Our current understanding of ageing has been reached primarily through the efforts of biologists, clinicians, psychologists and physiologists, but with little interaction between the disciplines. Ageing has a significant impact upon key elements of normal body processes such as nutritional intake, and exercise capacity as well as the health and wellbeing benefits achieved from these. To understand the impact of these changes upon key body systems and epigenetic changes, and to relate this to overall effects on physical and mental wellbeing, a multidisciplinary approach is required.
There are three key barriers to progressing our understanding of the impact of physical activity and nutrition on healthy ageing:
1) Different body systems are rarely studied together in the context of ageing, or research has focused on specific age-related diseases;
2) There is little attempt to pool resources and identify underlying common age-related pathways and interacting variables that influences pathology, and represent targets for intervention and policy change;
3) Despite the considerable impact of lifestyle factors on healthy ageing, there is a surprising lack of multi-disciplinary research (i.e. integrating biology, psychology, physiology, epigenetics) examining their influence on the ageing process.
PANINI will address this by providing multidisciplinary PhD training and secondments across an intersectoral network of 8 leading academic and non-academic institutions across Europe. ESRs will conduct PhD research training projects at the forefront of current knowledge and integrating distinct scientific fields.
PANINI will address this capacity issue specifically by focusing on research and training in two major interacting lifestyle factors with impact at multiple levels from gene to society, namely physical activity and nutrition.
The impact aims of PANINI are therefore to:
- Stimulate collaborative innovative research across Europe on ageing from basic science to clinical intervention;
- Standardise physical activity, nutrition, and epigenetic measurements across projects within the network to ensure the data have longevity and can be interrogated across the European cohorts involved;
- Disseminate the knowledge gained from shared/individual projects and create a health impact assessment and healthy ageing policy document developed with key stakeholders.
Throughout the project we will be promoting results, which may possibly influence policy-making or ensure follow-up by industry and the scientific community