Professor Andrea Maier (1978) was born and raised in Aurich, Germany. She graduated in Medicine at the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Medical University Lübeck (Germany in 2003. She registered as a specialist Internal Medicine-Geriatrician at the Leiden University Medical Centre (the Netherlands) in 2009.
In 2013, she was appointed as full Professor of Gerontology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands). She was the youngest professor in internal medicine to be appointed in the Netherlands. During her childhood she received piano lessons from a 90 year old teacher, and during her study in China she received Tai chii lessons by a vibrant old lady. These are examples of what fascinates her about getting older in a healthy way. Since February 2016, she is Divisional Director of Medicine and Community Care at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Professor of Medicine and Aged Care at the University of Melbourne (Australia).
She wrote her thesis on cellular senescence in vitro and organismal ageing. These senescent cells are older cells, mostly seen in people aged 60 years or older with a lot of diseases. People who become older in a vital manner appear to have less of these senescent cells. Experiments in mice show that if you remove these senescent cells that the health and the mortality will significantly improve. Her research is driven by her passion to unravel ageing mechanisms and the interaction of ageing and age-related diseases, with a particular focus on sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is loss of muscle mass and muscle force caused by ageing. This deterioration starts from the 30thlife year, and from that moment onwards you lose 1% muscle mass a year. So a human will lose half of its muscle mass after 50 years so between the 30thand 80thlife year. A simple solution to make this deterioration go slower is to stay active and use your muscles a lot. There are already antibodies towards substances that cause muscle deterioration. Experiments in lab animals show promising results.
During the last ten years, she conducted multiple national and European observational studies as well as clinical trials and published more than 190 peer-reviewed articles in international journals. Her innovative, multidisciplinary @Age research team works in the Netherlands (@AgeAmsterdam) and in Australia (@AgeMelbourne). She is an invited member of several international research and health policy committees to eventually increase the visibility, quantity and quality of ageing research. She also has been in various tv-shows in the Netherlands like Pauw & Universititeit van Nederland. And in 2017 she published her first book in Dutch: ‘Eeuwig houdbaar’ which translates to eternally tenable. It is about the unknown future potential of our bodies.
You can visit Professor Maier’s lecture ‘The Future of Age’ on the 6th of June from 9:15 till 10:15!