Musculoskeletal and Ageing Science

The Department of Musculoskeletal and Ageing Science in the Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences is producing world-leading research to address the multitude of challenges associated with musculoskeletal ageing.

We work with both medical and veterinary clinicians, as well as epidemiologists and biomedical scientists, to advance our research into age-related diseases and conditions. The fact we have broadened our investigations beyond human biology to include other species which makes our work so life-changing on a global scale.

 Our internationally-renowned team works on new ways of understanding, diagnosing, treating and preventing the ageing and chronic disease of skeletal muscle, bone, joints, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

We have experts who specialise in human and animal gait analysis, as well as experts pursuing highly original research across the population, patient, cell and molecule spectrum. Due to the involvement of many diverse species in our work, we have gained new insights into variables such as ageing, healing and regeneration.

Our challenges

Mechanisms and models of ageing and disease

Ageing has a profound impact on society and medicine, yet it remains a major puzzle of biology. Our goal is to help understand its genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms as well as modelling disease processes in computational and experimental systems

Tendon and ligament

Tendons and ligaments undergo age-related degeneration causing insidious changes within the functional musculoskeletal system including osteoarthritis. Omics, stem cell and biomechanical analyses inform our work in this area.

Cartilage, bone & joints

Functional joints are necessary to maintain mobility in ageing. We aim to characterise basic mechanisms and identify key targets to maintain joint function in ageing.


Anatomical and engineering approaches as well as gait analyses inform or understanding of the functional morphology and biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system.

Muscle and clock biology

Case study: MicroAge - Muscles, Age and Microgravity

Mammalian embryogenesis and stem cells

Understanding the mechanisms of development and the regenerative potential of stem/progenitor cells is being harnessed to drive cellular therapy approaches.

Nutrition & frailty

Identifying how nutrients can modulate the ageing process and detrimental effects of ageing has the potential to facilitate low cost and high value interventions to slow the effects of ageing on the musculoskeletal system.


Ageing and musculoskeletal deterioration is associated with chronic pain – our research aims to understand and mitigate pain for patients to promote long-term physical and mental health.

Centres of Excellence

The Medical Research Council Versus Arthritis Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA)

The MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) is a collaboration between researchers and clinicians at the University of Liverpool, University of Sheffield and Newcastle University. They are funded by the Medical Research Council and Arthritis Research UK. The Centre was established in 2012 and its success was recognised by the renewal of its funding in 2017.

Case studies MicroAge - In partnership with the UK Space Agency Alternative space banner image

MicroAge - Muscles, Age and Microgravity

The University of Liverpool is proud to announce a new collaboration with the UK Space Agency and Kayser Space Ltd to investigate skeletal muscle ageing in microgravity, with experiments to take place on the International Space Station (ISS). Lab Shot

The role of small molecules in cell-derived particles from anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) in ageing knee joints and osteoarthritis

This project has the potential to transform the area of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) degeneration associated with ageing and will provide novel information on the prevention of knee joint osteoarthritis (OA).

A new framework for computational biomechanical models and 3Rs in musculoskeletal research

Collaborating with researchers at the University of Hull and University of Leeds to investigate the potential for computer models to realise replacement, reduction and refinement of animal use in musculoskeletal research.