UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UK DRI supports MRC National Mouse Genetics Network initiative

27 February 2024

The UK DRI is supporting the Medical Research Council (MRC) National Mouse Genetics Network, through involvement in its new Ageing Cluster, and association with the UK DRI Animal Models Programme.

ageing network

The National Mouse Genetics Network is an interdisciplinary collaboration between different labs and clinical scientists across the UK, aiming to maximise understanding of human disease using the latest approaches in mouse genetics and functional assays. The network has established a new key challenge area led by a cluster of research groups, focused on ageing. The Ageing Cluster is co-led by Prof Walid Khaled at the University of Cambridge and Dr Laura Greaves at Newcastle University, with input from Dr Dervis Salih, at the UK DRI at UCL, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology.

The newly formed Ageing Cluster aims to better understand the cellular and molecular changes driving ageing across organs and cell populations, using cutting edge omics technology.

As part of the Cluster, Dr Dervis Salih and his team will perform data integration and higher level analyses of the ageing brain to understand the genetic, epigenetic and cellular drivers of ageing in relation to physiological, behavioural and functional changes of the animal.

The cellular and molecular changes will be compared and contrasted across a variety of tissues throughout the body to understand how individuals age holistically. The changes in ageing mice will be compared to human ageing, and human population genetics associated with age-dependent disease.

Dr Salih said: “This work will transform understanding of how cellular and molecular changes work systemically to set the pace of ageing, providing insights into why some individuals are resilient and others vulnerable to age-dependent diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and COVID. We are excited to be part of the National Mouse Genetics Network clusters to interact and exchange ideas and data with basic and clinical labs throughout the UK.”

The UK DRI Animal Models programme, led by Dr Frances Wiseman, UK DRI Programme Lead for Animal Models, is also associated with the MRC National Mouse Genetics Network. The programme aims to develop state-of-the-art mouse models and phenotyping methods to support the development of new treatments for dementia-causing diseases.

Dr Wiseman said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Dr Greaves, Professor Khaled and Dr Salih to assist with their work addressing the mechanisms that drive ageing and look forward to delivering new insights into the interaction of age and dementia-causing diseases.”