Immunity and Ageing (Immunesenescence)

Group lead: Professor Janet M Lord

As we age our immune systems are less able to deal with new infections or to control infections to which we had immunity when younger (e.g. shingles, the adult form of chicken pox). In addition older adults are less efficient in responding to vaccinations, reducing the efficacy of preventive medicine.This group is investigating both the mechanisms underlying loss of immunity with age (immunesenescence) and developing approaches to improve immunity in older adults.

There are 7 main research topics within this grouping:

  • Loss of neutrophil function with age and consequences for susceptibility to bacterial infections, with a focus on respiratory infections
  • The basic mechanisms underlying atrophy of the thymus; the role of altered germinal centre formation in reduced vaccination responses and novel approaches to improving vaccination efficiency in older subjects
  • The role of CMV infections in immunesenescence
  • Peripheral glucocorticoid metabolism and systemic inflammatory disease (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Lifestyle interventions (diet and exercise) to improve immunity in old age
  • Periodontitis, systemic inflammation and age-related chronic inflammatory disease
  • The effect of stress (including sleep disruption, trauma and bereavement) in immunity in old age

Research group staff members...

Professor Janet M Lord (group lead) - Professor of Immune Cell Biology

Professor Paul Moss - Head of School of Cancer Sciences, Professor of Haematology

Professor Eric Jenkinson - Professor Of Experimental Immunology

Professor Graham Anderson - Professor of T-Lymphocyte Biology

Professor Mark Drayson - Professor Clinical Immunodiagnostics

Professor Iain Chapple

Dr Kai Toellner - Senior Research Fellow

Dr Karim Raza - Senior Lecturer

Dr Jeremy Tomlinson - MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Reader in Endocrinology

Dr Anna Phillips (SSES)

Dr Vicky Burns (SSES)