Experts Gather at 2016 Advances in Geroscience Science Summit


The Disease Drivers in Aging: 2016 Advances in Geroscience Summit brought together the nation’s top science experts, as well as various associated stakeholders, to the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City on April 13 and 14 for presentations and discussions about advances in the field of geroscience.

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Healthspan Campaign Activities Update

We are pleased to share an updated summary of past and present activities of the Healthspan Campaign. You can also download a PDF version here.

For the past three years, the Alliance for Aging Research, has led the Healthspan Campaign—an awareness campaign to educate the public and policymakers about the need to focus and adequately fund basic research into the underlying processes of aging—that can extend a person’s healthy years of life. The rationale behind the Healthspan Campaign is presented in an aging-focused research agenda endorsed by more than 100 of the world’s most prominent scientists, clinicians, and aging experts.

Throughout the first half of 2012 the Alliance and its Healthspan Campaign partners met with leadership of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). As a result of this advocacy, in less than six months the National Institute on Aging (NIA)—through its Division of Aging Biology—took the lead in establishing a GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) to coordinate discussion and action across the NIH on understanding the role aging plays in our susceptibility to age-related diseases. Of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the NIH, 20 are now members of the GSIG—making it one of the fast-growing interest groups at the NIH.

An announcement of the GSIG was included in the March/April 2012 issue of “The NIH
Catalyst,” the NIH’s intramural research newsletter and Dr. Felipe Sierra, NIA Division of Aging Biology Director and GSIG Coordinator, was awarded an NIH Director’s award for his leadership of the GSIG.

The work of the GSIG was recognized in report language in the FY 2013 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill. In addition LHHS Subcommittee Chairman, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), inquired of NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes about the GSIG at the April 2012 hearing. Congressman Bilbray (R-CA), also submitted questions on future plans for the GSIG subsequent to the House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing held on NIH research priorities.

In October 2013, a historic gathering of more than 50 scientists and 500+ registrants for
Advances in Geroscience: Impact on Healthspan and Chronic Disease, took place at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus. The summit was opened by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, and seven scientific sessions explored common mechanisms governing relationships between aging and chronic diseases. Day 1 and day 2 are available via webcast. In addition, on the day before the summit started, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging sponsored a roundtable on Capitol Hill for an advance briefing for senators and congressional staff on the summit. Research recommendations from the summit were approved the NIA’s National Advisory Council on Aging in February of 2014. A special supplement of the Journals of Gerontology Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences titled “Frontiers in Geroscience” was published in June 2014.

The GSIG was recently discussed with the Office of Management and Budget, in an FY 2016 budget request meeting in September 2014 that included the Alliance for Aging Research, Friends of the NIA, Gerontological Society of America, and others. The Alliance explained the progress of the GSIG and asked for future support of an interagency coordinating committee on Geroscience within NIH—similar to what was established for diabetes in 1974.

Article in Cell Summarizes Importance of Geroscience

The journal Cell published an article entitled “Geroscience: Linking Aging to Chronic Disease.” It was authored by some of the leading lights in the field of geroscience, including experts from the Healthspan Campaign’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging.  The article outlines the recent developments in the field of aging research and explains how experts are finding that aging is the prevalent risk factor for most diseases that limit healthy years of life. Spurred on by this research, the National Institutes of Health launched the Trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group in 2013. Noting that the elderly population is dramatically increasing, the article’s authors said more attention needs to be placed on aging research and extending human healthspan. To read the article, please go here.

NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) Summit, October 30-31, 2013, Bethesda, MD

From October 30-31, 2013 the NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) will hold a summit titled Advances in Geroscience: Impact on Healthspan and Chronic Disease at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus. The summit is being developed by the GSIG in partnership with the Alliance for Aging Research and The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

The summit will bring together scientific experts in the fields of aging biology and chronic disease from NIH Institutes and Centers, as well as leading academic institutions, to examine how aging itself contributes to disease and how advanced knowledge and successful translation of research has the potential to delay the main processes of aging and subsequently the onset of chronic diseases common in older individuals. The summit will also include a session on opportunities for additional trans-NIH collaboration. Hill staff, agency officials, representatives of national aging and disease advocacy organizations, and young investigators are encouraged to attend.

The Summit program was developed by the Trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The GSIG, a recently formed group focused on the relationships between aging and age-related disease and disability, is now among the largest trans-NIH interest groups.

Participation in this event is free, but for organizational purposes, pre-registration is required. In order to pre-register, please visit We hope you will be able to attend this important meeting. Please register no later than September 5, 2013, to confirm your attendance at the Summit.