Benutzerspezifische Werkzeuge

Forschung und Lehre

Forschung - Healthy Aging Research

Our research has a focus on the aging bone and brain, and employs an interdisciplinary approach with basic models of regeneration, preclinical disease models, and clinical validation. Biologists and biotechnologists provide cutting-edge technologies and use high-resolution imaging to decipher age-related mechanisms, while translational and clinician-scientist groups contribute their expertise to foster translation of aging research towards application in the elderly.



Ulrike Baschant, PhD

Novel strategies to rejuvenate the osteohematopoietic niche

Age-related alterations of the osteohematopoietic niche account for various diseases, including osteoporosis, anemia, and the myelodysplastic syndromes. The mechanisms how bone metabolism and the hematopoietic system communicate are poorly understood. Our group employs rodent models of accelerated aging and osteohematopoietic niche dysfunction to decipher the mechanisms how osteoblast-targeted and lifestyle interventions slow down or even reverse age-related pathological processes.


Andreas Birkenfeld, MD

Fuel metabolism and metabolic aging

Our group evaluates the interaction between energy metabolism and healthy aging. Specifically, we study the contribution of the longevity gene INDY (I’m Not Dead Yet) on healthy span and lipid and glucose metabolism. The aim of our studies is to better understand how lipid and glucose metabolism and caloric restriction influence the aging process, and to translate this knowledge into therapeutic strategies against age-related disease. Recent examples are the development of an INDY inhibitor and numerous phase II and III trials in our Clinical Study Center for metabolic-vascular medicine.


Moritz Brandt, MD

Sleep disorders and neurodegenerative diseases in aging

Our main focus is the bidirectional link of sleep disorders as a cause and consequence of neurodegenerative diseases. Our approach comprises basic research, translational and clinical trials focusing on the functional relevance of sleep relative to brain resilience and cognitive performance. We aim to evaluate how analysis of sleep with polysomnography can be used as a diagnostic tool in the early phase of neurodegenerative diseases.


Markus Donix, MD

Risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia

We are investigating genetic and non-genetic risk factors for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Many risk factors are not specific for a single disorder, however, they exert their effects through general changes in brain structure and function that contribute to cognitive impairment. Utilizing behavioral, neuropsychological and neuroimaging techniques our group studies these processes and underlying pathways with a major focus on the hippocampal region.

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Björn Falkenburger, MD

Neurodegenerative diseases

Aging is the most important risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases. In clinical and preclinical studies we investigate causes of neurodegeneration. We focus on factors and interventions that work against neurodegeneration or increase the capacity of the brain to compensate for lost resources. For instance, we study defense against protein aggregates and compensatory changes in dendritic arborization.

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Tatiana Sandoval Guzman

The delicate restorative balance that preserves our organs from injury and continuous wear, is compromised with aging. Our group studies how individual tissues are repaired and restored, and how more complex structures such as a limb or a fingertip can be regenerated in different species. Salamanders have an enormous potential to regenerate different structures and organs, and this enormous potential is maintained throughout their life. An impressive feature is the ability to create a whole new limb from a limited number of differentiated cells and progenitor cells. We aim to study the strategies that different species, including humans, apply to successfully restore a missing structure. The thorough comprehension of regenerative mechanisms could help create successful therapeutic strategies to prevent or slow the tissue damage of aging.

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Holger Henneicke, MD, PhD

Endocrine control of skeletal regeneration

Bone diseases and skeletal aging are characterized by a reduced capacity to endogenously regenerate. Our research aims to decipher the functional role of glucocorticoid signaling and the hormone osteocalcin in health and disease. We aim to understand key modifiers of bone degeneration/regeneration to delay or prevent the onset age-related bone diseases and to maintain pain-free mobility in the elderly


Lorenz Hofbauer, MD

Exploring novel therapies for musculoskeletal aging

Our expertise is in the biology and clinical science that underlies the development of osteoporosis and age-related muscle and bone loss, identification of novel targets by combining preclinical models with genetics and high-resolution imaging, and translation into clinical application. We collaborate within the EU-funded DO-HEALTH study (led by H. Bischoff-Ferrari), initiated the Bone and Hematopoiesis of the Elderly (BoHemE) study, and conduct clinical phase II and III studies on osteoporosis and sarcopenia.

Thomas Hummel, MD

Smell & Taste in aging and beyond

Our translational research focusses on the chemosensory systems at the Smell and Taste Clinic. We are interested to understand olfactory/gustatory dysfunction in health and disease, in particular in patients with neurodegenerative and other age-related disorders and investigations in the intranasal trigeminal system. We employ electrophysiological (olfactory event-related potentials, recordings from the mucosa of the nasal cavity), psychophysical, and imaging techniques (PET, functional MRI).


Gerd Kempermann, MD

Genomics of adult hippocampal neurogenesis

We study the interaction of genes and behavioral activity in the regulation of adult neurogenesis of the hippocampus, a brain region critical in many memory processes. Because the hippocampus is early and prominently affected in dementias and depression, preventing, compensating or reverting loss of hippocampal function is an important target for medicine in an aging society. Our goal is to understand how new neurons contribute to brain function and health and disease and how lifestyle and activity build a “neurogenic reserve” to allow functional compensation in the face of old age and beginning dementia.


Franziska Knopf, PhD

Using zebrafish to study bone loss induced by aging and disease

Zebrafish show high regenerative capabilities in various tissues, including bone, even at old age. Due to their external development and small size, zebrafish is a suitable model to understand bone regeneration in normal and aged organisms and to analyze the mechanisms underlying bone loss induced by aging and disease, such as glucocorticoid exposure, a known cause of osteoporosis in humans. To this aim, we study promising candidate molecules in zebrafish, and further characterize these in collaboration using clinically relevant mouse models and human tissues.

CRT Dresden

Martina Rauner, PhD

Targeting inflammaging for musculoskeletal health

Aging is accompanied by chronic low-grade inflammation known as inflammaging. This inflammatory state contributes to age-related diseases, including osteoporosis, (osteo)arthritis, obesity, and anemia. Using a combination of genetic and preclinical mouse models, cell and molecular biological approaches, and advanced imaging tools, our group aims to decipher mechanisms of inflammaging to identify new strategies for healthy aging and prevention of age-related diseases.

Prof. Dr. med. Mario Rüdiger

Targeting for neonatology and pediatric intensive care medicine

Mario Rüdiger is head of the Department for Neonatology and Pediatric Intensive Care Medicine at the Children’s Clinic of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden, Germany. He was trained as a Pediatrician and Neonatologist at the University Hospital Charité, Berlin. After 10 years in Berlin he moved to Austria, where he worked as a Consultant at the Clinic for Neonatology at the University Hospital in Innsbruck. In 2008 Mario Rüdiger became Professor for Pediatrics and Head of department in the University Hospital Dresden. His clinical and scientific expertise covers mainly the following three topics: prevention of chronic lung disease in preterm infants, delivery room management and neonatal neuro-psychological development. Accordingly, his laboratory studies are dedicated to the pulmonary surfactant system, perfluorocarbon administration and lung development. To improve the neuro-psychological development of preterm infants he developed the “FamilieNetz” – pilot-project to support families of preterm infants. His scientific work was honored by different awards, such as the CaPaNi-Award for Neonatal Lung research, the Bengt-Robertson-Award and the German Broadcasting Charity-Award “Goldene Henne”.


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Jochen Schmitt,  MD, MPH

Health services research in aging

The ZEGV center collaborates with 19 clinical departments and institutes at the Dresden medical campus. Our interdisciplinary research focuses on the fields of health services research and the broad spectrum of relevant methodologies, including systematic reviews, outcomes research, effectiveness research, qualitative research and administrative data analysis, including linkage to other data sources such as HMOs. Our emphasis is on chronic diseases, aging and cancer.

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Dr. Tomohisa Toda

Nuclear architecture in neural plasticity and aging

Aging is one of the most critical risk factors for neurological and psychiatric diseases. However, the biological links between physiological aging and pathological development are still largely unknown. Since neural cells in the brain are mostly generated during development with limited capacity of replacement after birth, they need to maintain their identity and function throughout our lives. Our laboratory aims at elucidating this link between the fundamental mechanism underlying the long-term maintenance of neural identity/plasticity and effects of pathological aging on that.