Arthritis Research UK Medical Research Council

CIMA MRes Musculoskeletal Ageing

CIMA Students at one of our Scientific Meetings

CIMA Students at one of our Scientific Meetings

A unique, professional Masters of Research programme

What training does it provide?

Students apply to and are registered for the degree award with either the University of Liverpool, University of Sheffield, or Newcastle University. During the first semester, students undertake 60 credits of taught modules, which will ground the student in current approaches and techniques to studying the integrated musculoskeletal system as a whole and the effects ageing has on this system. These modules are delivered by e-learning, including live interactions with tutors and peers, online lectures and presentations and discussion forums. Students supplement the online component via self-directed learning. During the second semester, students undertake a research module which will provide the student with the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a project under the expertise of supervisors based across the CIMA consortium. They will also receive multidisciplinary skills training specific to their individual training needs, and have the opportunity to undertake a placement at another CIMA site (for example, to learn a particular research technique in another laboratory).

Is it right for me?

The programme is designed for candidates with an undergraduate first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant biological science or clinical degree, or candidates with a Masters degree on a similar relevant subject. We also welcome candidates from other backgrounds (e.g. engineering, mathematics, computing) who can demonstrate an aptitude for the biological sciences.

For further information, including current fees and funding information, please visit -

The University of Liverpool
The University of Sheffield
Newcastle University

Module Outlines

Muscle in the integrated musculoskeletal system (20 credits)

This module takes a critical approach to current understanding of the biology of muscle ageing and current theories of muscle ageing, in addition to developing a broad knowledge of appropriate techniques and approaches for studying muscle ageing, within the context of an integrated musculoskeletal system. Knowledge is consolidated and practically applied in the identification of a research question and submission of a simulated grant application to the Medical Research Council, thereby providing you with the skills and knowledge to draft a grant proposal to Research Council specifications.

Biology of ageing (20 credits)

This module aims to provide a framework to understand why ageing occurs in almost all organisms and why ageing is particularly slow in humans. You will develop a critical approach to understanding the essential mechanisms of ageing as a basis to understand how organisms age, on the role of intrinsic and extrinsic stress in ageing, and to judge the efficacy of potential interventions. You will then apply the mechanisms of ageing to the physiological processes in humans and other details. You will develop a critical approach to the development of theories in ageing research, and of the current and likely future trends in ageing research.

Biology and assessment of skeletal health (10 credits)

The aim of the module is to provide you with knowledge of the basic anatomy of joint and bone, and with the process of bone formation and resorption. This will constitute the basis on which you will build more specialised and cutting edge knowledge on control of bone and joint homeostasis or loss of it with age. You will use this knowledge to be able to propose the correct experimental procedures to assess skeletal health and to critically evaluate interventions to prevent or delay skeletal ageing.

Principles of nutrition: relevance to ageing (10 credits)

The module aims to provide you with a core knowledge of nutritional principles focusing particularly on nutrition and ageing, including dietary components, dietary reference values, inadequacy and excess, nutritional assessment methods, energy balance, metabolic rate, regulation of food intake, appetite and the fundamentals of nutritional epidemiology. It will provide you with dietary and nutritional assessment skills, and the ability to critically analyse and interpret nutritional information.

Research project and skills training (120 credits)

This module provides you with the opportunity to study a topic of interest in greater depth. You will work in a guided but independent fashion to plan and carry out a piece of original research. In addition, you will develop generic research skills, and have the opportunity to undertake training in a range of complementary skills. You will be able to take advantage of the range of expertise and facilities within the CIMA partnership by undertaking a three week placement at the University of Sheffield or Newcastle University.

CIMA MRes graduates will be well placed to choose from a wide range of career options, within clinical practice, academia, or within the commercial/ private sector. Upon completion, students will be equipped to embark on further research in musculoskeletal ageing in industry or academia and may be able to continue their studies by registering for a CIMA PhD in Musculoskeletal Ageing.

Examples of MRes projects offered

Title of Project



Analysis of epigenetic changes in osteoclastogenesis in ageing.

Dr Anna Daroszewska (Liverpool), Prof Rob van ‘t Hof (Liverpool), Dr Louise Reynard (Newcastle), Prof John Loughlin (Newcastle)

Step turns versus spin turns in the elderly: ecology and mechanics.

Dr Kris D’Aout (Liverpool), Dr Karl Bates (Liverpool), Prof Robin Crompton (Liverpool), Dr Enrico Dall’Ara (Sheffield)

Studying the role of microRNAs in muscle and cartilage homeostasis using CRISPR.

Dr Katarzyna Whysall (Liverpool) , Prof George Bou-Gharios (Liverpool) , Prof David Young (Newcastle)

Do changes in microRNA expression in musculoskeletal tissues during ageing have functional relevance?

Dr Katarzyna Whysall (Liverpool), Prof Peter Clegg (Liverpool), Dr Mandy Peffers (Liverpool), Prof David Young (Newcastle)

Illumination of the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) transcriptome in tendon biology and ageing.

Dr Mandy Peffers (Liverpool), Dr Matthew Barter (Newcastle)

Investigation of the translational capacity of musculoskeletal cells in ageing.

Dr Mandy Peffers (Liverpool), Dr Kate Williamson (Liverpool), Dr Alison Garland (Sheffield)

Changes in skeletal muscle electrical function with ageing.

Dr Richard Barrett-Jolley (Liverpool), Dr Louise Reynard (Newcastle)

Accelerated sarcopaenia in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus: Does it simply reflect increased sedentary behaviour and reduced physical activity, or do other mechanisms explain it?

Dr Daniel Cuthbertson (Liverpool), Dr Tori Sprung (Liverpool), Prof Graham Kemp (Liverpool), Prof Michael Trenell (Newcastle)

Measurement of gait-related postural control in older adults using a single body worn sensor.

Dr Brook Galna (Newcastle), Dr Claudia Mazza (Sheffield), Prof Lynn Rochester (Newcastle)

Investigating the role of purinergic signalling in bone remodelling using computer simulation models.

Dr Carole Proctor (Newcastle), Dr Alison Gartland (Sheffield)

Can vitamin D status explain the link between osteoporosis and atherosclerotic risk? The Newcastle Thousand Families Cohort Study.

Prof John Mathers (Newcastle), Dr Mario Siervo (Newcastle), Dr Tom Hill (Newcastle), Prof Richard Eastell (Sheffield)

Relationship between physical activity and pain in obese older people with knee osteoarthritis.

Prof John Mathers (Newcastle), Dr Nicola O’Brien (Newcastle), Dr Daniel Cuthbertson (Liverpool).