The 10th Annual Nathan W. Shock Symposium was held on Friday September 28, 2012 at the Asthma and Allergy Center and the Biomedical Research Center, on Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus. This event was co-sponsored by NIA and the Nathan W. and Margaret T. Shock Aging Research Foundation. The Shock Symposium, entitled “Proteins: At the Dance, With and Without Chaperones” featured talks from the following presenters:
This exploratory meeting presented 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.)
The steady-state design of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) calls for a new 6 year birth cohort to be introduced every six years to maintain a nationally representative sample of older Americans. The HRS will add the late Baby Boom cohort (1960-1965) in 2016 followed by the 1966-1970 birth cohorts in 2022. This exploratory meeting at NAS gathered a panel of experts, including some members of the HRS staff, for a one-day expert meeting to discuss the most innovative and cost effective screening techniques and approaches for the HRS. (For more information contact Dr. John Phillips, 301-496-3138.)
The DGCG Clinical Trials Advisory Panel (CTAP) met on November 20, 2012 and reviewed concepts for a “Feasibility Trial of Multimodality Interventions for Patients with Hip Fracture Who Have Mobility and Activities of Daily Living Disability” and renewal of “Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health (MsFLASH)” network. The Panel was informed about and commented on recommendations from the DGCG-funded workshop “Effects of Modulating Inflammatory Signals on Aging-Related Outcomes: Opportunities for Human Intervention Studies.” Updates were also provided on the DGCG plans for Vitamin D trials and activities regarding multiple morbidity and sarcopenia. CTAP also discussed in detail and made numerous recommendations regarding the DGCG clinical trials portfolio and strategies to improve optimum selection of trials for funding consideration, and optimum bases for funding decisions. The full CTAP report is available in the January 2013 NACA meeting materials.
The Division of Neuroscience partnered with the Foundation for NIH (FNIH) to conduct a one day exploratory meeting on December 3, 2012 in Baltimore, MD. The meeting focused on the findings and general recommendations of four working groups that stemmed from a mega community of stakeholders focused on measurement improvement in AD. The purpose of this meeting was to begin a dialog within the Alzheimer’s research community and with physicians to identify the key issues for developing practice guidelines to improve quality performance outcome measures, including measures to assess treatment impact and disease status. (For more information contact: Drs. Molly Wagster/Nina Silverberg, DN, 301-496-9350).
Workshop: The Division of Aging Biology proposes a workshop prior to proposing renewal of the Interventions Testing Program (ITP) currently funded under RFA AG-09-013. The goal of the workshop is to provide guidance for NIA on updating the current analytical plan for this multi-center study of lifespan and health span which uses a mouse model. Components of the analytical plan include scheduling experiments, statistical criteria, data collection and management, and publication procedures. Recommendations on certification of health measurements will also be sought. The workshop is organized by Dr. Rebecca Fuldner (DAB) with help from Dr. Chhanda Dutta (DGCG). Participants in the workshop are proposed to include pathologists with expertise in aging mouse pathology, pharmacology, multi-center studies and statistics.
The ITP: Information about agents that extend life span and prevent diseases in mice might well lead to improvements in preventive medicine for people. In particular, such agents might prove capable of improving overall health among the elderly. The Interventions Testing Program (ITP) was developed to test supplements, compounds and candidate diets that might extend life span in genetically heterogeneous mice in a manner that is statistically rigorous. The ITP is a collaborative project (U01) that includes researchers at the University of Michigan, the Jackson Laboratory, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, as well as NIA program staff. The ITP was established by an RFA in 2002 and renewed by an RFA in 2009. All the outcomes – positive and negative – are reported to the research community with the expectation that further studies will be initiated to extend the work reported by the ITP, and may eventually spur preclinical and clinical studies. The ITP can test up to five agents (or conditions) per cohort of mice; the conditions may represent five different agents, one agent at several concentrations, or a combination of both. Approximately twenty-five compounds have been studied in the seven cohorts, beginning in 2004.
This exploratory meeting will be chaired by Dr. David Reiss, BSR IPA, and Steven Suomi, NICHD. This Network 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. This second meeting will build on the out-comes of the first meeting held in September 2012. (For more information contact Dr. David Reiss or Dr. Lis Nielsen, 301-402-4156.)
This symposium will explore approaches to measurement of biomarkers related to positive psychological states and functioning. This activity is aligned with BSR’s goals for research on self-reported well-being and biosocial surveys, and complements measurement development for assessing self-reported well-being in BSR-supported existing surveys. In recent work, investigators have begun to explore the relationship between positive psychological functioning (including constructs such as optimism, positive emotions, and social connectedness) and physical health. However, our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this relationship is still limited. In this symposium, we will consider potential positive psychobiological processes that might link positive psychological functioning with enhanced resilience, reduced risk of disease, and improved physical health. Speakers will include Art Kramer, Sarah Hampson, Tim Smith, and Andrew Steptoe. (For more information contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, 301-402-4156.)
The NIA Division of Neuroscience, in conjunction with NINDS, will hold an exploratory workshop on May 1-2, 2013 in Bethesda, MD. The purpose of this workshop is to solicit input and develop recommendations on special research priorities and timelines for addressing Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related dementias, including Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Lewy body, and mixed and vascular dementias. (For more information contact: Dr. Tony Phelps, DN 301-496-9350).
The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) is sponsoring a symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunology on May 6, 2013 in Honolulu, HI. Four speakers will give presentations at this symposium which is titled “Aging, Cancer and Immunosenescence”. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/496-6402).
This exploratory meeting is collaboration among NIA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Association for Psychological Science. The meeting will explore how psychological, social and economic science in decision making, behavior change, and well-being can inform public health policy. (For more information contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, 301-402-4156)
The purpose of this forum is to bring together new awardees of grants from DAB in the spring of the year following their award, to encourage their continued success in this field by allowing them to get acquainted with us (NIA program staff) as well as network with each other. The new investigators will be asked to make short presentations describing their planned work (or results to date) with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging research. As for previous meetings, the invitation letter will include the following language:
“Since you are being funded by the National Institute on Aging, we presume that your talk will clearly and explicitly demonstrate to us (and to the other forum participants) how your research is related to the area of aging.”
The meeting will start with a keynote address by an eminent aging researcher (tbn). We propose a workshop to be held on May 28-30, 2013 in Bethesda, MD. (Contact: Dr. David Finkelstein, DAB, 301/496-6402).
The lack of animal models that mimic ovarian and hormonal characteristics of peri- and postmenopausal women has significantly hampered advances in age-related reproductive biology despite its importance in women’s health. In the past, several vertebrate models have been used for studies of reproductive biology. These include different mammalian species, genetically engineered rodents, non-human primates and inducible mouse models that mimic aspects of human menopause. Several groups have also used environmentally-induced models of premature ovarian failure to study ovarian aging. Studies have traditionally used ovariectomy as the standard approach to study age-related menopause biology. However, inducible and genetic models are being increasingly considered in these studies.
Reproductive senescence that occurs in all female mammals is often associated with changes in numerous body functions. Although some features are species-specific, there are those that parallel human menopause and aging. These include changes in hormone profiles across the menopausal transition, progression to cycle termination through irregular cycles, disturbances in thermogenesis, age-related gains in body weight, changes in fat distribution and disposition towards metabolic syndrome, epigenetic changes, and environmental triggers that time endocrine aging and that have implications for age-related diseases. Many other features of post-menopausal aging also increase greatly the risks for age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. With appropriate animal models, it would be possible to obtain further insights about these age-related aspects of female reproductive biology. This small portfolio needs further strengthening within the Division of Aging Biology.
The purpose of this proposed workshop is to assemble experts (NIA-funded and non-NIA funded scientific experts) to obtain an update on this topic. This will help NIA to foster this important area of research further leveraging existing NIA resources and/or collaboration with the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health.
We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in Spring, 2013 in Bethesda, MD. (Contact: Dr. Mahadev Murthy, DAB, 301/496-6402).
1) LAG1 (one of the first longevity genes identified) encodes the enzyme ceramide synthase. 2) Ceramides forms the backbone of all glycolipids and sphingolipids, and have recently emerged as important in the regulation of cellular stress in response to multiple stress inducers such as chemotherapeutic agents, UV radiation, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Moreover, ceramides are potent at inducing cell stress responses including autophagy, ER stress, and cell death. Ceramides are signaling molecules and also components of the mitochondrial membrane. 3) aging-induced up-regulation of neutral sphingomyelianse-2 (NSMase-2) activity underlies the exaggerated response of hepatocytes IL-1beta during aging. 4) Ceramide isoforms in the mitochondria change with age. These changes appear to lead to the inhibition of the electron transport chain as well as induction of apoptosis.
The purpose of this request is to hold a one day workshop to evaluate the current state of the art with respect to ceramide and aging and suggest possible future areas of exploration.
We propose an exploratory [Question to Robin – should we use the term exploratory vs advisory?]workshop to be held in Spring, 2013 in Bethesda, MD. (Contact: Dr. David Finkelstein, DAB, 301/496-6402).
This will be an exploratory workshop to discuss how regulatory RNAs impact aging and age-related diseases, and to determine if there are any gaps or opportunities that have not been met by the scientific community.
Regulatory RNAs include an increasing list of RNA molecules (miRNAs, NCRNAs, piRNAs, etc.) that have been shown to regulate either gene expression or protein synthesis in all kind of cells. These RNAs have significant biological importance in aging. For example, there is substantial evidence that indicates that miRNAs regulate the process of senescence. However, the precise mechanisms by which miRNAs and other regulatory RNAs control this and other age-related biological processes remain unsolved. The aim for the workshop is to bring experts in the RNA field and experts in the biology of aging together to encourage cross-talk between the different disciplines and to help determine what are the challenges and opportunities in furthering research in this area. (Contact: Dr. Jose Velazquez, DAB, 301/496-6402).
This will be an advisory workshop to discuss the current status of the science and to determine if there are any gaps or opportunities that have not been met by the scientific community.
Senescence is a significant biological process that has been associated with aging. Many researchers have made a number of key discoveries, including the senescence associated beta galactosidase biomarker, and the definition of the senescence secretory phenotype in terms of the secretion of inflammatory cytokines and matrix remodeling components. In addition, there has been significant progress in elucidating the signaling initiated by dysfunctional telomeres and the involvement of the p53 and Rb pathways in senescence. Therefore, a key pathway in the development of the senescence phenotype is the induction of DNA damage and repair. This senescence process has been associated with the concept of antagonistic pleiotropy in tumor development and aging. Senescent cells might also promote cancer. Since its discovery, senescence has had a major impact in the aging field. The aim of this workshop is to bring together experts in the field of senescence and aging to determine what are the challenges and opportunities in furthering the research in this area. (Contact: Dr. Jose Velazquez, DAB, 301/496-6402).
The neuromuscular junction changes with age, such that there is a loss in the number of functional junctions. It is not known what causes the loss in neuromuscular junctions, (NMJs) but there is evidence that changes in the NMJs play a role in sarcopenia and frailty. The purpose of this workshop is to explore and discuss the roll of aging in the loss of NMJ in sarcopenic frailty. (Contacts: Drs. Rebecca Fuldner/John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402; Dr. Wen Chen, DN, 301/496-9350).
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. (For more information contact: Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, 301-496-9350).