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  Restoration of microbial homeostasis as a novel intervention for immune ageing


   Institute of Inflammation and Ageing

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  Dr N Duggal  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

With falling birth rates and increasing life expectancy we are an ageing population. This would be a cause for celebration if it were not for the fact that the period we spend in good health, healthspan, is not keeping pace with increased lifespan. Thus, now on average men spend 16 years in ill health in the UK and for women this is even higher at 19 years. As a result, the government has set the target of increasing healthy independent living by 5 years by 2035. If we are to achieve this ambitious goal we need to understand the factors, both biological and environmental, that determine a healthy vs unhealthy ageing trajectory

Advancing age is accompanied by changes in the gut microbiota characterised by a loss of beneficial commensal microbes. Concurrently, ageing is accompanied by an impaired ability to mount a robust immune response, termed immunesenescence, and age-associated inflammation, termed inflammaging. The microbiome has been proposed to impact the immune system and is a potential determinant of healthy ageing. Preliminary data from the group has identified novel interactions between features of microbial dysbiosis, intestinal permeability, inflammaging and the immune system.

The aim of this PhD project is to investigate whether dysbiosis of the gut microbiota could be a potential mechanism underlying the decline in immune function, overall health and longevity with advancing age. We propose that understanding the diversity of the microbiome metabolite profile will identify ways to improve their immune activity. You will combine cutting-edge computational and wet-lab approaches, such as multi-colour flow cytometry, RNA sequencing, immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy, s a multidisciplinary team, we have expertise in immunology, cell and cartilage biology and vascular physiology. Our translational research is looking to identify novel molecular pathways and checkpoints which hold therapeutic potential for future drug discovery, ultimately improving treatments and quality of life for those suffering with these conditions.

This is an exciting opportunity for a dedicated and hard-working candidate, to work with a multidisciplinary team with expertise in microbiology, immunology and biogerontology. You will gain specific training in molecular biology, immunology, and microbiome. Our translational research is looking to identify novel microbiome species and metabolites which hold therapeutic potential for reversing the immune ageing clock, ultimately improving treatments and quality of life for aged hosts.

Biological Sciences (4)

References

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2021.101323

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 About the Project