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Biological Resources Branch

The Biological Resources Branch focuses on life course features of aging, primarily in laboratory animals, but in domestic and wild populations as well. The research programs include comparative biology of aging and support for research with animals having unusual life histories that may be informative about biology of aging in humans. The branch also supports research on resilience, environmental and midlife stressors, and lifespan interventions in animal models of aging (including support for both intervention testing programs; see below). The Biological Resources Branch manages and maintains the biological resources needed to support aging research (see below). A major theme for this branch is the alignment of research in basic biology between animals and humans.

Branch Chief:


Program Officers:

Tiziana Cogliati, Ph.D.
Jennifer Fox, Ph.D.
Manuel Moro, Ph.D., D.V.M.

Mechanisms of Resilience Program

This program supports research on how organisms respond to stressors that acutely or chronically disrupt normal physiological processes. Topics may include:

  • Identification and elucidation of redundant versus unique mechanisms that support resilience
  • Interplay between cellular resilience and resilience at the organ and whole-body levels
  • Development of novel assays to classify and quantify resilience that can be used in a variety of in vivo and in vitro models

Program Contact: Recruiting

Lifespan Interventions Program

This program aims to gain a better understanding of the molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms underlying lifespan extension by pharmacological interventions. Topic may include:

  • Mechanisms of action and efficacy of interventions that extend lifespan, with an emphasis on uncovering shared versus exclusive molecular mechanisms (by intervention and by tissue type).
  • Impact of husbandry on rates of aging and health outcomes in laboratory animals subject to lifespan-altering interventions (focused on laboratory rodents commonly used in biological research).

Program Contact: Tiziana Cogliati, Ph.D.

Environmental and Midlife Stressors Program

This Program supports research on the molecular mechanisms by which different environmental exposures and midlife perturbations can impact aging and health outcomes. Topics may include:

  • Environmental exposures (e.g., hazardous waste, extreme weather events) that impact aging and rates of aging
  • Molecular mechanisms by which environmental exposures and aging interventions may interact
  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms of midlife stressors or perturbations on aging and/or rates of aging

Program Contact: Jennifer Fox, Ph.D.

Dr. Fox is also a DAB point of contact for small business grants. See full description of DAB-supported small business grants here.

Comparative Biology of Aging Program

This program supports research on aging mechanisms across several vertebrate species, with a particular emphasis on non-human primates. Topics may include:

  • Research on aging in underutilized vertebrates, specifically cohorts of heterogeneous genetic background, diverse life histories, and variable conditions of animal husbandry
  • Research on animals with specific and advantageous aspects of physiological overlap with human aging including naturally occurring functional deficits and multi-morbidities
  • Testing findings from inbred animals in outbred laboratory animals, domestic, and/or wild populations

Program Contact: Manuel Moro, Ph.D., D.V.M.

Biological Resources for Aging Research

The Biological Resources Branch facilitates basic research in the biology of aging through controlled access to aged animals, biological specimens, and data, which are supported through contracts to spare qualified investigators the cost of generating such resources. The available resources include aged rodents, biological specimens (tissue and cell banks), and the Primate Aging Database. More detailed information about these biological resources supported by the DAB may be found at DAB-Supported Small Business Grants.

Intervention Testing Programs

These programs are designed for collaborations with investigators at any university, institute, or other organization with well-rationalized ideas to test pharmacological interventions that might decelerate aging, and to propose testing these in lifespan studies in diverse genetic backgrounds in standard laboratory animals – Caenorhabditis species and strains or cross-bred laboratory mice.

Caenorhabditis Interventions Testing Program (CITP) - NIA supports a multi-institutional study investigating pharmacological interventions that might extend lifespan or healthspan using diverse species and strains of Caenorhabditis. This approach leverages the genetic diversity within this genus to examine robustness of interventions. The CITP allows investigators to submit proposals for interventions to be tested for their ability to decelerate aging and extend lifespan. Please visit the CITP web page.

Program Contact: Tiziana Cogliati, Ph.D.

Interventions Testing Program (ITP) – The ITP is an NIA-funded, multi-institutional study investigating treatments with the potential to extend lifespan and delay pathophysiology and dysfunction in mice. The ITP provides tissue and plasma samples from treated and control ITP animals to researchers. To learn more about the ITP and the processes for testing new interventions or obtaining samples, please visit the ITP web page.

Program Contact: Jennifer Fox, Ph.D.

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