BBSRC hands Babraham £48m to research issues associated with living longer

15 May, 2024
The Babraham Institute is to receive £48 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), to support core research across epigenetics, immunology and cell signalling.
Credit: The Babraham Institute.

Over the next four years, BBSRC’s investment will drive key research on the mechanisms that maintain the health of our cells, tissues and organs across the whole life course.

Babraham’s fundamental research focuses on understanding biology in relation to maintaining health, especially with regards to protecting and maximising good health in the later years of life.

Older age brings many opportunities but can also be blighted by declining health and life-changing or life-limiting diseases.

The trend in people living longer means they are more likely to spend a proportion of their later years in ill health. Beyond the immediate impact on the individual, this has wider impacts on families, people with caring responsibilities and public service providers.

Protecting and maximising health span and minimising time spent in ill health as we age is at the heart of Babraham Institute’s research.

BBSRC’s investment supports three strategic programmes of work to advance our ability to protect health and counter age-related decline:-

• Cellular responses to stress

• Epigenetic control across the life course

• Immunity, resilience and repair

The research will be delivered by teams of internationally recognised experts at the Babraham Institute working in close collaboration with partners across academia and industry. This includes BBSRC’s other strategically supported research institutes and companies based on the Babraham Research Campus.

Dr Simon Cook, Babraham Institute Director, said: “We are immensely excited to initiate this new strategic programme of research. The combination of expertise brought together to achieve this work, including our researchers, our technical experts and the skills of the teams that enable our research to happen, means we can tackle important biological questions in new ways.

“From understanding the earliest steps of development to ensuring that vaccines deliver strong protection to older populations, each discovery will make a difference to human health and wellbeing.”

Due to changes in leadership, the Babraham Institute completed BBSRC’s institute assessment exercise in 2023, a year later than the seven other BBSRC-supported institutes so will receive the BBSRC funding for four years until 2028.