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Immune ageing - consequences for health in old age

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Lord
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

We are an ageing society, with falling birth rates and increased longevity, the latter currently increasing at 2 years per decade. However, healthspan (years spent in good health) is not keeping pace with lifespan, so people are living longer but not healthier. One of the hallmarks of ageing is remodelling of the immune system (immunesenescence), resulting in increased susceptibility to infections, reduced responses to vaccination and increased autoimmunity. In addition ageing is accompanied by an increase in systemic inflammation, which contributes to several age-related conditions, including sarcopenia, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and dementia. The University of Birmingham is a major centre for ageing research in the UK and Professor Lord is director of the MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research and she leads the Ageing and Immunity theme in the MRC Centre for Immune Regulation. Professor Lord is offering research projects in the following topics:
-The ageing neutrophil and its role in increased susceptiblity to pneumonia

- The mechanisms underlying reduced NK cell function with age

- The role of reduced regulatory B cell fucntion in rheumatoid arthritis

- The influence of immune ageing on recovery from hip fracture

- Interventions (lifestyle and pharmacological) to correct innate immunesenescence

To apply, please submit your CV and a covering email/letter for consideration by the Supervisor.

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funding applicants only. Overseas applicants will need to meet the UoB English requirements which are IELTS of 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in any band or Pearson Academic test.


1. Raza K, Curnow J, Taylor E, Lee K, Kitas G, Akbar A, Lord J, Gordon C, Buckley C, Salmon M (2005) Very early rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by a unique and transient synovial cytokine profile of T cell and stromal origin. Arthr. Res.Therapy. 7: R784-795.
2. Butcher SK, Killampalli V, Lascelles D, Wang K, Alpar EK and Lord JM (2005) Raised cortisol:DHEAS ratios in the elderly after injury:potential impact upon neutrophil function and immunity. Aging Cell 4: 319-324.
3. Panda A, Arjona A, Sapey E, Bai F, Fikrig E, Montgomery RR, Lord JM*, Shaw AC*
(2009) Human innate immunosenescence: causes and consequences for immunity in old age. Trends Immunol. 30:325-333.
4. Hazeldine J, Hampson P, Lord JM (2012) Reduced release and binding of perforin at the immunological synapse underlies the age-related decline in Natural Killer cell cytotoxicity. Aging Cell 11:751-759.
5. Duggal NA, Upton JA, Phillips AC, Sapey E, Lord JM (2013) An age-related numerical and functional deficit in CD19+CD24hiCD38hi B cells is associated with an increase in systemic autoimmunity. Aging Cell 12:873-881.

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