Symposium focuses on integrating aging research into clinical practice

NIH aging researcher set to speak on expanding aging research to clinical practice.

AgingSymposium2Research funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health has seen a dramatic increase recently as the United States population grows older. Since 2011, when the first wave of baby boomers hit age 65, 10,000 Americans have turned 65 daily. Over that same time period, funding for the NIA has tripled as more and more older Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and all the other health problems that aging can bring.

To discuss the latest research focused on ways to keep us healthier longer, the University of Alabama at Birmingham will host Richard J. Hodes, M.D., director of the NIA since 1993, as  keynote speaker for a scientific symposium on Oct. 9-10. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. at the UAB Alumni House.

Under Hodes’ stewardship, the NIA budget has grown to $3 billion, reflecting increased public interest in, and worry about, aging as America and the world grow older. The title of Hodes’ presentation is “From Bench to Bedside: Exploring the Research Continuum at NIA.”

“The unprecedented aging of the global population will be one of the signature challenges of the 21st century,” said Steven N. Austad, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chair of the UAB Department of Biology. “Thanks to the NIA, though, scientists are working furiously to keep us healthy in those later years.” 

The NIA leads the nation’s biomedical research enterprise in the field of aging and is the designated federal lead on Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias research. NIA’s research agenda for these areas has expanded in recent years, with substantial increases in congressional appropriations. Hodes will present on the NIA’s broad support of multidisciplinary aging research programs in which research moves through a pipeline from studies of basic mechanisms to applications in clinical trials, as well as research on care and caregiving.

This presentation will review the diverse types of aging and dementia research, as well as the programs and infrastructure that the NIA is currently supporting. The presentation will also outline the impact of recent investments on the dementia research field as a whole, including new funding opportunities.

Hodes has devoted his tenure to the development of a strong, diverse and balanced research program, focusing on the genetics and biology of aging, and basic and clinical studies aimed at reducing disease and disability, including dementias, normal age-related cognitive change, and investigations into behavioral and social aspects of aging. Cutting-edge research conducted and supported by the NIA, often in collaboration with other NIH institutes, has helped to revolutionize the way we think about these conditions. 

Hodes’ research laboratory in the National Cancer Institute focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the immune response. A graduate of Yale University, Hodes received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. 

Registration is free through Oct. 1 through the UAB Shock Center.