NEWs FROM THE EMBO cOMMUNITy ERIBA’s stunning new building is an extension of the University of Groningen European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing off to a flying start The newly established EUROPEAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR THE BIOLOgY OF AgEINg (ERIBA) has opened its doors in June 2012. This joint venture between University Medical Center groningen (UMCg) and University of groningen focuses on basic research into the molecular mechanisms that cause ageing. Says Peter Lansdorp, scientific director of ERIBA: “All team leaders are internationally known specialists in their respective areas of expertise on the biology of ageing. Each inves- tigator has a network of international collabora- tions, ensuring an effective flow of information within our institute. Enthusiastic group lead- ers, state-of-the-art equipment and a brand-new building will make our institute a very attractive place to work.” Why do proteins aggregate in certain cells over time? Why do DNA repair processes differ between cell types? How often can immune cells and tissue stem cells divide? What is limiting this ability and the function of these cells over time? All these questions have something in common – a clear link to the biology of ageing. For example, protein aggregates in brain cells are known to cause Alzheimer’s disease and limits in the renewal of immune and blood forming stem cells are known to cause immune and blood cell deficiencies. While research into these diverse areas may seem unrelated, possible links have a chance to be discovered by direct and effective interactions between ERIBA researchers. Biology of ageing is scientifically excit- ing and highly timely, but the field of ageing research is very broad and not easily defined. Where does ageing start and where does it end? Clearly,researchers in ERIBA cannot cover all areas that are relevant for ageing research. Instead, a few specific topics are investigated in depth using a multidisciplinary approach. scientists has already started to bear fruit. Last year, Peter Lansdorp received an ERC advanced grant and Ellen Nollen, an EMBO Young Investigator, received an ERC starting grant. The institute’s new impressive building is connected to the UMCg, and most of the recent- ly recruited principal investigators are UMCg Another ERC starting grant was awarded this employees. The presence of a large medical cent- year to Eugene Berezikov, who is also an EMBO er is a major incentive for the researchers as is the Young Investigator. Furthermore, an internation- close proximity of LifeLines, a large epidemiologi- cal study and biobank with medical records and biospecimens from more than 100,000 individuals over three generations in Northern Netherlands. The UMCg offers a wide range of research facili- ties, outstanding clinical expertise, and access to valuable collections of human samples, which are key for many ERIBA principal investigators. The vision of a top research institute with a flat organizational structure, interactive envi- ronment, cutting-edge facilities and competitive al consortium led by Peter Lansdorp has won a competition for establishing the Skolkovo Center for Stem Cell Research. The Russian government has reserved funding worth 50 million US dollars for this project, of which almost 10 million US dollars will go to ERIBA. Laboratories and offices in the building are right next to each other ©2012 EMBO EMBOencounters | Autumn 2012 | 7 © Henx/Henk Veenstra © Henx/Henk Veenstra