Centre for Health and Bioinformatics


Dr Daryl Shanley

Reader in Systems Biology of Ageing


My research in the biology of ageing has two main branches: one using systems modelling to investigate the mechanisms of ageing the other using dynamic modelling and life history theory to address questions on the evolution of ageing. In each case, I often work in collaboration to share ideas and to obtain high quality data. In systems modelling this is time course data on key molecules generated from cell culture experiments using immunoblotting, microscopy, transcriptomics or proteomics. In life history modelling it is age-structured fertility and mortality data from free living populations. In each branch, I work on the connection between nutritional variation and plasticity in ageing. My long term goal is to merge these two branches and generate predictive models that contain both the mechanisms and their evolutionary basis. 


PhD, Computational Biology, University of Manchester

BSc (Hons), Chemistry, University of Bristol.


Current position

Reader (2019) in Systems Biology of Ageing, Newcastle University.

Director of the Centre for Integrated Systems Biology of Ageing and Nutrition (CISBAN), Newcastle University

Previous positions

Research Associate, Newcastle University. 

Research Associate, University of Manchester. 

Wellcome Trust Mathematical Biology Prize Studentship, University of Manchester.

Research Scientist, Institut Francais du Petrole, Paris.

Scientist, Exploration and Technical Service, British Gas plc, London.


Current research projects 

1) Systems modelling of age-related changes in dermal extra-cellular matrix (further information)

An integrative systems biology project where we measure in-vitro and model in-silico the short-term biochemical network dynamics of extra cellular matrix maintenance (ECM) in populations of young, old and senescent dermal fibroblasts. We have shown in previous work that differences in network dynamics are highly informative and provide a means to identify parts of the network that could be targeted to restore healthy function.
Funded by NC3R and Procter & Gamble.

2) Systems modelling of cell signalling in breast cancer (MESI-STRAT)

The MESI-STRAT consortium explores the interplay of breast cancer metabolism and oncogenic signalling (MEtabolic SIgnaling) by systems medicine approaches. MESI-STRAT develops new models for knowledge-based STRATification of patients into subgroups with different endocrine therapy resistance mechanisms.
Funded by an EU Horizon 2020 consortium grant.

3) Are microRNAs key mediators of cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis?

MicroRNAs are a recently discovered group of factors that control cell behaviour. There are thousands of microRNAs, but specific ones control the behaviour of cartilage cells and have key roles in osteoarthritis. Changing the level of a single microRNA can alter osteoarthritis, but we know that several microRNAs change during disease. We are building computer models of microRNA action in osteoarthritis to identify the outcomes of changing specific microRNAs therapeutically.

Funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust.

4) Harnessing the Power of Big Data to Address the Societal Challenge of Aging (further details)


We are developing computational models to help bridge the laboratory study of ageing cells with measurements from pathology tissue samples. Many human and non-human omics datasets in the public domain provide a rich resource on system-wide changes taking place in different cells across the life course. We will make use of these data together with our own to model the dynamic transition from normal cells to malfunctioning tissues and age-related degenerative diseases.

Funded by the Novo Nordisk Fonden


Module leader for MRes module Biology of Ageing (MMB8011)

Lectures given in modules on Genetics and Human Disease (BMS3010) and Biology of Ageing (BMS2014)