15 years of CECAD - a reason to celebrate

The ceremony was well attended and a complete success.

15 years of CECAD, that was a reason to celebrate. Almost 150 guests accepted the invitation to the ceremony which started with a reception in the foyer of the CECAD research building, presenting the reopened exhibition "Imagine Aging" accompanied by the Triological Quartet, a jazz formation of the Collegium musicum. Both the Mayor of Cologne, Andreas Wolter, and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Gonca Türkeli-Dehnert, were enchanted by the works of art of nature and enjoyed explanations by the researchers present. The exhibition was also the center of the report in the “Kölnische Rundschau” about this event (https://www.rundschau-online.de/koeln/koeln-zentrum-fuer-alternsforschung-feiert-15-jaehriges-bestehen-535989).

The official ceremony took place in the building of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing across the street, which, like the neighboring MPI for Metabolic Research, is an important partner of the Cluster of Excellence CECAD. Axel Freimuth, Rector of the University of Cologne, gave the first welcome greetings. He had played a major role in developing CECAD which was the first Cluster of Excellence of the University of Cologne. The NRW State Secretary for Science, Gonca Türkeli-Dehnert, stressed aging as a socially high relevant topic for NRW, so the funds provided by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to support CECAD has been well invested. Last welcome greetings were given by the scientific coordinator of CECAD, Carien Niessen. She thanked all scientists as well as the University of Cologne, the University Hospital Cologne, the Faculties of Medicine and Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the CECAD partners – the MPIs for Biology in Ageing and for Metabolism Research and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Cologne – for their great support that has made CECAD an internationally renowned center for aging research.

Representatives of the aforementioned institutions then gathered for a roundtable discussion moderated by journalist Jutta Neumann: Alga Zuccaro – Research and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Cologne, Andreas Wolter – Mayor of the City of Cologne, Edgar Schömig – Chairman of the Board and Medical Director of the University Hospital Cologne, Thomas Langer – Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Frank Jessen – Head of the Clinical Alzheimer's Research Group at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Gereon R. Fink – Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Cologne.

The keynote lecture was given by Peter Walter, Director of the Altos-Bay Area Institute of Science. His talk with the title "Targeting the Cell's Stress Pathways for Therapeutic Benefit" gave an insightful overview about the benefit of basic research in the field of aging, which might lead to translational applications. His research group was able to find and develop a highly promising substance that could potentially alleviate a whole range of neurodegenerative diseases, and is currently in the clinical trials. Afterwards, the guests  celebrated with delicious food and good conversation.