Subarea 3: Genetics and Epigenetics of Aging

The focus of Subarea 3 is on genetic and epigenetic determinants of life- and health span as well as aging in fish, rodents and humans. This line of research builds on the expertise of the institute in comparative and functional genomics.

The research is defined by five focus areas:

  • Comparative genomics in short- and long-lived models of aging,
  • Genomic engineering in N. furzeri,
  • Epigenetics of aging,
  • Non-coding RNAs in aging, and
  • Comparative transcriptomics of aging.

Research focus of Subarea 3.

To uncover causative factors for aging, comparative genomics in short- and long-lived model systems are applied. Functional genomics is used to identify novel pathways contribute to aging of an organism and to validate the functional relevance of genetic and epigenetic changes that occur during aging. Furthermore, genetic risk factors for aging-related diseases are identified and functionally tested. The future development of the Subarea aims to integrate changes in host-microbiota interactions during aging, and how these influence clonal mutation and epigenetic alterations through metabolites and other signals.


(since 2016)


  • Aging is associated with a degeneration of noradrenergic-, but not dopaminergic-neurons, in the short-lived killifish Nothobranchius furzeri
    Bagnoli S, Fronte B, Bibbiani C, Terzibasi Tozzini E, Cellerino A
    bioRxiv 2021
  • β-Glucans as Dietary Supplement to Improve Locomotion and Mitochondrial Respiration in a Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
    Brogi L, Marchese M, Cellerino A, Licitra R, Naef V, Mero S, Bibbiani C, Fronte B
    Nutrients 2021, 13(5)
  • Epigenetic Modifications Associated with Maternal Anxiety during Pregnancy and Children's Behavioral Measures.
    Cao-Lei L, van den Heuvel MI, Huse K, Platzer M, Elgbeili G, Braeken MAKA, Otte RA, Witte OW, Schwab M, Van den Bergh BRH
    Cells 2021, 10(9)
  • A marine Chlamydomonas sp. emerging as an algal model.
    Carrasco Flores D, Fricke M, Wesp V, Desirò D, Kniewasser A, Hölzer M, Marz M, Mittag M
    J Phycol 2021, 57(1), 54-69
  • The economical lifestyle of CPR bacteria in groundwater allows little preference for environmental drivers
    Chaudhari NM, Overholt WA, Figueroa-Gonzalez PA, Taubert M, Bornemann TLV, Probst AJ, Hölzer M, Marz M, Küsel K
    bioRxiv 2021,
  • EpiDope: A Deep Neural Network for linear B-cell epitope prediction.
    Collatz M, Mock F, Barth E, Hölzer M, Sachse K, Marz M
    Bioinformatics 2021, 37(4), 448-55
  • Anti-Proliferative and Apoptotic Effect of Gemini Curcumin in p53-Wild Type and p53-Mutant Colorectal Cancer Cell Lines.
    Ebrahimi M, Babaei E, Neri F, Ali Hosseinpour Feizi M
    Int J Pharm 2021, 601, 120592
  • Establishment of a fluorescent reporter of RNA-polymerase II activity to identify dormant cells
    Freter R, Falletta P, Omrani O, Rasa M, Herbert K, Annunziata F, Minetti A, Krepelova A, Adam L, Käppel S, Rüdiger T, Wang ZQ, Goding** CR, Neri** F
    Nat Commun 2021, 12(1), 3318 ** co-corresponding authors
  • RNA:DNA triple helices: from peculiar structures to pervasive chromatin regulators.
    Greifenstein* AA, Jo* S, Bierhoff H
    Essays Biochem 2021 (epub ahead of print) * equal contribution
  • Regeneration in starved planarians depends on TRiC/CCT subunits modulating the unfolded protein response.
    Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez* Ó, Felix* DA, Salvetti A, Amro EM, Thems A, Pietsch S, Koeberle A, Rudolph KL, González-Estévez C
    EMBO Rep 2021, 22(8), e52905 * equal contribution