology in the area of biomarker discovery and early AD pathogenesis. For more information, contact Austin Yang, austin.yang@nih.gov.

The NIA and the NIH Comorbidity Scientific Interest Group Workshop are sponsoring a workshop entitled, "Measuring Multimorbidity: Matching the Instrument and the Purpose" – September 25-26, 2018, Bethesda, MD

The workshop is sponsored by the NIA and the NIH Comorbidity Scientific Interest Group and is designed to improve research that studies the role of co- and/or multimorbidity, by helping the field in selection of valid and reliable measurement tools. The purpose of this workshop is to a) identify the best available instruments for measuring co-/multimorbidity, and characterize their validity, reliability, and ease of use, as well as their statistical analysis and interpretation, b) propose a set of recommendations that would facilitate adoption of particular tools and methods for specific purposes (e.g., research vs. practice; observational studies; RCTs; large population-based samples; type of outcome (morbidity, mortality, healthcare utilization, quality of life, costs), and c) identify areas of research needs and gaps to improve measurement of multimorbidity. (NIA DGCG Contact: Marcel Salive)

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

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

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PUBLICATIONS AND WEB CONTENT

Major Reports:

Booklets, AgePages, Fact Sheets, DVDs:  

  • Advance Care Planning Tip Sheet
  • Alzheimer's Disease Medications Fact Sheet
  • Stay Safe in Cold Weather - easy to read booklet
  • Understanding Memory Loss - easy to read booklet

AgePages:

  • Comer saludable después 50 años (Spanish Healthy Eating After 50)
  • Dietary Supplements
  • HIV, AIDS, and Older People
  • Pain: You Can Get Help
  • Sexuality in Later Life

Web Content

MEDIA & OUTREACH

Press Releases and Research Highlights

NIA posted and distributed the following press releases:

NIA posted the following featured research:

Social Media 

  • @NIAGo4Life Twitter followers now total nearly 8,100, with an additional 14,319 subscribing to a daily e-alert of tweets
  • @Alzheimers_NIH Twitter followers now total 8,670, with 13,163 daily e-alert subscribers
  • NIHAging Facebook has more than 7,600 followers; quarterly peak reach (approximately 6,400 people) on 3/19 for post promoting home safety checklist for people with Alzheimer's disease

E-Mail

Sent a total of 42 emails from 12/19/17-3/29/17 to the following NIA GovDelivery email lists:

  • Go4Life Fitness Tips: 72,029 subscribers
  • Healthy Aging Highlights: 68,397 subscribers
  • Alzheimer's News & Announcements: 68,267 subscribers
  • NIA for Caregivers: 12,807 subscribers

Go4Life Month

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

MEETINGS AND EXHIBITS

Professional Meetings

  • NIA/VA meeting, November 2017 -- Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and various NIA staff met with VA staff to share programmatic updates. Meeting participants discussed joint interests and initiatives and provided status updates regarding several ongoing projects.
  • Global Down Syndrome and Lumind Research Down Syndrome Foundation, December 2017 -- Dr. Eliezer Masliah along with NIA staff and NICHD leadership met with the leadership of GDSF and Lumind to discuss shared research interests concerning Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. Discussion topics centered around increasing collaboration across the field.
  • Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, January 2018 -- Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with senior NIA staff met with Ad Hoc Group leadership to discuss medical advances developed through NIA supported research, among other issues. NIA staff were also able to highlight the impact of supported research on improving health and understanding basic mechanisms of disease.
  • Friends of the National Institute on Aging (FONIA), February 2018 -- Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with senior staff met with leadership from FONIA to review the status of the NIA budget and discuss new initiatives and research infrastructure supported by NIA.
  • American Urological Association (AUA), March 2018 -- Dr. Marie Bernard and NIA staff met with Leadership from AUA to discuss current opportunities and challenges in urologic research and together strategize how the NIA and AUA might best collaborate to advance research relevant to the missions of NIA and AUA.
  • American Geriatrics Society (AGS), March 2018 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and NIA staff from each division met with leadership from AGS. Discussion centered around the NIA budget and programmatic initiatives, NIH inclusion across the lifespan policy, programs geared towards junior faculty, and joint NIA/AGS meeting efforts at the AGS annual meeting.
  • Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research, April 2018 – Dr. Marie Bernard and other NIA staff met with early career investigators to discuss NIA research priorities, funding opportunities, and answer individual questions from the investigators.
  • (For more information about NIA's conferences or exhibits, contact Jennifer Watson, Acting Director, OCPL, Ph. 301-496-1752. For more information about NIA's professional meetings, contact Dr. Melinda Kelley, Legislative Officer, Ph. 301-451-8835.)

Conferences and Exhibits

  • Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit, March 1, Bethesda, MD
  • American Society on Aging, March 26-28, San Francisco, CA

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

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NEW NOTICES AND INITIATIVES RELEVANT TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING (NIA) For the May 2018 Council Meeting

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’ on this web link).

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