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This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites research applications addressing cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate aging of the reproductive tissues, including the niche, in gonads, reproductive accessory organs, and the reproductive neuroendocrine system. This FOA will accept basic mechanistic studies in human subjects and vertebrate animals. Research supported by this initiative should enhance knowledge of mechanisms that regulate aging of the reproductive system.
Sophisticated mechanisms that preserve healthy aging in the organs of the reproductive system are critical to ensuring reproductive tissue maintenance and regenerative capacity while minimizing oncogenesis. However, little is known about the mechanisms regulating healthy aging in these organs and tissues. This FOA invites research applications in vertebrate animals and/or human subjects to elucidate cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate aging in reproductive tissues and organs.
Studies that focus on how the reproductive neuroendocrine system ages or how it impacts other reproductive organs are also encouraged.
Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
Identification of pathways or novel factors that impact mechanisms underlying the aging process, often referred to as the hallmarks of aging, including, but not limited to, epigenetic, metabolic, and inflammatory mechanisms of somatic and germ cell aging in reproductive tissues
Identification of age-related interactions between the stem cells and their niche, focusing on the extracellular matrix and supporting cells within the reproductive organ itself
Identification of molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate aging in the reproductive organs and facilitate health span and longevity
Mechanisms that regulate the aging of stem cells or progenitor cells of the reproductive and accessory organs, including, but not limited to, the ovary, testis, oviduct, epididymis, breast, prostate, and uterus
Approaches to prevent, slow progression of, or reverse stem cell and somatic cell senescence in reproductive tissues
Identification, characterization, or development of novel in vivo or in vitro models to study reproductive aging, including unique or underutilized species where fitness of the reproductive tissue is well-maintained throughout the lifespan, such as the naked mole rat and bat
Utilization of unique vertebrate animal models to study aging of reproductive tissues and associated neuroendocrine systems
Awardees from this FOA will be expected to participate in biennial meetings arranged by NIA program officers, to be held after award in the Bethesda, MD area. The purpose of these awardee meetings is to discuss research progress and foster collaborations among the funded investigators. The project PI(s) are expected to attend these biennial meetings, along with key staff from their research teams, when appropriate.
Projects non-responsive to this FOA
Importantly, studies that focus on aging and hormone production or its effects on organ systems outside the reproductive system will not be responsive to this FOA.
Applications proposing to use invertebrate animals will not be responsive to this FOA.