Deutsche Gesellschaft für Alternsforschung, DGfA e.V.

Prof. Björn Schumacher
CECAD Research Center
University of Cologne
Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 26
D-50931 Cologne


President, Prof. Björn Schumacher, University of Cologne

Since 2013, Björn Schumacher is full professor and director of the Institute for Genome Stability in Ageing and Diseases (IGSAD) at CECAD Research Centre of the University of Cologne. He received his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich and conducted his postdoctoral research as EMBO and Marie Curie fellow at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam. B.S. received the innovation prize of the State of Northrhine-Westphalia, the European Research Council (ERC) starting grant, and coordinated the FP7 Marie Curie initial training network on chronic DNA damage in ageing (CodeAge). Professor Schumacher is President of the German Society for Ageing Research (DGfA), Vice President of the German Society for DNA Repair (DGDR) and serves on several editorial boards. His research interest focuses on the molecular mechanisms through which DNA damage contributes to cancer development and ageing-associated diseases. Employing the C. elegans system and mammalian disease models, his group uncovered cell-autonomous and systemic responses through which the organism adapts to accumulating DNA damage with ageing. Through the understanding of the basic mechanisms of genome instability-driven ageing, Schumacher aims to contribute to the development of future strategies to prevent ageing-associated diseases.


Vice-President Prof. Michael Ristow, ETH Zurich

Michael Ristow studied medicine, and subsequently became board-certified for Internal Medicine. He then became a research associate at Harvard Medical School, and served as a professor for Human Nutrition at the University of Jena 2005 to 2012. Since 2013 he is a professor for Energy Metabolism at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. His research is focused on the biochemical and molecular basis of longevity - in particular the role played by mitochondria in lifespan regulation and prevention of metabolic diseases. Contrary to the widely re-iterated Free Radical Theory of Aging, Ristow was the first to show that the health-promoting effects associated with low caloric intake, physical exercise and other lifespan-extending interventions like sirtuin signaling are caused by increased formation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) within the mitochondria, causing a vaccination-like adaptive response that culminates in increased stress resistance and extended longevity, a process called mitohormesis. He works with the roundworm C. elegans and mammalian model organisms, as well as humans.


Treasurer, Prof. Hartmut Geiger, University of Ulm

Hartmut Geiger studied chemistry and biochemistry at the Universities of Karlsruhe and Witten/Herdecke, where he completed his Master of Science degree in 1995. He then received his Dr. rer. nat. at the University of Freiburg in 1999. He prepared his doctoral thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Immunbiology in Freiburg. His post-doctoral work then took him to the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA, as a research fellow of the German Academy of Natural Sciences, Leopoldina, in the area of stem cell genetics. With the aid of "quantitative trait loci" analyses (a complex genetic procedure), he achieved his first scientific breakthrough by identifying new genes, and later gene products, which regulate stem cells and their ageing. In 2002 he was appointed assistant professor in the Division of Experimental Hematology, Department of Pediatrics at the prestigious Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, USA, where in 2005 he was honoured as the "New Scholar in Aging" by the Ellison Medical Foundation. Hartmut Geiger was appointed research professor and Head of the clinical research group KFO 142 "Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Ageing" at the University of Ulm in 2008. He was appointed Director (W3 with leadership role) of the Institute for Molecular Medicine at the University of Ulm in 2013. The DFG graduate college "Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Ageing", established by him in 2012, has had an extremely successful start. His publication output, inter alia in Cell, Nature, Cell, Stem Cell, Nature Medicine and the Journal of Experimental Medicine, is impressive. His present external funding for projects in Germany is supported by the DFG, BMBF, EU, the state of Baden-Württemberg. He holds a dual appointment with Cincinnati Children's. In 2008, he was appointed adjunct associate professor, and in 2013 adjunct full professor.

He has accomplished research achievements in the following highly competitive fields with high translational potential: Functional rejuvenation of aged stem cells via inhibition of RhoGTPAses, target-oriented, therapeutic manipulation of adult haematopoietic stem cells and intelligent and innovative stem cell genetics.


Past President, Lenhard Rudolph

Prof. K. Lenhard Rudolph has presided over the DGfA between 2008 and 2014. He was Director of the Fritz-Lipmann-Institute for Age Research in Jena from 2012-2017.

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