The mission of the European Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA) is to better understand what causes ageing. Our studies are focused on the mechanisms that result in loss of cells with age and the decline in the function of old cells and tissues. We aim to develop novel strategies to prevent or combat age-related disease and to provide evidence-based recommendations for healthy ageing. Our approach is based on curiosity, communication and collaboration. Group leaders and their teams working with unique model systems and technology platforms meet regularly and share their knowledge and expertise to accelerate discoveries.
Studies in ERIBA are specifically focused on the molecular mechanisms that trigger the age-related decline in the function of non-dividing cells and the regulation of self-renewal and (epi-) genetic stability in cells from tissues with continuous turnover. Many studies have documented diminished control of gene expression and protein activity in old cells compared to young cells. The resulting loss of cells and tissue function is a major component of normal ageing. Key factors are likely to differ between cells that do not divide much after childhood (such as most cells in the heart or the brain) and cells that continue to divide over a life time (such as stem cells of renewing tissues and lymphocytes). ERIBA investigators address questions about ageing using collaborative, multi-disciplinary, technology-oriented approaches which include next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, flow cytometry, live cell imaging and studies of suitable genetic model systems.
ERIBA aims to become a world-class research Institute, internationally renowned for its cutting-edge basic science. It aims to attract top-level scientists of all levels of seniority. Staff scientists are expected to publish their papers in high impact journals with quality prevailing over quantity. There is ample opportunity to explore uncharted territory and embark on high risk projects that can yield major breakthroughs. The development of novel tools and technology required to answer fundamental questions is a strategic focus. Long-term investments in developing a strong research program is favored over short-term activities leading to incremental results. Staff scientists define their own research agenda, but are expected to collaborate with fellow scientists in ERIBA and its affiliated local and distant Institutions.
Aspiring scientists will find that ERIBA provides an excellent training platform which prepares them very well for the internationally competitive field of life sciences in the 21st century. PhD students, recruited in part from the strong local Masters progams or from international institutes, will receive outstanding training and develop excellent and relevant skills. PhD students are expected to leave the ERIBA environment after graduation. There will be a sound ratio of PhD students versus post-docs, ensuring proper guidance.
ERIBA scientists participate in programs aimed to disseminate knowledge on science related to the biology of ageing in the society at large. ERIBA researchers are expected to be contacted frequently by press media to comment on novel research findings. ERIBA scientists are also expected to advice politicians and policy-makers in general. Teaching programs for high school students and teachers will be implemented and sharing knowledge with the lay audience through a variety of activities is strongly encouraged. On the ground floor the ERIBA Science Hall hosts a permanent exposition exhibiting research activities of staff scientists.
ERIBA is a research Institute which will focus on fundamental biological problems. It is likely that knowledge that is acquired through such a basic research agenda will repeatedly generate potentially commercially relevant intellectual property. The protection of such intellectual property is strongly encouraged and will be facilitated by a pro-active patent office. The nearby presence of the newly developed Healthy Ageing Campus will further enable future commercial activities.