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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


Professor Walid Khaled from CSCI and co-leader Dr Laura Greaves from Newcastle have received UKRI funding for research on age-related biological changes in model organisms as part of a national collaboration.


UKRI funding of £3 million is awarded today (12 February) to support a new research cluster as part of the MRC National Mouse Genetics Network (MRC NMGN), focused on improving existing models of ageing with the aim of improving lifelong health and wellbeing. The cluster is led by scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Newcastle.


Existing models of ageing draws from various model systems such as the fruit fly and worm.  In turn, this will generate new mouse models, complementing the existing global and national programmes to enhance the UK’s position as a leading centre of excellence. The MRC NMGN focuses on age-related biological changes in model organisms, particularly the mouse, to try and improve our understanding and diagnosis of the most challenging disease area of our time - and generate therapeutic avenues.


This award brings the UKRI’s total investment in the MRC NMGN to £25 million.


‘I am very pleased to be co-leading this project from Cambridge and I am looking forward to working with the rest of the team from around the UK. "Prevention is better than cure” and our project will generate a reference map that we will use in the future to assess interventions that could prevent ageing related health decline,’ said Professor Walid Khaled, researcher at the University of Cambridge’s Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, and Co-lead of the new MRC National Mouse Genetics Network Ageing Cluster.


The need to improve how people age has become a major focus for modern societies. Regular increases in life expectancy result in older populations, making healthy ageing essential for a better quality of life and a reduced burden on health and social services. 


Understanding the biological mechanisms underlying the ageing process is paramount for tackling the challenges brought about by our older populations.


The new tools generated as a result of this research will be made available to the scientific community to improve understanding of the ageing process, and to provide a resource for preclinical testing and intervention.


‘Collaboration is central to our research activities in Cambridge. The new Ageing Cluster is a fine example of multiple institutions working together to add value and bring exciting new insight and expertise to advance the critically important field of healthy ageing. I am proud to be part of this important initiative which can deliver new routes to improved health span,’ said Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & International Partnerships) and Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics at the University of Cambridge.


‘The UKRI Mouse Genetics Network Ageing Cluster will transform our approach to understanding aging and how to promote a healthy lifespan. This is only possible through a cross-disciplinary collaboration across the UK,’ said Professor Patrick Chinnery, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC).


This text was adapted from a press release by University of Cambridge

The image is from the MRC National Mouse Genetics Network 

Learn more

Learn more about Prof Walid Khaled’s lab here and here

Find more information on the Mouse Cluster here.

Read more about Cambridge research into extending the healthy lifespan.

UKRI’s strategy for 2022-2027 aims to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle major national and global challenges. A total of £75m has been allocated to the theme of Securing better health, ageing and wellbeing, which aims to improve population health, tackle the health inequalities affecting people and communities, and advance interventions that keep us healthier for longer.