BrainHealth - Decoding life course pathways of mental ageing - Frontier Research Guarantee

Project: EU Commission

Project Details


"The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes." - Frank Lloyd Wright

In Europe, people aged 65 live approximately 50% of their remaining years with disability. Ageing-related research to date has focused almost exclusively on a deficit-concept of ageing, which seeks to find 'cures' instead of pathways towards healthy senescence. I will break new frontiers with the unconventional approach that ageing starts at birth and requires a life course approach that combines research into early development, adult psychiatry, and mental ageing in old age.

The vision of my research program BrainHealth is to fundamentally characterise, improve, and differentiate mental ageing across the lifespan by studying the life course patterns of mental ageing under the innovative umbrella concept of 'brain health'.

I will expand and combine unique data from five large European longitudinal cohorts with a total sample size of over 78,000 individuals from birth to old age, creating one of the most comprehensive datasets on brain health worldwide. BrainHealth will include multimodal measures of brain age, epigenetic age, cognitive function, and mental well-being. In an innovative approach, I will develop a novel tissue-specific mouse model that is complimentary to these human data and will help to understand mechanisms, strengthen causal inference and address tissue specificity.

Three work packages will be implemented to:
1) characterise brain health from birth to old age by establishing robust predictors of brain health in childhood and adolescence;
2) improve brain health by identifying modifiable protective factors to enhance brain health across the life course;
3) differentiate between physical and mental ageing by developing a tissue-specific mouse model of lifelong brain health.

If successful, this program will revolutionise our approach to healthy ageing by permitting the early identification and alteration of unhealthy aging trajectories - a key societal challenge of our time.
Effective start/end date1/10/2330/09/28



RCUK Research Areas

  • Genetics and development
  • Medical and health interface
  • Psychology
  • Biomedical neuroscience
  • Epigenetics
  • Medical science and disease
  • Mental Health


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