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Stadt Ulm, Deutschland


Prof. Dr. Karin Scharffetter-Kochanek
Klinik für Dermatologie und Allergologie
Albert-Einstein-Allee 23
89081 Ulm


Prof. Dr. Hartmut Geiger
Klinik für Dermatologie und Allergologie
Universität Ulm
James Franck-Ring 11c
89081 Ulm

Clinical Research Unit (KFO 142) -

Organigram - please click into picture -


Aging affects different organs with loss of function, increased morbidity and increased mortality. Aging processes are thought to be regulated by a combination of organ-specific genetic (intrinsic) and external factors. The main aim of this clinical research group is to better characterize the molecular mechanisms of cellular aging and the relevance of these mechanisms to the complex in vivo situation of different organs, and to use this knowledge to develop preventative and therapeutic strategies to allow “healthy aging”.

The combined conceptual and methodological expertise of the clinical research group will be used to investigate aging processes in organ systems with initial emphasis on the immune system, or a pace-maker function for aging of all organs (central nervous system), or model systems for connective tissue (skin). The contribution of oxidative stress, altered signal transduction and cell-to-cell communication to intrinsic and extrinsic aging processes will be evaluated. These central questions will be addressed using in vitro and in vivo systems, such as conditional transgenic murine models with down- or up-regulated expression of antioxidative enzymes, DNA repair enzymes, aging-relevant proteins of the insulin-, NF-kB- and FOXO1/3-dependent signal transduction pathways, direct comparison of cells and biopsies from patients with early onset aging syndromes with those of long-lived control subjects using comparative genomic hybridization, microarray and bioinformatics technologies, use of in vitro reconstituted transcription systems, functional proteomics, analysis of mitochondrial function and DNA damage, and techniques to characterize thymic involution, such as vaccination strategies.

These projects will increase our understanding of aging-related mechanisms which alter immune system function such as repeated occurrence of infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, degeneration of central nervous system neurons and aging-related changes in connective tissue, including impaired wound healing, osteoporosis, arthritis and arterial sclerosis. In summary, our research projects provide a causal-based contribution to the field of “healthy aging”.

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