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New network unites researchers investigating immunity and ageing

12 April 2022

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Professor Lindsay Hall at our partner Quadram Institute is part of a new network of researchers working on the immune system, and how immunity changes with ageing.

The CARINA (CAtalyst Reducing ImmuNe Ageing) Network has been funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to bring together researchers from many different disciplines to help develop new ways of supporting ageing populations to maintain optimum immunity and health.

CARINA is one of 11 similar networks that UK Research and Innovation have funded, aimed at transforming ageing research in the UK

Carina is led Professor Arne Akbar of University College London, and president of the president of the British Society for Immunology, and the network consists of over 70 clinicians and researchers with complementary expertise in areas such as immunology, nutrition and medicine. It also involves partners working for charities, industry and in public and patient groups.

This multi-disciplinary approach is vital to understanding the complexities of the immune system, and to answering questions of why our immune system seems to decline as we age and why some older people are more vulnerable to severe infections, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s exciting to be part of this multi-disciplinary network that is exploring how the immune system changes across the life course” said Professor Hall, whose research looks at the role of microbes and the immune system.

“As the microbiome represents a key component that drives healthy immune development, it will be important to work with colleagues from a range of sectors to understand how further work in this area could be used to provide useful biomarkers of immune health.”

“We also hope this new network will drive new interactions and new ways of thinking particularly around development of microbial and diet-based therapies that could also be used to boost beneficial immune responses, like after vaccination.”

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