About NIA

NACA meeting: September 20-21, 2011

General Information/Staff Awards

  • David Schlessinger, Ph.D., Chief, Laboratory of Genetics, was approved for appointment as an NIH Distinguished Investigator. The NIH Distinguished Investigator appointment is reserved for NIH's most preeminent Senior Investigators (top two or three percent) at the highest level of career accomplishment, with entrance requiring a special peer review and approval by the Director, NIH.

 2011 NIH Director’s Award Winners

  • Patricia Gearhart, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology, is being awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Award. Dr. Gearhart’s mentoring efforts have led to intellectual awareness, scientific development, and productive research aimed at solving important biological problems. Through her established collaborations with the leading researchers in her field, she has provided unparalleled access to her mentees, which not only provided learning opportunities, but also provided expert resources for discussions in the establishment of new scientific techniques and approaches, thus broadening their experience. Dr. Gearhart maintains an “open-door” policy for her trainees; continuously encourages visibility at local and international meetings; works with them to prepare presentations and provides feedback on the most effective way to communicate their work to the scientific community; and involves her fellows in reviewing and writing scientific manuscripts, thus enabling them to critique various works in a positive fashion. Dr. Gearhart’s commitment to mentoring has been demonstrated through several accomplishments, which include building the African- American scientific talent pipeline at the NIH; mentorship of students and postdoctoral fellows at the Johns Hopkins University, some who now have faculty positions in academia, industry, and scientific administration at the NIH; and through the critical role she has played in the NIH’s Women Scientist Advisory (WSA) committee.
  • Minoru Ko, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Genetics, is being awarded in recognition of overall research excellence and special contributions in the area of pre-implantation embryo development and stem cell dynamics and elucidation of the role of the Zscan4 gene in genomic stability, reproduction, and cancer. Dr. Ko’s work has reached a new level of originality and importance with his latest results on the role of the Zscan4 gene in genome stability and stem cell immortality. Since his arrival at the Laboratory of Genetics (LG) as a Senior Investigator in 1997, Dr. Ko has carried out studies of pre-implantation embryo development and stem cell dynamics with a cumulative powerful trajectory. This led most recently to his discovery of the extraordinary role of the Zscan4 gene. Although the full mechanism is still being analyzed, Dr. Ko’s studies of Zscan4 action have already changed drastically the view of the requirements for the immortality of stem cells. In auxiliary work, he is finding exciting hints of its action in adult stem cells and iPS cells as well; and it seems increasingly likely that the manipulation of Zscan4 activity may provide an important route to the preservation of genome integrity and pluripotency in a number of interventive protocols. The information and relevant clones are increasingly affecting many groups involved in the burgeoning studies of regenerative medicine both at NIH and in the extramural community. Dr. Ko has been unfailingly generous with materials and information for the scientific community at large. Thus, he has made available through repositories collections of cDNAs and now collections of ES cells containing over- or under-expressed transcription factors. The cDNAs have been widely used in hundreds of publications; and in a comparable way, ES cell lines over-expressing specific transcription factors are now becoming tools in many laboratories.
  • Wook Kim, Ph.D., Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, received the Outstanding Abstract Award at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society.

The 2012 NIH Fellows’ Award for Research Excellence (FARE) winners were recently announced. The FARE awards provide recognition for the outstanding scientific research performed by intramural postdoctoral fellows. The NIA IRP is pleased to have 8 FARE winners. They are:

Fellow: Zhike Chen
Mentor: Josephine Egan
Lab: LCI

Fellow: Alejandro Martin Montalvo Sanchez
Mentor: Rafael de Cabo
Lab: LEG

Fellow: Avik Ghosh, Venkateswarlu Popuri, Mahesh Ramamoorthy, Peter Sykora
Mentor: Vilhelm Bohr
Lab: LMG

Fellow: Haritha Vallabhaneni
Mentor: Yie Liu
Lab: LMG

Fellow: Eitan Okun
Mentor: Mark Mattson
Lab: LNS

  • BSR Deputy Director John G. Haaga has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Population Association of America for a three-year term starting January 2012.


Global Health and Aging. National Institute on Aging and World Health Organization. July 2011.
The world is facing a situation without precedent: We soon will have more older ;people than children and more people at extreme old age than ever before. This report emphasizes the central role that health will play moving forward. A better understanding of the changing relationship between health and age is crucial if we are to create a future that takes full advantage of the powerful resource inherent in older populations.

The Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) published a supplement to The Gerontologist entitled “The Science of Recruitment and Retention among Ethnically Diverse Older Adults,” Volume 51, Number S1, June 2011. Dr. Rosie Sood of BSR was a co-editor. Drs. Sid Stahl and Rosie Sood authored the Preface to this Special Issue. The Gerontologist, 51:S5-S7.

Publications and Products

The following new publications and other products were developed, updated, or reprinted:

  • AgePages:
    • A Good Night’s Sleep
    • Ataque cerebral (Stroke)
    • Beware of Health Scams
    • Depression
    • El dolor: usted puede obtener ayuda (Pain: You Can Get Help)
    • El envejecimiento y sus ojos (Aging and Your Eyes)
    • Falls and Fractures
    • Forgetfulness: Knowing When To Ask for Help
    • Heart Health
    • Kidney Disease: A Silent Problem
    • Medicines: Use Them Safely
    • Prostate Problems
    • Skin Care
    • Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth
    • Understanding Lung Problems: Make Each Breath Healthy
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Fact Sheet
  • Go4Life bookmarks
  • National Institute on Aging Research Program Information Resources
  • Older Adults and Alcohol: You Can Get Help
  • So Far Away: Twenty Questions and Answers About Long-Distance Caregiving
  • Stay Safe in Cold Weather! Learn Why You Need to Stay Warm When It’s Cold
  • There’s No Place Like Home—For Growing Old: Tips from the National Institute on Aging
  • Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Need to Know

The following new topic was added to NIHSeniorHealth.gov:

(For more information about NIA’s publications or NIHSeniorHealth, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, Ph.: 301-496-1752.)

News Releases and Announcements

The following press releases and announcements were distributed to audiences in print and on the Internet:

(For more information about NIA’s media activities, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, Ph.: 301-496-1752.)

Meetings and Exhibits

NIA/ADEAR exhibited at the following conferences:

  • Medical Library Association, Minneapolis, MN
  • American Physical Therapy Association, National Harbor, MD
  • Maryland Gerontological Association, Catonsville, MD
  • N4A, Washington, DC
  • National Association of State Units on Aging and Disability, Washington, DC
  • North American Menopause Society, Washington, DC

NIA staff met with:

  • American Geriatrics Society, April 15
  • Alzheimer’s Association, June 29
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, May 3

(For more information about meetings and exhibits, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, Ph.: 301-496-1752. For more information about meetings with professional organizations or associations, contact Dr. Tamara Jones, Legislative Officer, Ph. 301-451-8835.)

OCPL Awards

  • APEX Awards for Publication Excellence for 2009 Progress Report on Alzheimer’s Disease: Translating New Knowledge
  • Communicator Awards, Silver Award of Distinction: Frontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families, and Caregivers
  • Center for Plain Language Clearmark Awards for:
    • Frontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families and Caregivers
    • Go4Life Web site
    • Understanding Memory Loss
  • National Mature Media Awards
    • Understanding Memory Loss – Silver
    • Ejercicio y Actividad Fisica (Exercise & Physical Activity) – Bronze
  • Web Health Awards: Go4Life Website: Silver Award
  • NIH Plain Language Awards
    • Gold
      Heart Health (AgePage)
      Understanding Memory Loss: What to Do When You Have Trouble Remembering (Easy-to-Read Booklet))
    • Silver
      In Mouse Study, Researchers Discover New Mechanism for Clearing Blockages from Smallest Blood Vessels (Press Release)
      Nunca es tarde para comenzar a hacer ejercico (It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising)
    • Bronze
      Can We Prevent Aging? Tips from the National Institute on Aging (Tip Sheet)
      Gene Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease Plays Key Role in Cell Survival (Press Release)
      Mild Cognitive Impairment More Common in Older Men than Older Women (Press Release)
      Possible Predictor of Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease (Press Release)

(For more information about OCPL awards, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, Ph.: 301-496-1752.)