What do ageing researchers investigate?

Ageing is a multifaceted phenomenon and is influenced not only by biological and medical factors, but also by demographic, social and economic factors. Ageing research is therefore an interdisciplinary field of research, which is investigated equally by biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, economics and educational science. Biological ageing research, as conducted at our institute, are investigations into the underlying causes of the ageing process. These include: (I) To study molecular and cellular changes that contribute causally to ageing.  (II) Identify genes and proteins that regulate ageing as possible drug targets to modify the ageing process. (III) Analyse the impact of external factors on the ageing process, e.g. dietary and pharmacological interventions have been shown to be able to slow down the ageing process. (IV) Test whether interventions that slow down ageing also have beneficial effects on age-related diseases like dementia or cancer [1].

At the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging we investigate the aging processes in model organisms such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, fish and mice and try to understand the causes of longevity and age-associated diseases. We are not primarily studying how to prolong longevity, but rather how to extend the health span, i.e. the possibility of leading a healthy and self-determined life for a long time. 

(Also have a look at our institute's goals)

Further reading:

Sources:

  1. Campisi, J., et al., From discoveries in ageing research to therapeutics for healthy ageing. Nature, 2019. 571(7764): p. 183-192.

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