Our Research

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. | Carl Sagan

The Weiss Group @ Institute for Biomedical Aging Research (IBA, LFUI)

Our research group with focus on Mitochondrial Metabolism and Cellular Senescence was founded in mid 2020, as part of the Institute for Biomedical Aging Research, University of Innsbruck, expanding from the research group with focus on Molecular and Cell Biology.

The IBA has the following specific research goals:
(a) to study aging processes at the molecular, cellular, and organismic level in order better to understand age-related changes and impairments
(b) to define measures to postpone/prevent age-related problems to improve the quality of life in old age

Age-related diseases, which include neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes but also cancer, establish a challenge to our society. Aging and cancer are highly correlated biological phenomena, and increasing evidence suggests a central role for metabolic regulation in control of ageing and lifespan. By searching for new mitochondrial regulators of cellular senescence, FAH domain containing protein 1 (FAHD1) was identified as a protein differentially expressed in mitochondria from young vs. senescent human umbilical endothelial vein cells (HUVEC). Ensuing studies revealed that depletion of FAHD1 inhibits mitochondrial electron transport and induces cellular senescence in HUVEC. Our current research focus addresses the question whether FAHD proteins play a role in proliferation of human cancer cells, thus having potential as pharmacological targets in selected human malignancies.

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