Visiting Scientist / Former Head

Alessandro Cellerino
Alessandro Cellerino


Mario Baumgart

PhD Students



Sabine Matz

Diploma Students

Formally, lab activities are under the direction of Matthias Platzer.


Cellerino Research Group

Alessandro Cellerino accepted a position at the Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Italy. He continues as guest scientist at the FLI.

Biology of Aging

Mechanisms controlling life-span in vertebrates

The main interest of the group is to use the annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri to study the biology of aging. Research activity was performed in the framework of the "Jena Center for Systems Biology of Aging - JenAge". Within this framework, three main questions were addressed:

1. MicroRNAs and aging
Using next-generation sequencing, microRNAs regulate during aging were identified. These microRNAs are part of a network that is centered on the antagonistic actions of MYC and TP53 and are conserved in mammals and humans. Some of these microRNAs, like miR-15a and the miR cluster 17~92 are specifically expressed and regulated in the neuronal stem cells in vivo. We will now proceed with functional tests of the activity of these genes.

2. Aging of neuronal stem cells
The neuronal stem cells of N. furzeri greatly reduce their proliferative capacity as consequence of aging. Using next-generation sequencing, we identified novel genes that are expressed in the neuronal stem cells and are regulated similarly in N. furzeri and humans. In additon, we revealed that brain aging is associated to prominent epigenetic remodelling and activation of the polycomb complex. Our research will then focus on in vivo manipulation of gene expression to investigate how these genes regulate neuronal stem cell fucntion.

3. Effects of mild stress (Hormesis)
It is known that low-dosage stressors can induce positive effects on cellular function by inducing a protective response. Using N. furzeri, we are currently investigating how mild stress can contrast the effects of aging and promote longevity.


The Research Group
Cellerino group
From left to right: Sabine Matz, Mario Baumgart, Alessandro Cellerino, Enoch Ng'oma


Recent selected publications

  • Terzibasi Tozzini E, Savino A, Ripa R, Battistoni G, Baumgart M, Cellerino A. (2014) Regulation of microRNA expression in the neuronal stem cell niches during aging of the short-lived annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Front Cell Neurosci, 8, 51. [PubMed]
  • Ng'oma E, Reichwald K, Dorn A, Wittig M, Balschun T, Franke A, Platzer M, Cellerino A. (2014) The age related markers lipofuscin and apoptosis show different genetic architecture by QTL mapping in short-lived Nothobranchius fish. Aging (Albany NY), 6, 468-480. [PubMed]
  • Dorn A, Musilová Z, Platzer M, Reichwald K, Cellerino A. (2014) The strange case of East African annual fishes: aridification correlates with diversification for a savannah aquatic group? BMC Evol Biol, 14, 210. [PubMed]
  • Dolfi L, Ripa R, Cellerino A. (2014) Transition to annual life history coincides with reduction in cell cycle speed during early cleavage in three independent clades of annual killifish. Evodevo, 5, 32. [PubMed]
  • Baumgart M, Groth M, Priebe S, Savino A, Testa G, Dix A, Ripa R, Spallotta F, Gaetano C, Ori M, Terzibasi Tozzini E, Guthke R, Platzer M, Cellerino A. (2014) RNA-seq of the aging brain in the short-lived fish N. furzeri - conserved pathways and novel genes associated with neurogenesis. Aging Cell, 13, 965-74. [PubMed]
  • Tozzini ET, Dorn A, Ng'oma E, Polacik M, Bla×ek R, Reichwald K, Petzold A, Watters B, Reichard M, Cellerino A. (2013) Parallel evolution of senescence in annual fishes in response to extrinsic mortality. BMC Evol Biol, 13, 77. [PubMed]
  • Tozzini ET, 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, 241-51. [PubMed]
  • Kirschner J, Weber D, Neuschl C, Franke A, Böttger M, Zielke L, Powalsky E, Groth M, Shagin D, Petzold A, Hartmann N, Englert C, Brockmann GA, 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]
  • 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]
  • Di Cicco E, Tozzini ET, Rossi G, Cellerino A. (2011) The short-lived annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri shows a typical teleost aging process reinforced by high incidence of age-dependent neoplasias. Exp Gerontol, 46, 249-56. [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]
  • 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]


Last update: April 29, 2015

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