Young scientists presented their research on the topic of "Aging without fragility" at the SMD symposium

On April 27th, 2023, the symposium "Old age without fragility - Interplay of genes, nutrition and exercise" took place at the DIfE. The symposium, organized by the junior research group "Molecular and Clinical Life Science of Metabolic Diseases" (SMD), was joined by around 50 participants from the University of Potsdam, DIfE, and external research institutions to exchange ideas how the interplay of genes, nutrition, and exercise influences muscle loss as we age.

Gruppenfoto SMD-Nachwuchsgruppe

Dr. Heike Vogel and the seven doctoral candidates of the SMD junior research group. (photo: Ina Henkel/DIfE)

Momentaufnahme während des Symposiums
Doctoral candidate Jasmin Gaugel presented her project "Picalm - a novel regulator of muscle function". (photo: Ina Henkel/DIfE)

The symposium opened with a presentation by Dr. Heike Vogel, head of the junior research group, introducing the scientific background and structure of the group, which has been part of the Network of Health Sciences at the Faculty of Health Sciences Brandenburg (FGW) since 2021 and consists of a total of seven doctoral candidates. Each of them is assigned to one professorship at the Faculty of Human Sciences, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, the FGW, or the DIfE, and is supervised by an experienced postdoc (tandem partner). Scientifically, the international and interdisciplinary junior research group focuses on secondary prevention in the development and manifestation of sarcopenia through exercise and nutrition.

The program of the symposium was structured in two parts: the first part focused mainly on molecular biological questions related to the development and treatment of sarcopenia, while the second part focused on human intervention studies for the treatment of sarcopenia. In an introductory lecture, Prof. Dr. Sigmar Stricker from the Freie Universität Berlin referred about the development and regeneration of the musculoskeletal system. The second part of the symposium was opened by a talk of Prof. Dr. Notger Müller, a neurobiologist at the FGW with the question: “Exercise and the brain – can you train it like a muscle?”

The presentations of the different SMD doctoral candidates were the central element of the symposium; the PhD candidates presented their scientific questions, methodological and temporal implementation, as well as the results. Through the diverse talks, it became apparent that the junior research group investigates the effect of exercise and nutrition on disease risk through project ideas from various perspectives and with different methodological approaches. The individual thematic focuses range from the investigation of (epi)genetic changes to the effects of specific dietary and exercise approaches. To answer the multifaceted scientific questions, both mouse models and human studies are implemented.

In addition, the junior research group strengthens the scientific collaboration between the different participating groups and formed the basis for sustainable, long-term collaborations well beyond the initial funding period. It is also planned to submit new joint funding applications for individual sub-projects. Overall, the symposium provided a successful platform for the exchange and discussion of the research results and projects of the junior research group.


Dr. Heike Vogel

Research Group Genetics of Obesity

phone: +49 33 200 88 - 4545

Press and Public Relations

phone: +49 33200 88-2335