A one day Symposium entitled "Aging vs. Regenerative Medicine: How Much Can Stem Cells Do?" was held on Friday, February 19, 2010. This Symposium was jointly sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and John Hopkins University (JHU). The Symposium was held at the NIA, Biomedical Research Center (BRC) in Baltimore, Maryland. Speakers included Eleanor Simonsick, Emi Nishimura, Dennis Taub, Hitoshi Niwa, Minoru Ko, Hongjun Song, Pamela Robey, Hideyuki Okano, and Irving Weissman.
Paul T. Costa Jr., Ph.D., former Senior Investigator and Chief, Laboratory of Personality and Cognition (LPC), National Institute on Aging (NIA) was unanimously approved by the Scientific Directors as a Scientist Emeritus. The Intramural Research Program of the NIA will be honoring Dr. Costa with a special tribute entitled, “The Five Factor Model of Personality: Contributions to our Understanding of Physical and Mental Health.” This tribute will be held on April 23, 2010 at the Asthma and Allergy Building on the Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus, from 9:00 am – 5:00 p.m. Seating for this event is very limited. Registration will be available shortly. Presenters are listed below:
Robert McCrae, Ph.D.
Formerly National Institute on Aging
“Why I Advocate[d] the Five-Factor Model”
Ilene C. Siegler, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Duke University Medical Center
“When the Five Factor Model was a Three Factor Model: A lifespan approach to personality, adult development and aging”
Redford B. Williams, M.D.
Duke University Medical Center
“The Five Factor Model in Psychosomatic/Behavioral Medicine: Genes, Environments and Diseases”
Thomas A. Widiger, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky
“A Five Factor Model of Personality Disorder”
Ralph Piedmont, Ph.D
Loyola University Maryland
“Directions for FFM Research in the 21st Century”
The Fourth Annual Division of Aging Biology New Investigators Forum (R01 and K99) will be held at the Residence Inn Bethesda on May 4, 2010 and at the Natcher Conference Center on May 5-6, 2010. The purpose of the 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.” (Contact: Dr. David Finkelstein, DAB, 301/496-6402).
Measurement of cognition is critical for diagnosis, monitoring disease progression, and conducting clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Until recently, most measures used in AD research have been designed to evaluate later stages of the disease. The AD field is moving toward much earlier diagnosis and thus, more sensitive measures that assess different cognitive domains are needed. The Division of Neuroscience, NIA, sponsored an exploratory meeting in Bethesda, MD on March 31- April 1, 2010 to address these issues, with the purpose of: 1) exploring a range of computerized cognitive assessments and determine gaps and opportunities for further development with respect to understanding the earliest stages of AD and 2) evaluating novel methods and domains (e.g., spatial orientation, prospective memory, etc.) for assessing cognition and looking at the sensitivity/utility of methods and domains that have been used in other populations (college students, normal elderly) to determine which individuals are most likely to develop AD or other dementias. The meeting will be video recorded, transcribed and a summary will be published. (For further information, contact: Dr. Nina Silverberg, DN,
Ph: 301-496-9350; email@example.com ).
NIA and NAS will organize an exploratory meeting to assess the state of the science on Elder Mistreatment. It has been seven years since the NIA sponsored an NAS Panel resulting in the landmark publication Elder Mistreatment. Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America. Since then NIA has funded nine projects resulting from Elder Mistreatment RFAs, funded several unsolicited projects on this topic, and worked with other funders (e.g., Department of Justice/National Institute on Justice). The resulting funded research addresses problems identified by the NAS panel on Elder Mistreatment. It is time to assess the scientific knowledge gained in that interval and further clarify the direction of future research on Elder Mistreatment. NIA has requested brief state-of-the-science papers intended to assess scientific progress and knowledge gaps remaining after the collective investment of these various agencies in Elder Mistreatment research, from 14 extramural investigators and nine agency representatives (AoA, DoJ, CDC, ASPE, American Bar Association, and the Wilson Center). (For more information, contact Sidney M. Stahl, PhD, Ph: 301/402-4156.)
This exploratory, NIA-supported Second Annual Behavioral Economics Conference will be held at Cornell University. Approximately 90 behavioral economists have been invited and are expected to attend, making this the largest meeting of its kind in an area of high program relevance to BSR. It is anticipated that the conference organizers will be submitting a multi-year R13 conference grant to support the meeting in future years. (For more information, contact Dr. Jonathan King, BSR, Ph: 301-402-4156.)
The Divisions of Aging Biology and Neuroscience are proposing to co-sponsor an exploratory workshop to bring together experts in circadian clocks, genetic and epigenetic regulation, metabolic control, and aging biology to address the interconnections of the various cellular processes controlled by clock genes and to explore new avenues for research. We propose to explore how molecular components of the central and peripheral clocks change with age, and assess a link between age-related disruption of clock and the central nervous system and periphery physiology. We envision that this workshop will lead to novel strategies to further the science in the scientific field. This workshop will be held at the Gateway 5th Floor Conference Room on June 18, 2010. (Contacts: Dr. Jose Velázquez, DAB, 301/496-6402; Dr. Miroslaw Mackiewicz, DN, 301/496-9350).
Present progress on tools used to track cell fates and cellular turnover in diverse tissues with aging. The awardees of RFA AG09-004 are expected to attend as well as other investigators working on the turnover of cells in aging tissues and those working on the origins of cells that support turnover in aging tissues. This exploratory workshop is in advance of the planned RFA for the R01 ‘phase’ of the “cell fate determination during aging” initiative. This workshop will be held this summer on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.(Contact: Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).
An RFA on Inflammation, Inflammatory Mediators and Aging was funded in FY 2006 by three different programs within NIA. Since that time, there has been much research published on the role of inflammation in the development and progression of various age-related pathologies such as osteoporosis, kidney fibrosis, sarcopenia and lung inflammation and fibrosis, among other conditions. At the recent Biology of Aging Summit, the need to further explore the source of inflammatory cytokine production and the role of adipose tissue and cells of the innate immune system in triggering inflammation was discussed. Therefore, DAB is planning to organize an exploratory workshop to take place in the Summer of 2010 in Bethesda, MD to assess recent advances in the field by grantees funded by the RFA in FY 2006. In addition, other investigators with expertise in this field will be invited to present their recent findings. The purpose of this workshop will be to discuss recent progress as well as to identify gaps in our understanding of the role of inflammation in the aging process. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/496-6402).
The purpose of the one-day symposium is to bring together a select group of LAG investigators and their academic progeny (young investigators trained in the laboratories of members of the LAG Interactive Network who have made major research contributions to expanding the field of longevity research as independent researchers) to highlight the scientific advances in longevity research for the NIH community and to define future research opportunities to advance this field of basic aging biology. We are proposing a one-day symposium to be held on the Bethesda NIH campus to highlight the research advances of the NIA LAG Initiative.(Contact: Dr. Anna McCormick, DAB, 301/496-6402).
Epigenetics/epigenomics is an emerging field of science that involves the study of changes in the regulation of gene activity and expression that are not dependent on gene sequence. One of the major take home messages from a recent NIA workshop entitled: “Epigenetics of Aging and Age-related Diseases” was that an integrated genetic-epigenetic approach holds great promise for understanding the etiology of complex diseases of aging. With this in mind and in order to further leverage the Roadmap investment in epigenomics and maximize NIA's investment in the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the Division of Neuroscience, NIA, will convene an exploratory workshop that will bring together ADGC (AD Genetics Consortium) investigators funded through the Roadmap Epigenomics RFA, other leading epigenomics experts working on related diseases and conditions, and NIA’s leading geneticists involved in the major AD genetics initiatives such as LOAD (Late Onset AD Family study). The purpose of this workshop is to explore synergies between these two approaches and to facilitate interactions between leading experts in AD genetics, leading epigenomics experts, and review the current state of AD genetics and the emerging epigenetic approach to AD. (For further information, contact: Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia among older adults at the age of 65 or above. The number of persons with cognitive impairment but no dementia is even higher. Currently, there is no cure for AD; early detection of the disease is primarily based on neuropsychological assessment. In the past two decades or so, studies have begun to suggest that changes in sensory and/or motor function are associated with AD, in particular at the early or even pre-symptomatic stages, and that examining sensory and motor changes in the context of cognitive impairments and AD may provide us with fresh perspectives regarding the etiology, early detection, assessment, and treatment of AD and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases. DN plans to hold an exploratory workshop in Bethesda, MD on August 9-10, 2010 to assess the potential of changes in sensory and/or motor function as possible predictors for the development of cognitive dysfunction and dementia. Participants will include experts from the fields of sensory systems, motor systems, cognitive aging, and dementia research. Topics of interest will include: 1) sensory or motor modalities that would be suitable for development as appropriate early biomarkers for cognitive dysfunction and dementia; 2) molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms that underlie the associations of sensory or motor changes with cognitive impairment and dementia; 3) technologies appropriate for early detection of sensory or motor changes related to cognitive impairment and dementia; and 4) early intervention strategies aimed at preserving sensory and/or motor function in the hope that this would delay the onset of and/or the progression to cognitive dysfunction and dementia. (For further information, contact: Dr. Wen G. Chen, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; email@example.com ).
The Division of Neuroscience, NIA, will sponsor an advisory meeting in October 2010, in Bethesda, MD, whose goal is to further develop, prioritize and formulate an implementation plan for the recommendations emanating from the meeting of the AD Translational Research Advisory Panel. To this end, this advisory meeting will convene leading therapy development experts from academia, biopharma and disease-focused foundations to consider the following recommendations: the establishment of a new public- private partnership consortium that will leverage and build upon existing government, industry and disease foundation resources and coordinate the strategic planning for future development of AD therapeutics; the establishment of an external advisory/oversight committee that would review progress of funded preclinical (U01) programs and provide guidance to NIA-funded investigators and advice to NIA- Program Staff; improve translation of preclinical animal model efficacy to the clinic by defining guidelines and standard methods for use of animal models in AD therapy development; and provide formal education on topics germane to AD therapy development to potential applicants, funded-investigators, NIH-program staff and reviewers. (For further information, contact: Dr. Neil Buckholtz, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; firstname.lastname@example.org ).
The Cognitive Aging Summit II, an advisory meeting supported by the NIA and the Foundation for NIH through a generous grant from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation (MBRF), will be held in October 2010. The Summit will bring together experts in various fields of study pertaining to cognition and aging. The goals and objectives of this second Summit are to: discuss the advances made in the field since the first Cognitive Aging Summit in 2007 and what gaps in the body of scientific knowledge may still need to be addressed; explore novel methodologies and technologies to address research concerns; explore avenues for interventions and preventive measures to mitigate the effects of age-related cognitive decline and maintain cognitive health throughout life; and raise the level of awareness both within the scientific community and among the public about the importance of this area of research and its value to society. Updates on grants awarded through two RFAs on cognitive aging research stemming from the first Summit will be presented. (For further information, contact: Dr. Molly Wagster, DN, Ph: 301-496-9360; email@example.com  or Dr. Jonathan King, DBSR, Ph: 301-402-4516; firstname.lastname@example.org  ).
It is becoming increasingly clear that genetic analyses of complex traits require larger sample sizes than initially envisioned. To maximize the most of existing investments in behavioral and social research, strategies for pooling data across existing studies should be explored. A series of ongoing activities are being designed to bring together existing longitudinal studies of aging to discuss strategies of pooling data and harmonizing phenotypes with the eventual goal of genetic studies of behavioral and social phenotypes.
The proposed workshop is designed to determine what new research would further our understanding of the links between personality, health, economic security and aging, aimed at understanding of mechanisms and identification of potential targets for intervention. The workshop is designed to focus discussion around four themes: (1) advances in measurement of the conscientiousness, (2) examination of the role of social context in influencing the prevalence or utility of personality traits, (3) exploration of causal pathways through experiments and interventions, and (4) harmonization and integration of existing lifecourse data on personality and health. (For further information, contact: Erica Spotts, DBSR, PH: 301-402-4156; email@example.com ).