05 Jun

Tackling the complexity of ageing with systems approaches

Ageing is the major biomedical challenge of the 21st century, yet it remains largely mysterious, in part because of its intrinsic complexity. In this talk, I will present systems approaches aimed at deciphering the genome and increasing our knowledge about how genes and processes impact on ageing. I will present network and machine learning approaches for predicting longevity genes and compounds, which we validated experimentally. Lastly, I will discuss integrative, multi-dimensional approaches that provide insights into longevity pathways and their role in age-related diseases.

About the speaker

Prof. de Magalhães graduated in Microbiology in 1999 from the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia in his hometown of Porto, Portugal, and then obtained his PhD in 2004 from the University of Namur in Belgium. Following a postdoc with genomics pioneer Prof. George Church at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, in 2008 Prof. de Magalhães was recruited to the University of Liverpool in the UK to establish his own group on genomic approaches to ageing. In 2022, Prof. de Magalhães was recruited to the University of Birmingham as Chair of Molecular Biogerontology where he currently leads the Genomics of Ageing and Rejuvenation Lab.

His lab studies the ageing process and how we can manipulate it to fend off age-related diseases and improve human health. The lab’s research integrates different strategies, but its focal point is developing and applying experimental and computational methods that help bridge the gap between genotype and phenotype, a major challenge of the post-genome era, and help decipher the human genome and how it regulates complex processes like ageing.

Notably, his lab is a world-leader in employing genomics and bioinformatics to study ageing with pioneering work in studying gene networks of ageing and in sequencing and analyzing genomes from long-lived species. Prof. de Magalhães has authored over 100 publications and given over 100 invited talks, including three TEDx talks. His research has also been widely featured in the popular press (BBC, CNN, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and many others).

Prof. de Magalhães is an advisor/consultant for various organizations, including nonprofit foundations, universities, investment funds and biotech companies. In the long-term, Prof. de Magalhães would like his work to contribute to the development of interventions that preserve health and combat disease by manipulating the ageing process.