Grant: What happens to our immune system as we age?

Associate Professor Nicolai Juul Birkbak from the Department of Clinical Medicine is investigating the answer by delving into cells from thousands of people. The Novo Nordisk Foundation has given the project a grant of approx. DKK 10 million.

Photo: Torsten Christensen

Nicolai Juul Birkbak's latest research project aims to uncover how the immune system changes with age, and how these changes affect our general health. Using innovative methods and advanced technology, he will examine the complexity of individual cells, with particular focus on understanding how age and biological sex affect the immune system.

"The goal is to be able to measure the state of the immune system and thereby assess the individual's general health and the immediate risk of developing disease – especially cancer," says Nicolai Juul Birkbak, who is also affiliated with the Department of Molecular Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital.

According to the researcher, the new knowledge about the impact of age on the different immune cells may change our understanding of what defines a healthy immune system and the immune system's influence on both the development and treatment of a wide range of diseases.

"Potentially, our research could pave the way for new immune-boosting strategies to prevent and treat various age-related diseases, offering a brighter and healthier future for individuals as they grow older,” says Nicolai Juul Birkbak.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting the project with DKK 10,153,500.


Associate Professor Nicolai Juul Birkbak
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Molecular Medicine (MOMA)
Telephone: +45 78 45 53 47

The coverage is based on press material from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.