Katharina Papsdorf joins IMB as a Group Leader

The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) is pleased to announce that Dr Katharina Papsdorf has joined as our newest Group Leader. Katharina previously worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, USA. Her research looks at how lipids drive cellular changes that influence ageing and longevity.

Diet is a major factor that influences our health and how quickly we age. One key component of our diet is lipids – fatty, waxy or oily compounds typically found in fats and oils. Lipids are an essential component of cell membranes (including those around cell organelles). Studies show that certain dietary lipids (such as monounsaturated fatty acids) are associated with long life in humans and can increase lifespan in organisms such as nematode worms (C. elegans). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which dietary lipids influence ageing and longevity are not well understood.

Katharina’s group works to elucidate these molecular mechanisms using C. elegans as a model organism. Her research interests include characterising changes in cell organelles such as lipid droplets as organisms age, and changes in how the organelles interact with each other. She also plans to investigate the roles of a specific type of membrane lipid called ether lipids in organelles and their effect on lifespan. By unravelling the functions of specific lipids and discovering the molecular mechanisms by which they impact ageing and longevity, Katharina hopes to identify new ways to extend lifespan in future. 

Further details

Katharina Papsdorf is a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). Further information about research in the Papsdorf lab can be found at www.imb.de/papsdorf.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH 

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on the cutting-edge fields of epigenetics, genome stability, ageing and RNA biology. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

About the Centre for Healthy Ageing

The Centre for Healthy Ageing (CHA) is a virtual research centre launched in 2021 that brings together scientists in basic and clinical research from across Mainz that focus on ageing and age-related diseases. These findings should be used to promote healthy ageing and to find treatments that could prevent or cure age-related disease. For more information, please visit: www.cha-mainz.de.

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its funding programmes Plus 3, Exploration Grants and Rise up!, the Foundation supports excellent scientists during critical stages of their careers. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.boehringer-ingelheim-stiftung.de/en

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany 

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Email: press(at)imb.de