University of Birmingham, UK
Longevity & Healthspan is an open access, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal that publishes articles on all aspects of aging biology in the context of healthy aging or age-related disease. More specifically, the journal emphasizes advancing understanding of how age-related changes in structure and function become risk factors for or accompany age-related diseases or conditions, and the biology underlying healthy aging and longevity.
Janet Lord is Professor of Immune Cell Biology and Director of the Centres for Healthy Ageing Research and Translational Inflammation Research at the University of Birmingham, UK. She gained her PhD from the University of Aston, where she investigated the link between obesity, diabetes, and ageing, later going on to look at signalling pathways involved in the regulation of insulin secretion at Oxford University, and uncovering the key role of protein kinase C in this process. Returning to the University of Birmingham, she was awarded a Royal Society University Fellowship in 1989, and set up her own laboratory investigating cell signalling in immune cells and its dysregulation in disease.
Her group’s current research interests include characterisation of the signalling pathways regulating innate immune cell function and changes that occur in these processes with ageing, with a particular interest in the effect of ageing upon bactericidal processes and consequences for susceptibility to infection. Professor Lord has shown that neutrophil activity declines dramatically with age, heightening susceptibility to bacterial infection. She has recently examined whether the physical stress of hip fracture and the emotional stress of depression or bereavement can accelerate immune decline in the elderly. Studying hip fracture patients, she has found evidence linking the incidence of serious bacterial infection with dysregulation in cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) levels and shown for the first time that DHEAS enhances neutrophil function.
Her laboratory also studies chronic inflammation, and research in this area has focused on neutrophil and T cell activity in rheumatoid arthritis. The group are seeking to identify novel therapeutic targets for this debilitating condition, and are currently developing two novel small molecule regulators of neutrophil survival and synovial fibroblast proliferation, which are progressing towards clinical trial.