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Funded Research

Network on Biomarker Collection and Measurement in Population Studies of Aging: 2022-2027

The goal of this renewal will be to further develop and maintain an interdisciplinary network of scientists dedicated to improving measurement of biological risk for late life health outcomes to be fielded in large representative population samples. Biological risk is defined by indicators of genomic and physiological state that increase the probability of disease, disability, loss of physical or cognitive functioning, or death. The network will continue to focus on assessing, validating, and harmonizing biological risk measurement in studies of populations; expanding geroscience measures available for use in populations; and developing methodological approaches for including complex dimensions of health in analytic models. This current project will build on the extensive progress made building an initial interdisciplinary research network (funded by NIA from 2009 to 2015) and the prior iteration of this network (2016-2021). Over the last 5 years dissemination of harmonizing information and harmonized data was a major product of the network. The network disseminated protocols for collection methods, assay methods, quality control methods, harmonization methods, basic training on relevant topics of sample collection and preparation, and analytic methods. The network promoted valid interdisciplinary and international research on the associations of social, biological, economic, and psychological factors and the biological paths leading to health outcomes common in older age in large community and national population surveys.
In addition to maintaining the harmonization and training efforts made during the last funding period, the network will focus on at least 4 new activities for the 2022-2027 period. The areas of increased emphasis include: 1) harmonization of molecular (e.g. epigenetic and RNA) biomarkers of health and aging over the life course, 2) increasing representation of biosocial data and scholars from underrepresented populations, 3) examination of biomarkers of environmental exposures (e.g. pollution, toxicants, severe weather, etc.), and 4) exploring emerging geroscience biomarkers for potential application in large representative studies of aging, including biomarkers of Alzheimer?s disease and related dementias (ADRD). To accomplish these goals network efforts will include designing and carrying out a series of general and topic-specific meetings including annual meetings of the network and yearly specialized interactive workshops, as well as regular meetings/conference calls with working subgroups, working with individual studies to develop plans for data collection and processing, supporting pilot projects to harmonize and develop measurement, dissemination of white papers to share information about emerging biomarkers, and supporting travel for scholars from underrepresented populations. As evidenced by the growth and utilization of this network over the last funding period, biological data collection and measurement is a growing area of scientific focus in the population sciences, and is at a crucial stage for further development from an organized network.


Health and Human Services, Department of-National Institutes of Health

Funding Period:

06/01/2022 to 03/31/2028