BLAST - Building Links in Ageing Science and Translation

Building Links in Ageing Science and Translation - the BLAST network

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The ‘Building Links in Ageing Science and Translation’ (BLAST) network aims to bring people together to form consortia to develop new knowledge and interventions to improve the health of older people


BLAST will:

  • break down silos between researchers in the life, environmental, medical, physical, and social sciences
  • facilitate interaction between network members to increase knowledge of health-limiting ageing biology mechanisms and ensure effective dissemination of advances, including provision of clinical training resources
  • partner with biotechnologists, health care professionals, social scientists, economists and policy makers to identify effective interventions in ageing processes and develop routes for translation to improve health in later life
  • focus on increasing scientific understanding of the mechanistic drivers of biological ageing that diminish healthspan and lifespan, and predictive/diagnostic biomarkers of age-related poor health.

We will do this by:

  • establishing a significant online and social media community to increase user engagement and to provide accessible platforms to spread reliable science-based information about healthy longevity
  • holding integrative workshops, summer schools and journal clubs
  • supporting new research through pump-priming funding
  • working with other interdisciplinary ageing networks under the umbrella of UKAN (UK ageing network)

Who we are

Richard Faragher is Professor of Biogerontology at the University of Brighton, leading a lab that researchers cell senescence. He brings to the network management team a range of skills and experience including:

  • Director of the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR).
  • Previously chair of the British Society for Research on Ageing
  • Help the Aged Living Legend awardee from for his championship of older people and the use of research for their benefit
  • Awardee of the Lord Cohen Medal of the British Society for Research on Ageing
  • Former trustee of Age Concern (Brighton & Hove)
  • Co-director of SPARC, a £1.8million joint BBSRC and EPSRC capacity building and integrated networking activity that provided cross-disciplinary and early career support for emerging ageing researchers (e.g. through competitive pump-priming grants and networking events) and strengthened the relationship between the research community and end-users

Lynne Cox runs the lab of Ageing and Cell Senescence at the University of Oxford, researching core biological drivers and biomarkers of ageing with expertise in cell senescence, premature ageing, model organisms and -omics biology. She has extensive experience of setting up networks, and organising and running workshops and conferences.

  • Recipient of the US Glenn Foundation (USA) Award for research into biological mechanisms of ageing
  • Co-founder of the Oxford Ageing network OxAgeN
  • Trustee of the British Society for Research on Ageing
  • Strategy board member of the Oxford Ageing Research Collaborative Hub,
  • Clinical and Translational Science panel member of the Biochemical Society
  • Strategic Advisory Board and the Science, Technology and Genomics Board member of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity,
  • Co-chair of the Biology of Ageing SIG for the European Geriatric Medicine Society, which is working to establish new training courses and accredited clinical/biomedical research training across Europe
  • Primary International member NO-Age, Norwegian Healthy Ageing Institute
  • Quinquennial review panel member of the US National Institute of Aging Division of Aging Biology

Colin McClure is a newly appointed Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences, Queens University, Belfast. His research interests focus on the genetics which underpin life history dimorphism and ageing between the sexes, through the application of new methods of cell-selective chromatin-binding protein profiling. He also has a keen interest in the promotion of cross disciplinary training for early career staff and students.

Richard Hartley is Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Glasgow. He applies chemical approaches to the elucidation and manipulation of biological processes at the cellular and whole organism levels.

As the developer of the anti-stroke compound ProxisonTM (spun-out through the company Antoxis), he has wide research experience in oxidative stress as the chemical hub of multi-centre, cross-disciplinary teams. Richard also brings extensive experience of industrial collaborations, having designed molecular probes now marketed world-wide by Cayman Chemical, Abcam and Sigma.