Visiting Scientist / Former Head

Alessandro Cellerino
Alessandro Cellerino


Mario Baumgart

PhD Students

Enoch Ng'oma


Sabine Matz

Diploma Students

Formally, lab activities are under the direction of Peter Herrlich.


Aurora Savino


Cellerino Research Group

Alessandro Cellerino accepted a professorship at Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Italy. He continues as guest scientist at the FLI. Formally, his JenAge activities are now under the direction of Matthias Platzer.

Biology of Ageing

Mechanisms controlling life-span in vertebrates

The research group investigates two basic questions:
  • What manipulations can increase the lifespan in a species?
  • What are the biological mechanisms underlying the differences in lifespan in different species?


To tackle these questions we use the short-lived fish Nothobranchius furzeri. This annual fish has a lifespan of only few months and during this short period expresses typical aging symptoms. Using this model system it is possible to measure dose-dependent effects of small molecules on longevity and age-related pathologies. Identification of manipulations which lead to life-extension is a milestone towards understanding the biological mechanisms controlling longevity. Due to its short lifespan, Nothobranchius furzeri represent an ideal model system to investigate life-extension. So far, we have identified three different manipulations can retard aging in Nothobranchius furzeri:
  • Manipulations of environmental factors (e.g. temperature)
  • Dietary restriction
  • Dietary supplementation with small molecules (e.g. resveratrol)

Aim of the group is to identify other life-extending manipulations and to test the effects of small molecules on longevity and age-related markers. Particular attention is given to small molecules that either show high specificity in their targets or have therapeutic potential.


In addition, different species/populations of Nothobranchius sp. show large-scale differences in lifespan and offer the possibility to test the effects of ecological parameters (such as extrinsic mortality in the wild) on the evolution of aging. We are currently developing a phenotyping platform to dissect the genetic components controlling differences in aging phenotype in different isolates of N. furzeri.


Recent selected publications

  • Baumgart M, Groth M, Priebe S, Appelt J, Guthke R, Platzer M, Cellerino A (2012) Age-dependent regulation of tumor-related miRNAs in the brain of the annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Mech Ageing Dev, 133, 226-233. [PubMed]
  • Kirschner J, Weber D, Neuschl C, Franke A, Bottger M, Zielke L, Powalsky E, Groth M, Shagin D, Petzold A, Hartmann N, Englert C, Brockmann G A, Platzer M, Cellerino A, Reichwald K (2012) Mapping of quantitative trait loci controlling lifespan in the short-lived fish Nothobranchius furzeri - a new vertebrate model for age research. Aging Cell, 11, 252-261. [PubMed]
  • Tozzini E T, Baumgart M, Battistoni G, Cellerino A (2012) Adult neurogenesis in the short-lived teleost Nothobranchius furzeri: localization of neurogenic niches, molecular characterization and effects of aging. Aging Cell, 11, 241-251. [PubMed]
  • Dorn A, Ng'oma E, Janko K, Reichwald K, Polacik M, Platzer M, Cellerino A, Reichard M (2011) Phylogeny, genetic variability and colour polymorphism of an emerging animal model: the short-lived annual Nothobranchius fishes from southern Mozambique. Mol Phylogenet Evol, 61, 739-749. [PubMed]
  • Hartmann N, Reichwald K, Wittig I, Drose S, Schmeisser S, Luck C, Hahn C, Graf M, Gausmann U, Terzibasi E, Cellerino A, Ristow M, Brandt U, Platzer M, Englert C (2011) Mitochondrial DNA copy number and function decrease with age in the short-lived fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Aging Cell, 10, 824-831. [PubMed]
  • Hartmann N, Reichwald K, Lechel A, Graf M, Kirschner J, Dorn A, Terzibasi E, Wellner J, Platzer M, Rudolph K-L, Cellerino A, Englert C (2009) Telomeres shorten while Tert expression increases during ageing of the short-lived fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Mech Ageing Dev, 130, 290-296. [PubMed]
  • Terzibasi E, LaFranšois C, Domenici P, Hartmann N, Graf M, Cellerino A (2009) Effects of dietary restriction on mortality and age-related phenotypes in the short-lived fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Aging Cell, 8, 88-99. [PubMed]
  • Arango-Gonzalez B, Cellerino A, Kohler K (2009) Exogenous brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) reverts phenotypic changes in the retina of transgenic mice lacking the bdnfgene. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 50, 1416-1422. [PubMed]
  • Terzibasi E, Calamusa M, Novelli E, Domenici L, Strettoi E, Cellerino A (2009) Age-dependent remodelling of retinal circuitry. Neurobiol Aging, 30, 819-28. [PubMed]
  • Terzibasi E, Valenzano D, Benedetti M, Roncaglia P, Cattaneo A, Domenici L, Cellerino A (2008) Large differences in aging phenotype between strains of the short-lived annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri. PLoS One, 3, e3866. [PubMed]
  • Valenzano DR, Terzibasi E, Cattaneo A, Domenici L, Cellerino A (2006) Temperature affects longevity and age-related locomotor and cognitive decay in the short-lived fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Aging Cell, 5, 275-278. [PubMed]
  • Valenzano DR, Terzibasi E, Genade T, Cattaneo A, Domenici L, Cellerino A (2006) Resveratrol prolongs lifespan and retards the onset of age-related markers in a short-lived vertebrate. Curr Biol, 16, 296-300. [PubMed]


Last update: February 4, 2014

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