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Approved Research

Understanding links between the organ aging biomarkers and disease

Principal Investigator: Dr Jarod Rutledge
Approved Research ID: 97140
Approval date: December 23rd 2022

Lay summary

Aging is one of the major risk factors associated with disease. In other words, the older a person is, the greater their risk of getting sick. However, the whole story is much more complex because not everyone ages at the same rate or the same way. Depending on the person, certain organs deteriorate more rapidly than others, and the reasons for this are not fully understood. If we could identify which organs in your body are aging the most rapidly, we may be able to intervene and help improve your quality of life.

The aim of this research project is to better understand the different ways that people's organs age at the individual level and at the population level. By tracking how molecules in blood change with age, we aim to tease apart some of the differences in how people age, and link that information to different aging outcomes like disease and lifespan. There have been many studies on aging in blood, and we aim to take this research one step farther by using advanced machine learning to link changes in blood to the functioning of specific organs. We have already tested this approach in other cohorts, but machine learning benefits from very large datasets, and the UK BioBank resource has the scale to truly validate this approach. Ultimately, the information we gain from this kind of modeling can be used to help direct patient care and discover new medicines. This project is planned for 3 years to gain the maximum amount of insight from the UK BioBank cohort.