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Celebrating 10 years of the NIH Geroscience Interest Group

Ron Kohanski
Ronald KOHANSKI,
Director, Division of Aging Biology,
Division of Aging Biology (DAB)
.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the NIH-wide Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG), which was launched to convene program officials and scientists across NIH Institutes and Centers who share an interest in the latest advances in this emerging field of research. The goal is to better understand the genetic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms that make aging a major risk factor for and driver of common chronic conditions and diseases of older people.

Geroscience is centered on the concept that interventions targeting the molecular changes that drive aging may prevent or delay the onset of diseases, conditions, and functional decline associated with growing older. In the last decade, interest in geroscience has exploded, and GSIG has played an important role in bringing scientists interested in the basic biology of aging together with geriatricians and other clinical researchers focused on translating basic discoveries into effective clinical interventions.

Recognizing the group’s accomplishments

More than 20 NIH Institutes and Centers currently participate in GSIG, which has led to a series of important accomplishments for the field. For example, in 2013, GSIG hosted its first Geroscience Summit. Participants identified seven common “pillars of aging” and goals for future research on each. This initial summit generated a white paper on geroscience and a series of recommendations for the field that were published as a special supplement to the Journals of Gerontology: Series A.

In 2016, GSIG hosted a follow-up summit titled “Disease Drivers of Aging,” which focused on how exposure to certain serious illnesses or associated treatments may change a person’s rate of aging or their likelihood of developing other age-related diseases. A review highlighting key takeaways from this second summit was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

GSIG members hosted a third summit in 2019 designed to raise awareness of geroscience research among scientists and professional societies focused on specific age-related diseases. In addition, GSIG has hosted many virtual and in-person seminars featuring geroscience.

Planning for a fourth geroscience summit

GSIG is now planning a fourth summit, “Geroscience for the Next Generation,” to be held April 24-26, 2023. Participants will explore how individuals across populations age in different ways and at different rates, and how geroscience can leverage inclusive and equitable approaches to advance well-being and prolong the healthy, active years of life for all populations.

The summit will feature emerging leaders in the field and highlight new research on multimorbidity and geriatric syndromes, two important clinical conditions observed in older populations. Discussions will also examine computer modeling of aging and concepts of a biological age as a “metric for health” and alternative to age (years since birth) to understand population aging. More information is available at Fourth Summit: Geroscience for the Next Generation.

We hope you’ll agree that there’s much to look forward to as this exciting field advances and GSIG enters its second decade. Email the Division of Aging Biology team or comment below with questions about the 2023 summit!

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