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Researchers team up to tackle healthy ageing

Roslin brings expertise to UK study seeking to understand and improve immunity in older age.

Scientists across the UK are collaborating in a project seeking to identify ways to understand and overcome the challenges of the ageing immune system.

Their network, entitled Catalyst reducing immune ageing (CARINA), is led by University College London, with collaborators at the Roslin Institute, Universities of Birmingham and Surrey and Imperial College London.

It aims to bring together experts in areas relevant to understanding immune ageing, to identify possible interventions to enhance immunity in new areas, such as exercise physiology, circadian rhythms, inflammation, metabolic interventions and microbiota transplantation.

Healthy ageing research

The project is one of 11 newly formed Ageing Networks undertaking research towards healthy ageing, involving 28 UK universities and funded with £2 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), both part of UK Research and Innovation.

The networks will bring diverse groupings of researchers to study how to increase healthy lifespan and quality of life in old age and address health inequalities.

Topics include ageing of the immune system, cognition, muscle decline, diet and nutrition, the skin microbiome, physical activity and translating research from the laboratory to the clinic.

The networks will engage with the public, industry, charities, policymakers and health practitioners to implement findings.

The immune system is critical for eliminating infectious diseases and cancers from the body and for wound healing, but its function declines in older people.

The networks aim to increase collaboration with stakeholders – including working with the public, industry, charities, policymakers and health practitioners – to translate findings into policy, public health and new therapies.

At the heart of improved health and wellbeing is a deep, integrated understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that contribute to maintaining health across the full life course. An understanding that is underpinned by collaboration, partnerships and shared knowledge. By funding the Ageing Networks, we're not only addressing a major societal challenge - we're also stimulating multidisciplinary research and innovation, with the potential for some really exciting breakthroughs.

Professor Melanie WelhamExecutive Chair, BBSRC

We hope to gain valuable insight into how ageing limits the functions of our immune system. By bring together a large network of scientists with a wide range of expertise, we hope to identify new treatments to reverse the effects of ageing on the immune system, for the benefit of healthy ageing.

Professor Neil MabbottRoslin Institute

** The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and it is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. **

Related links

The UK Ageing Network

Image credit: Mhrezaa Oyd on Unsplash