Karen Rana

Career History

2011 - 2016  PhD student, Aston University (ARCHA)

Current Research

The ageing process is a phenomenon that affects us all, individually and as a society. At ARCHA we seek to perform research that can underpin the important goal of improving the quality of life in the elderly population by supporting healthy aging. The Ageing Metabolism cluster specifically focuses on the onset of metabolic disorders that disproportionately affect older adults.
Metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are increasing in the UK and there is growing evidence that these disorders can influence the ageing process at the cellular level. In addition to this, the storage of fat in the body can differ between individuals, with people predominantly storing fat in either subcutaneous or intra-abdominal areas. The mechanisms by which obesity/diabetes might regulate the ageing process are poorly understood. More specifically, it is not clear whether fat storage has a role in this process. Our hypothesis is that cellular ageing will be accelerated in individuals suffering from metabolic disorders
The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between obesity/diabetes and cellular ageing. To do this we have identified a cohort of patients at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. This study will compare cellular ageing in obese/diabetic individuals with a control group. Study participants will have body composition analysed and a sample of blood will also be taken. From this, DNA will be isolated and used to measure telomere length (a marker of cellular ageing), using a real-time PCR assay.