Laura Niedernhofer, MD, PhD, joined the University of Minnesota in July 2018 to direct the new Institute on the Biology of Aging & Metabolism (iBAM) and Medical Discovery Team on the Biology of Aging. She is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics. Dr. Niedernhofer’s expertise is in DNA damage and repair, genome instability disorders, cellular senescence and aging. Her research program is centered on studying fundamental mechanisms of aging and developing therapeutics to target them. Her research program implements a murine model of a human progeroid syndrome caused by a defect in DNA repair. She contributed to the discovery of a new class of drugs called senolytics. Dr. Niedernhofer has served on study section for NCI, NIEHS and NIA. She has been awarded for research in aging, cancer and environmental health science.
Dr. Niedernhofer's research career has been dedicated to investigating the impact of DNA damage on the structure of DNA, cell function and organism health. The DNA in each of our cells is damaged thousands of times per day by exposure to environmental factors, dietary components, chemotherapeutic agents and even endogenous by-products of normal metabolism. Studying patients with rare diseases caused by inherited defects in DNA repair provides important insight into the consequences of DNA damage. These patients have a dramatically increased risk of cancer and age prematurely. The Niedernhofer Lab has engineered mouse models of these genome instability syndromes as a sensitive tool to test hypotheses about how DNA damage promotes cancer and aging.
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