Cardiovascular research themes

Ageing and the cardiopulmonary system

Age is a major risk factor for the majority of cardiovascular complications. In part this is because many cardiovascular diseases are progressive. However, even healthy ageing is associated with a reduction in blood vessel and cardiac function, with a sharp decline in maximal cardiac output and aerobic capacity as people advance into their 70s and beyond

Our ultimate goal is to reduce the incidence and severity of cardiovascular disease and to improve quality of life in older adults.

We adopt an integrative approach to our research that spans from measurements of electrical activity in single cardiac cells through to in vivo measurements of cardiovascular function. We aim to identify the key parameters that change with healthy ageing or associated progressive cardiovascular disease and develop strategies which ameliorate functional deficits promoting healthy successful ageing. We use animal models and human participants for our research in this area, complemented by multi-scale in silico modelling.

Our expertise includes molecular biology and electrophysiological approaches in pacemaker and non-pacemaker cells of the heart; as well as functional imaging techniques in vivo and in vitro to assess vascular, endothelial and cardiac function.

View a list of academics within Ageing and the Cardiopulmonary System

View a list of postdoctoral researchers within Ageing and the Cardiopulmonary System

Key researchers in the area


Area of expertise

Dr Al Benson
Lecturer in Cardiovascular Science

Computational modelling; magnetic resonance imaging; optical imaging; cardiopulmonary exercise testing; near infrared spectroscopy

Professor Karen Birch
Head of School of Biomedical Sciences

Endothelial integrity; female reproductive hormones; exercise and cardiovascular disease 

Dr T. Scott Bowen
Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Muscle atrophy; muscle weakness; mitochondrial dysfunction; pulmonary gas exchange; exercise testing

Professor John Coyler

Professor of Biotechnology

Protein engineering; biomarker research; phospho-specific antibodies; quantitative biomarker technologies; medical diagnostics; cardiac cell biology; acute kidney injury

Dr Michael Colman
University Academic Fellow Physiology/Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology

Importance of age-related adaptions underlying physiological and pathophysiological function of the aged heart; computational modelling 

Dr Sue Deuchars

Reader in Neuroscience

Spinal cord; neurogenesis; autonomic neuroscience; neuromodulation; electrophysiology; imaging; microneurography

Professor Stuart Egginton

Leadership Chair in Exercise Science

Physiology (cardiovascular, respiratory, skeletal muscle); angiogenesis; peripheral oxygen transport; microcirculation; exercise; thermal acclimation

Dr Carrie Ferguson
Lecturer in Physiology

Limitations to exercise tolerance; cardiopulmonary exercise testing; fatigue mechanisms, training strategy

Dr Matthew Lancaster
Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Cardiovascular changes with ageing; limitations to exercise performance in old age; changes to cardiac structure and function in old age; biomarkers of ageing

Dr Harry Rossiter

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing; mitochondrial function; oxidative metabolism; pulmonary system; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; muscle function; rehabilitation; exercise tolerance; clinical trials

Dr Bryan Taylor
University Academic Fellow in Cardiovascular Exercise Medicine
Age-associated pulmonary vascular dysfunction; pulmonary hypertension; lung diffusing capacity; pulmonary mechanics; exercise capacity

Dr Klaus Witte

University Academic Fellow

Cardiology; heart failure; clinical trials; patient access