Dr Neil Martin
Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Loughborough University
His research centres around the role of ageing and exercise on skeletal muscle cell metabolism, with a particular focus on mTORC1 regulation.
Neil is on the society’s board of trustees.
Tell us a bit about your career development
I completed my undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology, and MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition before undertaking a PhD in the field of cell biology and tissue engineering. During my PhD I isolated skeletal muscle cells from young and older individuals to understand how they behaved in advanced in vitro systems, where we aimed to recapitulate in vivo physiology.
Following my PhD, I worked at the Institute of Neurology at UCL, integrating motor neurons into skeletal muscle bioengineered systems. Following this, I worked as a senior research associate at Loughborough University in the field of cell biology and bioengineering. In 2016 I was appointed to the position of Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Biology and in 2022 promoted to Senior Lecturer.
Why is your area of research important in our understanding of the biology of ageing?
Broadly I am interested in changes in cellular function during ageing, and why these changes occur. This has involved conducting experiments with humans and cell models and I have a keen interest in the mTORC1 signalling cascade.
Due to my background, I am principally interested in skeletal muscle as model tissue. Loss of muscle mass during ageing is one of the main drivers of frailty and loss of independence in older age, and so understanding why muscle is lost during ageing is important. Furthermore, owing to the unique properties of skeletal muscle, it also serves as a nice tissue to apply findings more broadly to the ageing field.
What is your role at the BSRA and what does it involve?
I am the treasurer for the BSRA, and as such I have overall financial oversight of the charity. I am responsible for managing the income and expenditure and ensuring e adhere to best practices to safeguard the financial position of the BSRA.
Why do you think the work of the society is so important?
Over the past decade or so, the field of biogerontology has made great strides in uncovering the biological underpinnings of ageing, and we are beginning to see emerging signs of ways in which we can improve healthy ageing and lifespan. However, given the huge amount of publicly available information in the 21st century, it is important to have a trusted voice, promoting and funding evidence-based research in the field. The BSRA acts as that voice and helps to support high-quality biogerontology research and its dissemination in the UK.