Scientific Programme & Speakers

Our exciting ISTRC 2020 Provisional Scientific Programme includes world-leading speakers from a wide range of disciplines:

Please note that at this time the programme is provisional and subject to change. 

Confirmed speakers include: 

 Avan Sayer

Professor Avan Aihie Sayer 

Newcastle University, UK

Professor Sayer is Director of the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, an NIHR Senior Investigator, and William Leech Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Newcastle University UK. She works as an Honorary Consultant in Older People’s Medicine at Newcastle Hospitals.

She is at the forefront of the field of Geriatrics and Gerontology internationally for her research on the ageing syndromes of sarcopenia, frailty and multimorbidity. Her focus is on translating mechanistic understanding into improved diagnosis, treatment and prevention across the life course. An important remit is capacity building across disciplines in the exciting new field of translational ageing research.


Alfonso Cruz-Jentoft

Professor Alfonso Cruz-Jentoft

Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal (IRYCIS), Madrid, Spain

Prof. Alfonso J. Cruz-Jentoft is a physician, specialist in Geriatric Medicine. He currently chairs the Geriatric Department of the Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal in Madrid, Spain. He is professor of Geriatrics at the Universidad Europea de Madrid and president of the Spanish Board on Geriatric Medicine. He was President of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS) and is now member of its Academic Board and Editor in Chief of European Geriatric Medicine, the official journal of this society.

Prof. Cruz-Jentoft coordinates the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP). His present areas of research include sarcopenia, frailty and nutrition in older people, geriatric pharmacotherapy, discrimination of older subjects in clinical research, and comprehensive geriatric assessment. 

Richard Dodds

Dr Richard Dodds

Newcastle University, UK

Richard Dodds is an intermediate clinical fellow at Newcastle University and an honorary consultant geriatrician at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He previously completed a Wellcome Trust PhD fellowship on the epidemiology of changes in muscle strength across the life course and continues to use data from several different cohorts to investigate this area.

He is a current student of the European Academy for Medicine of Ageing and he is secretary of the UK Association for Academic Geriatric Medicine. He tweets @dodds_rm


Miranda Grounds

Professor Miranda Grounds

University of Western Australia, Australia 

For over 30 years, Miranda's research has focussed on factors controlling the repair of damaged skeletal muscle and on potential treatments for muscle diseases such as Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and muscle wasting, with a focus on in vivo studies and tissue analyses. Her research has pioneered many studies into factors controlling skeletal muscle regeneration with a particular emphasis on myogenesis in post-natal skeletal muscle in vivo, and an ongoing interest in the role of the extracellular matrix. Research on cell therapies developed the Y-chromosome probe for tracking male nuclei and identified the massive and rapid death of injected donor cells in Myoblast Transfer Therapy. Other projects investigate stem cell therapies (MG published the first bone-marrow reconstitution experiments to look for bone-marrow derived muscle stem cells in 1983) and Tissue Engineering for skeletal and cardiac muscle. Current research includes the in vivo role of IGF-1 isoforms, a focus on inflammation and anti-cytokine therapies, metabolism, and oxidative stress, all with applications to skeletal muscle wasting with ageing, muscular dystrophy and especially Sarcopenia.

 Thomas Jackson

Dr Thomas Jackson

University of Birmingham, UK

Thomas qualified in Medicine in 2003, from Guy’s, Kings and St Thomas’ School of Medicine in London.  After junior doctor jobs in London he moved to Birmingham to undertake specialist training in geriatric medicine, and obtained a PhD in 2016.  His PhD was on pragmatic methods to identify dementia in older people with delirium and the affects of clinical subtypes and inflammatory profiles of delirium on outcomes.

Dr Jackson currently works as a clinical academic geriatrician in the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham.  His research interests include the immune-inflammatory basis of delirium,  as well as work understanding how our ageing immune system may drive frailty and sarcopenia.  He is an NIHR West Midlands CRN Research Scholar, and was recently awarded the British Geriatrics Society Rising Star Research award.  


 Michael Kjaer

Professor Michael Kjaer

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Michael Kjaer is Rheumatologist and Heads the Institute of Sports Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital and is a Board member of Centre for Healthy Ageing, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, and is a Professor in Sports Medicine at University of Copenhagen. His research area is within the influence of physical activity upon skeletal muscle and connective tissue in relation ageing and tissue injury


John Morely

Professor John Morley

Saint Louis University, USA

John E. Morley, MB, BCh, is Professor at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.  He retired as the Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine on June 30, 2019 after 30 years of service..

He has edited more than 20 books, and published more than 1400 papers, with major research emphases on the role of neuropeptides in the modulation of hormonal responses and behaviour and on nutrition, geriatric assessments, sarcopenia, cachexia diabetes and hormones in the elderly. 


Sian Robinson

Professor Sian Robinson

Newcastle University, UK

Sian Robinson is nutritional epidemiologist. Her main interests are in lifecourse influences of diet and lifestyle on health in later life, focusing particularly on inequalities in health in older age.  She previously worked on large UK birth cohort studies, based at the University of Southampton, before joining the AGE Research Group in December 2018.  She also has interests in nutrition policy and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition that advises Public Health England and other government organisations.

 Tea Shavlakadeze

Dr Tea Shavlakadze

Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts, USA

Dr Tea Shavlakadze is an Investigator at Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research (Cambridge, USA), where she leads a drug discovery program aimed at targeting pathways that create a permissive environment for age-related diseases, or directly induce these conditions. Discovery and perturbation of age-related signalling pathways to treat age-related diseases is the primary focus of her research.

Prior to joining Novartis, Dr Shavlakadze was employed as an associate professor at the University of Western Australia, where she conducted research on factors that contribute to the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function and established a broad biomedical research program on skeletal muscle ageing.  


 Dawn Skelton

Professor Dawn Skelton

Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Dawn Skelton is an exercise physiologist with a scientific research background. She is Professor in Ageing and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University. She Chaired the Royal Osteoporosis Society’s Statement on Exercise and Osteoporosis (2018) and the Older People panel for the UK’s update of the Physical Activity for Health Guidelines. She is a regular Keynote speaker around the world on falls prevention and exercise in older people. She works part time in academia and the rest of the time is a Director of Later Life Training Ltd, a company that runs as a not-for profit, to train health and fitness professionals to work with effective physical activity and exercise with older people and stroke survivors. Later Life Training ran Cascade Training in the Otago programme within the Prevention of Falls Network for Dissemination (ProFouND) project. Her recent research focuses on the determinants of sedentary behaviour, interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in older people, implementation of the FaME programme (translational research) and strength and balance awareness in older people. She recently received the British Geriatrics Society Marjory Warren Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in translating falls prevention research into practice.


Claire Stewart

Professor Claire Stewart

Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Karen Suetterlin

Dr Karen Suetterlin

University College London, UK

Doug Turnbull

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull

Newcastle University, UK

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull is Director of Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research and Professor of Neurology at Newcastle University. Professor Turnbull is an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and has spent over 30 years caring for patients with mitochondrial disease and researching into ways to improve the lives of people with mitochondrial disease. In 2016 awarded a Knighthood for services to healthcare research and treatment, particularly mitochondrial disease.

Miles Witham

Professor Miles Witham

Newcastle University, UK

Miles Witham is Professor of Trials for Older People in the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, Newcastle University, and is National Speciality Lead for the NIHR Ageing Clinical Research Network. He also works as a consultant Geriatrician working in both primary and secondary care. His research aims to improve physical function and quality of life for older people, using a wide range of interventions, including pharmacological agents, nutrition, exercise and strategies of care.

Professor Witham is developing a programme of trials both to test interventions targeting sarcopenia and physical frailty, but also to improve the way that we design and run trials for older people. He is also co-founder on the British Geriatrics Society Sarcopenia and Frailty Research Group, which aims to both support research and ensure that the results influence clinical practice.

He tweets at @OlderTrialsProf