Projects

The impact of viral infections on immune ageing.

Healthy ageing is associated with progressive immune changes including immune-senescence and increased inflammation which drive a progressive decline in immune function in the aged.

These changes are also thought to contribute to the development of age-related conditions such as neurocognitive decline, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Increasing evidence suggests that certain viral infections including cytomegalovirus and HIV may potentiate age-related immune decline, leading to increased risk of age-related diseases.

We are aiming to better understand these changes, and are focusing on cells within the innate immune system to investigating the following:

  • What changes occur to innate immune cells during healthy ageing and do chronic viral infections such as HIV and hepatitis C virus accelerate these changes?
  • Are these changes completely reversed following anti-viral therapy?
  • Do healthy ageing and viral infections drive immune dysfunction and immune-senescence by similar or overlapping mechanisms?
  • Can these changes be used to help predict risk of age-related disease in individuals?

Timeline

2019

Collaborators

Associate Professor Anthony Jaworowski, RMIT University Dr Tom Angelovich, RMIT University

Funding

NHMRC

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Anna Hearps

Deputy Program Director, Healthy Ageing (Expansion Program)

Email

anna.hearps@burnet.edu.au