, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 771–782 | Cite as

Ageing with elegans: a research proposal to map healthspan pathways

  • Walter LuytenEmail author
  • Peter Antal
  • Bart P. Braeckman
  • Jake Bundy
  • Francesca Cirulli
  • Christopher Fang-Yen
  • Georg Fuellen
  • Armand Leroi
  • Qingfei Liu
  • Patricia Martorell
  • Andres Metspalu
  • Markus Perola
  • Michael Ristow
  • Nadine Saul
  • Liliane Schoofs
  • Karsten Siems
  • Liesbet Temmerman
  • Tina Smets
  • Alicja Wolk
  • Suresh I. S. Rattan
Opinion Article


Human longevity continues to increase world-wide, often accompanied by decreasing birth rates. As a larger fraction of the population thus gets older, the number of people suffering from disease or disability increases dramatically, presenting a major societal challenge. Healthy ageing has therefore been selected by EU policy makers as an important priority (; it benefits not only the elderly but also their direct environment and broader society, as well as the economy. The theme of healthy ageing figures prominently in the Horizon 2020 programme (, which has launched several research and innovation actions (RIA), like “Understanding health, ageing and disease: determinants, risk factors and pathways” in the work programme on “Personalising healthcare” ( Here we present our research proposal entitled “ageing with elegans” (AwE) (, funded by this RIA, which aims for better understanding of the factors causing health and disease in ageing, and to develop evidence-based prevention, diagnostic, therapeutic and other strategies. The aim of this article, authored by the principal investigators of the 17 collaborating teams, is to describe briefly the rationale, aims, strategies and work packages of AwE for the purposes of sharing our ideas and plans with the biogerontological community in order to invite scientific feedback, suggestions, and criticism.


Healthspan Longevity Nutraceuticals Medicinal plants Natural products Caenorhabditis elegans 



We would like to thank Dr. Iesel Van der Plancken, Dr. Daniel Ramón, and Dr. Steven Van Vooren for critical comments on the AwE proposal, and Dr. Geert Depuydt and Brecht Wouters (KU Leuven) for help with finalising the manuscript. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant agreement No 633589. This publication reflects only the authors’ views and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Luyten
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Antal
    • 2
  • Bart P. Braeckman
    • 3
  • Jake Bundy
    • 4
  • Francesca Cirulli
    • 5
  • Christopher Fang-Yen
    • 6
  • Georg Fuellen
    • 7
  • Armand Leroi
    • 8
  • Qingfei Liu
    • 9
  • Patricia Martorell
    • 10
  • Andres Metspalu
    • 11
  • Markus Perola
    • 12
    • 13
    • 14
  • Michael Ristow
    • 15
  • Nadine Saul
    • 16
  • Liliane Schoofs
    • 17
  • Karsten Siems
    • 18
  • Liesbet Temmerman
    • 19
  • Tina Smets
    • 20
  • Alicja Wolk
    • 21
  • Suresh I. S. Rattan
    • 22
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological SciencesKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Measurement and Information SystemsBudapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Surgery and CancerImperial College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Section of Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Cell Biology and NeurosciencesIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  6. 6.Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied ScienceUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Institute for Biostatistics and Informatics in Medicine and Ageing ResearchRostock University Medical CenterRostockGermany
  8. 8.Department of Life SciencesImperial College LondonLondonUK
  9. 9.Tsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  10. 10.Cell Biology Laboratory, Food Biotechnology DepartmentBiópolis SLValenciaSpain
  11. 11.Estonian Genome Center & Institute of Molecular and Cell BiologyUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  12. 12.Department of HealthNational Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland
  13. 13.Institute for Molecular Medicine FinlandUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  14. 14.The Estonian Genome CenterUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  15. 15.Energy Metabolism LaboratorySwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) ZürichSchwerzenbachSwitzerland
  16. 16.Molecular Genetics Group, Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute of BiologyHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  17. 17.Laboratory of Genomics and Proteomics, Department of BiologyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  18. 18.Analyticon Discovery GmbHPotsdamGermany
  19. 19.Laboratory of Molecular and Functional Neurobiology, Department of BiologyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  20. 20.CartageniaPart of Agilent Technologies, Inc.LouvainBelgium
  21. 21.Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  22. 22.Laboratory of Cellular Ageing, Department of Molecular Biology and GeneticsAarhus UniversityAarhus-CDenmark

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