Iron and biological ageing

To solve the mystery of human ageing we propose to first understand it in a simpler animal. Our laboratory takes a fresh approach, using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans with a focus on biological metal ions. Metal ions are essential for life with approximately half of all proteins using a metal ion co-factor. However, excess metal ions can be highly toxic. Organs such as the brain accumulates iron through life, which may contribute to disease risk.

Age is the single biggest risk factor for major neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. How ageing drives disease susceptibility is a fundamental but poorly understood question.


  • Explore how ageing drives diseases susceptibility using C. elegans.
  • Investigate how accumulation of iron may contribute to disease risk using C. elegans.

Figure: X-ray Fluorescence micrograph of iron within an intact C. elegans specimen.

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