Mitochondria and Ageing
Human life expectancy has increased considerably in the last century, but along with this advance has come the increased burden of age-related disease and disability. Interventions that promote healthy ageing are limited, and new advances will depend on improved understanding and measurement of the underlying biological processes.
Mitochondria are the site in our cells where food is converted into energy. Mitochondrial dysfunction is closely linked to ageing, however there is an absence of non-invasive methods for measuring mitochondrial function in humans. We will attempt to use new technology to measure the health of mitochondria in cells isolated from a small blood sample. We will compare mitochondrial function in an elderly population with that of a younger population, and also examine how effectively the antioxidant defences of ageing mitochondria cope with an oxidative stress.
This project will provide insight into the biological processes underlying human ageing, and methodology to measure these processes in the general population.