Ageing and Neurosciences

Members of this research group contribute to the cross-faculty research theme on Ageing and to the Centre for Ageing Research.

Our research focuses on:

  • normal ageing in model organisms
  • the molecular mechanisms leading to brain dysfunction and degeneration in various neuronal and psychiatric disorders.

Our research into the underlying processes of healthy ageing involves study of the processes leading to brain dysfunction and degeneration.
Progressive degeneration of the nervous system, and hence impaired cognition or movement, is a characteristic of conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease.

We seek improved biomarkers for these diseases, and to develop new treatments by repurposing existing drugs or developing new ones, with the aim of taking these drugs into clinical trials.

In researching psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, we focus on the mechanisms through which genetic and environmental risk factors effect brain functioning and behaviour, and on identification of novel drugs to treat these disorders.

Members of the group also work on other age-related diseases, such as eye disease, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease.


Researchers working in this area, together with a short description of their research interests, are listed below.

  • Professor David Allsop: Protein misfolding and neurodegenerative disease; biomarkers; metals and reactive oxygen species
  • Dr. Alexandre Benedetto: Fundamental mechanisms of stress resistance and ageing in C. elegans; integrated physiology approaches to C. elegans health, ageing and infections
  • Dr Sue Broughton: Drosophila models of ageing; role of insulin/IGF-like signalling pathway and diet in modulating lifespan
  • Dr David Clancy: Basic biology of ageing in model organisms; genetic modulators of ageing; drug modulators of ageing
  • Dr Neil Dawson: Preclinical models for psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases; drug development
  • Dr Nigel Fullwood: Stem cell therapies for eye disease; artificial corneas
  • Professor Christian Holscher: Repositioning of diabetes drugs for treatment of neurodegenerative disease; transgenic animal models
  • Dr Bob Lauder: Role of glycosaminoglycans in osteoarthritis; biomarkers
  • Dr Edward Parkin: Proteolysis of cell-surface proteins in neurodegenerative disease
  • Dr Alan Shirras: Acer and diet-dependent processes in Drosophila; insulin-like signalling and ageing in Drosophila