Laura Niedernhofer, M.D., Ph.D. joined the University of Minnesota in 2018 to create and direct a new Institute on the Biology of Aging & Metabolism. She is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at UMN. Dr. Niedernhofer’s scientific expertise is in DNA damage and repair, genome instability syndromes like XP, cellular senescence and aging. Prior to moving to Minneapolis, Laura was at The Scripps Research Institute, where she helped spearhead identification of a new class of drugs called senolytics. These are drugs that kill damaged, festering senescent cells. The hope is that senolytics will have beneficial effects in XP to delay neurodegeneration, hearing loss, premature menopause and other symptoms that can be viewed as accelerated aging. Ideally, senolytics will delay age-related decline in the elderly as well.
Laura studied chemistry at Duke University, physiology at Georgetown University, and completed the medical scientist training program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her post-doctoral training was at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where she learned to make mouse models of genome instability syndromes like XP. She has been attending meetings for XP families since 2003.