The Intramural Research Program (IRP) in the National Institute on Aging (NIA) comprises eleven scientific laboratories, a clinical research branch, a research resources support branch and 2 sections. The research 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 our 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.
IRP research is conducted in several sites; most of the laboratories are based at the Gerontology Research Center and the Triad Building on the Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus in Baltimore, Maryland. The Clinical Research Branch's Advanced Studies in Translational Research on Aging (ASTRA) Unit is located at Harbor Hospital, a few miles south of the Bayview Campus in Baltimore, Maryland. The section of Brain Physiology and Metabolism and the Laboratory of Neurogenetics are located on the NIH main campus in Bethesda, and the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry is located in the Gateway Building in Bethesda.
The IRP provides a stimulating academic setting for a comprehensive effort to understand aging through multidisciplinary investigator-initiated research. In addition, an effort is made to encourage synergistic interaction and collaboration through interlaboratory collaboration. The program offers many excellent training opportunities in both laboratory and clinical medicine with a wealth of valuable resources. The NIA is committed to training researchers for lifetime careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.