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Trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG)

Tree in the palm of someone's hands

Exploring the Relationship Between Aging and Disease

Geroscience seeks to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for aging as a major driver of common chronic conditions and diseases of older people. Read about the latest advances in the field, funding opportunities, upcoming seminars, and more.

About Geroscience

The geroscience hypothesis posits that since aging physiology plays a role in many – if not all – chronic diseases, addressing aging physiology will allow a reduction or delay in the appearance of multiple chronic diseases. Older adults are often afflicted by multiple comorbidities and while recent progress in addressing individual diseases has led to an increase in life expectancy, this has not always been accompanied by a parallel increase in healthspan, the portion of life spent in good health.

Aging itself is by far the greatest risk factor for most chronic diseases and disabilities which affect older adults. However, there is still a widespread perception that aging is immutable, and thus we often focus our research and clinical trials on curing specific diseases without addressing the contribution of aging physiology to the onset or severity of those diseases. But, in the last few decades we have made impressive progress in understanding the genetics, biology, and physiology of aging. Basic research in animal models has demonstrated the plasticity of lifespan. More importantly, we’ve been able to apply that knowledge to extend, in laboratory animals, not only the lifespan but also simultaneously increase animals' healthspan. That is, a slower rate of aging leads not only to a longer life, but also to a delay in the appearance and progression of most diseases of aging, as well as a slowing in age-related functional decline. What was thought to be disparate is now understood to be connected.

Geroscience Goals and Aims

Progress in aging research has made possible the emergence of the field of geroscience, the intersection between basic aging biology and disease. The aims of geroscience are to understand how aging enables diseases and to exploit that knowledge to slow the appearance and progression of age-related diseases and disabilities. In addition, it is well established that some diseases (and/or their treatments) can accelerate the loss of function and resilience normally associated with aging, thus leading to an early susceptibility to disease. Therefore, we need to recognize that the complex relationships between aging, loss of function and susceptibility to disease operate in both directions. By developing a deeper understanding of the major underlying cause of our age-related increase in vulnerability to most cancers, dementias, stroke, heart attacks, vascular disease, diabetes and many other chronic diseases, geroscience aims to improve overall health in our later years. In fact, one of the goals of geroscience includes a more holistic interpretation of older adult health, to include optimizing function and resilience, elements that affect quality of life even in the absence of overt disease. Interventions that slow the aging process would dramatically lower health care costs and have societal benefits that are unmatched by the cure of any single disease.

About GSIG

The “GeroScience Interest Group” (GSIG) was formed to enhance opportunities to explore the intersection between aging biology and the biology of diseases that are of interest to the various NIH Institutes and Centers. The GSIG is focused on basic biology, but with a longer view towards translation. By developing a collaborative framework that includes many NIH Institutes, we expect to identify major cross-cutting areas of research, to propose coordinated approaches, to identify hurdles, and to envision solutions. By working together, we expect to catalyze the development of new tools, models and paradigms that address the basic biological underpinnings of multiple diseases.

The GSIG includes participation by more than 20 NIH Institutes with an interest in the biological mechanisms that drive the appearance of multiple diseases of the elderly. The group includes both intramural and extramural scientists, and while some activities are performed in collaboration between the two groups, members in each branch have unique capabilities, and collaborations between the two branches are synergistic.

Funding Opportunities in Geroscience Research

Funding is available for basic biology exploring the relationship between aging and disease.

Current Funding Opportunities

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Past Funding Opportunities

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Resources & News

Videos

News & Press Releases

Blog Posts

Summit Summaries and Workshop Reports

Geroscience Seminars

Three times per year, the GSIG hosts seminars on the latest in geroscience research. These seminars are open to the public. Watch this space for registration information for upcoming seminars.

Upcoming Seminars

Coming soon!

Previous Seminars

Find a listing of previous seminars below. The links will take you to the videocast of each event. 

November 16, 2017
Stem Cell Aging
Dr. Sean Morrison
UT Southwestern
Dallas, TX

July 13, 2017
Hematopoietic Stem Cells Aging – Mechanisms, Consequences and Interventions
Dr. Emmanuelle Passegué
Columbia University Medical Center
New York City, NY

May 11, 2017
The Contribution of Bone to Whole Organism Physiology
Dr. Gerard Karsenty
Columbia University Medical Center
New York City, NY

February 1, 2017
Bone Marrow Aging and the PTH Receptor: A Model of Integrative Physiology Health
Dr. Clifford J. Rosen
Maine Medical Center Research Institute
Scarborough, ME

November 3, 2016
From the Human Genome Project to Precision Medicine: A Journey to Advance Human Health
Dr. Eric Green
NHGRI, NIH
Bethesda, MD

May 12, 2016
Nutrition, Fasting, Longevity and Diseases
Dr. Valter Longo
USC Longevity Institute
Los Angeles, CA

February 4, 2016
The Telomere Syndromes: A Paradigm for Molecular Medicine
Dr. Mary Armanios
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

November 5, 2015
Novel Roles for Stem Cells in Skeletal Muscle Adaptation and Aging
Dr. Charlotte Peterson
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

August 6, 2015
How to Die Young at a Very Old Age?
Dr. Nir Barzilai
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
New York City, NY

May 7, 2015
Is Inflammation a Hallmark of Aging?
Dr. Luigi Ferrucci
NIA Intramural Research Program
Baltimore, MD

February 5, 2015
Age-related Alterations in Neutrophil Recruitment and Impact on Chronic Inflammation
Dr. George Hajishengallis
Penn Dental Medicine
Philadelphia, PA

December 4, 2014
Genetics of Aging Phenotypes over the Life Course: A Population Perspective
Dr. Joanne Murabito
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA

September 4, 2014
Age-by-Disease interactions in the Human Brain: Evidence & Model
Dr. Etienne Sibille
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON M5S, Canada

May 1, 2014
Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Challenges and Payoffs
Dr. Matthew Gillman
Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Boston, MA

February 5, 2014
Human T Cell Aging: Telomere Loss, Inflammation and Links to Disease
Dr. Rita Effros
University of California, LA
Los Angeles, CA

July 11, 2013
Getting Old before Our Time: Psychiatric Illness and Accelerated Cell Aging
Dr. Owen Wolkowitz
University of California, SF
San Francisco, CA

March 28, 2013
Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Mammalian Aging
Dr. Toren Finkel
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Bethesda, MD

November 01, 2012
Mechanisms of Age-Dependent Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
Dr. Jie Shen
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

August 21, 2012
Anti-Aging Medicines: The Beginning of the End of the Beginning
Dr. Richard Miller
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

July 12, 2012
Molecular Insights on Aging from Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome
Dr. Francis Collins
Director, National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

March 08, 2012
Targeting Aging to Delay Multiple Chronic Diseases: A New Frontier
Dr. James Kirkland
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN