Black and white Portrait of Dominga Carrera Ugarte and two friends taken by René Schwerdtel for his project "100 Years of Life"

Research Group Deelen

Genetics and Biomarkers of Human Ageing

Why do some people age more healthily than others? This is the main question we try to address in our research group. To this end, we are studying the genetic mechanisms underlying healthy ageing in humans. We mainly do this by investigating the effect of genetic variants that are unique to long-lived individuals on the functioning of pathways implicated in ageing and/or age-related diseases. Moreover, we try to identify and validate biomarkers of healthy ageing using data from large-scale international collaborations of human studies.

Our research is focused on two main aims:

  1. Functional characterization of rare protein-altering genetic variants involved in healthy ageing (currently our primary research line).
  2. Establish human ageing studies in Cologne to determine the efficacy of previously identified biomarkers of healthy ageing in clinical studies.

To address these aims, our lab uses cellular models and mice, as well as samples from older-aged human (≥70 years of age).

[ more about our research ]

Selected publications

From mutation to mechanism: deciphering the molecular function of genetic variants linked to human ageing
Baghdadi, M., Hinterding, H. M., Partridge, L., Deelen, J.
(2022) Briefings in Functional Genomics, 1, 25, 13-23

Multivariate genomic scan implicates novel loci and haem metabolism in human ageing
Timmers, P.R.H.J., Wilson, J. F., Joshi, P. K., Deelen, J.
(2020) Nat Commun, 11, 1, 3570

A metabolic profile of all-cause mortality risk identified in an observational study of 44,168 individuals
Deelen, J., Kettunen, J., Fischer, K., van der Spek, A., Trompet, S., Kastenmuller, G., Boyd, A., Zierer, J.van den Akker, E. B., Ala-Korpela, M., Amin, N., Demirkan, A., Ghanbari, M., van Heemst, D., Ikram, M. A.van Klinken, J. B., Mooijaart, S. P., Peters, A., Salomaa, V., Sattar, N., Spector, T. D., Tiemeier, H., Verhoeven, A., Waldenberger, M., Wurtz, P., Davey Smith, G., Metspalu, A., Perola, M., Menni, C., Geleijnse, J. M., Drenos, F., Beekman, M., Jukema, J. W., van Duijn, C. M., Slagboom, P. E.
(2019) Nat Commun, 10, 1, 3346

A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies multiple longevity genes
Deelen, J., Evans, D. S., Arking, D. E., Tesi, N., Nygaard, M., Liu, X., Wojczynski, M. K., Biggs, M. L.van der Spek, A., Atzmon, G., Ware, E. B., Sarnowski, C., Smith, A. V., Seppala, I., Cordell, H. J., Dose, J.Amin, N., Arnold, A. M., Ayers, K. L., Barzilai, N., Becker, E. J., Beekman, M., Blanche, H., Christensen, K., Christiansen, L., Collerton, J. C., Cubaynes, S., Cummings, S. R., Davies, K., Debrabant, B., Deleuze, J. F., Duncan, R., Faul, J. D., Franceschi, C., Galan, P., Gudnason, V., Harris, T. B., Huisman, M., Hurme, M. A., Jagger, C., Jansen, I., Jylha, M., Kahonen, M., Karasik, D., Kardia, S. L. R., Kingston, A., Kirkwood, T. B. L., Launer, L. J., Lehtimaki, T., Lieb, W., Lyytikainen, L. P., Martin-Ruiz, C., Min, J., Nebel, A., Newman, A. B., Nie, C., Nohr, E. A., Orwoll, E. S., Perls, T. T., Province, M. A., Psaty, B.,  M., Raitakari, O. T., Reinders, M. J. T., Robine, J. M., Rotter, J. I., Sebastiani, P., Smith, J., Sorensen, T. I. A., Taylor, K. D., Uitterlinden, A. G., van der Flier, W., van der Lee, S. J., van Duijn, C. M., van Heemst, D., Vaupel, J. W., Weir, D.Ye, K., Zeng, Y., Zheng, W., Holstege, H., Kiel, D. P., Lunetta, K. L., Slagboom, P. E., Murabito, J. M.
(2019) Nat Commun, 10, 1, 3669

Facing up to the global challenges of ageing
Partridge, L., Deelen, J., Slagboom, P. E.
(2018) Nature, 561, 7721, 45-56


2022 – 2027  ERC Starting Grant                                                                                                                   
2022 – 2026 Longevity Impetus Grant
2017 Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers
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