Profile of the Senior Scientist Group

Our group conducts epidemiological research to understand (I) the role of nutrition in human metabolic and immune systems and (II) the development and progression of age-related disorders.

The aging of the world population is accompanied by an epidemiological shift of the main chronic diseases. Despite decades of research, the incidence and mortality caused by multiple chronic diseases are projected to rise in the following years posing important challenges for health care systems. The lack of success of current strategies for prevention of chronic diseases calls for new integrative approaches to epidemiological risk assessment and targeted prevention. With longer life-span, the human immune system exhausts leading to loss of preventive functions and chronic inflammation. This predisposes the development of certain diseases. Thus, immune senescence has emerged as a central idea for explaining the phenomenon of age-related diseases. In this context, addressing dysregulated control of inflammation – i.e. via lifestyle and nutritional modifications – could provide valid means for attenuating age-related chronic disease risk. There is a need for more research on the relationship between diet, immunity and health to establish nutrition as a future key preventative target.

Our aims are to understand a range of nutritional factors and phenotypes associated with inflammation, aging and related pathologies in order to identify molecular targets for tailoring prevention strategies for high-risk individuals.

More specific objectives include:

  • Identification of novel biomarkers related to chronic inflammation and immune activation
  • Evaluation of inflammation as common multi-morbidity pathway in aging and associations with disability/frailty patterns
  • Development of biomarker-based risk prediction models for healthy aging
  • Evaluation of nutritional strategies with anti-inflammatory potential in adult and elderly populations