• May 20, 2013

    Dr. Steve SnyderDr. D. Stephen “Steve” Snyder, deputy director of NIA’s Division of Neuroscience, is retiring after 23 years at the NIH. Dr. Snyder played an instrumental role in building NIA’s extramural research program with a focus on fundamental neuroscience related to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. His research interests were wide-ranging, from the cell biological aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, to neuronal and vascular stress, to aspects of prion biology that could have implications for the development of Alzheimer's disease.

    The NIA will miss Steve’s creativity and dedication to neuroscience research. “A member of the Division of Neuroscience for more than 20 years, Steve has played a critical role in the development and growth of the Alzheimer’s program,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, division director. “His insights into the basic science of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases have made a tremendous contribution to our efforts to understand and treat this devastating disease.”

    A native of Baltimore, Dr. Snyder credits the people he met during his early research and work experiences with motivating him to pursue a career in neuroscience.

    “I discovered that the people I admired were the neuroscientists, that they simply had the most interesting research questions,” Dr. Snyder said. “Neuroscience is a demanding field and can be a struggle for those just starting out, but it seemed to offer a fine area in which to invest a career. I haven’t changed my opinion on that.”

    Dr. Snyder received his B.S. in biology from Loyola College, his M.S. in cell biology from Adelphi University, and his Ph.D. in pathology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology at the University of Tennessee Medical School. He held concurrent positions at the University of Tennessee Medical School and the VA Medical Center in Memphis from 1984 until his move to NIA in 1990.

    “Neuroscience was a field just getting on its feet at that time. I was elated to come to work at the headquarters of NIA,” Dr. Snyder said. “During those years, we were in the very happy position of growing the program and my particular focus was on the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease.”

    While budget constraints are now making for a more demanding research environment, Dr. Snyder said he continues to be optimistic about the future of Alzheimer’s research.

    “While dollars are in short supply, there is no lack of inventiveness,” he said. “Somewhere out there is a 25-year-old working on the next big thing, and in a few years, it will start off a wave of experimentation and advances in our search for therapies to treat dementia.”

    Dr. Snyder is also optimistic about his upcoming move to Baton Rouge, LA with his wife Elaine. While the primary draw is proximity to his young grandchildren, art classes and opportunities for mentoring and advising young scientists are also in his future.

  • May 14, 2013

    Increasing activity of a single gene--FOXO3--increases fertility by 31 to 49 percent in female mice, report researchers at the National Institute on Aging, NIH. Variants of the FOXO3 gene have been previously associated with longevity in many animal models, including humans; but, in mice the main effect of loss or increase of FOXO3 is on ovary function.

    In this study, researchers found that amplifying an active form of FOXO3 preserved ovarian follicles, a sign of reproductive health, and boosted number of offspring produced throughout adult life in female mice. The effects also likely extended reproductive lifespan, but more research is needed to explore that further, according to the researchers. In the same series of experiments, scientists confirmed earlier findings that FOXO3 knockout mice (mice without the gene) show a rapid loss of follicles and premature ovarian failure, and further demonstrated that the ovaries show premature aging. While it is far too early to determine any potential for human intervention, researchers suggest their findings raise the possibility of exploring a future gene therapy to postpone decline in fertility.

    Reference: Pelosi E. et al. Constitutively active Foxo3 in oocytes preserves ovarian reserve in mice. Nature Communications. Published online, May 14, 2013. doi:10.1038/ncomms2861.

  • May 15, 2013

    Get the inside scoop on National Institute on Aging grants and training opportunities, events, research priorities, and policy changes.
    Inside N I A, A Blog for Researchers
    Inside NIA: A Blog for Researchers launched May 15, 2013. It features weekly posts on topics of interest to the research community in aging. The first post is from Dr. Robin Barr, director of NIA’s Division of Extramural Activities. Future posts will come from Robin and a host of authors from the NIA Office of the Director and the Divisions of Aging Biology, Behavioral and Social Research, Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, and Neuroscience. The goal is to create an open and transparent dialogue with you, an important member of NIA’s research community.

    Whether you are NIA grantee, grant seeker, trainee, or friend of the NIA, find information on topics that matter to you. Learn how to find success as an NIA-supported investigator. Share your thoughts about funding processes, priorities, and policies. Provide feedback and be heard.

    Sign up now to get Inside NIA in your inbox or your RSS reader, and join the conversation!

  • May 10, 2013

    The National Institute on Aging issued its final fiscal year 2013 funding policy on May 8, 2013. The funding policy, or funding line policy, describes how NIA will fund grant awards this year. It provides technical details about NIA’s available budget, funding strategy, and approach for funding different kinds of grant applications. Read the NIA fiscal year 2013 Funding Policy.

    A general introduction to funding policies, including when NIA issues them and how they are used, is also available.

  • May 9, 2013

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) are collaborating to host a webinar series with the goals of 1) improving coordination of federal resources available to assist people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their family caregivers and 2) encouraging awareness of research participation opportunities.

    NIA and ACL invite you to take advantage of these opportunities. You can register for all the webinars or just the one or two that most interest you. Registration will open approximately two months in advance of each webinar.

    To view and listen to past webinars, go to

    Webinar Schedule

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    Webinar #1: Updates on Alzheimer’s Disease Research & Resources

    Thursday, May 23, 1:30–3pm ET

    Much has happened since our first overview session in May, 2012. Join this session to find out the latest detailed information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, including:

    1. The updated 2013 National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease
    2. Research updates & developments, including new clinical studies funded
    3. Resource updates & developments, including updates from, ADEAR, Eldercare Locator, and National Alzheimer’s Contact Center


    • Jane Tilly, DrPH, Office of Supportive & Caregiver Services, Administration on Aging, ACL
    • Nina Silverberg, PhD, Assistant Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program, NIA
    • Jennifer Martindale-Adams, EdD, Co-Director, Caregiver Center, Memphis VA Medical Center
    • Ruth Drew, Director of Family & Information Services, Alzheimer’s Association
    • Mary Osborne, Program Manager, Eldercare Locator, n4a
    • Jennifer Watson, Project Officer, Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center, NIA

    Moderator: Amy Wiatr-Rodriguez, ACL

    Webinar #2: People with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Dementia

    Tuesday, June 25, 1:30–3pm ET

    Alzheimer’s disease occurs three to five times more often among people with Down syndrome than the general population. People with intellectual or developmental disabilities and dementia may face unique challenges, as well as experiences similar to others with dementia. This session will cover:

    1. Overview of the scale and scope of issues
    2. Research directions and opportunities, including recruitment
    3. Specialized resources available


    • Laurie Ryan, PhD, Program Director, Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials, NIA
    • Michelle Washko, PhD, Center for Disability and Aging Policy, ACL
    • Seth Keller, MD, Co-Chair, National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices and Immediate Past President, American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry
    • Ira T. Lott, MD, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, University of California at Irvine School of Medicine
    • Andrew Morris, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, ACL

    Moderator: Amy Wiatr-Rodriguez, AoA/ACL

    Webinar #3: Diverse Populations, Health Disparities and Dementia

    Wednesday, July 24, 1:30–3:30pm ET

    Join this session to learn what experts know about the experience of dementia in diverse populations, and hear what researchers are doing to better understand and improve outcomes for people with dementia and their caregivers. This session will focus on American Indian/Alaskan Native/Native Hawaiian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people with dementia and their family caregivers.


    • Jim Varpness, Regional Administrator, ACL
    • Neelum Aggarwal, MD, Associate Professor, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
    • Lori Jervis, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma
    • Lisa Barnes, PhD, Associate Professor, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
    • Jose Luchsinger, MD, Assistant Professor, Columbia University
    • Gwen Yeo, PhD, Director Emerita, Stanford Geriatric Education Center
    • Jed A. Levine, Executive Vice President, Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter

    Moderator:  Amy Wiatr-Rodriguez, AoA/ACL

    Webinar #4: Younger Onset Dementia

    Tuesday, August 20, 1:30–3pm ET

    The focus of this webinar will be on dementias that typically occur before age 65: Alzheimer’s disease, behavioral variant frontotemporal degeneration and primary progressive aphasia. This session will also discuss the specific developmental, relational, and financial impacts of younger onset dementias, as well as detection, diagnosis, resources and research directions.


    • Creighton Phelps, PhD, Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program, NIA
    • Darby Morhardt, MSW, LCSW, Research Associate Professor / Director-Education, Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Northwestern University
    • Sandra Weintraub, PhD, Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Northwestern University
    • Sharon Denny, Program Director, Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD)

    Moderator:  Amy Wiatr-Rodriguez, AoA/ACL

    Webinar #5: Advanced Stage Dementia & Palliative Care

    *New date* Tuesday, September 24, 1:30–3pm ET

    The focus of this webinar will be on the clinical course and care of people with advanced dementia as supported by research in both nursing home and home and community-based settings. Discussion will include research directions and opportunities, including recruitment, as well as specialized resources.


    • Basil Eldadah, MD, PhD, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, NIA
    • Susan L. Mitchell, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Senior Scientist, Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research
    • Greg Sachs, MD, FACP, Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Scientist, IU Center for Aging Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Service Line Leader for Palliative Care, IU Health Physicians
    • Greg Link, Aging Services Program Specialist, Office of Caregiver & Supportive Services, Administration on Aging/Administration for Community Living

    Moderator: Amy Wiatr-Rodriguez, AoA/ACL

  • April 23, 2013

    Subject: Professor John Speakman May 8 at Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) spring seminar

    When: Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

    Where: Lipsett Amphitheater, Building 10, NIH

    Title: Caloric Restriction Studies in Humans: Future Research Directions

    The Trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) cordially invites you to its spring seminar, featuring John Speakman. Professor Speakman is a biologist at the University of Aberdeen Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences in the U.K., where he directs the University’s Energetics Research Group. The internationally renowned Dr. Speakman will discuss nutritional influences on aging, with a focus on caloric restriction, and improving knowledge in the area of the biology of aging.

    The Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) was formed to enhance opportunities for discussion of the intersection between the biology of aging and the biology of disease and conditions that are of interest across ICs. It is focused on basic biology, but with a longer view towards translation. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the GSIG web site (

    The seminar will be videocast at and archived in the GSIG web site.

    Sign Language Interpreters will be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event should contact Dr. Johanna Dwyer at or at 301-496-0048 or Dr. Ron Kohanski at or at 301-496-6402.

  • March 29, 2013

    On September 10–11, 2012, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) convened a diverse team of experts to launch its Network on Reversibility. The purpose of the Network is to define the scope of future research initiatives and to marshal a trans-disciplinary approach in the development of such programs. The members of the Network will combine their expertise to develop new ideas on how to test the hypothesis that harmful effects of early environmental adversity can be reversed in adulthood.

    A report is now available under BSR Workshop Reports section.


  • March 28, 2013

    The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a landmark study in the early detection of Alzheimer’s, is seeking volunteers for two new studies.

    For the first study, researchers are recruiting people 65 to 90 years old with a “significant memory concern” but no signs of memory loss or other cognitive impairment. The volunteers will help scientists define the biological markers and structural brain changes of Alzheimer’s, which can appear years before symptoms become evident.

    Volunteers must have no significant problems with cognitive function or the ability to perform everyday activities. They will undergo neurological testing and brain imaging.

    The study is being conducted at 54 sites in the United States and five in Canada. For specific eligibility criteria, contact information for each study site, and other details, visit the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center’s clinical trials page, or call 1-800-438-4380.

    Another new ADNI study will examine the possible connections between traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, and signs of Alzheimer’s disease in Vietnam War veterans as they age. Researchers will examine the results of brain scans and cognitive tests as well as changes in cerebrospinal fluid over time. The study is the first step toward a larger, more comprehensive study of dementia risk factors in veterans.

    A Study of Brain Aging in Vietnam War Veterans (DOD-ADNI) will take place at ADNI sites nationwide. The University of California, San Francisco, has begun recruiting, and other sites will begin this spring. For more information, contact Jacqueline Hayes of the San Francisco Veterans Administration office at, or call 1-415-221-4810, extension 4593.

  • March 25, 2013

    The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) were thrilled to receive the coveted HHSinnovates Program’s People’s Choice Award for the Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s initiative. 23,000 people participated in public voting to select Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s from among the six initiatives that made it to the final round.

    The announcement was made on March 19th by Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius at an HHSinnovates Program awards ceremony. HHSinnovates was created as part of the HHS Open Government efforts to celebrate innovation by its employees.

    NIH and ACL team with HHS
    NIH/ACL team with HHS Secretary Sebelius, Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee and Deputy Secretary Bill Corr. L to R: Kate Gordon and Amy Wiatr-Rodriguez (ACL), Vicky Cahan and Jennifer Watson (NIA), Greenlee, Sebelius, Corr, Charlene Liggins and Karen Pocinki (NIA), David Burton (ADEAR Center), Lawrence Tabak (NIH).

    Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s brings together ACL aging services agencies, which annually reach over 10 million older people and family caregivers with NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADCs) that conduct research. With the National Alzheimer’s Plan as a spark, ACL and NIA collaborated across disciplines and learned about each other’s work. Activities have included free webinars and presentations for both the research and aging services communities.

    As Secretary Sebelius said, “These projects are dazzling examples of creativity at its finest. This is one of the most exciting things that goes on here in HHS.”

    Thank you to everyone who participated in voting! We look forward to furthering our efforts to improve research participation awareness and help people affected by Alzheimer's disease.

  • March 19, 2013

    Please join leading neuroscientists, physicians, and other experts to discuss research on Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias at the National Institutes of Health campus on May 1-2. The meeting will help set research priorities for these serious brain disorders.

    Organized by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the workshop, Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias: Research Challenges and Opportunities, will solicit input and develop recommendations for research for Alzheimer’s-related dementias, including:

    • frontotemporal disorders
    • Lewy body dementia
    • vascular dementia
    • mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia

    The workshop is convened under the 2012 National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and complements NIA’s May 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention.

    The workshop will be held at Natcher Auditorium, NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD. To learn more about the conference and to register online, visit