15 years CECAD – inspired by aging

With every second we age. Aging affects everyone, thus providing a high health-related quality of life in an aging population is a major challenge of future social concepts.  

In 2007 the CECAD Excellence Cluster started its mission with a new scientific approach – which addressed the organism as a whole and not a single disease – by elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying lifespan regulation and aging. Basic researchers and clinicians were brought together on the life-science campus in Cologne, to foster a multidisciplinary approach. This lead to an enormous increase in the fundamental knowledge of the biology of aging, which enabled clinicians to develop new approaches for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of age-associated diseases. 

This great success story has been inspired by the continuous bonds and support of its main players - the University of Cologne, the University Hospital of Cologne, the MPI for Biology of Aging and the MPI for Metabolism, and since 2013 the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) - and lead to the development of a unique research infrastructure at one location.

With 650 involved scientists, six high-level state of the art technology platforms and its broad career and diversity programs, CECAD has developed in its 15 year lifetime into a globally visible, unique research center for aging and aging-associated diseases.

15 years of research lead to a lot of exciting knowledge and results!

In celebration of the CECAD anniversary please find below the list of special events:

18.08.-06.11.2022 Imagine Aging

Microscopy Exhibition

Vernissage/Microscopy Exhibition Opening at USB (Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek); Dauer der Ausstellung/Duration of Exhibition: 18.08.-06.11.2022

Im Ausstellungsbereich der Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek präsentiert das CECAD Mikroskopie-Bilder rund um das Altern auf zellulärer Ebene, die an unserer Imaging Facility erstellt wurden. Sie bieten faszinierende Einblicke in die Prozesse hinter dem Altern und in die Alternsforschung.

At the exhibition area of USB CECAD will present photographic microscopy images of aging on a cellular level, generated at our Imaging Facility.
The images will offer fascinating insights in the processes behind aging and in aging research.

https://www.ub.uni-koeln.de/events/2022_ausstellungen/cecad/index_ger.html

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PROGRAMM der Ausstellungseröffnung am 18.08.2022

17.00 Uhr:
Vortrag "Warum Alternsforschung?" von Prof.' Dr. Carien Niessen im Seminargebäude 106, Raum S21

18.00 Uhr:
Vernissage im Foyer der Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln
Begrüßung: Dr. Hubertus Neuhausen, Direktor der Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln
Grußwort: Prof.' Dr. Carien Niessen, Wissenschaftliche Koordinatorin des Exzellenzclusters CECAD

CECAD Aging Academy

CECAD goes public - research findings on aging and age-related diseases explained to the citizens of Cologne (German language)

Lecture series IN GERMAN of the CECAD Cluster of Excellence for Aging Research of the University of Cologne at the in cooperation with the Volkshochschule Köln (Adult Education Center Cologne)

"How and by what do we age?"

We age with every second of our lives. Due to increasing life expectancy, the proportion of older people in the population is also rising. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the proportion of people aged 65 and older will account for one third of the population in just a few decades (Altenbericht NRW, 2020).
Age is the main factor for diseases such as diabetes, heart, kidney, skin and neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. In addition, the risk of suffering from more than one disease increases with age, from around 50 years onwards.
The scientists of the CECAD Cluster of Excellence "Cellular Stress Responses in Age-Associated Diseases" are looking for answers to the question "How and by what do we age?" With their results from basic biological and medical research, they want to develop new approaches to be able to recognize, treat or even prevent diseases associated with aging.  This should pave the way for healthy aging in the long term.
As part of the series "CECAD goes public - findings from research on aging and age-related diseases explained for Cologne citizens", we would like to introduce you to our exciting research with a monthly lecture in the first half of the 2023 VHS semester. For the lecture topics, we have oriented ourselves on inter/national theme days from medicine and society in order to present our projects and activities to you. The speakers reflect the diversity of our CECAD cluster network, which includes the University and University Hospital of Cologne, the Max Planck Institutes for Biology of Aging and for Metabolic Research, and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). In addition, we were able to attract speakers from other departments of the University of Cologne and beyond.

 

Jan. 24, 2023, 6:30 p.m. Ι VHS Forum in the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum at Neumarkt.
"The Secret of Human Aging."
Prof. Dr. Björn Schumacher
Institute for Genome Stability in Aging and Disease, Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne.

Why and how do we age, and why is the aging process so often accompanied by multiple diseases? The CECAD Cluster of Excellence at the University of Cologne has made an enormous contribution to this question through interdisciplinary research over the past 15 years to better understand the biology of aging and age-related diseases. Through this type of basic research, we now know better which genes limit our lifespan, or we can show that the malfunction of a single protein triggers an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's disease. We are constantly gaining exciting new insights into cell division and metabolism and their sources of danger, with increasing opportunities to derive insights for healthy aging. Our goal is to prevent the aging society from becoming an ageing society. Prof. Björn Schumacher reports on the latest findings and examples of current research at CECAD as part of the series "CECAD goes public - insights from research on aging and age-related diseases explained for Cologne citizens".


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Feb. 06, 2023, 6:30 p.m. Ι Classroom (0.06) at the VHS Studienhaus, Cäcilienstraße 35.
"Why do we get cancer more often in old age?"
Dr. Stephanie Panier & Dr. Ron Jachimowicz.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging

As we age, more and more people develop cancer. The reason is that over the course of life, damage has accumulated in the DNA that causes a normal cell to become an uncontrollably dividing tumor cell. But cells are not defenseless against this damage. On the contrary, they have a number of extremely efficient tools that can detect and repair problems in the genome. On the occasion of World Cancer Day on February 4, 2023, two group leaders from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging will report on their research into the development of and fight against cancer as part of the series "CECAD goes public - insights from research into aging and age-related diseases explained for Cologne citizens".


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03/06/2023, 6:30 p.m. Ι Classroom (0.06) at the VHS Studienhaus, Cäcilienstraße 35.
"Does our brain make us fat?"
Dr. Henning Fenselau & Prof. Dr. Marc Tittgemeyer
Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Research

Not only our stomach and intestines are responsible for the absorption of nutrients, but also our brain. Whether we have an appetite for chips or an apple, how food is processed in the intestine and whether we feel happy after eating or want to eat more - all this is controlled by nerve cells in our head.


On the occasion of Healthy Eating Day 2023 in Germany, two researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Research will talk about their research into nutrition as part of the series "CECAD goes public - insights from research into aging and age-related diseases explained for Cologne citizens". In their lecture, they not only address how the brain controls our food intake, but also the pathogenic consequences of overeating in obesity and the associated disorders.   


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Apr. 12, 2023, 6:30 p.m. Ι Classroom (0.06) at VHS Studienhaus, Cäcilienstrasse 35.
"Treatment of Parkinson's disease - can we learn from biological model approaches for patients?"
Prof. Dr. Michael T. Barbe & Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wiesner
Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology & Center for Physiology of the University Hospital of Cologne

Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder, with symptoms such as stiff muscles, slowed movements and uncontrollable tremors. According to the German Parkinson's Association, about 1 percent of people over 60 in Germany are affected. The estimate of men and women with the disease in Germany is 240,000 to 280,000. World Parkinson's Day on April 11 is dedicated to those affected.
As part of the series "CECAD goes public - findings from research on aging and age-related diseases explained for Cologne citizens", two speakers from the University Hospital of Cologne will report on the origin and treatment of Parkinson's disease. Professor Rudolf Wiesner explains why, in his view, there is much to suggest that Parkinson's is a mitochondrial disease. Mitochondria are the "power plants" of all our cells, in which the energy contained in our food is made biologically available. Since this explanatory approach is still relatively unexplored, the research group resorts to biological models, e.g., dopaminergic neurons grown from patient cells in cell culture, but also uses genetically modified mice to understand neuronal death and develop new therapeutic approaches. The latest therapeutic approaches will be presented by Professor Barbe.

 

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05/17/2023, 6:30 p.m. Ι VHS Forum in the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum at Neumarkt.
"Need for care - challenge and opportunity for those affected and those providing care".
Prof.' Dr. Maria Cristina Polidori & Prof. em. Andreas Kruse
Senior Physician and Head of Clinical Research on Aging, Clinic II Internal Medicine of the University Hospital Cologne & Gerontology Heidelberg

May 12, 2023 is the International Day of Caregivers. According to the Federal Statistical Office, more than 4 million people in Germany were in need of care in December 2019. Four out of five of these people in need of care were cared for at home, nearly two-thirds of them largely by family members.  Speakers working in gerontology, Professor Cristina Polidori and Professor em. Andreas Kruse, will report on their work as part of the series "CECAD goes public - findings from research on aging and diseases of old age explained for Cologne citizens*."

In gerontology, one encounters vulnerable people in need of help. Vulnerability, however, does not necessarily mean frailty; rather, vulnerability means the clear emergence of weaknesses, or difficulties in warding off, compensating for, or overcoming these weaknesses. The challenge for doctors and nurses is not only to provide practical care but also to
The challenge for physicians and nurses lies not only in practical care, but also in the interpretation of how to deal with vulnerability. The speakers will report, among other things, on models of stress management, changes in the level of demands in the case of chronic stress and approaches to personalized medicine, which are intended to preserve personal values and quality of life for patients and caregivers. 

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06/19/2023, 6:30 p.m. Ι Classroom (0.06) at VHS Studienhaus, Cäcilienstraße 35.
"Equal Opportunities through Mentoring."
Prof.' Dr. Carien Niessen & Prof.' Dr. Pia Pinger
Department of Cell Biology of the Skin, University Hospital Cologne & Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Cologne


The last lecture in the series "CECAD goes public - insights from research on aging and age-related diseases explained for Cologne citizens" takes International Children's Day as an opportunity to present work and findings on the promotion of children from two Clusters of Excellence at the University of Cologne.
According to the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, the aging society in Germany, as part of the demographic change, increases the bottlenecks in the skilled labor sector. This is another reason for sustained support of the German education system, in which equal opportunities are often still more of a wish than a reality. From the perspective of a university, it is becoming increasingly important to introduce children and young people - especially those from non-academic or disadvantaged backgrounds - to science at an early age.
Study results by Professor Pia Pinger from the ECONtribute "Markets & Public Policy" Cluster of Excellence show that a support program known as mentoring can improve the educational outcomes of children who have comparatively few educational opportunities with relatively little effort. This has a positive impact on parents and their children and improves children's educational opportunities in the long term.
To this end, the CECAD Cluster of Excellence has launched two mentoring projects. In a pilot program, there are "hands-on scientists" for elementary school children. In a direct exchange, they learn what scientists do, what research is and how exciting it can be. Under the motto "Discover your science," scientists experiment with children on school grounds. Professor Carien Niessen, who launched this initiative, reports.

 

March 16, 2023: Ceremonial Act

15 years inspired by aging

Ceremony for the 15th anniversary of the CECAD Cluster of Excellence

  • Keynote by Peter Walter, Altos Labs

 

More information about the program follows.