ODS Resilience & Health Studies Program

ODS Science of Resilience Workshop:
"Coordinating Measures and Metrics to Advance the Biomedical Science of Resilience"
(Working title)
September 24-25, 2024

Abstract background technology concept in blue light, human body surrounded by icons for molecules, medications, microscope, body structure, brain, DNA, technology, and atoms all representing human resilience factors.


Resilience, which can be defined as the ability to resist, adapt to, recover, or grow from a challenge or stressor, is an area of scientific research that spans multiple biological, environmental, social, and behavioral domains. Resilience research within the context of the biomedical sciences might provide insight towards the improvement of health and health maintenance that differ from, but complement, disease-based frameworks.

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) Resilience and Health Studies Program focuses on discovering mediators of resilience, or protective factors, to help gain a better understanding of how responses to biological, environmental, and psychosocial stressors might impact the nutrient status and overall health of individuals. The program addresses key questions that are relevant to the mission of ODS such as:

  • When does a change in nutrient status or biochemical markers represent a beneficial adaptation to a stressor versus a detrimental imbalance to the system (or a combination of both)?
  • Can dietary supplements provide additional nutrients to protect or enhance the body’s response to a stressor?

The program encourages researchers to identify opportunities to study “resilient” special populations (active-duty military, centenarians, survivors/thrivers within high-risk populations) that are typically under-represented in scientific investigations. The program also promotes a better understanding of the impact that protective factors have on disease risk factors.  

Program Activities

Trans-NIH Resilience Working Group

reslience runners

The Trans-NIH Resilience Working Group was established to facilitate the coordination and harmonization of a resilience research agenda across NIH. The group is chaired by LaVerne L. Brown, Ph.D., at ODS. Core members include representatives from NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) with strategic priorities and/or funds dedicated for programs related to resilience. ICO representation at the inaugural working group meeting included the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and ODS. The working group has since expanded to include representation from the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, and Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The group, through collaborations with multiple NIH ICOs, has established an operational definition and conceptual model of resilience. These and other resources are available on the Trans-NIH Resilience Working Group webpage.

Resilience Research Scientific Interest Group (SIG)
The Resilience Research SIG, co-chaired by Dr. Brown (ODS) and Ann Berger, M.D. (NIH Clinical Center), was established as an extension of the Trans-NIH Resilience Working Group to advance resilience research across NIH and partnering agencies. The Resilience Research SIG meets monthly to foster communication, collaboration, and the sharing of resources. The outcomes from monthly meetings, including shared resources and data, will be collected by the ODS Resilience & Health Studies Program. To join the mailing list, please visit the Resilience Research SIG Listserv, then click the “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” link in the right sidebar.

ODS-Resilience Portfolio Analysis
ODS, in collaboration with partnering agencies or other NIH ICOs, supports resilience research by funding interagency agreements and co-funding training grants, administrative supplements, and other opportunities. A snapshot of ODS co-funded resilience research from 2022 (below) provides examples of the range of resilience research interests.

  1. Institute
    Title (grant number)
    Dietary supplement/ingredient
  2. NCCIH
    Alpha Lipoic Acid as a Maternal Supplement in Obese Pregnancies
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    Alpha Lipoic Acid
  3. NCCIH
    Botanicals enhancing neurological and functional resilience in aging (BENFRA)
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    Centella asiatica, Withania somnifera
  4. NCCIH
    Centella asiatica effects on neuroinflammatory responses in Drosophila models of acute inflammation and aging
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    Centella asiatica
  5. NCCIH
    Influence of Dietary Botanical Supplements on Biological and Behavioral Resilience
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    Dietary polyphenolic botanical supplements
  6. NCCIH
    Microbiota-immune interactions that promote intestinal homeostasis
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  7. NCCIH
    Spirulina oral supplement for enhancing host resilience to virus infection
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  8. NCCIH
    The Neuroprotective Effects of Sulforaphane in VPA-Induced Models of Autism
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  9. NCCIH
    Use of tryptophan-synthesizing bacteria to enhance intestinal motility
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    Bacillus subtilis
  10. NIA
    COCOA PAD II Trial: Cognition Ancillary Study
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    Cocoa flavanols
  11. NIDDK
    Functions of vitamin E and the tocopherol transfer protein
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  12. NIEHS
    Dietary EPA mitigates ozone induced pulmonary inflammation through ChemR23 signaling
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    Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

Resilience Research Design Tool
The Resilience Research Design Tool uses key resilience research terms and a decision tree to identify experimental designs in funded or proposed studies that best advance the science of resilience. The tool provides guidance on best practices for designing studies that are intended to target resilience outcomes. Investigators can download and use the key research terms and decision tool when planning resilience research designs.  

Interagency Collaborations

Equitable Long-Term Recovery and Resilience Interagency Working Group
The Equitable Long-Term Recovery and Resilience Interagency Working Groupexternal link disclaimer includes representatives from across the federal government who seek to define and measure resilience outcomes and strengthen community resilience and health. 

Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP)
CHAMPexternal link disclaimer carries out and translates research to improve service member performance in the field and when returning to duty. Examples of ODS supported resilience research with CHAMP include:

Research Study:  Dietary ingredients to minimize environmental heat injury

Objective: To determine in vivo the efficacy of curcumin, astaxanthin, and glutamine in preserving energy production and preventing heat-induced skeletal muscle injury.

Research Study:  Dietary supplement ingredients for optimizing cognitive performance among healthy adults

Objective: To explore the evidence on the efficacy and safety of single dietary supplement ingredients frequently marketed with claims of enhanced cognitive performance among healthy adults.

Research Study:  Dietary supplement ingredients for preserving and protecting the immune system

Objectives: To strengthen the knowledge and understanding of dietary supplement ingredients with claims for immune health, and to make evidence-based strategic decisions regarding future research initiatives.

logo for the podcast showing a magnifying glass looking at a supplement bottle


Veterans Affairs (VA)

Research Study:  Examination of electronic health records to identify possible association between the incidence of heart failure and magnesium supplementation/status among veteran populations

Objective: Pilot study to advance machine/deep learning techniques towards a better understanding of whether magnesium supplements may lower the risk of heart failure (HF) in patient with diabetes mellitus (DM) and enhance resilience outcomes. (1R01HL156518-01A1)

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Research Study:  Vitamin D requirements for Bone Health in Zebrafish

Objective: pilot study to determine the vitamin D requirements for bone health and survival in adult zebrafish  


Conceptualizing a Resilience Research Framework at The National Institutes of Health. Stress and Health. Brown L, Cohen B, Costello R, Brazhnik O, Galis Z. Stress Health. 2023 Sep;39(S1):4-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.3260external link disclaimer

Next steps: Operationalizing Resilience Research. Brown L, Cohen B, Costello R, Brazhnik O, Galis ZS. Stress Health. 2023 Sep;39(S1):62-66.  https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.3256external link disclaimer
Immune Supplements Under the Magnifying Glass: An Expert Panel Develops Priorities and Evidence-Based Recommendations for Future Research Regarding Dietary Supplements.  Crawford C, Brown LL, Costello RB, Deuster PA. J Integr Complement Med. 2023 Mar 1. doi: 10.1089/jicm.2022.0800. Epub ahead of print.
Select Dietary Supplement Ingredients for Preserving and Protecting the Immune System in Healthy Individuals: A Systematic Review.  Crawford C, Brown LL, Costello RB, Deuster PA. Nutrients. 2022 Nov 1;14(21):4604. doi: 10.3390/nu14214604.
Astaxanthin Protects Against Heat-induced Mitochondrial Alterations in Mouse Hypothalamus. Chen Y, Yu T, Deuster P. Neuroscience. 2021 Nov 10;476:12-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.09.010.
Dietary Supplement Ingredients for Optimizing Cognitive Performance Among Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review. Crawford C, Boyd C, Deuster PA. J Altern Complement Med. 2021 Nov;27(11):940-958. doi: 10.1089/acm.2021.0135.
Physiological Need for Calcium, Iron, and Folic Acid for Women of Various Subpopulations During Pregnancy and Beyond. Brown LL, Cohen BE, Edwards E, Gustin CE, Noreen Z.J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2021 Feb;30(2):207-211. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2020.8873.
Astaxanthin but not Quercetin Preserves Mitochondrial Integrity and Function, Ameliorates Oxidative Stress, and Reduces Heat-induced Skeletal Muscle Injury. Yu T, Dohl J, Chen Y, Gasier HG, Deuster PA. J Cell Physiol. 2019 Aug;234(8):13292-13302. doi: 10.1002/jcp.28006.
Curcumin Ameliorates Heat-Induced Injury through NADPH Oxidase-Dependent Redox Signaling and Mitochondrial Preservation in C2C12 Myoblasts and Mouse Skeletal Muscle. Yu T, Dohl J, Elenberg F, Chen Y, Deuster P.. J Cell Physiol. 2019 May;234(5):6371-6381. doi: 10.1002/jcp.27370.
Curcumin Induces Concentration-dependent Alterations in Mitochondrial Function through ROS in C2C12 Mouse Myoblasts. Yu T, Dohl J, Elenberg F, Chen Y, Deuster P. J Cell Physiol. 2019 May;234(5):6371-6381. doi: 10.1002/jcp.27370.

The Vitamin D Paradox in Black Americans: A Systems-based Approach to Investigating Clinical Practice, Research, and Public Health - Expert Panel Meeting Report. Brown LL, Cohen B, Tabor D, Zappalà G, Maruvada P, Coates PM. BMC Proc. 2018 May 9;12(Suppl 6):6. doi: 10.1186/s12919-018-0102-4.