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May 2019 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the May 2019 Director’s Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2019 Budget

FY 2018

In FY 2018, the NIA obligated $2.571 billion in appropriated money. NIA awarded 2,423 research project grants (RPGs), including 937 competing awards. The FY 2018 success rate for the Institute was 28.9%.

FY 2019

The President signed into law the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 on September 28, 2018 which funds NIA for the entirety of FY 2019 through September 2019. The enacted bill includes $3.081 Billion for NIA, a $509 million increase over the FY 2018 level. This includes an additional $425 million for Alzheimer’s Disease research funding.

FY 2020

The FY 2020 President’s budget was released to the public in March 2019. The President’s request for NIH is $34.4 billion, a $3.5 billion reduction from the FY 2019 amount of $37.9 billion.

The NIA budget request for FY 2020 is $2.654 billion, a decrease of $429 million from the FY 2019 enacted level. View the NIA FY 2020 Congressional Justification.

For NIA, the FY 2020 President’s budget will allow for 2,404 total research project grants (RPGs), including 366 new and competing awards. The estimate includes $148.8 million for research centers, $102.7 million for other research grants, and $38.5 million for research training.

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Legislative Update

May 2019

Legislation of Interest:

On March 7, 2019, Representative Lacy Clay (D-MO) introduced H.R. 1608, the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 2019. The bill, if enacted, would require that all appointments to advisory committees be made without regard to political affiliation or political activity; extend all of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requirements (except charters) to working groups; require that advisory committee members be designated as a “special government employee” or “a representative” (there is an exception for NIH peer reviewers); curtail the ability of contractors to create “FACA-type” committees; and expand transparency requirements (for example, who nominated each member and why the selectee was appointed). The bill contains an additional provision that would require the head of each agency to ensure that advisory committee advice and recommendations are the result of independent judgment. Further, when transmitting advice and recommendations, each advisory committee would be required to include a statement describing the process used in formulating its advice and recommendations. On March 12, 2019, the bill was passed by the House and transmitted to the Senate. On March 13, 2019, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Hearings, Visits, and Other Topics of Interest:

On February 26, 2019, NIH Director Francis Collins attended an annual congressional reception hosted by The Children’s Inn at NIH. Several NIH Institute Directors, including Dr. Hodes, participated in the event.

On February 26, 2019, NIA Director Richard Hodes met with Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) to discuss scientific advances in aging research, including Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and activities at the NIA.

On February 26, 2019, NIA Director Richard Hodes met with Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and activities at the NIA.

On February 28, 2019, NIA Director Richard Hodes participated in an Alzheimer’s Task Force Staff Briefing along with representatives from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This briefing was sponsored by Task Force co-chairs Senators Patrick Toomey (R-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Edward Markey (D-MA); and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Maxine Waters (D-CA).

On March 20, 2019, NIA Deputy Director Marie A. Bernard visited West Virginia University with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Dr. Bernard gave a talk focused on Alzheimer’s disease and toured the University with Senator Capito.

On April 2, 2019, the Senate Committee on Aging held a hearing on Alzheimer’s disease. NIA Director Richard Hodes testified.

On April 5, 2019, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education Majority Clerk Laura Friedel and Minority Clerk Alex Keenan visited NIH. During their visit, they met with senior leadership officials including NIA Director Richard Hodes.

On April 11, 2019, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the President’s FY 2020 Budget request for NIH. NIH Director Francis Collins testified accompanied by Acting NCI Director Douglas Lowy, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, NIGMS Director Jon Lorsch, NIDDK Director Griffin Rodgers, NIA Director Richard Hodes and NIDA Director Nora Volkow.

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

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Staff Changes and Honors

The NIA, IRP welcomes Dr. Wenming Luh as a Staff Scientist/Facility Head in the Clinical Research Core (CRC). Luh began serving as the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Core Facility Head under the supervision of Dr. Josephine Egan, NIA Clinical Director, in December 2018. Dr. Luh received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Medical College of Wisconsin in January 1999. He had served as a Staff Scientist with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for 11 years (2001-2012), under the leadership of Dr. Peter Bandettini. Since 2012, he has served as the Technical Director of an MRI Facility at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. In addition, he has held the title of Adjunct Professor at Cornell, since 2014.

Dr. Holly Massett is the Senior Advisor on Clinical Research Recruitment and Engagement at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and oversees the implementation of NIA’s National Strategy for the Recruitment and Participation in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Clinical Research. Dr. Massett has over 25 years of professional experience in program evaluation, consumer research, and social marketing. Prior to joining NIA in March 2019, she spent 15 years at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) working with the early and late phase treatment clinical trial network systems to develop and apply systematic accrual practices to support challenging trials. She also spent eight years as the Associate Director of NCI’s Office of Market Research and Evaluation. Prior to serving in the federal government, Dr. Massett was Vice President of Health Research at Porter Novelli and held senior research positions at RTI International and the Academy for Educational Development. She has overseen research for national health campaigns sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the March of Dimes, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Massett received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Health Communication with a secondary emphasis in intercultural communication and anthropology.

Anne Genêt Reim is the new Guide Liaison in NIA’s Division of Extramural Activities. She comes to us from the Office of Entrepreneurial Development in the Small Business Administration. Before beginning her career with the federal government, she served as a secondary education volunteer in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone. She earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, with a focus on public health and humanitarian assistance, and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Fordham University. Her passions include reading, hiking, and crusading for correct grammar.

The NIA, IRP welcomes Dr. Payel Sen as an Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator in the Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics (LGG). Dr. Sen will work under the direction of Dr. Myriam Gorospe, Senior Investigator and Chief of LGG, and will oversee the Functional Epigenomics Unit. Dr. Sen received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in 2011. Shortly after receiving her degree, she began her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and Epigenetics Institute, University of Pennsylvania, under the mentorship of Dr. Shelley Berger. In 2016, she was promoted to Research Associate within the same lab before starting at the NIA in January 2019.

Dr. Richard Spencer, Senior Investigator, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI), was named a Fellow of the Norbert Wiener Center for Harmonic Analysis in the Department of Mathematics, University of Maryland, College Park. According to the website, the Center has three goals: Research Activities in harmonic analysis and applications; Education - undergraduate to postdoctoral; and, Interaction within the International Harmonic Analysis Community.

Dr. David Wilson, III, Investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology (LMG), resigned from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Intramural Research Program (IRP) in April 2019. Dr. Wilson received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine. After his time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Toxicology at the Harvard University School of Public Health, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Demple, he went on to become at Senior Biomedical Scientist in the Biology and Biotechnology Research Program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Wilson later served as an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California Davis Cancer Center before starting in the LMG in 2002. In 2008, he received tenure and became Chief of the Repair of Endogenous DNA Damage Section.

Dr. Alison Yao comes to NIA from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) where she has been a Program Officer overseeing a portfolio of genomics and bioinformatics programs since 2005. She was responsible for developing and managing large-scale research programs in functional genomics, bioinformatics, structural genomics, systems biology, and genomic sequencing centers. These programs develop high-throughput experimental methodologies and data-driven computational approaches to advance the understanding of infectious diseases and host/pathogen interactions. Before joining NIAID, Alison was a staff scientist at Celera Genomics. She led and participated in multiple human genome projects, including genome annotation, genome mapping, comparative genomics, and database design, as well as developing computational algorithms. Alison received a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from University of Guelph in Canada, a M.S. and a B.S. in Genetics from Wuhan University in China.

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Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

CIRCULATING PRO- AND ANTI-GERONIC PROTEINS AND PEPTIDES GRANTEES MEETING – February 11, 2019

Last year, NIA published 2 RFA on this subject, RFA AG17-002, sponsored by DAB, and RFA AG 17-012, sponsored by DGCG. AG 17-002 focused on the transfer (or transposition) of aging phenotypes observed between young and old rodents and discovered through heterochronic parabiosis. AG17-012, in turn, focused on analysis of existing datasets and stored biospecimens from human cohorts (e.g., epidemiologic studies, clinical trials) to advance understanding of potential effects in humans of polypeptides and proteins whose circulating levels change with age, and for which experimental evidence indicates reversal or acceleration of aging changes. Eight applications were funded between the 2 RFAs, and the 11 PIs involved will be invited.

The purpose of the workshop is for grantees to report on their progress and engage in a panel discussion to gauge the state of the science and exchange viewpoints on the potential of heterochronic parabiosis to be informative about the biology of aging and the translational potential of that research.

Contact: Dr. Ronald A Kohanski, DAB, 301/402-0836

MEETING ON CONSENSUS STUDY ON RISING MIDLIFE MORTALITY AND SES – NATIONAL ACADEMIES, Washington, D.C. – February 11-13, 2019

This Consensus Study articulated a research agenda that will help NIA assess and evaluate the current state of knowledge in this area, identify potentially modifiable risk factors, recognize key knowledge gaps, make recommendations for future research and data collection and explore potential policy implications. This Consensus Study built on a June 2017 CPOP meeting that explored issues surrounding worsening health in middle ages.

For additional information, contact Dr. Amelia Karraker.

EXPERT MEETING ON DEMOGRAPHY OF SEXUAL AND GENDER MINORITIES – NATIONAL ACADEMIES, Washington, D.C. – February 15, 2019

This meeting was a follow-on to the planning meeting on this topic held April 16, 2018. The expert meeting cross-cutting topic was “intersectionality.”

For additional information, contact Ms. Georgeanne Patmios.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AS A RISK FACTOR FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND RELATED DEMENTIAL – February 26-27, Bethesda, MD

This NIA workshop was organized in collaboration with the Office of Research and Development at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The goals of this endeavor were to: (1) synthesize what is and is not known about the relationship between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and dementia, (2) identify how current resources can be leveraged, and (3) identify what changes in infrastructure or new resources are needed to address current and future research questions. The workshop was organized into three sessions that address the following areas of research: 1) epidemiology, 2) diagnosis and clinical Assessment, and 3) foundational science. The research gaps and opportunities identified from this workshop will help shape future funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).

For information on this event, contact Lisa Opanashuk.

2019 TRANS-NIH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE (AD) WORKGROUP MEETING – March 5, 2019, Bethesda, MD

This annual event provided a venue for participants from various Institutes and Centers (ICs) across NIH to discuss research and collaborations in AD and AD-related dementias (ADRD). The meeting hosted by NIA include participants from 17 other ICs: FIC, NEI, NHLBI, NIAAA, NIAMS, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIDDK, NIEHS, NIMH, NIMHD, NINDS, NINR and the NIH Office of AIDs Research. Dr. Richard Hodes - NIA Director, Dr. Eliezer Masliah - NIA Division of Neuroscience Director, Dr. John Haaga - NIA Division Behavior and Social Research Director, and Dr. Rod Corriveau - NINDS ADRD Program Lead presented updates on collaborations in AD and ADRD research. A special focus this year was on NIA’s funding of various ICs administrative supplements that have AD and/or ADRD relevance.

For more information, contact Jean Tiong-Koehler.

WORKSHOP ON TECHNOLOGY AND DEMENTIA – Bethesda, MD – March 7, 2019

The objective of this meeting was to identify research areas of how technology could contribute to (1) Early Detection of Cognitive Decline, (2) Assistive Technology for Dementia Care, and (3) Improving Health Care Delivery for Persons with Dementia. The meeting sought insight on how NIA can develop a robust Small Business research grant portfolio which intersections with technology and dementia.

For additional information, contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE CENTERS (ADCS) RESEARCH EDUCATION COMPONENT (REC) TRAINEES WORKSHOPS – Bethesda, MD – March 13, 2019

NIA Division of Neuroscience sponsored an all-day postdoctoral trainee bootcamp for 30 participants on March 13, 2019. Each of the Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC) was represented. The primary goal of this workshop was to enhance young investigators’ understanding of the NIH grant review process. Each participant prepared a mock NIH R03 application, had the chance to serve as a Reviewer for a fellow’s proposal and provide critiques in a “Mock study section”, which was participated also by NIA Program Officers (POs) and NIA/CSR Scientific Review Officers (SROs). At the end of the workshop, each participant received written critiques from 3 Reviewers, similar to what grantees would receive through the NIH grant process. Aside from practical experience in grant writing and serving as Reviewers, participants were exposed to presentations on the NIH Grant process provided by POs and SROs.

Trainees also attended the NIH ADRD Summit on March 14-15, 2019. This activity was hosted by NINDS and supported by NIA. NIA staff received commendations from the trainees and ADRC principal investigators for organizing the activity. A post-workshop survey indicated 92% of participants rated their overall experience with the workshop as “excellent” or “very good.”

The success of the workshop was a team effort consisting of 18 NIA/CSR staff volunteers (8 POs from Division of Neuroscience, 4 SROs from Scientific Review Branch and 6 SROs from Center for Scientific Review CSR). This activity aligns closely with goals in the ADRD Research Implementation Milestone Database (4.G, J, D & 16.A) developed from the 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit Recommendations and Expert Recommendations for NIA ADRCs on training the next generation workforce in AD/ADRD.

For more information, contact Cerise Elliott or Yuan Luo.

THE 24TH ANNUAL NIA/IRP SCIENTIFIC RETREAT – Biomedical Research Center – March 18-19, 2018.

The two-day, NIA-sponsored event featured two large poster sessions, brief talks from IRP scientists, and a keynote address from Tom Misteli, Ph.D., Director, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NCI), entitled “Understanding Aging: Why and How.” No recommendations were generated from this meeting.

APPLICATION OF MACHINE LEARNING AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO IMPROVE HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE DELIVERY – March 21, 2019 – Bethesda, MD

This meeting brought together investigators from multiple disciplines (Informatics, Computer Science, Health Services Research, Geriatrics/Primary Care, and Psychology) to consider the advantages and potential of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications for improving health and healthcare delivery for older Americans.

For additional information, contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya.

TRANS-NIH WORKSHOP ON INFLAMMATION RESOLUTION BIOLOGY – March 25-26, 2019

Inflammation is an acute and dynamic protective response to infection, tissue injury, or surgical trauma. Complete resolution of this response and return to homeostasis is essential for restoring healthy tissues. Over the past decade it has been recognized that the resolution of inflammation involves active processes responsible for initiating inhibition of inflammatory cell recruitment and egress of inflammatory cells. The failure of inflammation resolution machinery is suspected in the development of chronic inflammation and a pro-inflammatory state is associated with several chronic diseases and conditions of aging. Improving our understanding of the principles of inflammation resolution may represent a paradigm shift from traditional anti-inflammatory approaches and therapies, providing new perspectives on disease pathogenesis and treatment practices.

The focus of this trans-NIH workshop was to assess the current state of the science in inflammation resolution biology and to develop coordinating strategies to promote this research area of shared interest across the NIH.

For additional information, contact Giovanna Zappala.

NIA SPONSORED SYMPOSIUM ON AGING AT 60TH ANNUAL DROSOPHILA RESEARCH CONFERENCE AT GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICA (GSA) – March 29, 2019 – Dallas, TX

Genetic model systems are very important for understanding the mechanisms of aging process. For invertebrate models, majority of aging research has been carried out in C. elegans. Compared to C. elegans, Drosophila has been under-utilized for aging research. Drosophila has many advantages over C. elegans, including more complex organ system, sophisticate behavior, and more distinctive aging phenotypes. The Drosophila Research Conferences, organized by Genetics Society of America, has been held every year for 59 years. We sponsored 2 sessions (symposium) on the topic of aging at this annual fly meeting. The objectives were: (1) to improve the representation of aging research at the meeting; (2) to showcase some NIA-funded research; (3) to attract fly researchers to the study of aging. We invited 10 speakers to attend the annual fly meeting.

(Contact: Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/402-7747)

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE SEQUENCING PROJECT (ADSP) WORKSHOP – April 15-16, 2019 – Bethesda, MD

The sixth annual Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP) Workshop, supported by the NIA Division of Neuroscience, was held April 15-16, 2019 in Bethesda on the NIH campus (Natcher auditorium). The purpose for this meeting was: 1. To provide an overview of the data generated by the ADSP since the last meeting to the ADSP external advisors, and 2. To plan the analysis of ADSP FUS diversity whole genome sequence data. In 2018, the ADSP launched the Follow Up Study (FUS) Sequencing Phase under PAR-16-406 with the goal of sequencing at least 10,000 whole genomes on ethnically diverse populations. Sequencing of African American and Hispanic cohorts is currently well underway. In the spring of 2019, work plans for the ADSP FUS Analysis Phase were launched under PAR-17-214. At least 20,000 whole genomes from diverse populations are anticipated by 2021. Several projects reported the outcomes of ongoing studies at the workshop. Meeting highlights included: 1) feasibility of joint analysis of the whole exome and the whole genome sequences, a first known demonstration of this type of analysis; 2) from a genetic standpoint, the distinction between early and late onset AD has blurred, such that genetically, it now appears that AD is a spectrum across aging that may depend, in part, upon the penetrance of particular genetic variants and the number of genetic protective factors; 3) most of the variation identified in the AD genome is found in noncoding regions; 4) genetic effects in regulatory regions are often cell-type specific; and 5) assessment of risk models based upon individual cell type may be supported by using polygenic risk scores. The workshop also had a robust discussion on harmonization of phenotypic data across multiple types of study designs and multiple study waves. Incorporating deep phenotype data into the existing datasets will allow analyses to go far beyond binary AD/non-AD classification and will help to better characterize the endophenotypes of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD). The steps of the harmonization process include defining research questions, assembling information and selecting studies, prioritizing variables, processing data, evaluating the quality of harmonized data, and documenting and disseminating the harmonization products. This collaborative work is being driven by the ADSP investigators themselves out of their awareness of the necessity for this process to better define endophenotypes. Such effort will benefit the AD research community at large for the foreseeable future as research move towards examining powerful ways to leverage the large amounts of data that are becoming available.

For more information, contact Marilyn Miller.

BEYOND NAD+: NOVEL ROLES OF METABOLITES IN AGING – April 23, 2019

Metabolites have been increasingly recognized, beyond metabolic by-products, as signaling molecules for a range of cellular functions from protein modification, to gene expression and epigenetic regulation. Notably, the metabolite nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) has been shown to play an important role in the aging process. Emerging research in the field has recently identified additional metabolites implicated in aging regulation. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss recent findings of novel roles of metabolites in aging and longevity regulation and identify new research directions to advance the field.

Metabolism and aging are tightly linked, where nutrient sensing and caloric restriction mechanisms are conserved pathways modulating healthspan and longevity. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider small molecules generated in various metabolic processes, known as metabolites, to be crucial elements in the aging process. Indeed, in addition to the known regulatory role of the metabolite NAD+ in aging, many other metabolites with a potential role in aging have been identified through the development of novel metabolomics technologies. These include, for example, the Krebs cycle metabolite succinate, the fermentation product acetate and the polyamine spermidine. Additional energy metabolites such as citrate, pyruvate or butyrate, known to regulate cellular homeostasis have been implicated as potential regulators in the aging process.

Building upon these recent findings, the emerging research area in non-NAD+ metabolites in the regulation of aging warrants further exploration with DAB-supported Workshops.

(Contact: Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-7847)

CENTRAL AND PERIPHERAL CONTROL OF BALANCE IN OLDER ADULTS WORKSHOP – April 23-24, 2019 – Bethesda, MD

This NIA-sponsored one-and-a-half-day workshop was a joint effort between the Division of Neuroscience and the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, with support from the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The 21 invited participants included neuroscientists, geriatricians, ENT physicians and physical therapists. The goals of this workshop were to 1) assess the state of the science as it relates to central and peripheral control of balance in older adults, with a focus on vestibular function, 2) identify gaps in current knowledge and 3) explore new opportunities for research to understand the mechanisms underlying balance and postural responses to falls and in older adults. The workshop was organized into four sessions that address the following areas of research: 1) Balance and the aging brain, 2) Diagnosis and assessment of balance disorders, 3) Leveraging new technologies in the assessment and management of balance disorders, and 4) Balance interventions, therapies and targets for treatments. The research gaps and opportunities identified from this workshop will help inform any future NIA-related activities in this area.

For more information contact Lyndon Joseph or Coryse St. Hillaire-Clarke.

ALZHEIMER’S AND RELATED DEMENTIAS (AD/ADRD) DIGITAL BIOMARKER WORKSHOP – April 25-26, 2019 – Bethesda, MD

The objective of this NIA-sponsored workshop was to further stimulate research in digital technology for application in early diagnosis and monitoring AD and ADRD. The meeting brought in experts to discuss digital technology approaches and innovations in assessing cognition and lifestyle changes in people, as well as in diagnosis, of AD/ADRD. The workshop also discussed clinical trial application and management of data collected from mobile devices. Development of tools for diagnosis of AD/ADRD is a key goal of National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and it aligns closely with the AD research implementation milestones on translational tools - enabling technologies and improve AD monitoring.

For more information, contact Yuan Luo.

EDUARDO C. ZAVALLA MEMORIAL LECTURE AND POST BAC POSTER DAY – May 1, 2019

The special guest lecturer this year was Joel L. Pomerantz, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry within the Institute for Cell Engineering, and the Director of the Graduate Program in Immunology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. No recommendations were generated from this meeting.

AGE-INDUCED TRANSFORMATION OF ADULT STEM CELLS – May 1-2, 2019

This one-day workshop was a joint effort between DAB and NCI. The purpose of this workshop was to discuss recent advances in aging of stem cells and their involvement in cancer initiation and progression with a focus on metabolic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate the aging process and promote the transformation into cancer initiating cells (CICs). The speakers were asked to give a 30-minute presentation on their recent research findings with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging and cancer, “onco-aging” research. The symposium was chaired by Division of Aging Biology program staff (Dr. Candace Kerr, Rebecca Fuldner), as well as NCI staff.

(Contact(s): Dr. Candace Kerr, DAB, 301/827-4474 and Dr. Rebecca A Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)

AGE AND HIV-RELATED NEURODEGENERATION – May 1-2, 2019 – Bethesda, MD

The objective of this workshop was to review basic and clinical research on commonalities and differences in molecular and cellular mechanisms underpinning neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, and Alzheimer’s-related dementias, and neurological disorders associated with HIV infection and AIDS. This workshop was co-sponsored by NIH Office of AIDS Research and National Institute on Aging.

For more information, contact Mack Mackiewicz.

NAS CNSTAT SPRING SEMINAR ON THE DEMOGRAPHY OF THE RESIDENTIAL CARE POPULATION AND DATA NEEDS FOR STUDYING THIS POPULATION – May 8, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

This regular NAS CNSTAT meeting included a half-day seminar, on a topic that was selected by NIA BSR. Residential care settings broadly defined include assisted living, independent living, CCRC’s, nursing homes, group homes, personal care homes, retirement communities with services, and senior housing. The population living in these settings is substantial and expected to increase dramatically over the next two decades. A substantial proportion of older adults with limitations in daily activities live in these settings, yet we don’t know a lot about who is in these settings, how well their needs are being met, and what the demand will look like in the future given the aging of the baby boom population. There are a variety of different data sources, but also data gaps. This seminar aimed to identify gaps and what research is needed to help close the gaps.

For additional information, contact John Phillips: 301-496-3136.

NAS PLANNING MEETING ON MOBILE TECHNOLOGY FOR ADAPTIVE AGING – May 9, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

This activity builds on one that NAS successfully completed in 2004, culminating in the publication Technology for Adaptive Aging. NAS committees have maintained membership profiles and expertise that should be conducive to the evaluation of current trends and uses of mobile technology by older adults as well as generating novel research recommendations. There is little difference on what activities are pursued online by the over-65 population and millennials. Similarly, mobile usage shows relatively small racial or ethnic disparities, and even urban-rural differences are declining. The focus of this meeting was specific health benefits and research applications that could be derived from the use of mobile technology at this time when 77% of all adults now own a smartphone.

For additional information, contact Jonathan King: 301-496-3136.

NIA SPONSORED SYMPOSIUM “IMMUNOMETABOLISM, INFLAMMATION AND AGING” AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF IMMUNOLOGY (AAI) – May 9, 2019

This NIA-sponsored symposium was held at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in May 9-13, 2019 in San Diego, CA. The NIA sponsors a symposium at this venue each year to highlight recent findings in the area of Immunity and Aging. This year’s session was entitled “Immunometabolism, Inflammation and Aging.”

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

(Contact: Dr. Rebecca A Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)

SLEEP INSUFFICIENCY, CIRCADIAN MISALIGNMENT, AND THE IMMUNE RESPONSE – May 16-17, 2019 – Rockville, MD

The objectives of this workshop are to highlight recent basic and clinical research advances in sleep and circadian biology linking immune dysfunction to pathobiology, and to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration across sleep/circadian, immunology, aging, cancer and other communities through fresh discussions. The workshop will be sponsored by National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

For more information, contact Mack Mackiewicz.

  1. Future Meetings

NAS CPOP SPRING SEMINAR ON GAPS IN THE DEMENTIA CARE WORKFORCE: RESEARCH UPDATE AND DATA NEEDS – Washington, D.C. – May 23, 2019

The goal of this half-day seminar is to review recent research on gaps in the dementia care workforce across various settings. Presenters will be asked to provide background in three broad areas: (1) current and future gaps in the paid dementia care workforce; (2) defining and understanding the implications of creating high quality jobs for direct care and other paid workers; and (3) dementia care workforce issues for at-risk populations (e.g., rural areas, those serving dually eligible for Medicaid or groups with low socioeconomic status, those transitioning from hospital to post-acute and home settings, and people with dementia for whom English is not their primary language). Discussion will focus on research and data.

For additional information, contact Dana Plude: 301-496-3136.

OSTEOCLAST BIOLOGY AND AGING – Bethesda, MD – May 23, 2019

It is widely accepted that the bone marrow niche changes with age. The large number of cell lineages in the marrow and their changing abundance and activities with age, strongly suggests that these interactions are much more complex than currently appreciated. The fact that hematopoiesis becomes skewed to the myeloid lineage with age has been widely appreciated by the field and this skewing is significant since osteoclasts are derived from the myeloid lineage. This, at least partially, explains the age-associated increase in osteoclast numbers. These overall age-related changes have profound effects on the cells in the marrow and on their respective activities. In addition, alterations in the marrow niche have been reported to have numerous effects on the osteoblast/osteocyte lineage and osteoblasts have been reported to contribute to maintaining the marrow niche. The commitment of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (osteoblast, adipocyte and chondrocyte progenitors) to the bone forming osteoblast phenotype declines changes with age; with a concomitant increase in number of marrow adipocytes. These observations have dominated the bone field, largely to the detriment of mechanistic studies of the molecular signaling between the osteoblast and osteoclast, and in combination with recent advances on changes in circulating signaling factors with aging as evidenced by various parabiosis experiments strongly suggests that the complexity of these interactions is under appreciated. Given the dynamic interactions between osteoclasts and osteoblasts and the dependence of osteoclasts on osteoblasts for differentiation, it is time to reexamine how aging affects both the differentiation and physiological activity of osteoclasts.

(Contact: John P Williams, DAB, 301/496-6403)

CELL ANALYSIS IN AGING AND DISEASE – Biomedical Research Center – May 23, 2019

Several speakers will present their work on single-cell analysis including technology, computational analysis, and applications in Chromatin Studies, Hematopoietic, Neuronal, Pulmonary, Muscle, and Renal Systems.

IMPACTS OF THE SECOND DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION ON MID- AND LATER-LIFE HEALTH – May 29-30, 2019 – Bethesda, MD

The overarching goal of this meeting is to explore current and future research on the impacts of the Second Demographic Transition (i.e., increasing family complexity, instability, heterogeneity) on middle- and later-life health and wellbeing for individuals directly experiencing the transition. The meeting will seek to establish the current state of knowledge as well as important substantive and methodological areas for future research.

For additional information, contact Dr. Amelia Karraker.

NIH PAIN CONSORTIUM SYMPOSIUM – May 30-31, 2019 – Bethesda, MD

The NIH Pain Consortium was established to enhance pain research and promote collaboration among researchers across the many NIH Institutes and Centers that have programs and activities addressing pain. The consortium supports initiatives, development of research resources and tools, and hosts events to promote collaboration and highlight advances in pain research. NIA will once again co-sponsor the annual Pain Consortium Symposium which is led by NINDS. The theme of the symposium is “Pain across the lifespan,” and will feature expert panel sessions on pain in pediatric populations, mid-life and older adults. There will also be a poster session to engage junior investigators.

For more information, contact Dr. Coryse St. Hillaire-Clarke.

CONCEPTS IN GEROSCIENCE POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS SYMPOSIUM ON TISSUE-RESIDENT IMMUNE CELLS – June 4-6, 2019

This workshop will be the second Concepts in Geroscience – Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium. It is organized by members of the Geroscience Interest Group. A novel feature of this Series is a focus on the next generation of researchers. Therefore, the organizers identify postdoctoral fellows with career development awards and principal investigators doing research at the cutting edge of their fields who provide names of senior postdoctoral fellows from their respective laboratories to present at the symposium. This approach will foster interactions among these up-and-coming investigators, give them access to NIH program staff that will help them advance in their careers, and provide new concepts for NIH to consider in promoting geroscience in the diverse areas that are supported by NIH institutes and centers.

The geroscience hypothesis states that slowing the rate of aging should delay the onset and reduce the severity of late age-onset degenerative conditions, frailties and diseases. Underlying aging are the multiple molecular and cellular processes that have been grouped within hallmarks of aging, or pillars of geroscience. Recent advances in the basic biology and physiological functions of tissue-resident immune cells provide opportunities to also consider them in the context of aging. Tissue-resident immune cells are found in diverse tissues and have diverse tissue-specific functions, but they represent a common link that might be viewed as a “universal target.”

Nine NIH institutes are participating in addition to NIA and the majority of speakers are postdoctoral fellows, most of whom do not work specifically in aging and who therefore can bring fresh perspectives to geroscience.

(Contact: Dr. Ronald A Kohanski, DAB, 301/402-0836)

NAS BBCSS SPRING MEETING ON HARMONIZATION AND COORDINATED ANALYSIS OF BEHAVIORAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOTYPES IN LONGITUDINAL STUDIES RICH IN PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTENT – Washington, D.C. – June 6, 2019

NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research supports a large number of deeply-phenotyped small to mid-sized longitudinal cohorts, collectively spanning the full life course. These studies collect rich data on behavioral and psychological processes related to personality, stress, emotion, social relationships, self-regulation, decision-making, and health behaviors, to explore their links to well-being and health in later life. Many of these projects incorporate experience sampling or daily diary protocols, and a growing number include biomarker and neuroimaging assessments. This seminar would aim to identify the challenges, opportunities, and potential benefits of greater coordination among these projects to encourage collaboration toward multi-cohort publications. Multi-cohort papers inherently address the replication question and often extend a finding to a new context (different age group, different geographic location, etc.), and can reveal limitations of a finding, or identify interesting moderators. To facilitate progress toward data integration, construct harmonization, and collaborative publication, we invite experts to consider the steps required to stimulate this work.

For more information, contact Lisbeth Nielsen: 301-496-3136.

MECHANISMS OF VARIATION IN LIFESPAN AND HEALTHSPAN – June 17, 2019

Individuals vary in their expression of complex traits. This is true even when they share the same genotype at loci that determine a trait across the population. Although environmental factors contribute to the variation in expression, neither the environment nor the genetics can fully account for the variability in lifespan or healthspan among individuals. Within a given species, lifespan is extremely variable. The causes of these inter-individual differences are not well understood. Moreover, individuals with the same lifespan can experience dramatic differences in healthspan. Most of the aging research done in the past has measured the population average of lifespan and healthspan, which masks the heterogeneity in the behavior of the individuals that comprise the population. For example, mean and maximum lifespan quantify the longevity of an aging cohort. These two variables neglect entirely another aspect of the aging population. The behaviors of the population as a whole really hide important information. The heterogeneity makes the population average a poor predictor of individual behavior and obscures the basis of population-level phenotypes. An understanding of the factors that contribute to this heterogeneity is essential to devise interventions that have broad predictability in their effects on aging across individuals. This workshop will evaluate the current status and future goals of the studies on variations of lifespan and healthspan and factors contributing to them. The obstacles and potential opportunities in this area will be also discussed at the workshop.

(Contact: Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/402-7747)

THE THIRTEENTH ANNUAL DIVISION OF AGING BIOLOGY NEW INVESTIGATORS FORUM (DABNIF) – June 27-28, 2019

The purpose of the forum is to bring together new awardees (i.e. Principal Investigators who are new to funding by DAB) in the spring/summer of the year following their award to meet and interact with NIA program staff as well as to allow participants to network with each other. To accommodate the large number of participants, each new PI will present a poster describing the planned research (or results to date). In addition to a keynote speaker, sessions will include short “elevator speech” presentations by new awardees, as well as presentations by DAB staff and NIA leadership, on issues such as scope of the science supported by DAB, funding mechanisms, grant review issues and other related topics. The format will also provide a significantly expanded opportunity for networking among the investigators and plenty of opportunities for interactions with NIA staff. The overriding goal of the meeting is to encourage continued success for the new PIs as well as encourage interactions and collaborations. The format of this forum has been adjusted to reflect the 2018 forum participants’ evaluation.

(Contact: Dr. Manuel Moro, DAB, 301/480-1796)

COGNITIVE BENEFITS (AND COSTS) OF PERIMENOPAUSAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY – August 2019 – Bethesda, MD

There is a clear sex difference in the incidence of dementia, with women being twice more likely to develop all-cause dementia than men. Principal findings on dementia from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) showed that treatment with conjugated equine estrogens plus medroxyprogesterone acetate (CEE/MPA) increased dementia risk in women aged 65 years and above, but not risk of mild cognitive impairment. The dementia finding was unexpected and remains controversial. It is not known whether hormone use by younger postmenopausal women near the time of menopause reduces dementia risk or whether WHIMS findings should be generalized to younger women. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together experts to consider the current knowledge base on the cognitive benefits and costs of hormone therapy and identify gaps that impede the development of clear recommendations about the timing, duration and mechanisms by which perimenopausal hormone therapy may alter the trajectory of cognitive functioning in aging.

For more information, contact Luci Roberts.

NAS PLANNING MEETING ON WORK, THE WORKPLACE, AND AGING – Washington, D.C. – September 5-6, 2019

This NASEM-organized meeting was funded via a task order. The 2013 review of BSR by the National Advisory Council on Aging encouraged initiatives to understand workplace qualities and policies that promote health and support work into older ages, and to develop interventions to extend work life and promote health, particularly among the most vulnerable members of the workforce. This planning meeting would consider what is known and unknown about the health impacts on older workers of employment in the conventional and gig/sharing sectors and workplace qualities and policies that promote health and support work into older ages. Experts will represent the fields of sociology, economics, health psychology, organizational psychology, behavioral medicine, social epidemiology, business, and behavioral economics.

For more information, contact Lisbeth Nielsen: 301-496-3136.

NAS BBCSS EXPERT MEETING ON EMPATHY AND COMPASSION: LEVERAGING BASIC RESEARCH TO INFORM INTERVENTION DEVELOPMENT – Washington, D.C. – September 16-17, 2019

This expert meeting will explore development of interventions to promote the health and well-being of care providers while improving the quality of the care that they provide. It will explore recent advances in measuring and understanding the basic behavioral, affective, and cognitive processes involved in all types of empathy, compassion, and prosocial behavior. The goal of the meeting is to identify future directions that incorporate basic findings, principles, and concepts into research on the development of interventions aimed at optimizing the amount and type of empathy and compassion care providers experience and express, with the ultimate goal of promoting the health and well-being of care providers while improving the quality of the care that they provide.

For additional information, please contact Lisa Onken: 301-496-3136.

SENESCENCE IN BRAIN AGING AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – September 18-19, 2019 – Bethesda, Maryland

The goal of this NIA-sponsored one-and-a-half day workshop is to bring together experts in the fields of senescence, aging, and neurodegeneration to highlight recent research advances, assess the state of the science, and evaluate the challenges and opportunities for furthering research in this area. The workshop agenda will include sessions on: (1) systemic factors, senescence, and brain aging; (2) non-neuronal cells, senescence, and brain aging; and (3) senescence in Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias.

For information on this event, contact Amanda DiBattista.

IMPACT OF AGED IMMUNE SYSTEM ON WOUND HEALING PROCESS – September 2019

This one-and-a-half-day workshop will be a joint effort between NIAID and NIA. The purpose is to bring together experts studying the role of the immune system in wound healing to discuss current and future needs. Wound healing is a complex process aimed at restoring tissue integrity and function and encompasses several overlapping events including the recruitment of inflammatory cells (local and systemic), activation of local stem cell populations, homing of circulating progenitors, epithelialization, matrix deposition and ultimately resolution of inflammation with the scar formation. Advanced age is associated with alterations in innate and adaptive immune responses, which may play a significant role in the impairment of wound resolution in the elderly resulting in an increased incidence of chronic wounds and wound infection in this population. Current knowledge in the field is limited on how different aspects of aging may affect wound healing, but the current workshop will focus specifically on the role of altered inflammatory and innate immune responses. The participants will be asked to identify key gaps in our understanding of immune factors that contribute to delayed wound healing in aged tissues. The relevance of various aged animal models as experimental systems to address these questions will be addressed as well as mechanisms that link aging and development of the inflammatory phenotype to impaired wound healing. This meeting will be held at NIAID auditorium at Fisher’s Lane in Rockville, MD in September 2019.

(Contact: Dr. Rebecca A Fuldner, DAB, 301/402-7748)

NAS WORKSHOP ON INCORPORATING THE EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE APPROACH IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRIMARY PREVENTION TRIALS FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – October 10-11, 2019 – Washington, D.C.

The National Alzheimer’s Plan Act (NAPA) includes a specific milestone for the NIA to undertake primary prevention trials for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias beginning in middle age. This recommendation stems from the realization that many social and behavioral risk factors for dementias would best be addressed prior to the initiation of neuropathologic processes, which themselves may begin decades before frank cognitive impairment is observed. This meeting will explore how insights generated from Science of Behavior Change, in particular the experimental medicine approach, regarding long-term adherence to lifestyle changes, can be incorporated into the design and conduct of these primary prevention efforts to identify the mechanisms through which behavioral interventions may help prevent cognitive decline.

For additional information, contact Jonathan King: 301-496-3136.

THE 30TH ANNUAL NATHAN W. SHOCK AWARD LECTURE – October 17, 2019

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 2019 awardee, Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, will present a talk and meet with staff. Dr. Steven N. Austad, winner of the 1994 award, will also speak as part of the 30th anniversary celebration.

NAS WORKSHOP ON FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN SOCIAL AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE OF AGING – Washington, D.C. – November 18-19, 2019

This meeting will take stock of research advances over a decade of NIA investment in the fields of Social and Affective Neuroscience of Aging and articulate the most promising new directions for the field. Participants will examine evidence of emotional changes in aging in light of advances in emotion theory, current understanding of life-course emotional development (including the impact of early-life adversity), and current understanding of neurobiological and physiological changes associated with normal aging that have relevance to emotional functions. Attention will be paid to the development and impact of individual differences in social and affective phenotypes related to emotional function. Participants will include experts in emotion research from fields such as psychology, psychiatry, behavioral neuroscience, early-life development, life-span development, psychology of aging, affective science, social and affective neuroscience, social psychology, motivation research, psychoneuroimmunology, psychophysiology, psychiatric genetics, and behavior genetics.

For additional information contact Lisbeth Nielsen: 301-496-3136.

GSIG SEMINARS (Fall 2019)

This seminar series is sponsored by the trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG). The GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) was formed to enhance opportunities for discussion of the intersection between the biology of aging and the biology of disease and conditions that are of interest across ICs. It is focused on basic biology, but with a longer view towards translation. These seminars 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: Dr. Ronald A Kohanski, DAB, 301/402-0836)

BLUE RIBBON PANEL ON RODENT CARE FOR AGING RESEARCH – Fall 2019

This 1.5-day meeting is designed to convene a blue-ribbon panel of 10-12 experts in the fields of husbandry and care of research rats and mice. The goal is to provide 1) an overview of the status and challenges related to the research use of older rodents and 2) recommendations for best practices to optimize rigor and reproducibility of aging research studies.

(Contact: Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301/827-4013)

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Content, Media, Outreach, and Meetings

Publications and Web Content

Booklets, Fact Sheets, DVDs:

  • Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Your Easy-to-Use Guide from the National Institute on Aging
  • Go4Life postcard
  • Smoking: It’s Never Too Late to Stop AgePage

Web Content:

Spanish Articles Translated and Posted:

Media & Outreach

Press Releases and Research Highlights

NIA posted and distributed the following press releases:

NIA posted the following featured research:

Social Media

  • @Alzheimers_NIH Twitter followers now total 10,259.
  • NIHAging Facebook has 12,529 followers; quarterly peak reach (approximately 7,100 people) on 1/30 for hypothermia promo.

E-Mail/E-Alerts

Sent a total of 35 e-alerts from 1/1/2019–3/31/2019 to the following lists:

  • Go4Life Fitness Tips: 26,728 subscribers
  • Healthy Aging Highlights: 32,426 subscribers
  • Alzheimer’s News & Announcements: 23,371 subscribers
  • NIA for Caregivers: 13,148 subscribers

Meetings and Exhibits

Meetings with Professional Organizations

  • American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), February 2019 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and senior NIA staff met with representatives from ASA to discuss shared interests. Discussion topics included training opportunities, delirium, perioperative cognitive issues, and funding opportunities in these areas.
  • Sleep Research Society (SRS), February 2019 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and senior NIA staff met with members of SRS. Topics discussed included the NIA budget, funding opportunities, and NIA’s portfolio and priorities around sleep and circadian research.
  • American Urological Association (AUA), March 2019 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and NIA staff met with representatives from AUA. During the meeting, Dr. Hodes presented the NIA budget and funding opportunities. Participants also discussed training opportunities and shared research priorities.
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), March 2019 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and NIA staff met with representatives from ASBMB to discuss basic biology at NIA and other shared interests. Other discussion topics included the NIA budget and funding opportunities.
  • American Geriatrics Society (AGS), April 2019 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and senior NIA staff met with AGS leadership and representatives. Topics discussed included the NIA budget, funding and training opportunities, and NIA sessions at the annual AGS meeting.
  • Friends of the National Institute on Aging (FONIA), April 2019 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and senior NIA staff met with FONIA representatives to review the NIA budget. Meeting participants also discussed NIA funding of AD/ADRD projects at other ICs and the NIA supplement program.
  • American Society of Hematology (ASH), April 2019 – Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and NIA staff met with representatives from ASH’s Committee on Scientific Affairs. The group discussed the NIA budget, shared research priorities, and ways to inform ASH members about funding and training opportunities supported by NIA.

Exhibits at Conferences

  • American Society on Aging, April 15-18, 2019 – New Orleans, LA
  • American Geriatrics Society, May 2-4, 2019 – Portland, OR
  • Association of Healthcare Journalists, May 3-4, 2019 – Baltimore, MD
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Centers meeting, May 2-3, 2019 – Philadelphia, PA

(For more information about NIA’s content, media, outreach or conferences or exhibits, contact Cindy McConnell, Director, OCPL, 301-435-0024. For more information about NIA’s professional meetings, contact Dr. Melinda Kelley, Legislative Officer, 301-451-8835.)

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NEW NOTICES AND INITIATIVES RELEVANT TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING (NIA) For the May 2019 Council Meeting

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