Cellular Senescence as a Biomarker of Ageing

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Andrea Maier andrea.maier@unimelb.edu.au + 61383872137 Personal web page
Dr Camilla Tuttle

Project Details

The increasing aging population has led to national and international healthcare systems being inundated with geriatric patients. Currently elderly patients are assessed and managed using a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA). The CGA is a clinical tool comprising multiple domains that predict the risk of morbidity and mortality in older adults. However, the current CGA contains limited biological diagnostic options, owing largely to the complexity of the human body and ageing process.

Multiple disease presentations incorporating several organ systems has led to challenges in determining whether biological/biomedical science changes are a cause or consequence of the disease/aging process. Nine molecular hallmarks of aging are currently recognised, one of which is cellular senescence. Cellular senescence - a defensive mechanism in response to molecular damage - accumulates with age. Recently it has been shown that removal of senescent cells by ‘senolytics’ rejuvenates body function in animal models. How senescent cells contribute to the human aging process is not well defined. In addition, whether increased numbers of senescent cells contribute to a cascade of age-related disease pathologies is also unknown and the basis for future therapeutic innovations.

Aims: This PhD project will investigate the role senescent cells play in ageing and the age-related disease pathology of a geriatric cohort. In the first two years, the PhD candidate will isolate senescent biomarkers of interest associated with clinical features of ageing and age-related diseases in geriatric cohorts. In the second and third years, the PhD candidate will establish the underlying causal pathway between isolated biomarker(s) of interest and ageing.

Research Environment: @AgeMelbourne Research Group, led by Professor Andrea Maier, conducts innovative, translational and multi-disciplinary research in Gerontology and Biogerontology. The group's mission is to prolong the healthy lifespan of an individual by the prevention of age-related diseases. Ageing is the major risk factor of age-related diseases resulting in multimorbidity of the majority of the population aged 60 years and over. Understanding the basis of the human ageing process and its influence on age-related diseases is the starting point for establishing targeted interventions. @AgeMelbourne is currently conducting four large, longitudinal, studies examining the clinical and biological phenotypes of geriatric populations in inpatient and outpatient settings. All @AgeMelbourne studies demonstrate a strong translational component that is, improving diagnostics and therapies for age-related diseases based on a solid methodological and biological understanding. The @AgeMelbourne Research Group includes an internationally-recognised and dedicated team of academic research staff and students with a diverse background of clinical research skills and knowledge, making it an exciting and inspiring group to work with.

Selection Criteria:

  • Undergraduate education in science, statistics, biostatistics or epidemiology
  • First Class Honours in a discipline relevant to the Research Scope
  • Competitive academic track record
  • Strong interest in academic research
  • Capacity to work independently as a part of a research group

Desirable Criteria:

  • Laboratory Experience particular in regards to processing specimens and cell culturing.
  • Statistical Experience

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre


Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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