Aims and specific objectives

The overall aim of the GERONTOSHIELD consortium is to understand the molecular processes affected during immunosenescence and to derive strategies to overcome them in order to establish immune interventions tailored for the elderly.

This will be achieved by exploiting knowledge and tools gained in preliminary to:

  1. reverse engineer the underlying molecular events affected by immune modulators enabling a partial recovery of response to vaccination in aging mice by using a systems biology-driven approach,
  2. evaluate if similar processes and/or signaling pathways/networks are affected in immune cells from aging humans in in vitro models,
  3. establish and refine mathematical models describing the involved processes,
  4. develop a holistic model for flu infections in young and elderly,
  5. gain a global understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the functional deficits,
  6. derive conceptual models and general strategies to overcome such deficits, in order to further improve responsiveness to vaccination in aging subjects, and
  7. validate the emerging strategies to generate vaccines tailored for the elderly in the influenza model.

Experiments, data analysis and mathematical modeling will be performed in an iterative, cyclic way, which enables permanent validation and refinement of the models and planning of new experiments.