Skip to main content

September 2019 Director's Status Report

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

Budget and Appropriations

Status of FY 2019 Budget

FY 2018

In FY 2018, 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.

Back to contents

Legislative Update

September 2019

Legislation of Interest:

On June 20, 2019, the House passed H.R. 2740, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020. This bill includes a 6.6% increase for NIA. The Senate has yet to introduce FY 2020 appropriations bills.

On August 2, 2019, President Trump signed H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. The legislation raises limits on discretionary spending by $321 billion through July 2021 and suspends the debt ceiling for two years. Non-defense spending would increase from $605 billion during FY 2019, to $632 billion in FY 2020, and $634 billion in FY 2021.

Hearings, Visits, and Other Topics of Interest:

On June 25, 2019, Dr. Hodes met with Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) to give him an update on Alzheimer’s disease research.

On June 25, 2019, Dr. Hodes met with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to discuss the status of Alzheimer’s disease research.

On June 25, 2019, NIA staff met with staff from Representative Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) office. They discussed Alzheimer’s disease and other aging-related research supported by NIA.

On June 27, 2019, Drs. Hodes and Bernard participated in a Congressional Briefing on Alzheimer's disease hosted by the Friends of NIA and Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA).

On July 23, 2019, Dr. Bernard contributed to an Us Against Alzheimer’s event at the Danish Embassy. Dr. Bernard participated in a fireside chat with a regulatory focus. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Congressman Mike Burgess (R-TX) were also in attendance and participated in a panel with a legislative focus.

On July 25, 2019 NIH Director Francis Collins, NHLBI Director Gary Gibbons, NICHD Director Diana Bianchi, and NIA Director Richard Hodes met with the Congressional Down Syndrome Taskforce.

On August 1, 2019, Dr. Hodes and NIA staff briefed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education Majority Clerk Laura Friedel and Minority Clerk Alex Keenan on Alzheimer’s Disease clinical trials.

On August 21, 2019 NIA and NICHD staff briefed Senate Aging Committee staff regarding research on Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

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

Back to contents

Staff Changes and Honors

BSR welcomed Dr. Frank Bandiera as a Program Officer on August 18, 2019. Dr. Bandiera earned a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Miami, and he has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Florida (epidemiology major). He comes to NIA/BSR from the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Bandiera has been a principal investigator on grants from NIH as well as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has experience and training in health disparities, tobacco control, cancer prevention and control, etc., and conducted epidemiological analyses of the PATH Study on health disparities that informed FDA-initiated public health campaigns on smoking cessation.

Grayson Donley, MPH, joined the NIA staff as a new Health Specialist in the Dementias of Aging Branch. She will be supporting the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers. Her responsibilities will include tracking progress and outcomes of the Centers Program; managing Steering Committees, Interest Groups and Working Groups; organizing the implementation of the ADC Recommendations and portfolio analyses. Prior to joining NIA, she was a Presidential Management Fellow at NCI, where she gained experience in strategic planning, budget formulation, and project management. She recently completed a rotation at NCATS with the Biomedical Data Translator program, where she focused on user experience research and data visualization. She holds a Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Kenyon College.

Dr. Carl Hill, director of the Office of Special Populations, left NIA to assume the role of Vice President, Scientific Engagement, at the Alzheimer’s Association. In the interim, prior to recruiting his permanent replacement, Dr. Mia Lowden will serve as the executive secretary for the Task Force on Minority Aging Research and Dr. Jaron Lockett will direct the BW Scholars program.

On August 18, 2019, Ms. Christeenna Iraheta joined BSR as staff assistant. Ms. Iraheta received a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Towson University. She comes to us from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of the NIH Director. Ms. Iraheta has a wealth of experience in executive support, meeting planning, travel planning, timekeeping, administration and office management. We are excited that she has joined the BSR team.

Dr. Mark Mattson retired from the NIA IRP in June 2019 after 19 years as the Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences. Dr. Mattson received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Iowa in 1986 before completing his postdoctoral training at the Colorado State University. Prior to coming to the NIA IRP in 2000, Dr. Mattson was at the University of Kentucky for 21 years in various capacities: Assistant Professor, Associate of the Sanders-Brown Research Center on Aging, Director of the Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope Facility, and Assistant Director of Basic Neuroscience Research, just to name a few. In recent years, Dr. Mattson’s research focused on roles for the mitochondrial deacetylase SIRT3 in adaptive neuronal stress responses, mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease mouse models, mechanisms involved in the beneficial effects of exercise and intermittent fasting on endurance and neuroplasticity, and roles for extracellular vesicles in the trans-neuronal propagation of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) and α-synuclein pathologies. Upon retirement, Dr. Mattson will focus on his love of trail running and biking, writing, animal husbandry, and gardening.

Ananya Paria MPH, MS, joined the Division of Neuroscience as a Health Specialist. Her expertise has a broad range that extends from scientific review administrator and scientific program analyst, to clinical trial management coordinator and management analyst having worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S. NRC). She also has experience as a technology transfer associate working in the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD) at the National Cancer Institute. Anaya comes to the Division of Neuroscience with three years of experience as a Health Science Policy Analyst in the National Institute of Nursing Research where she participated in institutional strategic planning and development of science policies and regulatory compliances pertinent to Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and Common Fund Initiatives for Congressional Justification (CJ). Anaya will be supporting the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias portfolio. She is a Doctor of Health Science (DHSc) candidate in the University of Bridgeport, CT (tentative completion in Summer 2019), has a Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology and Global Health from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, a Master of Science in Biotechnology-BioDefense from University of Maryland University College, MD, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from North Eastern Illinois University, Chicago.

Ali Sharma, Ph.D. joined the National Institute on Aging in May of 2019 as Health Specialist. Prior to his appointment, he was an Assistant Professor of Pharmacological Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where his research was focused on characterization and validation of molecular subtypes and key molecular network drivers in Alzheimer's disease (AD) using electrophysiology approaches in AD transgenic mice. He also initiated and managed an electrophysiology core facility at Mount Sinai. Dr. Sharma is a graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Biology. He holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and received his postdoctoral training in the Department of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Ms. Charryse Shell, Program Specialist, left BSR on May 7, 2019, to take a position at the Department of Commerce.

Dr. Madhav Thambisetty was approved for tenure conversion and promotion to Senior Investigator on May 6, 2019. Dr. Thambisetty received his M.B., B.S. in 1994 from the University of Calicut, India, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Pharmacology from University of Oxford, Green College, in 1999. After that, he joined the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta as a Resident in Internal Medicine from 1998-1999, a Resident in Neurology from 1999-2002, and, finally, a Fellow and Clinical Associate in Cognitive Neurology and Sleep Disorders from 2002-2004. From there, Dr. Thambisetty was an Alzheimer’s Society Clinical Research Fellow at King’s College London from 2004-2007. In 2007, Dr. Thambisetty joined the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) as a Staff Clinician. He later became a Tenure-Track Investigator and Chief of the Unit of Clinical and Translational Neuroscience in the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience in 2012. Dr. Thambisetty also holds an Adjunct Professor of Neurology position at Johns Hopkins University. At the NIA IRP, his current research focuses on applying a systems biology approach to understanding Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis with the goal of identifying novel targets for intervention.

Dr. José Velázquez retired on June 30, 2019 from Genetics and Cell Biology Branch, Division of Aging Biology (DAB), NIA. Dr. Velázquez received his Ph.D. in 1982 with Dr. Susan Lindquist from the University of Chicago and did his postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Peter Cherbas at Harvard University. Dr. Velázquez has worked for the NIH for 25 years. Before joining NIA in 2008 to direct the Cell Biology Program, Dr. Velázquez served as the Program Director for Genetics at NIGMS, the Program Director for Genetics and Molecular Biology in the Division of Extramural Research and Training at NIEHS, and the Chief of the Genetics and Proteomics Branch at NIAAA. His portfolio in DAB included research and training grants in cellular senescence and cell proliferation, translational and post-translational control, age-dependent protein damage, signal transduction mechanisms, and age-dependent tumors. We wish him the best in his retirement.

Back to contents

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

SCIENCE OF BEHAVIOR CHANGE (SOBC) SYMPOSIUM AND ROUNDTABLE SPONSORSHIP AT THE ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE ANNUAL MEETING – Washington, D.C. – May 23, 2019

NIA supported this activity, at which NIH staff chaired the symposium and panel discussion. There were six research presentations with discussion, and a roundtable discussion involving representatives from NIA, NCI, NCCIH, and NIMH, focused on the Initiative 2.3 SOBC Program goal, which is to facilitate a transition of SOBC advances and approaches to ICs and to the behavior change field through outreach and dissemination.

For additional information, contact Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen.

NAS COMMITTEE ON POPULATION (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 was to review recent research on gaps in the dementia care workforce across various settings. Presenters were 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).

For additional information, contact Dr. Dana Plude.

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 suggest 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.

For additional information, contact Dr. John P Williams.

CELL ANALYSIS IN AGING AND DISEASE – Baltimore, MD – May 23, 2019

Several speakers presented their work on single-cell analysis, including technology, computational analysis, and applications in chromatin studies and the hematopoietic, neuronal, pulmonary, muscle, and renal systems.

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

The overarching goal of this meeting was 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 identified the current state of knowledge in several substantive areas as well as important substantive and methodological areas for future research.

For additional information, contact Dr. Amelia Karraker.

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

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, once again, co-sponsored the annual Pain Consortium Symposium which was led by NINDS. The theme of the symposium was “Pain across the lifespan” and featured expert panel sessions on pain in pediatric populations, mid-life and older adults. There was also a poster session to engage junior investigators.

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

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

This workshop was the second Concepts in Geroscience – Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium. It was organized by members of the Geroscience Interest Group. A novel feature of this Series was a focus on the next generation of researchers. Therefore, the organizers identified 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 fostered interactions among these up-and-coming investigators, gave them access to NIH program staff who can help them advance in their careers, and provided new concepts for NIH to consider in promoting geroscience in the diverse areas 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 participated, in addition to NIA, and the majority of speakers were postdoctoral fellows who do not work specifically in aging and who, therefore, brought fresh perspectives to geroscience.

For additional information, contact Dr. Ronald Kohanski.

NAS BOARD ON BEHAVIORAL, COGNITIVE, AND SENSORY SCIENCE (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

This seminar was organized by NASEM at the request of NIA/BSR. BSR 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 aimed 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, invited experts considered the steps required to stimulate this work.

For more information, contact Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen.

MECHANISMS OF VARIATION IN LIFESPAN AND HEALTHSPAN – Bethesda, MD – 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 evaluated 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 was also discussed at the workshop.

For additional information, contact Dr. Max Guo.

NIA SYMPOSIUM AT C. ELEGANS CONFERENCE AT GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICA – Los Angeles, CA – June 21, 2019

The purpose of this workshop was for the community to report on approaches, exchange data, and discuss challenges in efficient efforts that characterize how well nematodes age. Speakers gave ten-minute presentations, followed by two minutes of questions, on their recent research findings, with an emphasis on how their findings relate to the field of aging research.

For additional information, contact Dr. Max Guo.

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

The purpose of the forum was 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 presented a poster describing the planned research (or results to date). In addition to a keynote speaker, sessions included 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 also provided a significantly expanded opportunity for networking among the investigators and plenty of opportunities for interactions with NIA staff. The overriding goal of the meeting was to encourage continued success for the new PIs as well as encourage interactions and collaborations. The format of this forum was adjusted to reflect the 2018 forum participants’ evaluation.

For additional information, contact Dr. Manuel Moro.

NAS MEETING ON RISING MIDLIFE MORTALITY RATES AND SOCIOECONOMIC DISPARITIES – Washington, D.C. – July 18, 2019

This NASEM-organized meeting was part of a series of meetings that will result in a Consensus Study by the end of 2020 on the most recent findings in research on midlife mortality. The open session included presentations from Anne Case on new midlife mortality findings and Erika Blacksher on concepts of “whiteness” and the role of race and racism in midlife mortality.

COGNITIVE BENEFITS (AND COSTS) OF PERIMENOPAUSAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY – Bethesda, MD – August 15-16, 2019

The NIA Division of Neuroscience sponsored a workshop entitled “Cognitive Benefits (and Costs) of Hormone Therapy” on August 15-16, 2019 in Bethesda, MD. There is a clear sex difference in the incidence of dementia, with women being two times 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 was 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 Dr. Luci Roberts.

NAS FIRST MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPING A BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AGENDA ON ALZHEIMER’S AND ALZHEIMER’S-RELATED DEMENTIAS: WORKSHOP ON LIVED EXPERIENCE, EPIDEMIOLOGY, AND MODELS OF CARE – Washington, D.C. – August 14, 2019

The National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education appointed a committee to conduct a decadal survey focusing on developing a research agenda for the next decade in the behavioral and social sciences as it relates to Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Alzheimer's disease-related dementias (ADRD). For this Decadal Survey, drawing on extensive input from the scientific community and other stakeholders, the committee will assess the role of the social and behavioral sciences in reducing the burden of AD/ADRD. The study will identify research opportunities throughout the social and behavioral sciences, including psychology, sociology, demography, economics, and anthropology, cognition, and behavioral neuroscience, that can be brought to bear on prevention, care, and better understanding of the effects of the disease on society.

This is one meeting in a series that will result in a Decadal Survey Report. The current meeting addressed the following:

  1. The need for a decadal study of behavioral and social science as it relates to Alzheimer’s and related dementias
  2. Understanding the lived experience of patients with and caregivers for patients with Alzheimer’s and related dementias
  3. Epidemiological perspectives on Alzheimer’s and related dementias
  4. Models of care initiates

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

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 considered 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 represented the fields of sociology, economics, health psychology, organizational psychology, behavioral medicine, social epidemiology, business, and behavioral economics.

For more information, contact Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen.

  1. Future Meetings

A GEROCENTRIC APPROACH TO HEART FAILURE WITH PRESERVED EJECTION FRACTION (HFPEF) IN OLDER ADULTS: ELUCIDATING AND TARGETING EXTRA-CARDIAC MECHANISMS – Bethesda, MD – September 12-13, 2019

Over half of patients with heart failure are over 65 years old, and the majority of them have preserved cardiac ejection fraction, especially women. In addition to frequent, acute episodes of severe hypertension with fluid overload and frequent hospital admissions, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is characterized by exercise intolerance (EI), fatigue, decreased health-related quality of life (hrQOL) and independence, and high mortality. In contrast to numerous efficacious medications and procedures, including heart transplant, which have reduced the morbidity and mortality of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), effective pharmacotherapy for HFpEF has not been identified yet.

The Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), in collaboration with the NHLBI, has launched an initiative focusing on potential extracardiac contributors to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) in older adults. This initiative stems from recent advances in the fields of:

  1. Age-related changes in peripheral skeletal muscle, vasculature, sarcopenia/myosteatosis and mitochondria/bioenergetics,
  2. Age-related alterations in adipose/body composition/insulin sensitivity and
  3. HFpEF-focused cardiology.

To accelerate research in this complex transdisciplinary area, NIA is hosting a focused, 1 ½ day workshop in Bethesda, MD, to convene research leaders with expertise in these 3 scientific fields. The goals of this meeting are:

  1. To provide brief state-of-science updates on the impact of advancing age on peripheral skeletal muscle structure/function and bioenergetics, vasculature, insulin sensitivity and adipose tissue in relation to fatigue, exercise intolerance and HFpEF in older adults
  2. To explore new transdisciplinary research opportunities to elucidate the role of these aging-related extracardiac changes in exercise intolerance and HFpEF.
  3. To propose research opportunities to identify and test potential therapeutic targets based on extracardiac age-related changes to improve exercise capacity and HFpEF symptoms and prognosis.
  4. To identify key research gaps and propose transdisciplinary research goals to elucidate the potential role(s) of extracardiac contribution(s) to the pathophysiology and potential therapy of HFpEF in older adult by stimulating cross-field scientific discussion, networking and collaboration between investigators in these 3 scientific fields.

For more information, contact Ms. Winifred Rossi.

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, contact Dr. Lisa Onken.

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

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 includes 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 additional information, contact Dr. Amanda DiBattista.

VIRUSES AND TRANSPOSABLE GENETIC ELEMENTS IN NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES – Bethesda, MD – September 23-24, 2019

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are jointly sponsoring a workshop on “Viruses and Transposable Genetic Elements in Neurodegenerative Diseases” to be held on September 23-24, 2019 in Bethesda, MD. The objectives are: (1) to review the current status of research on viruses and the contribution of aging to the activation of transposable elements as it relates to neurodegenerative diseases; and (2) to identify research gaps and make recommendations on future research directions. The sessions will also include discussions on challenges in bioinformatics and sequencing. The workshop will have participants from experts in the field. Drs. Eliezer Masliah, NIA Division of Neuroscience Director and Avindra Nath, NINDS Clinical Director are hosting this meeting.

For more information, contact Dr. Jean Tiong-Koehler.

IMPACT OF AGED IMMUNE SYSTEM ON WOUND HEALING PROCESS – Rockville, MD – September 23-24, 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 on September 23 and 24, 2019.

For additional information, contact Dr. Rebecca Fuldner.

INAUGURAL ANNUAL NIDA/NIA SPECIAL LECTURE SERIES – Baltimore, MD – September 24, 2019

The inaugural speaker for the new annual NIDA/NIA Special Lecture Series will be Dr. Travis Rieder. Dr. Rieder is the Director of the Master of Bioethics Degree Program, Assistant Director for Education Initiatives, and a Research Scholar at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Rieder was recently featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and is the author of the book In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids. The lecture, entitled “The opioid dilemma: what becoming a patient taught me about America’s overdose epidemic,” will be held in the BRC Atrium on September 24, 2019.

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

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 NASEM-organized meeting will explore how insights generated from Science of Behavior change, in particular the experimental medicine approach, regarding long-term adherence to lifestyle changes, including physical activity, 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 Dr. Jonathan King.

THE 30TH ANNUAL NATHAN W. SHOCK AWARD LECTURE – Baltimore, MD – 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 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 SOCIAL SCIENCE MODELING FOR BIG DATA – Washington, D.C. – October 24-25, 2019

BSR is supporting this NASEM-organized meeting to identify ways that big data and machine learning can be used to enhance social science research in aging. Data are being produced and stored at an unprecedented rate from an increasing number of sources including surveys, social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), sensors (e.g., Fitbit, Apple Watch), smartphones, electronic health records (EHR), federal and state program data (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid claims data), or data from other commercial aggregators (e.g., mint.com). This workshop will provide insight into the possibilities of integrating machine learning algorithms within the big data framework into the study of behavioral and social processes related to aging, while carefully considering disclosure and privacy risks. Specific questions to be addressed will include: What needs to be done so that social scientists can leverage these methods in the study of aging? Where have these techniques been successfully applied in research and how can they be applied to health economics and health services research? What questions should social scientists consider before embracing big data or machine learning in their research (i.e., is there a need for new method development)?

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE BIOMARKERS CONSORTIUM FOR DOWN SYNDROME (ABC-DS) – Bethesda, MD – October 28-29, 2019

This is the fourth annual meeting of the ABC-DS Consortium. The goal is to convene the investigators and study coordinators to discuss analyses of harmonized data sets, which include neuropsychological batteries, neuroimages (MRI and tau PET), and biofluid biomarkers (CSF, plasma, serum). The ABC-DS Consortium is an endeavor, undertaken by two consortia teams, NiAD and ADDS, to look at the Alzheimer’s-related biological and imaging markers within adults with Down syndrome. ABC-DS is supported by funding from NIA and NICHD.

For additional information, contact Dr. Laurie Ryan.

GEROSCIENCE SUMMIT III “TARGETING CHRONIC DISEASES THROUGH GEROSCIENCE: NIH GEROSCIENCE SUMMIT 2019” – Bethesda, MD – November 4-6, 2019

The purpose of the third Geroscience Summit organized by the trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG)—“Targeting Chronic Diseases Through Geroscience: NIH Geroscience Summit 2019”—is to provide a forum for novel interactions between disease-focused professional societies and foundations, and the community of researchers and practitioners of geroscience.

Specific goals are to:

  • Ensure that participants are aware of the potential role of aging biology as a major risk factor in the etiology of the age-related disease of their focus, and the potential benefits of geroscience approaches for treatment of those diseases.
  • Identify ways in which advocacy groups and research societies or foundations can incorporate age and aging into their portfolios and outreach activities.
  • Survey the current status of regulatory issues related to geroscience.

The agenda has been informed by input gathered through a NIH Request for Information (RFI) published in April 2018 (see NOT-AG-18-011).

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

This NASEM-organized workshop 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 Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen.

BLUE RIBBON PANEL ON RODENT CARE FOR AGING RESEARCH – Bethesda, MD – December 10-11, 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.

For additional information, contact Dr. Francesca Macchiarini.

NAS WORKSHOP ON MOBILE TECHNOLOGY FOR ADAPTIVE AGING – Washington, D.C. – December 11-12, 2019

The promise of mobile devices and sensor technologies to deliver just-in-time prompts, reminders, and interventions has been relatively underexplored in the aging context. To the extent that we are beginning to see real success stories for intervention in other age groups, how should we adapt these to target midlife and aging populations? What should we anticipate as being the key barriers to progress in this area? What changes in the design of these applications would make them more appropriate for users across a wide range of cognitive function? And how can we use technology to improve population health? This NASEM-organized workshop will explore these, and other questions related to mobile technology.

 

Back to contents

Content, Media, Outreach, and Meetings

Publications and Web Content

Booklets, Fact Sheets, DVDs:

  • What are the key research issues for Alzheimer’s diseases and related dementias? (7/11/19)
  • Moderate calorie restriction in young and middle-aged adults significantly reduces heart and metabolic risk factors independent of weight loss (7/11/2019)
  • Is healthy lifestyle associated with lower risk of dementia, despite genetic risk? (7/14/19)
  • NIH enables imaging in lifestyle interventions trial for Alzheimer’s disease (7/29/19)

Web Content:

Web Projects:

  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement Resources (ADORE)
  • AD+ADRD Research Implementation Milestones
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Funding Opportunities
  • Rodent Ordering System

Blog Posts:

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 10,830
  • NIHAging Facebook has 13,205 followers
  • ResearchGate pilot test to engage researchers and raise awareness of NIA funding opportunities ran for 3 months and generated 428,586 impressions and 986 visits to our website. The average click-through rate for NIA ads was double the ResearchGate average.

E-Mail/E-Alerts

Sent a total of 48 emails from 4/1/2019–7/31/2019 to the following email lists:

  • Go4Life Fitness Tips: 27,122 subscribers
  • Healthy Aging Highlights: 32,911 subscribers
  • Alzheimer’s News & Announcements: 23,730 subscribers
  • NIA for Caregivers: 13,524 subscribers

Meetings and Exhibits

Meetings with Professional Organizations

  • Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, May 2019 – Dr. Richard Hodes, Dr. Marie Bernard, and NIA staff met with representatives and leadership from the Ad Hoc Group. Topics discussed included the NIA budget, AD/ADRD clinical trials, and NIA-supported scientific advances with direct health implications.
  • Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM), July 2019 – Dr. Marie Bernard participated in a strategy session on women and Alzheimer’s sponsored by WAM and AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health. The group convened to evaluate the state of scientific research and public policy as it pertains to women and Alzheimer's.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget Stakeholder Webinar, July 2019 – Dr. Melinda Kelley, Director of NIA’s Office of Legislation, Policy, and International Activities, along with Mr. Kurt John, NIA’s Chief Financial Officer, and Ms. Melissa McGowan, Chief of the Outreach and Education Branch of NIA’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison, led a webinar for stakeholders to discuss the ADBB process and purpose in greater depth and to answer questions.
  • Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), August 2019 – Dr. Richard Hodes, Dr. Marie Bernard, and NIA staff met with leadership from ADDF to discuss Alzheimer’s clinical research and opportunities for collaboration.

Exhibits and Conferences

  • American Society on Aging, April 14-17, New Orleans, LA
  • National Reconnaissance Office’s Family Fair, April 15, Chantilly, VA
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers meeting, May 2-3, Philadelphia, PA
  • Association of Health Care Journalists, May 2-5, Baltimore, MD
  • NIH Financial Fitness Fair, May 16, Bethesda, MD
  • American Geriatric Society Annual Meeting, May 2-4, Portland, OR
  • NIH Safety, Health, and Wellness Fair (NIA was lead organizer for 2019), June 26, Bethesda, MD
  • Senate Wellness Fair, July 11-12, U.S. Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC
  • Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, July 14-17, Los Angeles, CA

(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.)

Back to contents

NEW NOTICES AND INITIATIVES RELEVANT TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING

For ‘Notices’ and ‘Research Initiatives’ with NIA’s participation or interest please visit the NIA Grants & Funding page and NIH Funding Policies page (please look for ‘Recent Changes in NIH Policy’ on this web link).