Gary Frost

Aygul Dagbasi 


What we do

AGEing and Nutrient Sensing (AGENTS) Network was established to understand the role of nutrient sensing in the ageing process. The network will aim to address the priority area of "health span and quality of life in old age". AGENT is one of 11 new networks, made up of researchers from 28 universities, aimed at transforming ageing research in the UK. The research will be funded with £2 million from the UKRI's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Why it is important

Studies have shown that nutrition and the systems the body uses to sense the nutritional environment have an effect on metabolism and ageing, but in humans it is not yet fully understood why some people metabolically age at a faster rate than others. To address the current gaps in knowledge and to develop deeper mechanistic and translational understanding in the area of nutrient sensing and ageing, we have brought together five university partners including Imperial College London, Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh, all of which have a track record in nutrition, nutrient sensing or ageing. This highly multidisciplinary team will initiate the network that spans fundamental cell biology through to policy making The network will use the hackathon methodology to develop multidisciplinary research topics which the network will support to develop into full grant applications and contributions to the scientific literature.

How it can benefit patients

Understanding the role of nutrient sensing in ageing can lead to the development of nutritional and pharmacological therapies that can slow down ageing, increase healthy life span and increase quality of life during ageing.

Summary of current research

The group had their first inaugural meeting in Manchester on 10th June 2022 and their first hackathon meeting in London on 6-7th September. During the first meeting the group defined nutrient sensing as "Systems at multiple scales that detect and respond to nutrient status". During the hackathon, the network generated four research topics which will be developed into grant applications. These were

  • Understanding and influencing the mechanisms of ageing through dietary interventions
  • Mechanistic Understanding of the Impact of Nutrition on Healthy Ageing
  • Understanding the Biological Mechanism and Societal Determinants of Anorexia of Ageing
  • Exploring the impact of protein quality and fibre on gut barrier function, inflammation and body composition

The next hackathon will be held in February 2023.

The network has been awarded the BBSRC Flexible Talent Mobility Account which supports the mobility and development of early career researchers.

The network developed a white paper which can be found here.

ECR Awards in the field of Ageing and Nutrient sensing

The network is now offering awards to provide support to Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in the field of Ageing and Nutrient sensing. Applicants can request a maximum of £1,000 of flexible funding to support any activity that has a clear case for personal or professional development.

To apply, please complete the form and email it to ecr.agents@​

UKRI funding opportunity - Pre-announcement: ageing research development awards

Apply for funding to develop tractable avenues of research to secure better health and wellbeing for individuals as they age. Find out more

Join the Network

Please email to join the AGENTs Network.

Our researchers

Aygul Dagbasi

Aygul Dagbasi
Imperial College London