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Workshop: Computational and Human In Vitro Approaches to Accelerate Translational Aging Research

Graphic illustration of researchers in labs studying aging.


Scientists, health care professionals, academia, and industry.


Monday, Oct. 23, 2023 | 8:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., ET

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023 | 9:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., ET


Hybrid Workshop

7201 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda
Gateway Building, Conference Room 2E500D
Bethesda, MD 20814

Purpose and Background

The search for more effective therapeutics, whether novel compounds or repurposing of existing drugs, for a wide range of conditions/diseases, is increasingly incorporating in vitro and in silico methods to better inform and improve the efficiency of the drug discovery and development process. A fundamental goal of these methodologies is to better predict the biological and toxicological effects of new therapeutics in humans at the earlier stages of the translational research process (e.g., target identification, validation, lead identification, more detailed profiling of physicochemical and in vitro ADME properties, computational pharmacology, metabolic modeling, early prediction of drug safety/toxicity) so that the drug development process is informed by data which increases the likelihood of success during the clinical development phase. However, current efforts in geroscience-based or translational aging research are heavily focused on the use of traditional experimental systems and analytical tools to identify novel therapies for age-related conditions.

This workshop aimed to discuss the feasibility of applying human in vitro experimental systems and in silico tools for overcoming some of the current challenges in translational aging research, their caveats and pitfalls and to identify specific opportunities where these approaches can be combined with conventional in vivo animal studies to improve and accelerate the development of new therapies for age-related conditions and to promote healthy aging.


Day 1: Monday, Oct. 23, 2023

8:30 am Opening Remarks, NIA Staff

9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Session I: Computational Approaches to Drug Discovery

  • Moderator: Nicholas Schork, Translational Genomics Research Institute
  • Discovery of Healthy Aging Drugs and Targets with Gene Expression Signature Searching, Thomas Girke, University of California Riverside
  • Bioinformatics Workflows to Discover Drugs and Targets for Aging, Avi Ma’ayan, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Screening for Gero-Neuroprotectors, molecules that protect the brain from aging, Michael Petrascheck, Scripps Research Institute
  • Augmented Serendipity: AI-assisted drug discovery using NCATS’s Biomedical Data Translator, Andrew Crouse, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Aging drug discovery and development driven by longitudinal human data, Eric Morgen, BioAge Labs
  • Illuminating the Druggable Genome Program and Pharos as Resources for Drug Discovery, Karlie Sharma, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH
  • Drug repurposing for sarcopenia, Hongwen Deng, Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Discovering small molecules targeting aging-related phenotypes with deep learning, Felix Wong, Integrated Biosciences
  • Harnessing Amyloid, Tau, and Microglia Activation Endophenotypes for Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Repurposing using in silico Network Medicine, Feixiong Cheng, Cleveland Clinic 
  • Panel Discussion: Thomas Girke, Avi Ma’ayan, Michael Petrascheck, Andrew Crouse, Eric Morgen, Hongwen Deng, Felix Wong and Karlie Sharma, Feixiong Cheng

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Lunch Break

2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Session II: Enhancing Preclinical Drug Development Through In Vitro Profiling

  • Moderator: Passley Hargrove-Grimes, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH
  • The NIH Tissue Chip Program: Developing In Vitro Tools for Drug Development and Precision Medicine, Passley Hargrove-Grimes, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH
  • Uncovering the molecular mechanisms of exceptional longevity through iPSC-based modeling of resiliency, George Murphy, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Cellular modeling of the Aging and AD, Fred Gage, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Using 3D Cerebral Organoids and AI to Identify Candidate Therapeutics for AD, Stuart Lipton, Scripps Research Institute
  • Construction of Integrated Human-On-Chip Systems for Drug Development for Aging-Related Conditions, James Hickman, Hesperos
  • Microphysiological Systems for Kidney Disease Drug Discovery and Development, Jonathan Himmelfarb, University of Washington
  • Construction of a Multicellular Organ-On-Chip to Inform ALS Clinical Trials, Clive Svendsen, Regenerative Medicine Institute, Cedars-Sinai

5:30 p.m. Adjourn

Day 2: Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Session II. Enhancing Preclinical Drug Development Through In Vitro Profiling (continued)

  • The role of Organ-on-a-Chip technology in toxicology: A Liver-Chip case study, Lorna Ewart, Emulate
  • The BioSystics Analytics Platform for Data Management, Analysis, Computational Modeling, and Implementing Patient Digital Twins, Mark Schurdak, University of Pittsburgh
  • Regulatory perspective on the integration of new approach methodologies (NAMs) into drug discovery and development, Paul Brown, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA
  • Panel Discussion: George Murphy, Fred Gage, Jonathon Himmelfarb, Stuart Lipton, James Hickman, Mark Schurdak, Darwin Reyes-Hernandez (NIST) and Mandy Esch (NIST) 

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Session III: Use of in silico modeling to facilitate clinical development of drug candidates for aging and to inform FIH studies 

  • Moderator: Chhanda Dutta
  • Artificial Intelligence fuels First-In-Human Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease via Leveraging Genomic and Real-World Patient Data from Diverse Populations, Feixiong Cheng, Cleveland Clinic 
  • How Machine Learning of Real-World Data can Accelerate Aging-Related Trials, Brett Beaulieu-Jones, University of Chicago
  • Panel Discussion, Feixiong Cheng and Brett Beaulieu-Jones
  • Closing Remarks (NIA staff and workshop participants)

3:30 pm Adjourn

Contact Information

For more information about this workshop, please contact Rebecca Fuldner, Ph.D.

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