Physiological and Systems Approaches

Understandingeverything from individual cells to the entire body is the key strength of the Physiological and Systems team in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.

Our academic are finding new ways of analysing the way individual molecules can change a single cell and affect the whole being, whether that’s human patients, or their veterinary equivalents.

Traditionally, research in this area has studied individual proteins, but we are looking at the bigger picture – studying everything that a molecule interacts with.

And we’re doing this with global success. We’ve discovered:

  • Reasons why older humans and our companion animals lose muscle, and ways of increasing bulk, performance and power
  • Interactions between proteins and the production of cartilage and the affect that can have on joints in humans and animals
  • Stem cell products that can facilitate tendon healing
  • Interactions betweenneurotransmitters in the brain, which is helping usunderstand how the cardiovascular system responds to exerciseor stress
  • New smartphone-based tests that can help the early detection of macular degeneration.

Our collaborations span several continents – we’re interacting with academics from Europe to Japan and the USA. For example, in Michigan we’re working on a million pound research project looking at muscle ageing, and we’re involved in a trans-European D-BOARD consortium finding markers of inflammation and osteoarthritis.

In the UK, we are working with the likes of the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

We are also partners in the acclaimed Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) with the Universities of Sheffield and Newcastle.