National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Scientific Director: Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D.
The Intramural Research Program (IRP) in the NIA provides a stimulating academic setting for a comprehensive effort to understand aging through multidisciplinary investigator-initiated research. The program includes the scientific disciplines of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, genetics, physiology, immunology, neuroscience, neurogenetics, behavioral sciences (psychology, cognition, psychophysiology), epidemiology, statistics, and clinical research and the medical disciplines of neurobiology, immunology, endocrinology, cardiology, rheumatology, hematology, oncology, and gerontology.
Medical problems associated with aging are pursued in depth using the tools of modern laboratory and clinical research. The central focus of the research is understanding age-related changes in physiology and the ability to adapt to environmental stress. This understanding is then applied to developing insight about the pathophysiology of age-related diseases. The program seeks to understand the changes associated with healthy aging and to define the criteria for evaluating when a change becomes pathologic. Thus, not only are the common age-related diseases under study (e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, cancer), but the determinants of healthy aging are also being defined.