On Thursday 7 November, the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA) will officially be opened. ERIBA is a new research institute of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the University of Groningen. A host of leading researchers are working together to unravel the mechanisms behind ageing. King’s Commissioner Max van den Berg will conduct the official ERIBA opening ceremony.
ERIBA (European Research Institute on the Biology of Ageing) is a research institute where top-class scientists and their research groups conduct fundamental research into the ageing process and associated diseases. The research is conducted at the cellular level and uses model organisms such as worms and fruit flies. The research focuses on the mechanisms underlying diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s but also on the basic processes of tumour growth and diabetes mellitus.
In addition to laboratories and offices, the ERIBA building houses a large number of state-of-the-art research facilities. ERIBA researchers employ techniques developed in genome and protein research, microscopy, bioinformatics and cell isolation.
It is no coincidence that ERIBA is in Groningen. Both the UMCG and the University of Groningen have Healthy Ageing – remaining active and healthy while ageing – as an academic research focus. Healthy ageing lasts a lifetime and starts at conception, with parents passing on genes to their children and thus the chance of leading a healthy life or of running the risk of developing diseases later in life. In addition to genes, lifestyle, eating patterns and environmental factors all influence the development of health. However, new knowledge is needed about the exact influence of these factors and their relationship to each other. The scientific biobank LifeLines and the Healthy Ageing Campus are other important contributors to the focus on healthy and active ageing.
A lot is set to happen in the coming years in the field of ageing research. ‘Healthy Ageing’ has also been named as an important research theme by the European Union in Horizon2020, which outlines the EU research agenda. Earlier this year, the European Commission gave the northern Netherlands the highest possible score when appointing it as an ‘exemplary region’ with regard to Healthy Ageing. A great deal of knowledge is exchanged in the northern Netherlands regarding sickness and health between knowledge institutions, the business world and government.
You can find more information about ERIBA at www.eriba.umcg.nl.
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