While lifespan is increasing across the globe, healthy, disability-free life expectancy in older age is highly variable. Ageing is accompanied by immunosenescence and chronic inflammation, both associated with increased frailty and incidence of common age-related diseases including cancer, and autoimmune, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases. There is currently limited understanding of which core of immune cells, when disrupted, drive this process.
This research project will exploit a unique dataset generated in the TwinsUK cohort including:
a) a high-resolution snapshot of the immune system, comprising 90,000 immune variables, detailing both cell types and cell-surface protein expression (immunophenotypes),
b) multiple molecular markers of biological vs chronological age, and a panel of 92 proteins associated with inflammatory diseases and related biological processes
c) multi-omics data already generated in TwinsUK, including genomics, glycomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, and lifestyle and diet data.
The researcher will use systems immunology approaches to identify clusters (modules) of immune cells that associate with ageing. The relationships between these modules of immune cells and inflammatory proteins will be investigated to gain deeper insights into the connection between immunosenescence, inflammation, and the aging process.
Integration of multi-omics and lifestyle/diet data will identify easily accessible biomarkers for the identification of early hallmarks of immunosenescence, as well as targets for prevention and intervention.
The student will develop solid computational and data analysis skills, and learn how to successfully manipulate and analyse large biomedical datasets.