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Over the last 60 years the global average life expectancy increased more than 20 years, partly as a result of countless medical breakthroughs. However, most of the these medical interventions address the symptoms rather than the causes of age associated diseases. Scientists in the School of Biological Sciences are combining their world leading expertise to tackle some of the biggest questions in human biology: What if we could identify those at risk of developing chronic age-related conditions before they present in the clinic? What if we could intervene before any symptoms arise and prevent disease onset? These changes would revolutionise healthcare and transform our twilight years into a healthy period of our lives.



Collaboration and Engagement

To explore synergies and collaborative opportunities in the area of healthy ageing, the Reproduction, Development and Lifelong Health Research Theme are facilitating workshops and meetings for scientific colleagues, industry partners and policymakers.

An initial meeting in June 2022 allowed researchers within the University of Cambridge to connect and discuss questions surrounding early identification of those at risk from chronic age-related conditions, intervention before initiation of symptoms and prevention of disease onset. Researchers spanned 12 Departments and Institutes: Babraham Institute, BiochemistryCambridge Stem Cell Institute, GeneticsGurdon Institute, MRC Toxicology Unit, Obstetrics and GynaecologyPharmacology, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Psychology, Veterinary Medicine, and Zoology.

Following the successful first meeting, a second event was organised in January 2023 in collaboration with Altos Labs, to explore opportunities for collaboration. In addition to Departments and Institutes represented at the initial meeting, members from Cambridge also spanned: CRUK Cambridge Institute, Haematology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Oncology, Plant Sciences, and Pathology.

A third meeting was held in October 2023 to consolidate collaborations between the University of Cambridge and the Babraham Institute in the healthy ageing space. Scientific talks were followed by brainstorming the future of healthy ageing research, and how the two institutions can be best positioned to tackle its biggest challenges. 

Building this multidisciplinary team to explore the integrative biology of ageing offers immense opportunity to increase understanding and develop strategies for extending healthy human lifespan. The team are now pursuing ambitious new opportunities to drive this progress and to deliver real-world impacts in healthy ageing in our lifetime.

A summary of the October 2023 meeting was captured by Alex Cagan in these illustrations.

Key Collaborators

Maria Abad, Altos Labs

Catherine Aiken, Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Maria Alcolea, Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Srinjan Basu, Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Richard Bethlehem, Psychology

Guy Brown, Biochemistry

Alex Cagan, Genetics, Veterinary Medicine and Pathology

Kevin Chalut, Altos Labs

Lucy Cheke, Psychology

Anne Corcoran, Babraham Institute

Della David, Babraham Institute

Martin Denzel, Altos Labs

David Fernandez-Antoran, Gurdon Institute and Pathology

Robin Franklin, Altos Labs

Dino Giussani, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Namshik Han, The Milner Institute

Jon Houseley, Babraham Institute

Laura Itzhaki, Pharmacology

Gabriele Kaminski Schierle, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Walid Khaled, Pharmacology / Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Janet Kumita, Pharmacology

Matthias Landgraf, Zoology

Michelle Linterman, Babraham Institute

Rick Morimoto, Northwestern University

Andrew Murray, Physiology Development and Neuroscience

Ken Raj, Altos Labs

Emma Rawlins, Gurdon Institute

Wolf Reik, Altos Labs

Rahul Samant, Babraham Institute

Paul Schofield, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Manuel Serrano, Altos Labs

Jon Simons, Psychology

Ewan St. John Smith, Pharmacology

Catherine Wilson, Pharmacology

logos of key institutions

Work with us

We welcome opportunities to collaborate with industry partners, policy makers and academics. If you are interested in working with us, please contact Dr Abi Herrmann, Research Strategy Manager.

Relevant Publications

Naked Mole-Rats: Resistant to Developing Cancer or Good at Avoiding It?

Hadi F, Smith ESJ, Khaled WT. Naked Mole-Rats: Resistant to Developing Cancer or Good at Avoiding It? Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021;1319:341-352. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-65943-1_14.

Brain KL, Allison BJ, Niu Y, Cross CM, Itani N, Kane AD, Herrera EA, Skeffington KL, Botting KJ, Giussani DA. Intervention against hypertension in the next generation programmed by developmental hypoxia. PLoS Biol. 2019 Jan 22;17(1):e2006552. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006552.

Healthy ageing reduces the precision of episodic memory retrieval

Korkki SM, Richter FR, Jeyarathnarajah P, Simons JS. Healthy ageing reduces the precision of episodic memory retrieval. Psychol Aging. 2020 Feb;35(1):124-142. doi: 10.1037/pag0000432.

Academic Leads

Walid Khaled

Pharmacology/Cambridge Stem Cell Institute