Lipid homeostasis in aging and longevity

Aging is characterized by the gradual decline of tissue function. Importantly, age progression can be slowed by interventions such as diet. For example, diets rich in specific lipids such as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in the Mediterranean diet, correlate with longevity in humans. Specific MUFAs (e.g., oleic acid) also causally extend lifespan in C. elegans. This suggests that lipids are a powerful target to manipulate in the context of aging. The overarching goal of my lab is to decipher how specific lipids drive cellular changes that induce longevity. We focus on the cellular organelles controlling these processes. We use C. elegans leveraging its unique position as many lipid metabolism pathways are conserved to mammals. We combine cell biology, mass spectrometry coupled with genetics and screening techniques to dissect the function of specific lipids and the organelles that process them for aging and longevity.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2024: Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz
  • 2016 - 2023: Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University


  • 2016: PhD in Biochemistry, Technical University of Munich
  • 2011: MS in Biochemistry, Technical University of Munich
  • 2008: BS in Biochemistry, Technical University of Munich

Selected publications by Katharina Papsdorf

Papsdorf K, Miklas JW, Hosseini A, Cabruja M, Morrow CS, Savini M, Yu Y, Silva-García CG, Haseley NR, Murphy LM, Yao P, de Launoit E, Dixon SJ, Snyder MP, Wang MC, Mair WB and Brunet A (2023) Lipid droplets and peroxisomes are co-regulated to drive lifespan extension in response to mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Nat Cell Biol, 25:672-684 Link

Papsdorf K, Sima S, Schmauder L, Peter S, Renner L, Hoffelner P and Richter K (2019) Head-bent resistant Hsc70 variants show reduced Hsp40 affinity and altered protein folding activity. Sci Rep, 9:11955 Link

Contrepois K, Mahmoudi S, Ubhi BK, Papsdorf K, Hornburg D, Brunet A and Snyder M (2018) Cross-platform comparison of untargeted and targeted lipidomics approaches on aging mouse plasma. Sci Rep, 8:17747 Link

Papsdorf K, Kaiser CJ, Drazic A, Grötzinger SW, Haeßner C, Eisenreich W and Richter K (2015) Polyglutamine toxicity in yeast induces metabolic alterations and mitochondrial defects. BMC Genomics, 16:662 Link

Papsdorf K, Sacherl J and Richter K (2014) The balanced regulation of Hsc70 by DNJ-13 and UNC-23 is required for muscle functionality. J Biol Chem, 289:25250-25261 Link