The MRC Versus Arthritis Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research has 5 research objectives:


To increase understanding of the processes influencing the rate of ageing of the musculoskeletal (MSK) system and how these increase susceptibility to musculoskeletal decline in acute (trauma and infection) and chronic musculoskeletal disease (Primary – Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Secondary -Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Trauma);


To develop and test interventions to improve musculoskeletal health using highly innovative cross-cutting platforms established in the Centre;


To increase national and international networking to create a significant musculoskeletal Ageing research, training and dissemination platform, exploiting synergies with other centres of excellence (including our sister centre CIMA);


To increase use of existing cohorts and databases to support our mission;


To work with key policy and health practice influencers, industry and patient and public involvement (PPI) groups to determine routes to the translation of our research findings.

Our 5 major objectives, will be delivered via 3 integrated research themes:

Theme 1: Mechanisms of Musculoskeletal (MSK) Ageing

This theme is focussed upon increasing the understanding of the mechanistic basis of age-related musculoskeletal decline and the factors modulating this trajectory, including cell senescence, inflammation, physical inactivity and sedentariness, obesity, nutrition and the gut microbiome.

Theme 2: Ageing and progression to MSK disease

Theme 2 aims to identify the processes driving the progression with age to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis (OA). This theme is also concerned with identifying the drivers of musculoskeletal decline in diseases where sarcopenia and weakness prevail (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), trauma/infection).

Theme 3. Interventions to improve MSK health and function

Researchers in theme 3 are testing lifestyle and pharmacological interventions in healthy, frail and disease populations to improve musculoskeletal health and function.