Carmen Martin-Ruiz, PhD, received her graduate degree in human physiology from Paris Diderot University. She completed her initial postdoctoral training at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit at Newcastle General Hospital as part of an international network of researchers studying the role of nicotinic receptors -- proteins on the surface of nerve cells that aid in cellular communication -- in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease (PD), schizophrenia, autism and vascular dementia. Later, she expanded the range of her research interests to include cell aging. In 2006, she was one of the investigators of the Newcastle 85+ cohort study and in that role oversaw the assessment of an extensive panel of blood-derived biomarkers (objective measures of disease or another condition). The aim of that work was to identify a link between health and biological factors such as cell senescence (breakdown with age), inflammation and the aging of the immune system. She then joined the Newcastle National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre as manager of the Biomarker Laboratory, where researchers study biomarkers of aging useful in assessing specific treatments and their efficacy in people with age-related diseases.