About NIA

NACA meeting: May 24-25, 2011

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

Measurement of Psychosocial Stress, University of California-San Francisco - February 2-3, 2011.

This NIA-funded exploratory meeting was designed to advance dialogue between measurement, laboratory, and population-based stress researchers, in order to lay the groundwork for development of measures suitable for inclusion in large surveys, appropriate for use across geographic regions, populations, and societies. This meeting helped to inform our understanding of health inequalities that are attributable to psychosocial stress exposures and experiences. (For more information, contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Conference on Policy Research and Data Needs to Meet the Challenges of Population Aging in Asia, New Delhi, India – March 13-16, 2011.

The second of two planned conferences convened by the Committee on Population (CPOP) at the National Academies of Science, this exploratory meeting gathered leading scientists to present the latest trends in population aging in Asia, to discuss the potential for greater international collaboration, and to engage senior Asian policymakers and planners in dialogue. (For more information, please contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-496-3131.)

Panel on the Continuing Epidemiological Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa, Washington, DC – March 30, 2011.

This public exploratory workshop reviewed and discussed commissioned papers on changing risk factors and measuring health status in the context of transitioning populations. Topics also included a discussion of methods for harmonization across different survey methods. (For more information, please contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-496-3131.)

COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGY - April 18-19, 2011

The overall objective of the proposed exploratory workshop is to assemble research experts in aging biology, comparative biology, and TOR (Target Of Rapamycin) -associated pathways, to obtain input that may help us strengthen comparative physiology approaches to explore conserved and divergent aspects of the TOR pathway across various vertebrate species. TOR plays a key role in development and aging. The aberrant regulation of mTOR (mammalian TOR) has been implicated in several diseases, including cancer, diabetes, ocular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders and in the regulation of lifespan and age-related diseases. Given the rapidly evolving findings on the role of TOR in lifespan extension and in a wide range of age-related diseases, a comparative approach across short-lived and long-lived species of mammals may provide evolutionary insights into conserved aspects of the expression of TOR and its downstream pathways. This workshop will help NIA develop this area further through special initiatives or efforts through existing resources.

We propose a workshop to be held on April 18-19, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. Mahadev Murthy, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Advisory Workshop to Reformulate the NIA-Reagan Criteria - May 6-7, 2011
Chicago, Illinois

The Division of Neuroscience (DN), NIA, in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association, held an advisory workshop on May 6-7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois to examine the current state of knowledge related to neuropathological diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and differentiation of AD pathology from that of other dementing illnesses in post-mortem brains. A working group composed of experts in the field and a number of NIH staff was convened to examine the evidence and make recommendations as to the timing and steps to take in reconsideration of the NIA-Reagan criteria for AD diagnosis. The outcome of this meeting will subsequently be presented to the Alzheimer’s community for feedback in the form of a draft publication. For further information, contact: Dr. Creighton Phelps, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; phelpsc@nia.nih.gov).

Harmonization of Methods and Measurement in Longitudinal Studies – May 2-3, 2011

The goal of this meeting was to discuss options and priorities for harmonizing measures across major population-based longitudinal studies of aging, for a wide range of behavioral and social constructs. Studies represented will include the Health and Retirement Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the National Social Health and Aging Project; Mid-Life in the United States, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, and several international studies in the HRS “family.” The purposes of harmonization vary in ambition, from facilitating informal comparisons of results across populations, to formal meta-analyses, and even to pooling of data sets, e.g., to meet requirements for adequate power and population diversity for genetic studies. This meeting was intended to initiate discussions and identify strategies for harmonization; future working groups may be formed to follow up in specific fields identified as most interesting to the studies and most in need of coordinated action. (For more information, contact Dr. John Haaga, BSR, 301-496-3131.)

Sleep in Aging and Dementias - May 16-17, 2011, Bethesda, MD

Disruption of sleep in the elderly is one of the most profound and well documented changes with aging and there is increasing evidence that disruption of sleep impacts behavior and physiology. Despite this strong evidence, there is a gap in understanding interactions between diseases in the elderly and sleep disruptions. Therefore, the Division of Neuroscience, NIA convened an exploratory workshop to survey current understanding, emerging ideas, knowledge gaps and research opportunities pertaining to sleep and aging and their relevance to health and disease. Specifically, discussion focused on (1) current data on age-related changes in sleep organization and sleep-dependent memory processing, (2) evidence for health promotion in older individuals using sleep-based interventions, (3) strategies for assessing and promoting preventive health (sleep) measures in individuals with cognitive impairment and dementias, and (4) biological mechanisms and current evidence relating changes in sleep pattern in aging to cognitive impairment and dementias.

(For more information, please contact Dr. Mack Mackiewicz, DN, (301) 594-7636; mackiewiczm2@mail.nih.gov ).

  1. Future Meetings

“Choices” Theme Program at 23rd Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington DC, May 25-29, 2011.

The “choices” theme program will highlight cutting edge research in the domains of behavioral- and neuro-economics and the decision sciences, areas where the development of applications to aging-relevant themes has been strongly encouraged by BSR. This program will increase BSR’s visibility in the field of psychological sciences, particularly around the interface of psychology and economics, and potentially attract future investigators into the field of aging. (For more information, contact Drs. Lis Nielsen and Jonathan King, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Roundtable on Psychology and Economics, Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2011.

This NIA-supported exploratory meeting will bring together leading researchers in behavioral and social research on decision making from the psychological and economic sciences to discuss potential areas of integration for advancing research on aging relevant themes, including: Behavior Change and Decision Making (including behavioral- and neuro-economics), Subjective Well-being, and Measurement of Economic Phenotypes. (For more information, contact Drs. Lis Nielsen and Jonathan King, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

SINGLE CELLS STUDIES IN AGING RESEARCH (May 26, 2011)

New technologies are making it possible to probe gene expression, DNA integrity,protein damage, etc. in living cells with single molecule sensitivity in real-time. Many important proteins are expressed at extremely low levels, thus making them inaccessible by classical genomic and proteomic techniques. The single molecule sensitive reporter systems that have been developed open up possibilities for system wide characterization of the expression of these low copy number proteins. Similarly, latest generation DNA sequencing allows the analysis of single genomes, thus providing important cell-to-cell variability in genome stability, mutation frequency, etc. This level of analysis is important since individual cell biochemical composition may be diluted by the surrounding cells. By studying single cells at the molecular level it will be possible to obtain fingerprints of bioprocess from different cell types and disease states and to change the response to various challenges by altering the level of these biological processes in a predictable manner. The insights into the biology of single cells will have important implications for the study of tissue and organ homeostasis.

The proposed exploratory meeting will assemble the leaders in the field of single cell analysis, together with researchers from the aging community to discuss new, cutting-edge developments and techniques in this fast-moving area. The presentations will focus on probing genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and imaging in living cells.

We propose a workshop to be held on May 26, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. Jose Velazquez, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Workshop on New Directions in the Sociology, Social Demography and Social Epidemiology of Aging, Washington, DC—June 7-8, 2011.

This exploratory workshop, convened by the Committee on Population at the National Research Council, will gather a panel of experts to evaluate the recent contributions of social demography, social epidemiology and sociology to the study of aging and seek to identify promising new research directions in these sub-fields. A report is expected to be issued after the workshop. (For more information, please contact Ms. Elizabeth Hamilton, BSR, 301-496-3138.)

FIFTH ANNUAL DIVISION OF AGING BIOLOGY NEW INVESTIGATORS FORUMS (June 21-22, 2011 & June 27-29, 2011)

Purpose: Outreach

The purpose of the forum is to bring together new awardees of grants from DAB in the spring of the year following their award, to encourage their continued success in this field by allowing them to get acquainted with us (NIA program staff) as well as network with each other. The new investigators will be asked to make short presentations describing their planned work (or results to date) with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging research. As for previous meetings, the invitation letter will include the following language:

“Since you are being funded by the National Institute on Aging, we presume that your talk will clearly and explicitly demonstrate to us (and to the other forum participants) how your research is related to the area of aging.”

The meeting will start with a keynote address by an eminent aging researcher (tbn).

Owing to the large number of new investigators added to the DAB portfolio in FY 2010, we anticipate that we will need to divide the DAB NIF into two parts. One part for R01 awardees and the other part for K and F, small grant and post doc awardees.

We propose both workshops (Part 1 – R01s and Part 2 – Ks & Fs) to be held on June 21-22, 2011 and June 27-29, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. David Finkelstein, DAB, 301/496-6402)

Planning for Developing a Harmonization Strategy for Behavioral, Social Science and Genetic Research, Bethesda MD – July 26-27, 2011.

The purpose of this workshop is to explore and discuss harmonization strategies that will help to maximize the value of data within the behavioral and social sciences, and accelerate research integrating these data with genetic and genomic inquiry. It will draw from leading approaches and solutions developed under major harmonization initiatives (i.e., CaBIG1, P3G 2, CaHuB3, Gen2Phen4). The proposed workshop will congregate a small group of experts working in specific areas of harmonization in cataloging or phenotype harmonization. It will introduce basic concepts and approaches and explore the best ways to build upon harmonization foundations already developed in other BSR harmonization activities. (For more information contact Dr. Jennifer Harris or Barbara Torrey, 301-496-3136.)

OSTEOIMMUNOLOGY AND AGING (Summer, 2011)

The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) is planning to hold an exploratory workshop in July to discuss recent findings in our understanding of immune regulation of bone cell differentiation. Osteoimmunology is an emerging field of research related to the understanding of the interactions between the immune and skeletal systems. The interactions between the immune system and bone involve direct cell to cell contacts between different cells of the immune system and osteoclasts as well as effects mediated by the release of cytokines and chemokines by cells of the immune system. Chronic inflammation or immune activation has been demonstrated to influence osteoimmunology and produces metabolic, structural and functional changes in bone. Moreover, adipose tissue also produces factors such as adipokines that may influence bone homeostasis. Given the changes in the immune system that occur with aging which includes the development of a chronic inflammatory state, the interactions between the immune system and bone should be addressed in the context of aging. In addition, there have been recent reports by multiple groups indicating a role of senescent T cells in the development of osteoporosis with aging. In view of recent data indicating the increased complexity of endocrine regulation of both the immune system and bone remodeling, there is a basis for further investigating the age-related aspects of the mechanisms involved in mediating cross talk between these systems.

We propose a one day workshop to be held in July, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contacts Drs. Rebecca Fuldner or John Williams, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Advisory meeting: “Outcome Measures for Older Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditions” (Summer 2011)

The National Institute of Aging (NIA), in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is sponsoring an expert panel on Outcome Measures for Older Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCC). The multi-disciplinary expert panel will evaluate evidence and recommend measures to assess effectiveness (and potentially safety) of treatment and prevention strategies for MCC patients, especially across differing treatment settings. A two-day expert panel will be convened in Bethesda or Rockville, MD in July or September 2011. Our goal in convening the panel is to obtain recommendations for a core set of broad measures of health, function, and quality of life which could be used to characterize the status of older persons with a variety of combinations of conditions, which would be feasible to collect in clinical trials, surveys, and health care databases. Such measures would be useful for assessing and comparing the effectiveness and safety of new interventions and health care models for older patients with MCC. We believe that they provide a crucial complement to disease-specific outcome measures, particularly because many interventions for a given condition also affect other coexisting conditions, and interact with interventions for other conditions. In such cases, broader measures of health, function, and quality of life can provide a valuable metric for assessing the overall net benefit and risk of interventions and models of care. The panel will consist of independent experts from several disciplines, including geriatrics, health services research and administration, epidemiology, and clinical trials. Representatives of governmental agencies with interests in geriatrics and health care policy will also be invited to attend a two-day meeting of the panel. The panel will develop a consensus set of recommendations and accompanying report to be published in an appropriate journal. Agenda and participants are to be determined.

Contact Dr. Marcel E. Salive, DGCG, 301-435-3044 marcel.salive@nih.gov.

Division of Neuroscience Third AD Translational Research Investigators Meeting - September 13-14, 2011, Bethesda, MD

The staff of the NIA Division of Neuroscience will hold the 3rd Annual Investigators Meeting for Translational Research on September 13-14, 2011 in Bethesda, MD. Participants in this exploratory meeting will include investigators who are recipients of grants from the Early Drug Discovery and Preclinical Drug Development Programs and investigators who use the Toxicology Contract services, program staff from NIA and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and experts on drug discovery for AD from academia and/or industry in the role of expert advisors. (For more information, contact Dr. Suzana Petanceska, petanceskas@nia.nih.gov or Dr. Neil Buckholtz, buckholn@nia.nih.gov, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350).

The Role of Genetic and Environmental Factors Across the Life Course: Improving the Rigor of Causal Inference, Chicago IL – September 15-16, 2011.

There is an established consensus across several disciplines on the need to adopt a lifecourse perspective to understand the evolution of health and the aging process. The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers at the frontier of their fields to integrate biological, econometric, genetic and medical approaches to advance our knowledge on the development origins of health and aging, and to set priorities for future research agendas. The focus of the workshop is to explore potential synergies and to combine insights from evolutionary biology and medicine, together with genetic analysis and rigorous econometric modeling, to understand the mechanisms through which genetic endowments and early life conditions affect the evolution of health across the lifecourse. The meeting will consider the importance of selection effects in estimating the causal role of social and biological factors relevant to aging. Particular emphasis will be given to the analysis of interventions, and how to characterize heterogeneity in their effects as function of genetic endowments. (Contact: Erica Spotts 402-4156)