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Workshop: Midlife Stress and the Hallmarks of Aging


Researchers at all career stages from academia, industry, and government with an interest in the impacts of stress on aging in human populations and animal models of stress and/or aging.


April 11, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. ET


This workshop will take place in a virtual setting on Zoom.

Purpose and Background

Data from the Midlife in the United States study revealed that middle-aged adults in today’s society report more stress in their lives than their younger and older peers, resulting in a need to understand the impacts of stress on aging in this population. Although studies conducted in human populations have shed some light on the association between exposure to midlife stress and alterations in the hallmarks of aging, many questions still remain. The use of laboratory animals could model and indicate metrics to understand biological features that could help answer these questions, as it would allow for the analysis of the relationships between the hallmarks of aging and midlife stress in controlled environments. The use of shorter-lived laboratory, wild, or domesticated animals could also enable longitudinal studies to be carried out until natural death to measure the subsequent impact of these stress-induced alterations on lifespan and health metrics. To address open questions in this space, NIA's Division of Aging Biology (DAB) hosted a virtual workshop on Midlife Stress and the Hallmarks of Aging on April 11, 2023. Topics covered at the workshop included:

  • The aging-related biological effects of stress, particularly stress encountered during middle adulthood, and the subsequent impact on health metrics and lifespan
  • Biological mechanisms underlying adaptive and maladaptive stress responses and sex-specific differences
  • Rodent and non-rodent animal models for stress and aging research


Note: This agenda is in Eastern Daylight Time.

April 11, 2023

10:00 a.m. Welcome and Workshop Objectives, Ronald Kohanski, Ph.D., NIA and Jennifer Fox, Ph.D., NIA

  • Ronald Kohanski, Ph.D., NIA
  • Jennifer Fox, Ph.D., NIA

10:15 a.m. Keynote

  • The landscape of daily stress across middle adulthood, David Almeida, Ph.D., Penn State University

11:00 a.m-12:50 p.m. Session 1 | Human Populations

  • Midlife stress and indices of biological aging: Consistent findings and persistent questions, Elissa Epel, Ph.D., UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences 
  • The impact of economic and social stressors on biological aging markers in adulthood, Shakira Suglia, Sc.D., M.S., Emory University
  • Epigenetics of stress and aging: Mechanisms in humans and cells, Anthony Zannas, M.D., Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Psychosocial stress is associated with cellular senescence marker p16INK4a in humans and mice, Kelly Rentscher, Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Q&A and Panel Discussion

1:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Session 2 | Rodent Models

  • Social stress drives aging in mice: a geroscience perspective, Alessandro Bartolomucci, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • Using cellular resilience to identify molecular links between stress and aging hallmarks, Adam Salmon, Ph.D., Barshop Institute
  • Lasting effects of adolescent stress on brain and behavior, Gretchen Neigh, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Utility of social conflict models revisited: Why social stress and why hamsters?, Kim Huhman, Ph.D., Georgia State University
  • Prairie voles as a rodent model for the effects of pair bonds on aging, Karen Bales, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
  • Q&A and Panel Discussion

3:40 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Session 3 | Non-Rodent Animal Models 

  • Social and environmental modifiers of immunity and aging in nonhuman primates, Noah Snyder-Mackler, Ph.D., Arizona State University
  • Impact of low social status and poor diet quality on multi-system aging in nonhuman primates. Carol Shively, Ph.D., Wake Forest University
  • The naturally short-lived African turquoise killifish: a new model to accelerate vertebrate aging research, Bérénice Benayoun, Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • A Bird's Eye View of Stress and Aging, Mark Haussmann, Ph.D., Bucknell University
  • Q&A and Panel Discussion

Contact Information

Please contact Jennifer Fox for questions you may have about the workshop

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