NIH – Microbiome and Aging: Impact on Health and Disease (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

July 30, 2019 by


This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites projects focused on defining the factors that influence microbiome composition and functional characteristics during aging, understanding how the aging microbiome relates to the causes and pathophysiology of age-related chronic diseases, and development and testing of targeted interventions through diet, drugs, or live organisms. This FOA will accept basic mechanistic, preclinical studies in animal models and human studies leveraging existing human longitudinal cohorts.


The world population is getting older everywhere, including in the United States, where the number of individuals over the age of 65 is expected to reach 90 million by 2050. How well we can overcome the challenge to public health posed by the expected increase in the incidence of age-related morbidities and debilitating conditions will depend on a more complete understanding of what drives physiological aging and the subsequent development of targeted intervention strategies.

An element that has recently emerged as a key player in determining the health status of aging individuals is the microbiome, the community of viruses, bacteria, protists, and fungi which, together with the host cells, create unique ecosystems that are segregated by topography and function. Long-standing evolutionary pressure has shaped these cellular consortia into an interdependent and dynamic balance of beneficially symbiotic functions. For the microbiome associated with the gastrointestinal tract, for instance, that means that, in exchange for the vital support received through the host’s food intake, microbial populations provide functions that allow the host to digest and absorb nutrients through the breakdown of host-indigestible polysaccharides, biotransformation of primary bile acids, and vitamin synthesis. The physiological relevance of the intestinal microbiota extends beyond digestive functions. Intestinal flora protects against pathogen overgrowth and, through interactions with the gut-associated lymphoid system–directly or via metabolites–is instrumental in the maturation and modulation of the host immune system. It also influences the epithelial proliferation and vascularization of the intestinal lining and regulates intestinal endocrine functions, bone density, and neuronal signaling, including neurotransmitter biosynthesis. Recent studies in humans and rodent models have shown that dysbiosis (the disruption of the host:microbiome functional balance caused by the loss of beneficial microbes, loss of diversity, or expansion of pathogenic populations) can impact a broad range of conditions including inflammatory bowel diseases, atherosclerosis, cancer, metabolic disorders, asthma, allergies, and even autism and neurodegenerative diseases.


NIA intends to commit $2.5M in FY 2020 to fund 5-7 awards.

Key Dates:

Posted Date – July 23, 2019

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date) – September 30, 2019

Letter of Intent Due Date(s) – September 30, 2019

Application Due Date(s) – October 30, 2019

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Filed Under: Funding Opportunities