Joint research with Brazil on healthy ageing

Two projects granted through the Merian Fund

5 February 2020

Every day we become older, but with increasing age the occurrence of chronic disease also increases. The collaborative research now funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), through the Merian Fund and managed by ZonMw, and São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), is aimed at working towards scientific knowledge and innovative solutions with high societal impact for healthy ageing.

Picture: FlickrCC | Rodrigo Soldon

The aim of this collaboration between the Netherlands and Brazil is to strengthen cross-national cooperation between researchers in the State of São Paulo and the Netherlands, by funding joint projects to a level of almost three million euros. The combined projects will focus on important aspects of healthy ageing. The main goal of this call is to understand the biological determinants of the heterogeneity of the ageing process, developing instruments to allow stratification of target groups, while maximising the functional capacity, independence, and quality of life of older persons.

Towards a healthy future

The following two projects will start by mid-2020, the Dutch and Brazilian researchers will work on their projects during the next five years.

Age-related chronic disorders share vascular ageing
Principal investigators: Prof. Menck (University of São Paulo) & Prof. Hoeijmakers (Erasmus MC)
The ageing process increases the organism’s vulnerability to disease and death, making ageing the primary risk factor of major pathologies such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. According to professor Hoeijmakers, professor Menck and their teams, these age-related chronic disorders may be delayed or even prevented by interference with common critical mechanisms underlying these diseases. Vascular ageing is caused by an accumulation of unrepaired DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in the vessel wall, which both increase with age. The goals of the researchers is to better understand the mechanisms involved, to prevent age-related diseases and thereby promote healthy ageing.

Pollution as the motor of premature kidney ageing
Principal investigators: Prof. Andrade (University of São Paulo) & Dr Roelofs (AMC)
Premature renal ageing is a risk factor for cardio-vascular adverse events, development of chronic kidney disease and progression towards end stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD is associated with poor quality of life, high morbidity and mortality, and tremendous health care expenses. The incidence of ESRD varies greatly among countries with 6% in The Netherlands compared to 11% in São Paulo. One of the factors likely contributing to the heterogeneity in renal ageing is the exposure to particulate matter in polluted air. Dr Roelofs and colleagues (Dr. Tammaro and Prof. Florquin) aim to cooperate with professor Andrade and her team in researching how air pollution induces molecular and biological changes in the kidney and how it influences premature renal ageing.

About the Merian Fund

The Merian Fund is a fund for international cooperation with (emerging) science countries. The common thread within the Merian Fund is international research to promote the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals worldwide.

The Merian Fund cooperates with seven partners in five countries: FAPESP (Brazil), NSFC and CAS (China), DST and DBT (India), RISTEKDIKTI (Indonesia) and NRF (South Africa). WOTRO Science for Global Development is responsible for the implementation of the calls under the Merian Fund, but this specific call is managed by ZonMw.

Partners in research

São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP – is an independent public foundation aimed to foster research and the scientific and technological development of the State of São Paulo. For more information visit http://www.fapesp.br/en

ZonMw (the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) funds health research in the Netherlands and promotes the practical use of the knowledge this research produces. For more information visit http://www.zonmw.nl/en

Source: NWO