The Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biology of Ageing, founded in 2008, is one of over 80 independent, non-profit-making institutes set up under the umbrella of the Max Planck Society. The overall research aim is to obtain fundamental insights into the aging process and thus to pave the way towards healthier aging in humans. An international research team drawn from almost 30 nations is working to uncover underlying molecular, physiological and evolutionary mechanisms.

Located on the campus of Cologne University Hospital, this MPI forms a substantial part of a regional Life Science Cluster of closely interlinked research organizations focusing on research into ageing and ageing-associated diseases. Regional partners include the MPI for Neurological Research and the Cluster of Excellence CECAD (both in Cologne) as well as the DZNE and caesar Research Center (both in Bonn).

Together with their regional, national and international partners, such as ERIBA, researchers at the MPI for Biology of Ageing are exploring how cells age throughout the course of their life, which genes are involved and to what extent environmental factors play a role. Underlying processes are being studied in so-called model organisms: The genes of the mouse Mus musculus, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans are known and the life expectancy of these organisms is relatively short. This makes them particularly suitable for research into the ageing process. Further model organisms in the form of the African turquoise killifish Nothobranchius furzeri and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are in use.

Since the beginning of the research work in 2008 Adam Antebi (USA), Nils-Göran Larsson (Sweden) and Linda Partridge (UK) are jointly directing the institute.

The foundation stone for the new research premises was laid in 2010 and the building was inaugurated in 2013.

As one of the youngest institutes of the Max Planck Society, the MPI for Biology of Ageing is expanding further and should eventually have a staff of about 350. At least ten research groups are planned as well as a fourth department under the leadership of a further director.


  • Molecular Genetics of Ageing (Adam Antebi)
  • Mitochondrial Proteostasis (Thomas Langer)
  • Biological Mechanisms of Ageing (Linda Partridge)

Research Groups

  • Cell Growth Control in Health and Age-related Disease (Constantinos Demetriades / Max Planck Research Group)
  • Metabolic and Genetic Regulation of Ageing (Martin Denzel/ Research Group)
  • Autophagy Regulation (Martin Graef/ Max Planck Research Group)
  • ADP-ribosylation in DNA repair and ageing (Ivan Matic/ Research Group CECAD)
  • Metabolism of Infection (Lena Pernas/ Max Planck Research Group)
  • Genome Evolution and Ageing (Jim Stewart/ Research Group)
  • Chromatin and Ageing (Peter Tessarz/ Max Planck Research Group)
  • Evolutionary and Experimental Biology of Ageing (Dario Riccardo Valenzano/ Max Planck Research Group) [1]
  • Skin Homeostasis and Ageing (Sara Wickström / Max Planck Research Group)

The “Max Planck Research Groups” offer young postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to qualify for a further career in research. Their leaders are appointed by the President of the Max Planck Society and enjoy independent status within an MPI, similar to that of the directors.

Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research

The Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research has been established in 2013 as a joint venture of the Graduate School of the Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases (CECAD Graduate School) and the International Max Planck Research School for Ageing (IMPRS AGE).[2] Associated institutes are the Cluster of Excellence – Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases (CECAD), the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, the University of Cologne and the University Hospital of Cologne. The Graduate School offers exceptionally talented junior research scientists from all over the world the opportunity to obtain their doctorate in the field of ageing research within a 3-year structured programme. Application requires a M.Sc. degree (or equivalent) and is possible from November 1, 2018 until January 7, 2019 for the recent application round. The structured graduate programme starts between July and October 2019. The doctoral degrees are awarded by the University of Cologne.
Since 2019 the Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research offers a new Master Fellowship programme for excellent and motivated students that wish to learn more about ageing research, while pursuing the Master studies in the Biological Science Master programme of the University of Cologne.[3]