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September 2017 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the September 2017 Director's Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2017, and 2018 Budgets:

FY 2017

The President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2017 on May 5, 2017 to keep the government operating through September 2017. The enacted bill provides NIA $2.048 billion, a $452.576 million increase over FY 2016 level. This amount included an additional $400 million for Alzheimer's disease funding.

FY17 FOR REGENERATIVE MEDICINE INITIATIVE RESEARCH SUPPLEMENT (June 2017)

Given the tremendous promise of regenerative medicine to enhance human health and treat disease, Congress included a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act to support a Regenerative Medicine Innovation Project ($30 million distributed over FY17 through FY20) for the funding of clinical research to further the field of regenerative medicine (RM) using adult stem cells, including autologous, non-autologous use as well as eligible induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). A total of $2 million was provided for FY 2017. This year, NIH and FDA issued RFA/RFPs for competitive revisions to utilize those funds to support ongoing clinical research studies in RM across several ICs including NIA. New applications will be accepted next year. The FOA will support revision projects that utilize rigorous science and reproducible methods to establish proof of concept and a robust evidence base for clinical applications that will advance the field of RM more broadly, such as proposing solutions to widely recognized issues in the development of safe and effective regenerative medicine therapies. Emphasis will be given to projects that address critical issues in product development relevant for regulatory submissions. Areas of focus may include improved tools, methods, standards, or applied science that support a better understanding and improved evaluation of product manufacturing, quality, safety, or effectiveness. The Act stipulates that the NIH, in coordination with FDA, award funds contingent upon the recipient making available non-Federal contributions in an amount not less than $1 for each $1 of Federal funds provided in the award (i.e., a matching funds requirement). Program staff from DAB (Dr. Kerr) and DN (Dr. Wise) are members of the RM working group and Dr. Hodes is a member of the oversight committee involved with its implementation. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HL-17-033.html.

FY 2018

The NIA FY 2018 President's Budget funding level is $1.3 billion, - $745 million below our FY 2017 appropriation of $2.05 billion. On July 13, 2017, the House Appropriations Subcommittee released a proposal with $2.5 billion for NIA, which includes an additional $400 million above the FY 2017 funding level for Alzheimer's research. On September 6, 2017, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee also released a proposal including additional funds for NIH. They proposed an additional $486.7 million above the FY 2017 funding level for NIA including, $414 million targeted for Alzheimer's research.

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Legislative Update

September 2017

Legislation of Interest:

On May 5, 2017, President Trump signed H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017. NIH received a $2 billion increase, or 6.2 percent above FY2016, for a total of $34,084,000,000, including $352,000,000 from the 21st Century Cures Act. NIA received an additional $448M ($400M for AD/ADRD research) above FY2016 levels.

On June 21, 2017, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced H.R. 2973, the Alzheimer's Disease Research Semipostal Stamp Act. The bill, if enacted, would provide for the issuance of an Alzheimer's Disease Research Semipostal Stamp. All funds available from the sale of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Semipostal Stamp would be transferred to the National Institutes of Health. H.R. 2973 was referred to the House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Energy and Commerce.

On July 19, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee reported out the FY2018 Labor, HHS Education Appropriation bill. The bill, which was reported out of Subcommittee on July 13, would provide a total of $35.2 billion for NIH, an increase of $1.1 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $8.6 billion above the President's budget request. This includes $2.5 billion for NIA, with $400 million specifically targeted for Alzheimer's research.

On September 6, 2017, the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education marked up and reported out to the full Appropriations Committee, the FY 2018 Labor, HHS, Education bill. The full Committee reported out the bill without change the next day, September 7, 2017. The bill contains funding for NIH in the amount of $36.1 billion, a $2 billion increase over FY 2017. This includes $2.5 billion for NIA, a $486.7 million increase overall, and a $414 million increase targeted for Alzheimer's research.

On September 8, 2017, H.R. 601, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017, was signed into law, which funds the government at FY17 levels until December 8, 2017.

Hearings, Visits, and Other topics of interest:

On April 26, 2017, Dr. Hodes had a follow-up meeting with Senator Capito (R-WV), which developed out of her previous visit to campus on April 3, 2017. This meeting focused specifically on AD/ADRD research.

On June 5, 2017, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), along with Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), James Lankford (R-OK), John Kennedy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Boozman (R-AR), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited the NIH campus for a tour and discussions with research leaders. Dr. Hodes spoke with the Senators about AD/ADRD research.

On June 22, 2017, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education held a hearing on the NIH FY2018 President's Budget. NIH Director Francis Collins testified, accompanied by NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, NHLBI Director Gary Gibbons, NIMH Director Joshua Gordon, NIA Director Richard Hodes, NCI Acting Director Douglas Lowy, and NIDA Director Nora Volkow.

On July 7, 2017, Dr. Hodes and Dr. Bernard participated in an aging research briefing on the Hill. This event was hosted by the Friends of the NIA.

On July 11, 2017, Senator Moran and leadership from University of Kansas visited NIH to learn more about Alzheimer's research. The group met with NIH Director Francis Collins, NIH Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, NIA Director Richard Hodes, NINDS Director Walter Koroshetz, and NIMH Director Joshua Gordon. They also met with NIA and NINDS researchers and toured NIH laboratory facilities.

On July 21, 2017, Dr. Marie Bernard spoke at an AAAS and Dana Foundation sponsored congressional briefing on the Aging Brain.

On August 16, 2017, Majority House Budget Committee Health Team staff visited campus and met with NCCIH, NCI, NIA, NIAID, NIDA, NIGMS, and NINDS leadership; toured NCI and NICHD labs; and visited The Children's Inn. Dr. Hodes spoke with the staffers about AD/ADRD research.

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

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Staff Changes

Dr. Alexei Bagrov retired from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in March 2017 after 19 years of service. Dr. Bagrov received his M.D. in June 1981, followed by his Ph.D. in June 1987. After receiving his degrees, Dr. Bagrov served as a Staff Physician at the First City Hospital in Leningrad, USSR. He also worked as a Senior Researcher at the Dzhanelidze Emergency Medicine Research Institute and the Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia, before starting at the NIA in 1998. Dr. Bagrov started as a National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences Senior Research Associate and ultimately became Senior Investigator and Head of the Hypertension Section in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science. During his time at the NIA, Dr. Bagrov's research concentration was on the role of the cardiotonic steroid (CT), marinobufagenin (MBG), in high blood pressure conditions.

After 39 years of service at the NIA, Dr. Stanley Rapoport, Senior Advisor, Office of the Scientific Director, retired from his position in July 2017. Dr. Rapoport received his M.D. from the Harvard Medical School in 1959. From there, he was an Intern at Bellevue Hospital in New York. He then went on to be a SA Surgeon in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Rapoport then became a National Science Foundation Fellow in the Department of Physiology at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. After, he returned to NIMH before starting his career at the NIA in 1978 with the Laboratory of Neurosciences. Dr. Rapoport has served in multiple capacities within the NIA. Before his current designation as Senior Advisor, he was the Chief of the Brain Physiology and Metabolism Section. His research interests were focused on "brain lipid metabolism in aging and disease, and how drugs or diet alter brain lipid metabolism or target pathological changes."

Dr. Nancy Nadon, Ph.D., Chief of the Biological Resources Branch at DAB, retired in June 2017. Dr. Nadon was the Chief of the Biological Resources Branch in the Division of Aging Biology. She recently retired after 19 years of service. She was well-known in the community for her role as scientific officer for the NIA Interventions Testing Program (ITP), and for her amazing job at steering the biological resources that the community depends on to carry on important aspects of the research that NIA supports. Nancy was in charge of a complex set of contracts dealing with resources such as rodents and biological repositories, among others. The complexity of these activities cannot be overemphasized, as it would be morally and financially unacceptable to just raise and age an excess of rodents, "just in case there's a spike in usage", so the number of animals entered into the pool at any given time needs to be titrated constantly based on usage trends. And as if that biological complexity was not enough, there have also been innumerable changes in regulatory aspects that needed to be taken into account, often with no early warning. Nancy always did an outstanding job at steering those resources.
DAB, and the community at large, are lucky that Dr. Francesca Macchiarini has agreed to serve as the acting Branch Chief of the Biological Resources Programs, with oversight of the NIA-supported aging rodent colonies.

Dr. Shih-Chieh Lin, after 8 years at the NIA, left in July 2017 to pursue a career as a Professor in the Institute of Neuroscience at the National Yang-Ming University in Tainan City, Taiwan. Dr. Lin received his M.D. from the National Taiwan University in Taipei in 2000. In 2006, he received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Duke University in Durham, NC. Dr. Lin worked as a Research Assistant, a Graduate Student, and a Postdoctoral Fellow before coming to the NIA in 2009. He was a Tenure Track Investigator and Head of the Neural Circuits and Cognition Unit in the Laboratory of Behavior Neuroscience. Recently, Dr. Lin received tenure after focusing his research efforts on the mechanisms whereby noncholinergic basal forebrain (BF) bursting neurons modulate cortical activity and behavior.

Emerald Nguyen, PhD, joined BSR as an AAAS Fellow. Her PhD in Sociology was awarded by the University of California, Davis, in 2016. She has been working most recently as a AAAS Congressional fellow in the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, where she worked on health care, aging, and immigration issues. During her year at BSR she will be working on multiple issues, including portfolio reviews of research on health disparities, dementia care, and migration and aging.

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Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

CHRONIC INFLAMMATION BIOMARKERS IN DISEASE DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION - May 31-June 1, 2017, Rockville MD

The goals of this workshop were to gain deeper insight into disease-promoting inflammation from different research perspectives through exploration and evaluation of current findings, state-of-the-art techniques and enabling technologies, and to identify ways to improve accuracy in gauging an individual's inflammation status preceding, during and following the occurrence of disease with the expectation that this knowledge will facilitate the care of patients and improve their health. The workshop brought together experts from multiple research disciplines who are investigating chronic inflammation and its role in disease development and treatment. This was an exploratory workshop and a collaborative effort of the following NIH Institutes: NIA, NCI, NEI, NHBI, NIAID, NIDCR and NINR. The NIA Divisions of Neuroscience, Aging Biology, and Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology each co-sponsored the Chronic Inflammation Biomarkers in Disease Development and Prevention Workshop. For more information, contact Drs. Miroslaw Mackiewicz, Francesca Macchiarini and Barbara Radziszewska.

Inclusion Across the Lifespan workshop (June 1-2, 2017)

Natcher Conference Center (Bldg. 45), Room E1/E2, NIH Main Campus.
In response to scientific need and a congressional mandate in the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a workshop of experts on the appropriate inclusion of pediatric and older populations in research studies involving human subjects. The workshop brought together experts in clinical research to discuss barriers and opportunities for participation of these populations in clinical studies, including those supported by NIH. For those who are were unable to attend in person, the plenary sessions were videocast. For additional information, email Jaron Lockett or call 301-451-8391.

NAS BBCSS Expert Meeting on Targeting Attitudes, Beliefs and Values for Behavior Change and Health in Older Adults – Washington DC – June 2, 2017

This meeting was organized by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). This meeting examined current evidence for the use of brief interventions to manipulate attitudes about aging, ability to change, self-efficacy, etc. in adult populations as interventions to motivate or sustain behavior change, or to influence psychological processes that support adaptive aging. Building on research on mindset interventions in children and young adults, studies of stereotype threat and aging attitudes, and examples of "psychologically precise" value- or belief-focused interventions in young adults, this seminar considered the next steps for application of these motivational interventions in older adult populations. The approach is consistent with the Science of Behavioral Change experimental medicine approach to behavior change. For additional information contact Dr. Lis Nielsen in BSR 301-402-4156.

NAS CNSTAT Workshop on Developing a Methodological Research program on Longitudinal Studies – Washington DC – June 5-6, 2017

This meeting was organized by NAS, and convened experts and researchers in longitudinal studies, survey researchers, and experts in alternative sources of data, such as administrative records and private sector data. The topics addressed included: Use of Alternative Interview Modes and Innovative Designs for Communication with Study Participants; Expanding the Use of Linkages to Administrative and Private Sector Data; Optimizing the Periodicity and Content of Surveys; Developing More Effective Incentives; and/or Facilitating the Sharing of Information. For additional information contact Dr. John Haaga in BSR 301-496-3131.

ACCELERATING MEDICINES PARTNERSHIP – ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE (AMP-AD) PROJECT B FACE-TO-FACE MEETING - July 11-12, 2017, Bethesda MD

In collaboration with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, NIA held its biannual meeting with the investigators and private partners of the AMP-AD Project B on July 11-12, 2017 at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The goal of the NIA-sponsored meeting was to convene 60 private and public program stakeholders to discuss project efforts to identify and validate possible therapeutic targets for Alzheimer's disease. A summary of the presentations and discussions were shared with the program team. For more information about the meeting, please email Suzana Petanceska.

BBCSS - Workshop on Understanding Pathways to Successful Aging: Behavioral and Social Factors Related to AD – Washington DC - June 12-13, 2017

This workshop, organized by NAS, addressed specific recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Aging to develop effective interventions to maintain health, well-being, and function; improve our understanding of the aging brain, Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases; and develop interventions to address Alzheimer's and other age-related neurological conditions. The workshop also addressed NIA's objectives in the social and behavioral sciences that are consistent with strategies in the National Alzheimer's Plan, including expanded research aimed at prevention. For additional information contact Dr. Lis Nielsen or Dr. Jonathan King in BSR 301-402-4156.

NAS CPOP – Seminar on Aging and the Family – Washington DC – June 14, 2017

This meeting was organized by NAS under a task order. The meeting convened experts and researchers on aging and the family. Issues to be addressed included the elderly and their kin; changing family patterns and relationships; transfers and caregiving; patterns of kin availability and access to care of the elderly; division of labor among the family, market and the state. For additional information contact Dr. John Haaga in BSR 301-496-3131.

NAS CPOP - Planning Meeting on SES Status and Increasing Midlife Mortality – Washington DC - June 16, 2017

This meeting was organized by NAS under a task order. It convened experts to discuss the evidence about causes of the widening socioeconomic status (SES) gradient in life expectancy, especially in later middle ages, and identify gaps in the research needed both to understand and to reverse the trend. For additional information contact Georgeanne Patmios in BSR 301-496-3138.

NIA SPONSORED SYMPOSIUM "TECHNOLOGIES FOR LIFESPAN AND HEALTHSPAN" AT 21st INTERNATIONAL C. ELEGANS CONFERENCE AT GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICA (GSA) ANNUAL MEETING (JUNE 22, 2017)

This NIA sponsored symposium was held on June 22, 2017, in conjunction with the 21st International C. Elegans Conference at Genetics Society of American Annual Meeting on June 21-25, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. The NIA sponsored the symposium to highlight recent findings with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging research and this year's symposium, entitled "Technologies for Lifespan and Healthspan". The purpose of this symposium was for the community to report on approaches, exchange data, and discuss challenges in efficient efforts that characterize how well nematodes age. (Contact(s): Dr. Max Guo and Ron Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).

ELEVENTH ANNUAL DIVISION OF AGING BIOLOGY NEW INVESTIGATORS FORUM (DABNIF) (July 6-7, 2017)

The purpose of the forum was to bring together new awardees (i.e. Principal Investigators who can be identified as "new investigators") in the spring of the year following their award, in order to allow NIA program staff to get acquainted with new PIs as well as allow the participants to network with each other. This year it was opened up to a broader group of new investigators, including R01 and R56 recipients. In order to accommodate the larger number of participants, each new PI presented a poster describing the planned research (or results to date). Two plenary sessions were held, one for a keynote speaker to kick off the meeting and one for Dr. Moro to give an overview of NIH funding mechanisms. This format provided a significantly expanded opportunity for networking amongst the investigators and interactions with NIA staff. In addition, the second day included a technical assistance workshop to provide new investigators with more in-depth discussion on writing successful grant applications, with a Q&A session at the end. The overriding goal of the meeting was to encourage continued success for the new PIs as well as encourage interactions and collaborations. As a result of past meetings, we have found that the PIs have indeed set up new collaborations. They also are much more likely to keep us informed of their new publications and progress. (Contact: Dr. Manuel Moro, DAB, 301/496-6402).

AGING CONCEPT SERIES: WORKSHOP I – IMAGING IN AGING RESEARCH (July 10-11, 2017)

Research in the past several decades suggest that the underlying cause of aging is the time-dependent accumulation of stochastic damage to cells, organelles and biomolecules. With changes happening in cells, tissues, and whole organisms over time, it's important to be able to observe and analyze these changes in vivo, over time. Advanced imaging technology is imperative for aging research. This workshop was the first for DAB's Aging Concept Series. This 2-day workshop was held in Bethesda, July 10-11, 2017. Eighteen postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in relevant areas were invited. This workshop evaluated imaging technologies and discussed the future research directions using the most advanced imaging technologies in aging research. (Contact(s): Dr. Ronald Kohanski, Dr. Jose Velazquez and Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402).

GSIG SEMINAR "Hematopoietic Stem Cells Aging – Mechanisms, Consequences and Interventions" - July 13, 2017

Dr. Emmanuelle Passegué is a Professor in the Department of Genetics and Development at the Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative (CSCI) in New York. She is widely recognized for her expertise on hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) biology. Her research over the past 10-years has focused on understanding the cellular and molecular processes controlling HSC activity during homeostasis, and addressing how these regulations are changed in myeloid malignancies and physiological aging. Her ultimate goal is to identify genetic and/or molecular pathways as therapeutic targets to treat human diseases. To this end, her laboratory employs a variety of cross-disciplinary approaches using mouse models and human patient samples. Current projects investigate the role of apoptosis, autophagy, immune regulations, DNA repair mechanisms, and changes in the bone marrow (BM) niche microenvironment in HSC function in normal, stress, leukemic and aging conditions. Dr. Passegué's seminar focused on how the decline in autophagy observed with aging impacts the renewal potential of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and whether interventions aimed at re-activating autophagy in older HSCs can improve the health of the old blood system. This talk was part of a seminar series sponsored by the trans-NIH 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 was 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: Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301/496-6402).

BIOMARKERS OF HUMAN AGING - July 23, 2017

The Geroscience hypothesis states that slowing the rate of aging will delay the onset and/or reduce severity of aging-related diseases without necessarily altering life span, thus improving health at older ages. This is based on the observation that aging is a major risk factor for development of chronic diseases and degenerative conditions. Measuring the rate of aging is still an open question, which should take into account the following variables: What are the metrics used to measure physiological aging? Do these metrics – or biomarkers of aging – explain the "risk factor" aspect of aging that underlies the geroscience hypothesis? Do these biomarkers of aging account for the variation in health for each age group in a population? This symposium was organized to address these issues. The workshop was held in conjunction with the International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (IAGG) and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Joint Meeting on July 23-27, 2017 in San Francisco CA. The four speakers were: Rozalyn Anderson, Daniel Belsky, Nathan LeBrasseur and P. Eline Slagboom. (Contact(s): Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Research on Caregiving, Care, and Services for Persons with Dementia and their Families; Toward the Next Generation of Interventions – Bethesda, MD – July 31-August 1, 2017

The primary goals for this NIA-supported meeting were to determine the state of the science of research on evidence-based caregiving interventions for persons with dementia, and to articulate a research agenda for caregiving, care and services for persons with Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias. One aim was to classify the various types of informal and formal caregiving interventions in terms of the populations and outcomes targeted, and the settings in which they have been studied. Another aim was to understand some of the barriers that make adoption of evidence-based interventions difficult, and the ways in which these barriers can be overcome. The Stage Model for Behavioral Intervention Development will serve as a framework for considering the design and conduct of caregiving interventions.
For additional information contact Dr. Lisa Onken or Dr. Elena Fazio in BSR: 301-402-4156.

NAS CPOP - Workshop on the Future Directions for the Demography of Aging – Washington DC - August 17-18, 2017

This workshop was organized by NAS under a task order. The workshop convened experts who reviewed recent trends and discussed future directions for research on the demography of aging, including the study of mortality trends and differences, disability trends and healthy life expectancy, evolutionary and comparative demography and biodemography, economic demography and family demography. The workshop addressed Demography of Families and Aging, Living Arrangements of the Elderly, Social Networks and Caregiving and Support, Integration of Biogenetic Information, and/or Understanding Later Life Implications of Early Life Events. For additional information contact Dr. John Haaga in BSR 301-496-3131.

MARMOSETS AS A MODEL FOR BIOLOGY OF AGING RESEARCH - August 25-28, 2017

This meeting was a session held in the American Society of Primatologists (ASP) annual meeting in Washington, DC, August 25-28, 2017. The meeting was coordinated by Dr. Macchiarini (NIA) and Dr. Corinna Ross (Texas A&M University San Antonio) who chaired the session. The marmoset has many advantages over larger non-human primates as a research model, and there has been an effort within the research community to characterize the aging process in marmosets. The focus of this session at ASP 2017 was to summarize the current knowledge of marmoset biology and discuss what needs are still unmet for using the marmoset to study the biology of aging. Topics and speakers included:

  • Dr. Suzette Tardif (UTHSCSA) – Marmosets as a translational aging model
  • Dr. Michelle Valero (Harvard University) – The common marmoset as a model for age-related hearing loss
  • Dr. Jessica Hoffman (UAB) – Marmoset metabolomics to monitor resilience
  • Dr. Agnes Lacreuse (U MA) – Hormonal modulation of neurocognitive aging in marmosets
  • Dr. Afonso Silva (NIH) – Development of transgenic marmoset models of brain function and neurodegenerative disease
  • Dr. Corinna Ross (TAMUSA) – The future of marmoset aging research, intervention testing and beyond.

 

(Contact: Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301/496-6402).

NUTRITIONAL INTERVENTIONS TO PROMOTE HEALTHY AGING (September 5-6, 2017)

This 2-day workshop explored research needs relating to possible clinical trials of different nutritional interventions that have been shown, or proposed to influence, mechanistic pathways and/or biological mediators affecting aging processes. The workshop discussed potential follow-up studies of caloric restriction trials and explored other types of nutritional regimens which may influence human health span. It also considered clinical translational research opportunities based on different types of dietary interventions demonstrated to affect health and life span in model organisms.

Two principal themes addressed were:

  • Implications for further studies based on results from the CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) trial of caloric restriction in humans and other recent human weight loss studies;
  • Potential human intervention studies of alternative dietary regimens (e.g., amino acid restriction, intermittent fasting, modified macronutrient intake and/or nutrient sources, circadian timing of food intake) which have been shown to affect aging-related outcomes in laboratory animals and/or short-term human studies.

 

For each of the above topics, the workshop reviewed current literature and new data, and identified options for potential human intervention studies or clinical trials to improve understanding of the impact of differing nutritional regimens on aging outcomes and disease risk factors, and needs for preliminary research that could inform choices and design of such intervention studies. In addition, attention was devoted to behavioral factors and/or strategies that influence adherence to various types of nutritional interventions and the feasibility of such studies in humans. (Contact(s): Dr. Giovanna Zappala DGCG, 301/827.6240 or Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, DAB, 301/496-6402).

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR BONE AND MINERAL RESEARCH (ASBMR) WORKING GROUP ON AGING SYMPOSIA (September 10, 2017)

After the conclusion of the regular daytime sessions of the ASBMR, there are 12 to 20 Working Groups that meet privately. These are independent Working Groups organized by people of similar interests; no funding or sponsorship of these Working Groups comes from the ASBMR. The level of attendance and the quality of these Working Group programs are wide ranging, with only one Working Group devoted specifically to the Science of Aging, and other working groups dedicated to Rare Diseases, Clinical problems etc. The Working Group on Skeletal Aging has historically had modest success, and has benefited from additional funding provided by NIAMS, Division of Aging Biology and the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology. To help build a more robust Working Group on Skeletal Aging, increase attendance and improve the quality of the program, we hope to improve the NIA presence at ASBMR. (Contact: Dr. John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402).

The Frailty Science: Moving Towards Utility in Clinical Practice

This meeting, held on Friday, September 15, 2017, was sponsored by both the National Institute on Aging and the Johns Hopkins University Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. This meeting addressed the issue of frail older adults and their vulnerability to adverse health outcomes. The purpose of this meeting was to provide a state-of-the-art understanding of where the field of clinical frailty research stands, and to articulate a research agenda that focuses on the steps needed to general relevant clinical recommendations as well as novel biologically-based treatment.

 

  1. Future Meetings

AGING, INFLAMMATION AND FIBROSIS SYMPOSIUM AT THE 50TH SOCIETY FOR LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY (SLB) ANNUAL MEETING (October 4, 2017)

The purpose of the symposium is to highlight recent advances in aging and immunity research at a national meeting. The speakers have been asked to give a 30-minute presentation on their recent research findings with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging research. The symposium will be chaired by Division of Aging Biology program staff (Dr. Rebecca Fuldner). We hold this symposium once per year at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology. The previous symposium was held at the 2016 Annual meeting of the American Association of Immunology on September 15, 2016 in Verona, Italy. Approximately 300 scientists attended the symposium and a similar number is expected for the upcoming symposium. This symposium is conjunction with SLB Annual Meeting on October 5-7, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/496-6402).

ROUNDTABLE ON OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR TRANSLATING GEROSCIENCE INTO INTERVENTIONS (October 6, 2017)

This roundtable intends to begin a conversation between NIA and the pharmaceutical industry, to explore potential pre-competitive activities that might help the development of a public-private partnership to move the geroscience concepts into the clinic, and to patients. A major goal of the NIH is to improve health and the quality of life in human populations. A goal of the NIA is to do so in the aged population. The goal of geroscience is to develop preventative interventions that might prevent or delay age-related diseases and conditions, and a major hurdle is to translate the findings of basic aging biology into humans. Geroscience aims to fill that space, and as it moves forward, a collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry is vital. This meeting will be held in Bethesda, MD. (Contact: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/496-6402).

2017 Nathan W. Shock Award Lecture

This seminar is scheduled for October 19, 2017 and is sponsored by NIA. Dr. Vishwa Deep Dixit will present. (For more information, contact Laci Sasser (OSD), 410-558-8621.

National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and their Caregivers - Bethesda, Maryland, October 16-18, 2017.

The Summit will be held at NIH, and is sponsored by NIH, HHS Office of Women's Health, and the Foundation for NIH. The goal of this research summit is to identify what we know and what we need to know to accelerate the development, evaluation, translation, implementation, and scaling up on comprehensive care, services, and supports for persons with dementia, families, and other caregivers. The Summit is focused on research that is needed to improve quality of care and outcomes across care settings, including quality of life and the lived experience of persons with dementia and their caregivers. For additional information contact Dr. Elena Fazio in BSR 301-496-3138.

NEURO-HIV IN THE ART ERA - October 23-24, 2017, Rockville MD

The purpose of Neuro-HIV in the ART Era Conference is to bring together researchers from neuro-AIDS and from outside the field of neuro-AIDS to discuss recent advances in the field. This Conferences will help identify key scientific priorities for neuro-AIDS research. The conference will be a collaborative effort of OAR (Office of AIDS Research), NIA, NINDS, NIMH, NIDA, and NICHD. For more information, email Dr. Miroslaw Mackiewicz.

Passive Detection of Cognitive Decline - Bethesda, Maryland, October 26-27, 2017

One of the earliest signs of cognitive decline and dementia is impaired financial capacity, which can manifest as difficulties managing money and paying bills or making erratic and uncharacteristically risky financial decisions, heightening risks for financial fraud, inappropriate asset allocation, credit delinquency from unpaid bills, and other losses. Consumer credit data (e.g., Equifax) data linked to health insurance data (and Medicare claims for those 65+) and to longitudinal studies such as the HRS can aid in understanding how consumer debt characteristics predict cognitive decline and health care use. Detecting early warning signs of cognitive impairment and associated healthcare utilization can help patients, their families and healthcare providers make health and financial decisions that reduce the risk of financial and health risk associated with impaired decision-making and optimize health and social care for patients with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment. This exploratory workshop will move this innovative field forward and address methodological issues that have been raised in peer review, including the feasibility of data linkages and probabilistic matching. For additional information contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya in BSR 301-496-3138.

MICROBIOMES IN BIOLOGY OF AGING – November 2017

NIH Roadmap funded the Human Microbiome Project in 2008. The reference genomes from over 5000 bacterial and viral strains collected from human airways, blood, eye, GI tract, heart, lymph node, oral, cavity, skin, urogenital tract, and other parts of body have now been sequenced and made available to researchers in the field. In addition to the sequencing of many microbiomes and tool development, fifteen demonstration projects have been funded to test hypothesized correlations between the microbiome and human health and disease. Although none of the funded demonstration projects funded from the Human Microbiome Project had focused on age -related changes in the microbiome, there are now multiple reports that changes in the composition of the microbiome, also known as dysbiosis, happen with aging and that alterations in diet, different classes of medications and the living environment are important drivers of these observed changes. Links are emerging between the microbiota and a variety of clinical problems plaguing older adults, including physical frailty, Clostridium difficile colitis, vulvovaginal atrophy, colorectal carcinoma, atherosclerotic and neurodegenerative diseases. Many of the mechanisms behind these links are largely unknown. However, the role of the metabolites produced by different bacterial species in health and disease is beginning to be appreciated. For example, the effects of one class of products that is referred to as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including butyric acid is beginning to be studied more extensively. Butyrate and other fermentation-derived SCFAs are produced in the mammalian gut by the fermentation of dietary fiber by several different bacterial species. The effects of butyrate and related compounds on various age-related diseases that have an inflammatory basis such as colon cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders are areas of active research. The alteration of bacterial composition can affect the levels of various metabolites which in turn can affect energy metabolism, immune function and epigenetic alterations in tissues including the aging brain. Manipulation of the microbiota and microbiome of older adults therefore holds promise as an innovative strategy to influence the development of comorbidities associated with aging.

A workshop is being planned to discuss the status of the field and research opportunities on studies of the microbiome and aging. The proposed 1 1/2-day workshop may identify effective strategies to stimulate research on changes of microbiomes during aging and the effects on aging-related conditions and diseases.
(Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner and Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, DAB, 301/496-6402).

HOT TOPICS IN ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: ROLE OF MICROBIOME – November 29-30, 2017, Rockville MD

In coordination with the Divisions of Neuroscience, of Aging Biology, and of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, this NIA-sponsored meeting will bring together academic leaders in the fields of gut microbiome and Alzheimer's disease to discuss what is known about the relationship between AD and microbiome and what are the research gaps. This meeting will be held in 5635 Fisher's Lane, Rockville, MD. Contacts for this meeting are Suzana Petanceska, Rebecca Fuldner, and Francesca Macchiarini.

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP FORUM: SHIFTING DATA SHARING PARADIGM – December 1, 2017, Bethesda MD

This NIA-sponsored meeting will bring together senior non-profit executives, academic leaders, and government stakeholders to discuss the current model for data sharing and identify the challenges associated with open data sharing. For more information, contact Laurie Ryan and Suzana Petanceska.

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General Information/Staff Awards

The 10th Annual NIA Postbac Poster Day was held on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in the BRC Atrium. Steven Artandi, M.D., Ph.D., from the Departments of Hematology and Biochemistry at Stanford University presented a seminar, "Telomerase, Tissue Stem Cells, and Aging-Related Disease."

Winners of "The Scientific Director's Award" at the Postbac Poster Day:

Alay P. Nanavati (B.A. 2016)
College of Holy Cross- Worcester, MA
"Product Administration of a Novel Small Peptide (ARA 290) Derived from Erythropoietin Sequence"
Mentors: Edward G. Lakatta, M.D., and Christopher Morrell, Ph.D.
Christian Gilbert (B.S. 2016)
Elon University- Elon, NC
"Na-Pump Inhibitors, Ouabin and MBG, Stimulate the Development of Fibrosis in Rat Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells via TGB-beta-1 Signaling"
Mentor: Olga Fedorova, Ph.D.

Nicole Rumian (B.A. 2016)
University of Colorado, Boulder- Boulder, CO
"Behavioral Characterization of Neuronal Deficient SLCA9 Mice"
Mentor: Simonetta Camandola, Ph.D.
Sahba Seddighi (B.A. 2016)
University of Tennessee- Knoxville, TN
"SPARCL1 Accelerates Symptom Onset in Alzheimer's Disease and Influences Brain Structure and Function During Aging"
Mentor: Madhav Thambisetty, M.D., Ph.D.

The NIA Intramural Research Program (IRP) held its 25th Annual NIA/NIDA Summer Student Poster Day on Friday, August 11, 2017, at the Biomedical Research Center (BRC). Dr. K. Torian Easterling, alumni from the NIA Summer Class of 2002 and current Assistant Commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene presented a seminar, "A Commitment to Advancing Health Equity at the Neighborhood Level." A team of NIA PIs, Staff Scientists, and Postdoctoral Fellows reviewed the posters and assigned scores for the "Barbara A. Hughes Award of Excellence."

The winners of the 2017 Barbara A. Hughes Award are:

High School
Henry Zhang (Junior)
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology-
Alexandria, VA
"Mapping the Projection of ALDH1A1-Positive Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurons in Mouse Dorsal Striatum"
Mentors: Junbing Wu, Ph.D., and Huaibin Cai, Ph.D.

College
Ifeoma J. Azinge (Junior)
University of Maryland Baltimore County- Baltimore, MD
"STIM1, but not STIM2, is the Calcium Sensor Critical for Sweat Secretion"
Mentors: Chang-Yi Cui, M.D., Ph.D., and David Schlessinger, Ph.D.

Zachary Cook (Senior)
University of Rochester- Rochester, NY
"Assessment of CDK2-Mediated Phosphorylation on WRN Recruitment to Double Strand DNA Breaks"
Mentors: Tomasz Kulikowicz, Ph.D., and Vilhelm Bohr, M.D., Ph.D.

Raul Y. Ramos Sanchez (Sophomore)
University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus- San Juan, PR
"SIRT3 Regulates Mitochondrial DNA Repair by LIG3 Deacetylation"
Mentors: Vilhelm Bohr, M.D., Ph.D., and Hyundong Song, Ph.D.

Tara N. Srinivas (Sophomore)
Brown University- Providence, RI
"Detection of Autophagy in Human CD4+ T Cells"
Mentors: Arsun Bektas, Ph.D., and Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D.

The 2017 NIH Fellows' Award for Research Excellence (FARE) winners were recently announced. The FARE awards provide recognition for the outstanding scientific research performed by intramural postdoctoral fellows.

2017 FARE Winners are as follows:

  1. Rachel Abbotts (LMG)- Mentor: David Wilson
  2. Sanket Awate (LMG)- Mentor: Robert Brosh
  3. Cristina Banuelos (LBN)- Mentor: Peter Rapp
  4. Tyler Demarest (LMG)- Mentor: Vilhelm Bohr
  5. Yuki Kishimoto (LNS)- Mentor: Mark Mattson
  6. Roger Mullins (LNS)- Mentor: Dimitrios Kapogiannis
  7. Maja Mustapic (LNS)- Mentor: Dimitrios Kapogiannis
  8. Yusuke Osawa (TGB)- Mentor: Luigi Ferrucci
  9. Jian Sima (LGG)- Mentor: David Schlessinger
  10. Vijay Varma (LBN)- Mentor: Madhav Thambisetty
  11. Shi Zhang (LNS)- Mentor: Mark Mattson

Staff Honors

Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, NIA Scientific Director, was elected as a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP). According to their website, "The Association of American Physicians is a nonprofit, professional organization founded in 1885 by seven physicians, including Dr. William Osler and Dr. William Henry Welch, for 'the advancement of scientific and practical medicine.' The Association is composed of members who are leading senior physician scientists and are competitively selected."

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PUBLICATIONS AND WEB CONTENT

Major Reports:

Booklets, AgePages, Fact Sheets, DVDs:  

  • Cómo cuidar a una persona con la enfermedad de Alzheimer (Spanish Caring for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease guide; developed in collaboration with Rush ADC)

Web Content

  • Launched newly re-designed NIA website July 22, 2017. Migrated more than 2,750 pages from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, including the migration of the Clinical Trials Database and a newly developed Publications Ordering System.
  • High Blood Pressure (English and Spanish; online-only update)
  • La culebrilla (Spanish Shingles AgePage; online-only update)
  • Animation video: "How Alzheimer's Changes the Brain"

MEDIA & OUTREACH

Press Releases and Research Highlights

NIA posted and distributed the following press releases:

NIA posted the following research highlights and features:

Social Media 

  • @NIAGo4Life Twitter followers now total more than 7,360, with an additional 11,200 subscribing to a daily e-alert of tweets
  • @Alzheimers_NIH Twitter followers now total nearly 7,580, with 10,575 daily e-alert subscribers
  • NIHAging Facebook has more than 4,840 followers; average post reach for 4/1/17-8/13/17 was 1,667 people. 

E-Mail

Sent a total of 55 emails from 4/1/17-8/8/17 to the following NIA GovDelivery email lists:

  • Go4Life Fitness Tips: 56,767 subscribers
  • Healthy Aging Highlights: 55,272 subscribers
  • Alzheimer's News & Announcements: 56,602 subscribers
  • NIA for Caregivers: 7,039 subscribers

Go4Life Month

  • Planning is underway for several Go4Life Month events including a local television spot, a Facebook Live event, and attendance at several local events hosted by partner organizations
  • Developed and posted Go4Life Month materials for individuals and organizations
  • Created Go4Life promo video

MEETINGS AND EXHIBITS

  • Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias National Recruitment and Retention Strategy Workshop, April 28, NIH Campus, Bethesda
  • Alzheimer's Association International Conference, July 16-20, London
  • 71st American Geriatrics Society (AGS) 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting, May 18-19, San Antonio, TX
  • World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), July 23-27, San Francisco
  • National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) Science of Caregiving Summit, August 7-8, NIH Campus, Bethesda
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), May 2017 – Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with senior NIA staff met with the leadership of FASEB. Topics of discussion included the NIA budget and new NIH funding policies.
  • Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), May 2017 – Dr. Marie Bernard met with University leadership and researchers to discuss the NIA budget, funding policies, and active funding opportunities available to researchers.
  • Friends of the NIA (FoNIA), June 2017 – Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with senior NIA staff, met with FoNIA leadership to give them an update on the NIA budget.
  • NINDS ADRD Stakeholders, June 2017 – Drs. Richard Hodes and Eliezer Masliah participated in a meeting hosted by NINDS, involving multiple ADRD stakeholder groups. Topics of conversation included NIH investment in ADRD research and ongoing ADRD FOAs and initiatives. 
  • Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GDSF), July 2017 – Dr. Richard Hodes met with leadership from GDSF to discuss the intersection of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. Specific topics of conversation included, areas of collaboration, research priorities, and leveraging existing datasets. 
  • Us Against Alzheimer's August 2017 – Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard, along with NIA staff met with leadership from Us Against Alzheimer's to discuss patient engagement in research. 

(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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Relevant Notices and Initiatives Published in the NIH Guide

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

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