A Mathematician Seeking Solutions to Aging

Spotlight on the FLI Team (4): Mark Olenik, Research Group Dönertas

Jena. Mark Olenik is a passionate mathematician and AI expert. The 33-year-old has been part of the Dönertas Research Group at the Leibniz Institute for Aging Research - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena since last year. A happy end to an eventful journey - his path led him from the vast plains of Kyrgyzstan, through Northern Germany and Great Britain, to Jena. Here, the Postdoc is now advancing research in the field of applied mathematics and artificial intelligence at the FLI.

Mark Olenik's expertise in applied mathematics and machine learning serves a very personal passion: unraveling the secrets of aging. His research focus lies in predicting lifespans, deducible from microbiome data. "The analysis of microbiome data can contribute to deepening our understanding of how the microbiome influences health and disease. This, in turn, can lead to new approaches for diagnosis, therapy, and disease prevention. In aging research, microbiome data could be used, for example, to examine connections between the microbiome and age-related diseases or to identify biomarkers for the aging process."

What Mark Olenik particularly appreciates about his work: "The freedom to have time to think about complex problems." At FLI, he finds the best conditions for this: "I value the collaborative and open working environment. Here, I have the necessary inspiring atmosphere where knowledge is shared and no one is afraid to bring forth new ideas."

The Mathematician regards time in research – of course – as relative. Sometimes it flies by with groundbreaking discoveries, while at other times it seems to crawl. But about one thing he is sure of: “Every few years, we witness those exciting leaps forward in medical progress. And that's why I'm absolutely convinced that one day, we'll unlock the secrets of aging.