The overall mission of our institute is to make basic scientific discoveries about mechanisms driving ageing, with a strong focus on metabolic processes, and to use this knowledge to promote healthy ageing in humans. Whereas it is reasonable to postulate that accumulation of multiple types of damage drives the ageing process, it is also clear that genetic interventions, diet and certain drugs can prolong life and postpone ageing in a variety of model organisms. Often these interventions are poorly understood from a mechanistic point of view, and a great challenge for the future will be to unravel the many details of the molecular pathways involved as well as investigate the relevance for human ageing.
The research aim of the MPI-AGE is to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying the biology of ageing, with a strong focus on metabolic signalling processes, i.e. ´the metabolism of ageing’.
The strategic concept of our institute focuses on understanding ageing through working with various model organisms, using experimental analysis as the means to discover evolutionarily conserved mechanisms governing the ageing process. This concept arose out of the seminal discovery that single gene mutations in metabolic signalling pathways can extend health and lifespan in simple invertebrate species. Later the same pathways were shown to be at work in mice and perhaps also humans. Currently, the institute accommodates work on 6 different model organisms: budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans), the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), the protozoan Toxoplasma parasite (Toxoplasma gondii), the Turquoise killifish (Notobranchius furzeri) and the mouse (Mus musculus).