Dr Niharika Duggal

Dr Niharika Duggal

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Lecturer in Immunity and Ageing

Contact details

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
University of Birmingham Research Labs
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Mindelsohn Way
B15 2WB

Dr Niharika Duggal is a Lecturer in the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing with research focusing on exploring the role of immune ageing as a contributor to pathological conditions that affect older adults with a higher incidence than the young, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and C. difficile infections (CDI). She is also interested in investigating the underlying mechanisms driving immunesenescence and examining the role of potential interventions in reversing the immune ageing clock.


PhD in Immunology: University of Birmingham 2014
BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences: University of Birmingham 2009


Niharika graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences. She joined Professor Janet Lord’s lab for her PhD undertaking a project investigating the effects of chronic stress (hip fracture and depression) on the ageing of the immune system. Since completing her doctorate she remained at Birmingham exploring the potential of lifelong physical activity to reverse the immune ageing clock and in 2017 she was awarded the Korenchevsky award by the British Society for Research in Ageing for this work. 

In 2019, she was appointed as a Lecturer in the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing. Her research focuses on exploring the links between immunesenescence and increased risk of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and the role of regulatory B cells. In addition she has also developed an interest in investigating the contribution of immunesenescence in onset of other pathological conditions, such as C. difficile infections (CDI) and the role of Faecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) as a potential intervention in these patients.


  • Deputy lead for the module ‘ Biology of Ageing’ , BSc BioMedical Science
  • BMedSci year 3 – Biology of Ageing
  • BMedSci year 2 – Immunity and Infection
  • MSc Immunology and Immunotherapy
  • MBChB year 2 – Option lead for Personal Interest Project
  • Option lead for Student Science Selected Project

Postgraduate supervision

Niharika currently has a CMAR funded PhD studentship that will begin in Oct 2019.  If you are interested in applying please see the link below :


She has also previously supervised MSc and BMedSci research project students.


Research themes

  • Understanding the impact of ageing on the immune system and the underlying mechanisms.
  • Investigating the role of immunesenescence as a contributor to the age associated increased risk of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and C. difficile infections (CDI).
  • Exploring potential interventions (such as physical activity, improving microbial diversity) for reversing the immune ageing clock.


Other activities


British Society of Research in Ageing (BSRA)


Korenchevsky Award – British society of Research in Ageing , 2017


Niharika is also a reviewer for a number of journals. 


  1. Duggal NA (2018) Reversing the immune ageing clock: lifestyle modifications and pharmacological interventions.Biogerontology 19(6):481-496. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30269199
  2. Duggal NA, Snelson C, Shaheen U, Pearce V, Lord JM (2018) Innate and adaptive immune dysregulation in critically ill ICU patients. Sci Rep.8:10186. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29976949
  3. Fuggle NR, Westbury LD, Syddall HE, Duggal NA, Shaw SC, Maslin K, Dennison EM, Lord J, Cooper C (2018) Relationships between markers of inflammation and bone density: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study. Osteoporos Int. 29:1581-1589.
  4. Pollock RD, O'Brien KA, Daniels LJ, Nielsen KB, Rowlerson A, Duggal NA, Lazarus NR, Lord JM, Philp A, Harridge SDR (2018) Properties of the vastus lateralis muscle in relation to age and physiological function in master cyclists aged 55-79 years. Aging Cell 17:2.
  5. Duggal NA, Pollock RD, Lazarus NR, Harridge S, Lord JM (2018) Major features of immunesenescence, including reduced thymic output, are ameliorated by high levels of physical activity in adulthood. Aging Cell 17:2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29517845
  6. Pollock RD, Duggal NA, Lazarus NR, Lord JM, Harridge SDR (2018) Cardiorespiratory fitness not sedentary time or physical activity is associated with cardiometabolic risk in active older adults. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 28:1653-1660
  7. Westbury LD, Fuggle NR, Syddall HE, Duggal NA, Shaw SC, Maslin K, Dennison EM, Lord JM, Cooper C.(2018) Relationships Between Markers of Inflammation and Muscle Mass, Strength and Function: Findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study. Calcif Tissue Int 102:287-295.
  8. Hazeldine J, Naumann DN, Toman E, Davies D, Bishop JRB, Su Z, Hampson P, Dinsdale RJ, Crombie N, Duggal NA, Harrison P, Belli A, Lord JM (2017).Prehospital immune responses and development of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome following traumatic injury: A prospective cohort study.PLoS Med.18:14
  9. Vitlic A, Lord JM, Taylor AE, Arlt W, Bartlett DB, Rossi A, Arora-Duggal N, Welham A, Heald M, Oliver C, Carroll D, Phillips AC (2016). Neutrophil function in young and old caregivers. Br J Health Psychol.21:173-89.
  10. Duggal NA, Upton J, Phillips AC, Lord JM (2016). Development of depressive symptoms post hip fracture is associated with altered immunosuppressive phenotype in regulatory T and B lymphocytes. Biogerontol. 17:229-39.
  11. Duggal NA, Upton J, Phillips AC, Hampson P, Lord JM(2015) NK cell immunesenescence is increased by psychological but not physical stress in older adults associated with raised cortisol and reduced perforin expression. Age.37:9748.
  12. Pollock RD, Carter S, Velloso CP, Duggal NA, Lord JM, Lazarus NR, Harridge SR (2015) An investigation into the relationship between age and physiological function in highly active older adults. J Physiol. 593:657-80.
  13. Duggal NA, Upton JA, Phillips AC, Hampson P, Lord JM (2014) Depressive symptoms post hip fracture are associated with phenotypic and functional alterations in T cells. Immunity Ageing 11:25.
  14. Duggal NA, Beswetherick A, Upton J, Hampson P, Phillips AC, Lord JM (2014) Depressive symptoms in hip fracture patients are associated with reduced monocyte superoxide production, Exp Gerontol  54:27-34.
  15. Phillips AC, Upton JA, Duggal NA, Carroll D, Lord JM (2013).New onset depression following hip fracture is associated with increased physical frailty in older adults: the role of the cortisol: dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate ratio. BMC Geriatrics 13:60.
  16. Duggal NA, Upton JA, Phillips AC, Hampson P, Lord JM (2013). Depressive symptoms are associated with reduced neutrophil superoxide generation in hip fracture patients. Brain Behavior Immunity 33:173-182.

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