Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Collaborative Research Infrastructure to Develop Research Strategies to Identify Potential Therapeutic Targets Based on Genetic Factors Influencing Human Life Span and Health Span (U24)

Notice Number: NOT-AG-13-012

Key Dates
Release Date: May 20, 2013
Estimated Publication Date of Announcement: June 2013
First Estimated Application Due Date: September 2013
Earliest Estimated Award Date: May 2014
Earliest Estimated Start Date: July 2014

Issued by
National Institute on Aging (NIA)


The Purpose of this Notice is to indicate the intent to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for cooperative agreement applications to support a collaborative research infrastructure that includes a multidisciplinary team of scientists to plan and evaluate translational research strategies to identify potential therapeutic targets based on findings of genetic factors influencing human life span and health span.

In the context of this FOA, the term "target identification strategy" refers to a concerted set of applied research approaches to address a key step in the development of new therapeutic or preventive interventions or repurposing of existing ones: identification of molecules or pathways whose activities could be favorably modified by such interventions.

Crucial types of expertise for the multidisciplinary team should include genetics, epidemiology, physiology, gerontology, cell biology, biotechnology, statistics, and bioinformatics.

Activities supported through this award may include information exchange, database and informatics development, pilot studies, and analyses of existing data sets.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to evaluate possible approaches for developing infrastructure, collaborations, and responsive projects.

The FOA will have an expected application due date of September 2013.

NIA expects to make one award from among the applications submitted to this FOA.

This FOA will utilize the U24 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

The U24 infrastructure is expected to be collaborative in nature with sufficient breadth of scientific expertise, staff time commitment, organizational structure, and operational procedures for information sharing and decision-making to complete planning and evaluation of a number of potential target identification strategies within the five-year award period. The collaborative team should include representatives from the fields of genetics, epidemiology, physiology, gerontology, cell biology, biotechnology, statistics, and bioinformatics and, where appropriate, industry or other private sector liaisons. The research infrastructure should also develop working relationships with staff of key information sources to facilitate data access and exchange, identify and utilize resources and additional expertise available at the institutions of the team members as needed for the project.

The award should support the following activities by the multidisciplinary team. The relative degree of emphasis placed on specific aspects of these activities will depend on the variants selected and the amount of existing relevant information regarding them.

1. Create a central resource of relevant data and computational tools.

2. Identify and assess gene variant(s) as prospective therapeutic target(s).

3. Evaluate specific target identification strategies. The project may conduct pilot in vivo or in vitro studies, or analyses of existing databases, as needed for evaluating the feasibility and value of specific methods for this purpose.

4. Develop preliminary target identification strategies based on one or more specific variants.

5. Build a curated bioinformatics resource on prospective targets.

The range and types of specific aspects of target identification activities to be conducted under the U24 are expected to vary and will depend on the informatics resources, computational tools, selected variants and the amount of existing relevant information regarding them for planning translational studies.

Implementation of studies beyond pilot studies or exploratory data analyses is outside the scope of this FOA. Support for such studies could be requested in the future through other FOAs. New population or family studies on genetic factors influencing longevity are also outside the scope of this FOA.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Nalini Raghavachari, PhD
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: (301) 435-3048
Fax: (301) 402-1784