This exploratory meeting was called to discuss issues related to facilitating longer working lives and expanding the area of investigation of the research project. The meeting included presentations of the completed reports from the first year of the Sloan grant. The following goals were addressed: (1) Ways in which the HRS-ELSA-SHARE nexus of surveys could be used to obtain more information on the work arrangements that most appeal to older workers and that would facilitate their labor force participation; (2) Elicit ideas for further substantive areas of analysis aimed at facilitating work at older ages. (For more information contact Dr. John Phillips, 301-496-3138.)
THE IMPACT OF AGING ON THE INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM May 5, 2012
The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) is sponsoring a symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunology on May 5, 2012 in Boston, MA. Four speakers will be giving presentations at this symposium which is titled “The Impact of Aging on the Innate Immune System”.
The fact that basic science advances in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research have not yet resulted in effective therapeutics for treatment or prevention emphasizes the need for continued evaluation of scientific opportunities and priorities for future research. This includes a need to critically evaluate and expand our knowledge of basic biological processes and pathogenic mechanisms, to re-examine the major therapeutic hypotheses, and the existing models of preclinical and clinical therapy development, and to optimize approaches for the selection and validation of therapeutic targets. In light of this, the key goal of the AD Research Summit 2012, which was held on May 14-15, 2012 in Bethesda, MD by the National Institute on Aging, the Department of Health and Human Services, and with private support through the Foundation for NIH, was to formulate an integrated multidisciplinary research agenda that will accelerate the development of successful therapies for AD across the disease continuum. The Summit also identified what types of resources/infrastructure and new public private partnerships are necessary to successfully implement this research agenda. The program was organized around six major themes presented in consecutive sessions which evaluated issues of critical importance for identification of successful interventions for Alzheimer’s disease. The composition of speakers and panelists for each session included representatives from academia, industry, federal agencies, and private foundations. Each session brought together experts working in different disciplines since one of the major goals of the meeting was to enable integration of research areas, research expertise, and research resources for the purpose of optimizing scientific discovery and its translation to efficacious therapies for AD. The general program was followed by an executive session during which a group of experts, together with NIA/NIH staff and representatives from other AD-funding agencies, discussed research priorities and milestones for measuring progress toward the goal of accelerating delivery of successful treatments for AD.
The National Institute on Aging (US) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK) initiated the joint NIA-BBSRC Partnering Awards for Collaboration on the Biology of Aging in September 2009. NIA awarded six R01 Partnering grants (3 year term) to the US Principal Investigators and the BBSRC awarded six Partnering grants (3 year term) to the UK Lead Investigators at the end of FY 2009. NIA-BBSRC Grantee meetings are an integral component of this joint funding program designed to enhance collaboration and networking among the US and UK scientists who received the six awards and NIA and BBSRC scientific staff. DAB staff (David Finkelstein) along with BBSRC staff (Louisa Jenkin and Simon Kerley) have arranged the third annual NIA-BBSRC Grantee meeting, to be held on June 3, 2012 in conjunction with the Annual meeting of the American Aging Association in Fort Worth, Texas. Grantees will make platform presentations at the AGE meeting.
Contact: Dr. David Finkelstein, DAB, 301/496-6402.
The reproducibility of published results is a cornerstone of modern science, but the increasing size and complexity of research projects in the behavioral and social sciences has increasingly led to concerns about the replicability of published results. The Division of Behavioral and Social Research has an opportunity to work with the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Research (OBSSR) to conduct a one-day exploratory meeting devoted to the topic of replicability in the behavioral and social sciences, a topic of joint interest to all three parties. This small (approximately 10-15 extramural participants) meeting is projected to take place in the late Spring or early Summer of 2012, and will be supported in part by a modest contribution from BSR operating funds and staff time. OBSSR will also contribute some funding and logistical support, and the APS will be providing the majority of funds for the event (e.g., travel of participants). The purpose of this meeting is to begin a dialog with the extramural research community on what the key issues are for replicability and why well-designed failures to replicate too often go unpublished. It should be noted that the concern over the publication of false positive results is broader than behavioral and social research (e.g., some of the same issues appear to be affecting clinical and pre-clinical research), but we feel that an initial, seminar-style meeting would be the fastest and most cost-effective way to begin work on this topic within the context of BSR projects. This endeavor could later be expanded to cover a wider range of substantive research areas. For more information contact Dr. Jonathan King, 301-402-4156.)
Exploratory meeting planned with NAS Board on Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together select individuals with expertise in behavioral interventions, motivation theory, aging and life course development, and personality psychology to discuss how to apply knowledge and approaches from these fields to successful interventions to increase motivation in aging populations and improve aging outcomes. (For more information please contact:
Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, 301-402-4156.)
The University of Chicago’s Health Inequality Network (HINet) comprises experts in economics, medicine, and genomics, focused on integrating knowledge from different disciplines to better understand the origins of health disparities, the mechanisms that foster resilience, and the efficacy of interventions that compensate or remediate adversity and promote healthy aging – topics of high priority to BSR. Within this broader aim, the first meeting of the HINet, and the contemporaneous NIA-sponsored workshop “The Role of Genetic and Environmental Factors across the Lifecourse: Improving the Rigor of Causal Inference,” assembled a broader group of researchers engaged in life-course research at the frontier of their fields to start confronting and integrating different interdisciplinary approaches to the developmental origins of health and aging, and to set priorities for future research agendas. We now propose to capitalize on this initial endeavor, and organize a more focused, follow-up exploratory meeting, to maximize NIA’s investment in the first workshop, and produce concrete deliverables which can inform policy. (For more information contact Dr. Erica Spotts, 301-402-4156.)
Neural systems undergo profound changes as individual ages. Observations made in human clinical studies have led to a number of important postulations on the behavioral significance of neural activity changes in older adults. Such neural plastic changes with age include a decrease in inhibition of unnecessary or undesirable neural activity or an increase of neural activities in additional brain regions presumably in response to functional declines in primary neural circuits. However, empirical evidence has been lacking to determine the causal relationships between these neural activity changes and the behavioral outcomes. In addition, it is not known whether reversing these neural activity changes would alter the associated age-related behavioral outcomes. Recent development and advances in optogenetic technologies has enabled the ability to control the level of neural activities at a single neuron level in living model organisms through the control of light at appropriate wavelengths. To explore research on aging neural systems utilizing these new powerful technology, DN plans to convene an exploratory workshop in Bethesda, MD on August 2, 2012. Participants of the workshop will include experts in optogenetic technologies and their applications in systems neuroscience as well as experts in aging neural systems using animal models or in human clinical studies. The outcome of the meeting may include a publication of the viewpoints presented at the workshop in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal. (For further information, contact: Dr. Wen G. Chen, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; firstname.lastname@example.org )
Aging is a process involving many epigenetic changes, including DNA methylation, histone modification, gene regulation by microRNAs, and modulation of chromatin states. These epigenetic changes may also play important roles in mediating the impact of environmental factors. A greater understanding of the epigenetic changes during aging may provide new insights for the mechanisms of aging and aging-related diseases. Recent advances in DNA sequencing, new epigenetic approaches, single cell and single-molecule technologies offer an unprecedented opportunity in this field. Many questions remain to be addressed, and the critical obstacles in the field need to be identified and tackled. One challenge in the field is how to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of aging process by sharing the resources and integrating the data obtained with different approaches in different model systems for different types of epigenetic changes. The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) and the Division of Neuroscience (DN) plan to conduct an Advisory Workshop on Epigenetics of Aging in August, 2012. The goals of this workshop are to evaluate the status of the field, to define future directions, to evaluate critical needs, and to outline opportunities for the basic research in this area supported by NIA.
Contact(s): Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402; Dr. Jose Velazquez, DAB, 301/496-6402; Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, 301/496-9350.
The elderly comprise the fastest growing segment of our population and aging itself is the largest single risk factor for most chronic diseases. However, the mechanistic bases for age-associated functional deficits are not well understood and the translation of basic research discoveries to clinical applications is lagging. The overarching goal of the Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) is to identify major cross-cutting areas of research and coordinate approaches to identify hurdles and envision solutions. This workshop will bring together a group of research experts to highlight the multiple aspects of inflammation-associated disease processes of aging. Its primary objective is to generate unscripted discussions to identify emerging areas of aging biology that crosscut all scientific areas, compelling research questions that aren’t being addressed, and activities needed to accelerate research in aging biology. The proceedings of the workshop will be shared with the scientific community at large through the publication of a meeting report and, most notably, they will provide the foundation for the development of trans-NIH initiatives to promote research on basic biology of aging and its relationship to earlier life events, exposures, and diseases.
We propose an advisory workshop to be held in September 6-7, 2012 in Bethesda, MD.
Contact: Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/496-6402.
This exploratory meeting will be chaired by Dr. David Reiss, BSR contractor, and Steven Suomi, NICHD. This is the first NIA effort to capitalize on recent research on mechanisms that account for the long-term effects of childhood adversity on patterns of healthy and impaired trajectories in aging. (For more information contact Dr. David Reiss or Erica Spotts, 301-402-4156.)
This exploratory meeting will present commissioned analyses on longitudinal data on aging stress and health based on the workgroup’s newly developed common conceptual framework for stress measurement. (For more information contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, 301-402-4156.)
This exploratory one-day expert meeting/workshop is proposed to support Health Economics (HE) Workgroup efforts to provide leadership and guidance to the field about needed advances in the economics of personalized health care and prevention. The meeting will be held in the Bethesda MD area and will include approximately 6-8 invited experts. The meeting will consist of author presentations of approximately 4-5 commissioned papers, discussant presentations responding to those papers, and guided discussion among all participants. Members of the HE Workgroup, as well as selected additional NIH and other Federal staff members will also attend and have the opportunity to participate in discussions. For more information contact Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya, 301-496-3138.)
NIH Roadmap started funding the Human Microbiome Project in 2008. Now 4885 bacterial and viral strains sequenced are from human airways, blood, eye, GI tract, heart, lymph node, oral, cavity, skin, urogenital tract, and other parts of body. In addition to the sequencing of many microbiomes and tool development, fifteen demonstration projects have been funded to demonstrate hypothesized correlations between the microbiome and human health and disease. However, none of these projects focuses on aging. To take advantages of the resources and tools developed by Roadmap HMP, we propose a workshop to discuss the status of the field and opportunities on studies of microbiome and aging. The proposed 1-day workshop may identify effective strategies to stimulate research on changes of microbiomes during aging and the effects on aging-related conditions and diseases.
We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in September, 2012 in Bethesda, MD.
Contact: Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402.
An exploratory workshop is being planned for 2012 to examine the role of chronic inflammation in the development of fibrotic lesions in various organs with aging and also in impaired wound healing that is observed in aging. The participants will be asked to give a state of the science presentation in their respective areas and to identify key questions for future focus. Tissue fibrosis is a major cause of progressive organ failure and is a leading cause of morbidity in older individuals. Fibrotic disorders affect different organ systems including the cardiovascular system, the liver, kidneys and lungs. Fibrosis is an adaptive physiological response to epithelial/endothelial injury and is self limited in normal wound healing. However, the process can become pathological when it becomes a progressive process that impedes normal tissue homeostasis. The mechanisms that link aging and fibrosis are not understood but it is thought that the development of the inflammatory phenotype contributes to the increased occurrence of fibrotic disorders with age. The role of senescent cells in this process is beginning to be appreciated as they are capable of modifying neighboring and remote cells through the production of an altered secretome which may contribute to a chronic inflammatory state and resultant increase in fibrosis.
We plan to hold an exploratory workshop for 1 ½ days in summer, 2012 in Bethesda, MD.
Contact(s): Drs. Rebecca Fuldner/John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402.
For this exploratory workshop, the Division of Neuroscience and Division of Aging Biology, NIA will bring together experts from three domains: investigators with expertise in “aging biology,” in “brain aging,” and those with expertise in developing animal models for “Alzheimer’s disease (AD)”. We will assemble leaders who will focus on the interface and intersection of potential biochemical pathways involved in aging with those pathways implicated in neurodegeneration and, more specifically with AD. Questions that will be addressed include: How can genetic models of aging be integrated with genetic models of AD? Do “aging” and “neurodegeneration” share common mechanisms and what insights for additional research might be gained by such a discussion? Topics will include: AD – conditional/inducible knockout (KO) or knock-in (KI) models; alternative genetic approaches to gene targeting and modification (e.g. zinc-finger nucleases); the impact of aging on the brain’s milieu and its subsequent impact on neuronal and glial function and selective vulnerability; genetics of aging; telomerase and mitochondria; cellular senescence and P16-Ink4a; cellular senescence and the senescence-associated secretory pattern; autophagy; insulin signaling, mTor and sirtuins; protein homeostasis and toxicity; brain aging neurodegeneration; and AD and aged models.
The Division of Neuroscience, NIA will convene an advisory workshop to be held in Bethesda, MD which will focus on the creation of new public-private partnership(s) to provide resources and infrastructure for full characterization of existing animal models and the development of new target-based models without any intellectual property barriers, development of translatable preclinical biomarkers, and enabling preclinical efficacy testing of interventions using best practices and standard operating procedures (including the creation of preclinical testing data repository). The workshop will convene representatives from industry, academia, private foundations, FDA and the NIH.