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September 2021 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the September 2021 Director's Status Report:

Budget and Appropriations

Status of the FY 2022 Budget

On May 28, 2021, the White House released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 President’s Budget, which calls for $51 billion for NIH, an increase of $9 billion over the FY 2021 enacted level. This includes:

  • $6.5 billion for the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which would initially “focus on cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.”
  • $4.035 billion for NIA, an increase of $135 million over the FY 2021 enacted level

On July 29, 2021, the House passed its FY 2022 Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill, which provides $49.4 billion for NIH. This amount includes:

  • $3 billion for ARPA-H
  • $4.258 billion for NIA
  • $3.394 billion for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias research, an increase of $200 million over the FY 2021 enacted level.

The Senate has not yet released its FY 2022 Labor-HHS appropriations bill but is expected to do so in September 2021.

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Legislative Update

Legislation of Interest

Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials (ENACT) Act of 2021
In May 2021, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), a member of the House Energy & Commerce Health subcommittee, introduced the ENACT Act (H.R. 3085). A Senate companion, S.1548, was also introduced in May 2021 by Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

The ENACT Act seeks to increase representation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) clinical trials among traditionally underrepresented groups. If enacted, the bill would:

  • Expand clinical trial education and outreach and increase the diversity of clinical trial staff to build trust among underrepresented populations.
  • Reduce the burden associated with participating in clinical trials by:
    • Establishing new Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers and increasing the number of Alzheimer’s clinical trials in areas with high concentrations of underrepresented populations.
    • Requiring grant recipients to use community-based engagement strategies in their outreach to underrepresented populations.
  • Authorize $60 million each year for FY 2022 - FY 2026 to carry out these activities.

Concentrating on High-value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act of 2021
In May 2021, Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the CHANGE Act of 2021 (S. 1692/H.R. 3354). The bill primarily focuses on better utilizing the existing Welcome to Medicare initial exam and Medicare Annual Wellness visits to screen, detect, and diagnose Alzheimer’s and related dementias (AD/ADRD) in their earliest stages.

If enacted, section 4 of the bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report to Congress within three years on the increased use of validated tools for the detection of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s. Section 5 of the bill would require the Comptroller General, within one year of enactment, to conduct a study on regulatory and legislative changes or refinements that would accelerate Alzheimer’s research progress.

Alzheimer’s Research and Caregiving Trust Fund
In June 2021, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) introduced a bill (S. 2101/H.R. 3880) to establish an Alzheimer’s Research and Caregiving Trust Fund at the U.S. Treasury. If enacted, individuals would be able to contribute to the fund through their federal income tax returns. Half of the amount in the fund would be made available to NIH for Alzheimer’s research. Funds would be used to supplement rather than supplant appropriations to NIH for such research. The remaining half would be appropriated to the Administration for Community Living to fund services and supports for those living with dementia-related illnesses and their caregivers.

National Biomedical Research Act
In June 2021, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) reintroduced the National Biomedical Research Act (S. 2187/H.R. 4124). If enacted, the bill would provide NIH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with $100 billion in supplemental funding for biomedical research over 10 years. Funds would only be available during years when Congress increases discretionary appropriations for NIH and FDA to ensure that funding for medical research never falls below FY 2022 levels.

Hearings, Visits, and Other Topics of Interest:

Appropriations Committees Briefing: June 22, 2021
On June 22, 2021, NIA Director Dr. Hodes, NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research Director Dr. Lis Nielsen, NIA Division of Neuroscience Director Dr. Eliezer Masliah, and several NIA subject matter experts (SMEs) briefed the health subcommittee majority and minority staff of the House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees. Topics included an update on AD/ADRD clinical trials, current research priorities, and a general overview of the development of the Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget (ADBB).

Appropriations Committees Briefing: July 28, 2021
On July 28, 2021, NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes, NIA Division of Neuroscience Director Dr. Eliezer Masliah, and NIA SMEs provided a detailed overview of the development of the ADBB and implementation of increased appropriations to the health subcommittee majority and minority staff of the House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees.

Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee Hearing: July 29, 2021
On July 29, 2021, NIA Director Dr. Hodes and NINDS Director Dr. Walter Koroshetz testified before the Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee during a hearing entitled, “The Path Forward: Advancing Treatments and Cures for Neurodegenerative Diseases.”

Submitted by: Brian Gray, Ph.D., Health Science Policy Analyst, National Institute on Aging

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General Information

Staff Changes

Dr. Natan Basisty joined the NIA Intramural Research Program (IRP) as a Tenure-Track Investigator in the Translational Gerontology Branch (TGB), effective July 2021. Dr. Basisty will work under the direction of Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, Scientific Director, NIA, and Chief of the Longitudinal Study Section, TGB, and will oversee the newly established Translational Geroproteomics Unit (TGU). The overarching goal of the TGU is to exploit the latest advances in proteomics to measure proteoform-specific and temporal protein changes to develop increasingly specific and accurate biomarkers of health, aging, and age-related diseases. Dr. Basisty received his Ph.D. in Pathology from the University of Washington in 2015 and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in 2021.

Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya was appointed as Chief Data Officer in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research’s (BSR’s) Office of Data Resources and Analytics (ODRA). Under his leadership, ODRA will expand to stay in the forefront of developments in data science and how to utilize new knowledge. In 2007, Dr. Bhattacharyya joined BSR as a Program Officer and played a major role in expanding NIA’s research portfolio in health economics, health services research, behavioral economics, and pragmatic trials, including leading the development of the NIA IMPACT Collaboratory. He has fostered innovation in data linkage, data sharing, and data management, and he has been influential in shaping multiple NIA-wide and NIH-wide data science initiatives. Dr. Bhattacharyya has a BS in Applied Mathematics and Economics and a Ph.D. in Economics from Stony Brook University.

Jazmin Bustillo, MS joined the Division of Extramural Activities in July 2021 as a Program Specialist. Mrs. Bustillo will provide administrative and planning support for activities related to the National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) and other DEA functions. Mrs. Bustillo has been with NIH for three years. She came on board to NIH as a Student’s Pathways Intern working as a Program Analyst with the Implementation Science Branch in the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS), at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). While at CTRIS, she organized, coordinated, and helped implement the Building the Next Generation of Implementation Science (iNexIS) K12 Program. She also assisted with cooperative agreements (U01 and UG3/UG3 activity codes) by handling meeting and workshop logistics, managing communication, and obtaining research documentation from all research sites. Mrs. Bustillo obtained a BA in Health Administration and Policy with a concentration in Public Health from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). While finishing her undergraduate degree, she participated in the Pathways Internship Program in the Office of the Director within the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2019, she earned a master’s degree in Health Science with a concentration in Community Health from Towson University.

Dr. Stacy Carrington-Lawrence joined NIA as the Deputy Director of the Division of Aging Biology (DAB) in May 2021. Dr. Carrington-Lawrence has expertise in basic biology and experience promoting research to address health inequities. She is developing a program of basic biology of aging in health disparities research. Prior to joining NIA, Dr. Carrington-Lawrence was Senior Scientific Advisor in the NIH Office of the Director, Office of AIDS Research (OAR) since 2007. In her work for the Office of the Director, NIH, Dr. Carrington-Lawrence was the chair, co-chair, coordinator, and lead on more than 30 workshops, committees, and planning programs on a broad range of activities and research topics related to HIV/AIDS. Her expertise encompasses several areas, including health disparities research, HIV-related comorbidities and co-infections, structural biology, systems biology and omics studies, immunology, microbiome, clinical research and basic virology. She has extensive experience leading the coordination of NIH-wide working groups and external stakeholder committees and has facilitated effective collaborations and partnerships with academic institutions, federal and state agencies, non-governmental agencies, and community organizations to foster high-level initiatives. Importantly, she was the lead for the development and coordination of the OAR stakeholder engagement activities and other outreach efforts for community, academic, governmental, and private partners. Dr. Carrington-Lawrence began her career in public service in the HHS Emerging Leaders Program, a competitive, two-year federal internship within the Department of Health and Human Services (2005-07). During that internship, she worked in the Program on Public Private Partnerships, Office of Science Policy, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (2006-07). Dr. Carrington-Lawrence earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry in 2004 from the University of Connecticut Health Center.

Dr. Minki Chatterji joined BSR on July 6, 2021, as a Program Officer in the Population and Social Processes Branch, managing the Global Health and Cognitive and Dementia Epidemiology portfolio that includes population aging research initiatives and Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP) projects in the Health and Retirement Study comparator studies in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Chatterji comes to us from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), where she was a Program Officer managing substance use prevention research and the Healthy Brain and Child Development initiative. She has extensive experience in studies on HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, interventions, and evaluation research in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Dr. Chatterji received her Ph.D. in Demography from the University of California at Berkley.

Dr. Allison Herman was appointed as an Independent Research Scholar (IRS) in the Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics (LGG), NIA IRP. Dr. Herman will lead the newly established Translational Senescence Unit (TSU) within the RNA Regulation Section (RRS) of LGG. As part of the IRS Program, Dr. Herman will create and lead a research program that applies innovative RNA sequencing techniques with vascular cell aging and senescence to develop therapeutic interventions for vascular diseases. Dr. Herman earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA in 2019. Upon receiving her graduate degree, Dr. Herman joined the LGG as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the RRS.

Dr. Dimitrios Kapogiannis was approved for tenure conversion on June 7, 2021 and was promoted to Senior Investigator in the NIA IRP effective July 4, 2021. Dr. Kapogiannis received his Medical Degree from the National University of Athens Medical School in Athens, Greece in 1998. After receiving his graduate degree, Dr. Kapogiannis joined the Rural Medical Service at Kalamata General Hospital in Greece until 2000 when he became an Assistant Medical Officer at Hellenic Navy General, also in Greece. From 2002-2003, Dr. Kapogiannis completed his Preliminary Internal Medicine Internship at the Evanston Hospital/Northwestern University in Illinois. He went on to complete his residency in Neurology in 2006 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, and in 2008 completed his Clinical Fellowship in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). In 2009, Dr. Kapogiannis joined the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) at NIA as a Staff Clinician. He was appointed as a Tenure-Track Investigation 2 (Clinical) in 2014, and has since served as Chief of the Human Neuroscience Unit in the LCI. Dr. Kapogiannis also holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position in the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. At the NIA IRP, his current research is aimed at identifying biomarkers of early neurodegeneration, particularly AD/ADRD. The bulk of his work has focused on the identification and analysis of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the circulation, and he has conducted proof-of-concept clinical studies of metabolic interventions in patients and preclinical populations to reverse or prevent AD/ADRD.

Dr. Lenore Launer was named Chief of the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences (LEPS) in the NIA IRP. Dr. Launer received her Ph.D. in 1987 from Cornell University. She joined NIH in 1988 as an Epidemiology Training Fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), after which she developed her research interests in aging as a research scientist in the Netherlands. Dr. Launer joined the LEPS (formerly the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, LEDB) in 1999 as the head of the Neuroepidemiology Section. She received tenure in 2005 and has been serving as the Acting Chief of LEPS since 2010.

Teresa Lindquist, MS joined the Division of Neuroscience as a Social Sciences Analyst in May 2021. Her current role in this position focuses on establishing standardized practices for the assignment of applications to program officers, including management of Program Class Codes within the Division of Neuroscience. She started at NIH in intramural research before moving to the extramural side, where she has become an expert in a number of areas, including scientific program analysis, research categorization, and program class coding. Ms. Lindquist most recently worked at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases as a Program Analyst. She has a master’s degree in Psychology.

Dr. Wenming Luh, Staff Scientist/Facility Head (SS/FH) in the Clinical Research Core (CRC), resigned from the NIA/IRP effective May 2021. Dr. Luh received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Medical College of Wisconsin in January 1999. He had served as a Staff Scientist with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for 11 years (2001-2012), under the leadership of Dr. Peter Bandettini. In 2012, he joined Cornell University in Ithaca, NY as the Technical Director of an MRI facility and in 2018 joined the CRC of the NIA/IRP as a SS/FH where he managed the 3T MRI Facility.

Carol Nguyen, MS joined the NIA Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (GCG) as a Health Program Specialist in July 2021. Her responsibilities focus on planning collaborative research initiatives in a variety of scientific areas. She comes to NIA from the intramural program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), where she was a laboratory manager in its Laboratory of Viral Diseases.

Camille Pottinger, MS is a Health Specialist in the Population and Genetics Branch of the Division of Neuroscience (DN) supporting the population portfolio. Prior to joining NIA, Ms. Pottinger worked in the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She served as the Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium and led the day-to-day operations of the organization, including carrying out the organization’s goals and policies. She also worked as a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow in EGRP to assist in the coordination, planning, and analysis of NCI Cohort Consortium activities as well as other EGRP and NCI programmatic and scientific activities. Ms. Pottinger received a master’s degree in Public Health in epidemiology of microbial diseases from the Yale School of Public Health. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Public Health degree from Morgan State University and is a predoctoral clinical research fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Her interest areas include public health prevention and minority women’s health.

Dr. Andrew Singleton was selected as the Director of the Center for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (CARD), a recently established collaborative initiative between NIA and NINDS that supports basic, translational, and clinical research on AD/ADRD. Dr. Singleton received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, in 1999. He began his career with the NIA as a Tenure-Track Investigator and Chief of the Molecular Genetics Unit in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics (LNG) in 2002. He received tenure in 2007 and was appointed Chief of the LNG in 2008. In March 2016, Dr. Singleton was approved for the designation of NIH Distinguished Investigator (NDI). In April 2020, Dr. Singleton was named Acting Director of CARD. Dr. Singleton’s research has focused on understanding the basis of neurodegenerative disease and most recently has been centered on the use of genetics in understanding and predicting neurodegenerative disease. As Director of CARD, Dr. Singleton will create mechanisms for inclusion of a diverse group of scientists from other Institutes/Centers who will be actively engaged in cutting-edge research on, and development of, therapeutic approaches to AD/ADRD. In addition to serving as CARD Director, Dr. Singleton will continue to serve as Chief of the Molecular Genetics Section (MGS) within the LNG.

Dr. Jayalakshmi Viswanathan is a new member of the Division of Neuroscience. Jaya completed her Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology with Honors from SASTRA University in India followed by a Master of Science in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at a CNRS lab, CerCo, at the University of Toulouse in France where she investigated the neural mechanisms that underlie auditory perception and memory. She extended these findings during her post-doctoral fellowship at the Neural Systems Laboratory at the University of Maryland, College Park, by using neurophysiological techniques to understand aging-related changes in the response properties of neurons in auditory and frontal cortices. Beyond her research focused on investigating mechanisms of sensory perception, behavior, memory, and how they change with aging, Dr. Viswanathan is also passionate about making science more interesting and accessible to the public. In addition to many publications and conference presentations to her credit, she has continuously strived to teach and mentor and has held many science workshops for the public (for children and adults of all ages). In her free time, she pursues art and has also created a series of neuro-art paintings inspired by the works of Cajal and his contemporaries. She is very excited to join the translational research branch at DN as a Scientific Research Analyst.

Dr. Keenan Walker, Tenure-Track Investigator and Chief of the Multimodal Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND) Unit in the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience (LBN), was accepted into the NIH Distinguished Scholar Program in recognition of his commitment — past, present, and future — to promoting diversity and inclusion through his mentorship, outreach activities, and dedication to recruiting and retaining researchers from underrepresented groups. Dr. Walker earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2016 from St. John’s University, New York. After receiving his doctoral degree, he joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow and became Assistant Professor in 2019. He joined LBN as a Tenure-Track Investigator in October 2020.

Ms. Elizabeth Wiggins departed BSR in July 2021, to return to her studies. Ms. Wiggins worked as a Pathways Intern and assisted DBSR’s Health Specialists in a variety of tasks.

Staff Honors

Dr. Francesca Macchiarini was bestowed the decoration of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy), by his Excellency Armando Varricchio, the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, who had nominated her. Conferred by the President of the Republic, this distinction is Italy’s second-highest civilian honor, presented to all those, Italians abroad or foreigners, who have acquired special merit in the advancement of friendly relations and cooperation between Italy and other countries and the promotion of ties with Italy.

The 2022 NIH Fellows’ Award for Research Excellence (FARE) winners were announced and include four NIA winners. The FARE awards provide recognition for the outstanding scientific research performed by intramural postdoctoral fellows.

2022 FARE Winners Are as Follows:

  1. Carlos Anerillas Aljama, Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics
  2. Zhaoyuan Gong, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation
  3. Avgerinos Konstantinos, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation
  4. Roshni Roy, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology

The 2021 NIH Virtual Postbac Poster Day was held in April 2021. The NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) recognized twelve NIA postbacs who were ranked in the top 20% of all presenters by the judges.

Recognized Postbacs Are as Follows:

  1. Lauren Butler, Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience
  2. Elisabeth Buvarp, DNA Repair Section, Office of the Scientific Director
  3. Meaghan Cabassa, Translational Gerontology Branch
  4. Julie Lake, Laboratory of Neurogenetics
  5. Jessica Martin, Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics
  6. Brendan Mitchell, Translational Gerontology Branch
  7. Faysal Shaikh, Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience
  8. Sonali Singh, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology
  9. Breanna Takacs, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology
  10. Carlos Ticas, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology
  11. Sharon Truong, Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science
  12. William Wen, Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics

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Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

Past Meetings

2021 TRANS-NIH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE WORKING GROUP MEETING – Virtual – May 18, 2021

The NIA Office of the Director and the Division of Neuroscience hosted the 2021 Trans-NIH Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Working Group virtual meeting on May 18, 2021. The activity was participated in by representatives from a number of NIH Institutes and Centers including FIC, NCATS, NCCIH, NCI, NEI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIAID, NIBIB, NICHD, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIEHS, NIMHD, NINDS, OD-DPCPSI and OD-IMOD. Dr. Richard Hodes presented on AD research, collaborations, and budget updates, and Rod Corriveau presented on ADRD research. A briefing on the 2021 NIH Alzheimer’s Research Summit: Path to Treatment and Prevention that was held on April 19-22, 2021 was also presented. For additional information, please contact Dr. Jean Tiong-Koehler, tiongj@nih.gov.

NASEM/CPOP EXPERT MEETING ON DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA ON THE MEDIUM- AND LONG-TERM SOCIAL IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – Virtual – May 20, 2021

This half-day seminar considered research directions on the medium- and long-term social and economic impacts on COVID-19, with racial/ethnic, sex, and socioeconomic disparities of these impacts being an integral part. Understanding the social and economic effects of the pandemic cannot be separated from either the inequalities proceeding the pandemic or the disparate ways that the pandemic is already playing out (e.g., infections, hospitalizations, mortality, job loss, etc.). Indeed, it is now well known that the pandemic is exhibiting its most severe mortality effects in the United States on American Indians, Hispanics, and Blacks. Sex differences are likely to be just as important for understanding the short- and long-term effects of the pandemic, with women bearing the brunt of job losses, additional caregiving duties, assisting their children with remote learning, and serving in many risky job contexts since the pandemic began. The workshop focused on the medium- (up to five years) and long-term (more than five years) effects of pandemic-related disruptions to the educational process for children, youth, and young adults; disruptions to work for working-age adults; and changes in the caregiving duties of working-age Americans, particularly women. The meeting was intended to provide expert insights into future directions for research. For additional information, please contact Dr. John Phillips, John.Phillips@nih.gov, 301-496-3136.

NONPHARMACOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO THE EARLY PREVENTION OF AD/ADRD – Virtual – May 24-25, 2021

Nonpharmacological interventions to prevent age-related AD/ADRD are of great interest to scientists, policymakers, and the public. Of particular interest would be prevention interventions beginning in midlife that could eliminate disease burden completely, as well as nonpharmacological interventions that would avoid the risks and costs of chronic drug regimens. Nevertheless, the “naïve” approach to the non-pharmacological prevention of AD/ADRD beginning in midlife, a decades-long randomized clinical trial, would face immediate and significant design challenges. This workshop addressed these core methodological challenges with respect to the populations we should be selecting, the intervention targets we are attempting to hit — including how best to measure target engagement — and the actual and specific outcomes we are seeking. In addition, the workshop examined the overall process of intervention development and addressed how best to accumulate evidence to support intervention strategies that will be effective in populations of interest. For additional information, please contact Dr. Jonathan King, Jonathan.King@nih.gov, 301-496-3136.

NASEM/BBCSS EXPERT MEETING ON BEHAVIORAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS RELATED TO COVID-19 VACCINE UPTAKE ACROSS THE LIFESPAN – Virtual – June 14-15, 2021

Effectively addressing the COVID-19 pandemic requires not only the production of vaccines, but also rapid and widespread vaccination of the U.S. public (i.e., ‘shots in arms’). Vaccinating the most people in the shortest amount of time offers the best potential to mitigate morbidity and mortality, achieve herd immunity, and minimize additional pandemic-related challenges such as viral mutations. Unfortunately, vaccine hesitancy interferes with the ability to rapidly achieve herd immunity. Groups with the highest vaccine hesitancy, include the “want, but wait” group (~38-39%), nursing home workers (38%), rural residents (35%), African Americans (35%), and essential workers (33%). This situation creates a significant public health challenge, as well as an opportunity for behavioral research communities to contribute (Volpp et al., 2020; SOBC webinar, 2021). The NASEM BBCSS spring webinar focused on ways to investigate the causal drivers of vaccine hesitancy and intervention strategies to address hesitancy-related challenges across the lifespan. For additional information, please contact Dr. Luke Stoeckel, Luke.Stoeckel@nih.gov, 301-496-3136.

NIA INVESTIGATORS' MEETING ON COVID-19 RESEARCH ON AGING – Virtual – June 17-18, 2021

The purpose of this investigators' meeting, held on June 17-18, was to provide the opportunity for extramural program staff to learn about early research progress on NIA’s extramural COVID-19 research projects. NIA hosted the meeting in virtual format, and a full report on the proceedings is in progress and will be made publicly available later this summer, 2021. For additional information, please contact Dr. Luci Roberts, luci.roberts@nih.gov.

NASEM/BBCSS WORKSHOP ON BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL RESEARCH AND CLINICAL PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS OF BIOMARKER AND OTHER PRECLINICAL DIAGNOSTICS OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND AD-RELATED DEMENTIAS – Virtual – June 28-29, 2021

This workshop addressed behavioral and social science research questions raised by the use of biomarkers and other measures (e.g., digital/sensor data) for preclinical AD/ADRD diagnosis, including the personal, social, ethical, legal, economic, health equity, and health care implications for patients and families, the impact of disclosure of preclinical diagnosis on identity and self-concept, study partners and interpersonal relationships, interactions with the health care system, participation in the workforce, and other outcomes. It also addressed the implications of preclinical diagnosis of AD/ADRD for the design and conduct of AD/ADRD prevention research. For additional information, please contact Dr. Luke Stoeckel, Luke.Stoeckel@nih.gov, or Dr. Elena Fazio, Elena.Fazio@nih.gov, 301-496-3136.

THE FOURTEENTH ANNUAL DIVISION OF AGING BIOLOGY NEW INVESTIGATORS FORUM (DABNIF) – Virtual – June 28-29, 2021 and December 6-7, 2021

The DAB new investigators forum (DABNIF) is a long-standing yearly event. It brings together new DAB awardees in the spring of the year following their award to meet and interact with NIA program and review staff as well as to network with each other. These are investigators at an early stage of their research careers and who are new to funding by DAB. The overarching goal of the meeting is to encourage continued success for the new PIs in the field of aging as well as to encourage interactions and collaborations. Specifically, DABNIF provides the participating PIs an opportunity to get to know DAB and DEA staff, learn about the review and grant administration and what NIA-specific grant mechanisms are available, and network with colleagues at a similar stage of their career. To this end, each PI presents a poster describing the planned research (or results to date) and gives an “elevator speech” short talk where they introduce themselves and briefly talk about their research interests and careers goals. In addition to these activities, the forum’s agenda includes a keynote presentation by an expert in the area of aging, and talks by DAB staff and NIA leadership, on issues such as scope of the science supported by DAB, funding mechanisms, use of the Guide, navigating the NIA website, grant review issues and in-depth discussions on writing successful grant applications. Ample Q&A opportunities are provided throughout the program. This forum directly supports the NIA mission related to fostering new areas of research in aging as well as to disseminating information about aging-related grant opportunities to the scientific community. As a result of past meetings, we have found that the PIs have indeed set up new collaborations and increased their interactions with DAB staff. They are also much more likely to keep DAB staff informed of their new publications and progress. In addition, the format of the forum reflects past years’ anonymous participant evaluation and feedback. For additional information, please contact Dr. Manuel Moro, morom@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6402.

THE 26TH ANNUAL NIA/IRP SCIENTIFIC RETREAT – Virtual – July 19- 20, 2021

The two-day, NIA-sponsored event featured two large poster sessions, brief talks from IRP scientists, and a keynote address from Dr. Carlos Fernandez-Hernando, Professor of Pathology and Comparative Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

SUMMER VIRTUAL PRESENTATION WEEK – Virtual – August 3-5, 2021

NIH Summer Students virtually presented their research. The NIA/IRP had 43 Summer Students participating in this event. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

DETERMINANTS OF SPECIES DIFFERENCES IN HUMAN AND NONHUMAN PRIMATE LIFE SPANS AND HEALTH SPANS: POTENTIAL ROLES IN DEVELOPING INTERVENTIONS TO EXTEND HUMAN LONGEVITY AND HEALTH SPAN – Virtual – August 10-11, 2021

The workshop was a joint effort among NIA’s four extramural divisions as well as the IRP. The workshop explored ways in which comparative studies of primate species with differing life spans may offer insight into strategies and mechanisms that can be applied to extend human life span and/or health span. Speakers and panelists included experts in translational human longevity studies, evolutionary biology, physical anthropology, primate biology, and comparative biology. The workshop drew more than 300 registrants from several countries, including staff of 20 NIH institutes and 80 other institutes and universities. Areas of focus for this workshop included: 1) human studies of determinants of longevity and health span, and approaches for target identification for human interventions; 2) multiple phyla comparisons in studies on longevity (with special focus on primate data); 3) biodemography of primate longevity and life histories; 4) biologic and evolutionary differences that might be related to primate species life span; and 5) evolutionary brain differences that might be related to cognitive aging changes. Sessions at the workshop’s end addressed animal and data resources that are important in this research, research and resource needs, and NIA funding mechanisms to support development of innovative interdisciplinary strategies and collaboration among the fields represented at the workshop, which could lead to novel research approaches that would add to current strategies to identify targets for interventions that could extend human health span and life span. For additional information, please contact Dr. Evan Hadley, hadleye@nia.nih.gov.

NIA/NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE (NIDA) SPECIAL LECTURE SERIES – Virtual – August 30, 2021

This prerecorded interview included Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, Scientific Director, NIA and Dr. Amy Newman, Scientific Director, NIDA, who spoke with Dr. Nii Addy on The Addy Hour, a Yale University podcast about the impact of COVID-19 on NIA and NIDA science and the scientific workforce. The recorded interview will be disseminated to NIA and NIDA staff in the fall of 2021. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

GLOBAL GENETICS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE SYMPOSIUM: PATHWAY TO TRANSLATION SYMPOSIUM 2021 – Virtual – July-September 1, 2021

NIA and the Alzheimer’s Association are organizing a virtual global symposium on Alzheimer’s disease genetics. “The 2021 Global Genetics Alzheimer’s Disease Symposium: Pathway to Translation” (see: http://alz.org/alzheimers-genetics-symposium/overview.asp). Organizers are members of the NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP). This activity will be held as an ancillary session of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). This symposium will bring experts from across the globe to the research community and will target a broad audience that will encompass basic science, translational medicine, and clinicians. The goals of this symposium are to inform clinicians, translational and basic researchers how genetic discoveries impact and drive biomarker development, target discovery, and target validation. The overarching aim is to facilitate conversation about using genetic findings in clinical practice and translational research. Sessions will include topics such as how genetics plays a role in developing therapeutics, the emerging use of biomarker data along with genetic data in clinical and research settings, prioritizing genes for clinical application using polygenic risk scores (PRS), and identifying therapeutic targets for AD/ADRD based on risk and protective factor variants in the genome. Participants will be able to access prerecorded sessions starting in July. A live two-hour question and answer period is tentatively scheduled on September 1, 2021. For more information, please contact Dr. Marilyn Miller, millerm@nia.nih.gov, 301-496-9350.

DIVISION OF AGING BIOLOGY REVIEW – Virtual – September 2021

This is a series of meetings for a committee of present and former members of the National Advisory Council on Aging and other scientists and administrators appointed at the discretion of the NIA Director. The purpose is to obtain feedback on performance and activities of the Division since the last review and to obtain input on the plans of the Division for future activities. The Division presents information to the review committee on activities and processes for which DAB staff have influence and control and not on general NIA processes. This would include overall direction of the Division (under new leadership), RFA development, use of discretionary funds and administrative supplement money, staff and portfolio organization, special long-term programs overseen by the Division (such as the ITP and CITP), interactions with other NIA Divisions and other NIH IC, roles in the Common Fund, NIA-wide and NIH-wide working groups, DAB-sponsored workshops and engagement at national meetings, and similar educational and outreach activities. The Division also provides information as might be requested by the review committee. The outcome of this review will be a guidance document presented at a future meeting of the National Advisory Council on Aging. For additional information, please contact Dr. Ronald Kohanski, kohanskir@mail.nih.gov, 301-402-0836.

Future Meetings

INTER-LABORATORY PROPOSAL (ILP) SYMPOSIUM – Virtual – September 2021

The ILP initiative has created an opportunity for researchers from across IRP laboratories to develop innovative, collaborative research projects and compete for funding. The ILP Symposium will allow researchers leading inter-laboratory projects to present their mid-year project reviews. Presentations will focus on three specific aims of each project and what has been accomplished thus far. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

AD/ADRD SINGLE CELL PROTEOMICS THINK TANK MEETING – Virtual – September 16, 2021

The advancements of single-cell proteomics (sc-proteomics) technologies have now allowed investigators to directly describe the phenotypes of cells without the need to infer proteins from cellular mRNA levels. In this one-day think tank meeting hosted by NIA Division of Neuroscience, the speakers will present the state of the science on sc-proteomics and explore the potential opportunity to use this type of technology in AD/ADRD research. This workshop will cover the following areas: high-throughput, single-cell chemical and proteomic analyses, and novel sample preparation and data acquisition for single-cell analyses. For additional information, please contact Austin Yang, austin.yang@nih.gov.

NASEM/CNSTAT WORKSHOP ON IMPROVING CONSENT AND RESPONSE IN LONGITUDINAL STUDIES OF AGING – Virtual – September 27, 2021

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) will host a workshop to identify methods to improve response/retention and enhance consent protocols for biomarker and program (administrative) data linkage in nationally representative longitudinal studies of older Americans. This is in response to the 2019 NACA Review, which recommended that NIA prioritize research to develop new, more effective approaches for recruiting participants to ensure samples are population representative. The methods discussed will include innovations in survey methods with a multidisciplinary approach, such as framing of questions and consent protocols employing insights from psychology and behavioral economics; messaging and participant engagement approaches about the value of study participation; efforts to understand what would motivate consent to specific protocols; and efforts to understand if a study has adequately secured a social license/trust with respondents. A summary will be produced and will appear on the NIA website at https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/dbsr/workshop-reports. For additional information, please contact Dr. John Phillips, John.Phillips@nih.gov, 301-496-3136.

13TH ANNUAL BALTIMORE FELLOWS SYMPOSIUM (BFS) – Virtual – Fall 2021

The 13th Annual Baltimore Fellows Symposium (BFS) will be held in fall 2021. The date and keynote speaker are to be determined. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

3RD ANNUAL NIDA/NIA SPECIAL LECTURE SERIES – Virtual – Fall 2021

The 3rd annual NIDA/NIA Special Lecture Series will be held in fall 2021. The date and keynote speaker are to be determined. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

A CAUSATIVE ROLE FOR INFECTIOUS ORGANISMS IN ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – Virtual – October 2021

The NIA Division of Neuroscience is hosting a workshop on "A Causative Role for Infectious Organisms in Alzheimer’s Disease" to be held virtually in October. The goal of this meeting is to discuss whether microbial pathogens may represent a causal component of Alzheimer’s disease. We would like to identify gaps in current knowledge and explore new opportunities for research in the areas intersecting infectious organisms and Alzheimer’s disease. For additional information, please contact Dr. Eliezer Masliah, eliezer.masliah@nih.gov or Dr. Mack Mackiewicz, miroslaw.mackiewicz@nih.gov.

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR BONE AND MINERAL RESEARCH (ASBMR) WORKING GROUP ON AGING SYMPOSIA – San Diego, CA – October 3, 2021

The Division of Aging Biology and the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology have combined efforts to provide modest annual financial support for the Working Group on Skeletal Aging in order to build attendance and improve quality. This is the fifth year of the Working Group on Aging. At this time, the planning of the 2021 program is still in progress. The 2021 ASBMR meeting is scheduled to meet in San Diego, CA from Friday, October 1 to Monday, October 4. For additional information, please contact Dr. John Williams (DAB), williamsj6@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6402 and Dr. Lyndon Joseph (DGCG), lyndon.joseph@nih.gov, 301-496-6761.

TOWARDS INTERVENTIONS FOR HEALTHY AGING: CLOSING THE TRANSLATIONAL GAP SYMPOSIUM – Baltimore, MD – October 29, 2021

On October 29, 2021, NIA will host a one-day symposium, “Towards Interventions for Healthy Aging: Closing the Translational Gap,” tentatively scheduled at the Biomedical Research Center (BRC) in Baltimore, MD, pending COVID-19 restrictions/limitations on in-person events. This event was previously scheduled for September 15, 2020 but postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. Experts in the field will present their research and lead discussions on the latest advances in translational medicine relevant to human aging in an effort to help identify knowledge gaps and challenges in developing interventions for extending health span during aging. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

SYMPOSIUM ON “NONHUMAN PRIMATES AS A MODEL FOR AGING” AT THE 43RD MEETING OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PRIMATOLOGISTS – Oklahoma City, OK – November 2021

The purpose of the symposium at the American Society of Primatology annual meeting is to highlight recent advances in the use of certain nonhuman primates in aging research at a national meeting. Each speaker has been asked to give a 30-minute presentation on their recent research findings with an emphasis on how it relates to a better understanding to the biology of aging. The symposium will be chaired by Division of Aging Biology program staff (Dr. Manuel Moro). This symposium was originally approved and scheduled for FY 2020 but due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it was postponed. The symposium will take place in November 2021 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For additional information, please contact Dr. Manuel Moro, morom@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6402.

SYMPOSIUM ON “ORGANELLAR INTERACTIONS IN THE REGULATION OF AGING AND LONGEVITY” AT GERONTOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA (GSA) ANNUAL MEETING – TBD – November 10, 2021

Cellular adaptation is a critical aspect of the cellular response to both intra- and extracellular challenges. This pre-meeting workshop will address how the interactions between organelles that are critical in carrying out such cellular functions are involved in cell longevity. Researchers working at the cutting edge of aging research will address how these and other organelle interactions can determine the rate at which cells age. In contrast to the workshop on this topic, this pre-meeting symposium is intended to focus on one specific aspect of inter-organelle communication that is better understood in the context of aging biology. It will serve as a springboard to stimulate further research in this broad area, irrespective of whether an RFA emerges from the workshop on Inter-organelle Communication and Its Role in Health and Longevity. For additional information, please contact Dr. Viviana Perez, viviana.perezmontes@nih.gov, 301-496-6428 and Dr. Yih-Woei Fridell, yih-woei.fridell@nih.gov, 301-496-7847.

13TH ANNUAL BALTIMORE FELLOWS SYMPOSIUM (BFS) – Virtual – November 30, 2021

Dr. Bita Moghaddam, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at the Oregon Health and Science University, will give the Keynote address. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

THE 14TH ANNUAL DIVISION OF AGING BIOLOGY NEW INVESTIGATORS FORUM (DABNIF) – Virtual – December 6-7, 2021

The DAB new investigators forum (DABNIF) is a long-standing yearly event. It brings together new DAB awardees in the spring of the year following their award to meet and interact with NIA program and review staff as well as to network with each other. These are investigators at an early stage of their research careers and who are new to funding by DAB. The overarching goal of the meeting is to encourage continued success for the new PIs in the field of aging as well as to encourage interactions and collaborations. Specifically, DABNIF provides the participating PIs an opportunity to get to know in person DAB and DEA staff, learn about the review and grant administration and what NIA-specific grant mechanisms are available, and network with colleagues at a similar stage of their career. To this end, each PI presents a poster describing the planned research (or results to date) and gives an “elevator speech” short talk where they introduce themselves and briefly talk about their research interests and careers goals. In addition to these activities, the forum’s agenda includes a keynote presentation by an expert in the area of aging and talks by DAB staff and NIA leadership on issues such as the scope of the science supported by DAB, funding mechanisms, use of the Guide, navigating the NIA website, grant review issues and in-depth discussions on writing successful grant applications. Ample Q&A opportunities are provided throughout the program. This forum directly supports the NIA mission related to fostering new areas of research in aging as well as to disseminating information about aging-related grant opportunities to the scientific community. As a result of past meetings, we have found that the PIs have indeed set up new collaborations and increased their interactions with DAB staff. They are also much more likely to keep DAB staff informed of their new publications and progress. In addition, the format of the forum reflects past years’ anonymous participant evaluation and feedback. For additional information, please contact Dr. Manuel Moro, morom@mail.nih.gov, 301-496-6402.

BIOLOGY UNDERLYING MOVING AND THINKING SYMPOSIUM – Baltimore, DM – December 7, 2021

NIA will host a one-day symposium, “Biology Underlying Moving and Thinking,” tentatively at the BRC, pending COVID-19 restrictions/limitations on in-person events. Several speakers will present their research on the tipping point of cognitive and physical decline, to address the issues with tools, and to provide and share information. The workshop will create a connection between the IRP and ERP and will bring collaborators together to generate research papers and enhance collaborative efforts. This event was previously scheduled for December 1, 2020 but was postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

31ST ANNUAL NATHAN W. SHOCK AWARD LECTURE – Baltimore, MD – January 2022

This lecture, previously scheduled for November 17, 2020, will be held in January 2022, tentatively at the BRC, pending COVID-19 restrictions/limitations on in-person events. Honorees Dr. Steve Horvath, Professor of Biostatistics and Human Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dr. Morgan Levine, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine, will receive the Nathan W. Shock award and present their research. For additional information, please contact Sarah Lewis, sarah.lewis@nih.gov, 667-205-2604.

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Content, Media, Outreach, and Meetings

Publications

NIH Professional Judgment Budget for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias for Fiscal Year 2023

Media

NIH News Releases

Web Statements and Announcements

Web Content

Alzheimers.gov Website

Health Information Articles

Featured Research

Inside NIA Blog

Print Publications

Outreach

Social Media

Email Listservs

  • Sent 65 emails from 4/1/2021 − 7/31/2021 to the following listservs:
    • NIA Exercise and Physical Activity Tips: 29,956 subscribers
    • Healthy Aging Highlights: 41,033 subscribers
    • Alzheimer’s News & Announcements: 26,093 subscribers
    • Alzheimer’s Recruitment Resources: 3,146 subscribers
    • Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials: 26,005 subscribers
    • NIA for Caregivers: 15,294 subscribers
    • Inside NIA Blog: 19,348 subscribers
    • NIA Funding Opportunities: 12,619 subscribers

Webinars

Meetings

Conferences, Exhibits, and Events

Professional Meetings

  • NIH Alzheimer’s Research Summit: Path to Precision Medicine for Treatment and Prevention, April 2021 – Richard J. Hodes, M.D., along with other NIA leaders and staff, made presentations during the 2021 NIH Alzheimer’s Research Summit.
  • Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, May 2021 – Richard J. Hodes, M.D., former NIA Deputy Director Marie A. Bernard, M.D., and NIA staff met with representatives and leadership from the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research. Discussion topics included the NIA budget, COVID-19 response efforts, and advancements in NIA-funded science, including AD/ADRD.
  • Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement “Brain It On” Summit, June 2021 – Marie A. Bernard, M.D., participated in a panel discussion on women, brain health, and Alzheimer’s disease prevention, discussing relevant science from NIA.
  • NIA-VA Partnership Meeting, July 2021 – Richard J. Hodes, M.D., and Melinda Kelley, Ph.D., along with other NIA staff, convened with VA leaders to discuss both new and ongoing collaborations between NIA and VA, as well as programmatic updates from the two groups.

For more information, contact Cindy McConnell, OCPL director, 301-435-0024, or Dawn Beraud, Ph.D., Acting OLPIA director, 301-451-8835.

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New Notices and Initiatives Relevant to the National Institute on Aging

For "Notices" and "Research Initiatives" with NIA’s participation or interest, please visit these two websites: Grants & Funding and NIH Funding Policies (please look for "Recent Changes in NIH Policy" on this web link).

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