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About NIA

NACA Meeting: January 24-25, 2012

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

The 9th Annual Nathan W. Shock Symposium was held on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at the Asthma and Allergy Center and the Biomedical Research Center, on Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus. This event was cosponsored by NIA and the Nathan W. and Margaret T. Shock Aging Research Foundation. The symposium entitled, “Mitochondria and aging: rusting of a life-sustaining symbiosis,” featured talks from the following presenters:

  • Douglas C. Wallace, Ph.D. (Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine, Children’s Hospital Philadelphia)
  • M. Flint Beal, M.D. (Weill Cornell MedicalCollege)
  • Toren Finkel, M.D., Ph.D. (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH)
  • Steven Sollott, M.D. (National Institute on Aging, NIH)

On December 6-7, 2011, the Laboratories and Branches of the NIA/IRP hosted a symposium entitled, "Noncoding RNA in Aging and Age-Related Disease" at the Biomedical Research Center, on Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus. This symposium fostered the exchange of information on microRNA and other noncoding regulatory RNA in the fields of aging and age-related pathologies. Specific areas of discussion included noncoding RNA implicated in neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and cellular senescence.

  1. Past Meetings

Teleconference on Population Genetics, September 19, 2011.

It has long been recognized that the HRS will have a lot to offer the field of population genetics because it is a national probability sample with genetic data, the likes of which does not exist elsewhere in the US. This teleconference brought together experts in the field, to discuss population genetics as it relates to the HRS, and for future directions for BSR in general. (For more information contact Dr. Erica Spotts, 301-402-4156.)

Teleconference and commissioned papers on "Integrating Genetic Data into BSR: Follow-up to NAS Meeting on HRS and GWAS" – September 22, 2011

BSR has been advancing research in the area of gene-environment interplay. To that end, BSR sponsored an Expert Meeting at the National Academies of Science on September 23-24, 2010, entitled “Using Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS) To Explore Fundamental questions About Aging in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) Sample.” The current meeting was the first in a series of teleconferences BSR will organize to bring in leading experts in the field to follow up on issues raised on Sept 22nd. (For more information contact Dr. Erica Spotts, 301-402-4156.)


The Division of Aging Biology of the NIA co-sponsored an exploratory meeting on the subject of “Oxidative Stress and Aging”. The one-day meeting was held in Los Angeles, CA on October 8th.

Since the mid ‘50s, oxidative stress has been one of the most central issues concerning the study of aging biology. We have assembled a group of leading researchers interested in this area, both NIA-funded and others, in order to discuss the current state of the science, as well as perceived gaps and possible ways to address those gaps. The relevance of the subject to the biology of aging was discussed.

(Contact Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Panel on the Continuing Epidemiological Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa, Maputo, Mozambique – October 20-21, 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. Immediately following the public meeting the Panel met in closed session to work on a final report. (For more information please contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, 301-496-3131.)

Burden of Alzheimer's Disease Teleconference, October 26, 2011.

BSR is actively involved in the effort to fully understand and plan for the emerging costs of Alzheimer’s Disease. These efforts include the development of better methods for identifying and quantifying the costs of AD using new data collection methods, better mining of administrative records, and the development of economic modeling tools based on new estimates and projections of disease prevalence. Several experts reviewed recent and ongoing research on cost projections and modeling of direct and indirect costs of AD and prepared a presentation to be delivered at the teleconference. A report will be finalized in the near future. (For more information contact Dr. Colin Baker, 301-496-3138.)

Use of Subjective Well Being Data for Cost Benefit Analysis Related to Policy, Washington DC, November 2-3, 2011.

BSR and the Brookings Institution co-sponsored a workshop on “Use of Well-being Measures for Policy Analysis.” This meeting examined the potential, challenges, and possible pitfalls associated with the use of metrics of subjective well-being for policy analysis. The meeting was held in Washington, DC, at the Brookings Institution, on November 2-3, 2011. (For more information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

Planning for Developing a Harmonization Strategy for Behavioral, Social Science and Genetic Research, Bethesda MD – November 28-29, 2011.

The purpose of this NIA-supported exploratory workshop was 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. The meeting drew from leading approaches and solutions developed under major harmonization and cataloging initiatives including P3G, PhenX, NACDA and the RAND Survey Meta Data Repository). The workshop brought together a small group of experts working in specific areas of prospective and retrospective phenotype harmonization and in cataloging. It introduced basic concepts and approaches and explored 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.)

Panel on Measuring Subjective Well-Being in a Policy-Relevant Framework
December 19, 2011, Washington, DC.

This panel meeting (the first in an expected series of two) is part of a study by the National Academies’ Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT). The panel, sponsored by NIA and the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council is charged to review the current state of research and evaluate methods for the measurement of subjective well-being. The second meeting is expected to take place in mid-2012. (For more information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, 301-402-4156.)

  1. Future Meetings


Exploratory one day workshop to evaluate the current state of the arts with respect to ceramide and aging. Ceramides are signaling molecules and also components of the mitochondrial membrane. Ceramide changes with age effect mitochondrial decay.

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in March, 2012 in Bethesda, MD.

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

EPIGENETICS and AGING (April, 2012)

DAB is funding 18 epigenetic grants (8 R01; 1 P01; 1 R21; 2 F31-32; 2 K02-K25; RC1, RC2, RL1). A 1.5 day epigenetics grantee meeting will be conducted to discuss the status of the field, future direction, need, and feasibility/necessity of an epigenetic consortium in aging. Grantees of R01, P01, R21, and Ks will be invited (total of ~12 of DAB and a few grantees from other divisions).

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in April, 2012 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402).


NIH Roadmap started funding the Human Microbiome Project in 2008. Now 4885 bacterial and viral strains sequenced are from human airways, blood, eye, GI tract, heart, lymph node, oral, cavity, skin, urogenital tract, and other parts of body. In addition to the sequencing of many microbiomes and tool development, fifteen demonstration projects have been funded to demonstrate hypothesized correlations between the microbiome and human health and disease. However, none of these projects focuses on aging. To take advantages of the resources and tools developed by Roadmap HMP, we propose a workshop to discuss the status of the field and opportunities on studies of microbiome and aging. The proposed 1-day workshop may identify effective strategies to stimulate research on changes of microbiomes during aging and the effects on aging-related conditions and diseases.

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in May, 2012 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402).


The proposed meeting will assemble the leaders in the field, together with researchers from the aging community to discuss new, cutting-edge developments and techniques to detect and characterize non-coding RNAs in aging tissues. Today, we are in the midst of an explosion of discoveries about a wide variety of RNAs that play important regulatory roles in diverse biological processes. It is essential that as we look forward, we explore the dynamic nature of regulation and the complexity of the underlying molecular mechanisms. Regulatory RNAs are diverse. They vary in size, origin, structure, biogenesis, and mechanism of action. For example, long noncoding RNAs have been shown to impact cellular processes such as X chromosome inactivation and transcriptional regulation. Some mediate histone modifications, and could have profound effects on biological processes ranging from metabolic pathways to cell-fate determination. Of interest is to understand how regulatory RNA networks interact with other regulatory mechanisms and how these networks sense and respond to the many cues that mark cellular homeostasis. The breakthroughs in sequencing technologies will undoubtedly lead to powerful systems approaches for future expeditions. We hope that this meeting will be thought provoking and spark interesting discussions and ideas for new research avenues as we explore the role of regulatory RNAs in aging.

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in May, 2012 in Bethesda, MD.

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