Professor Jacqueline Franke teaches students on the Life Science Engineering study programme. She is an expert in biochemistry and molecular biology.
What interests you about research on ageing?
This topic explores the question of all questions: How does life work? What happens in the cell? Why don’t we live forever? That doesn’t mean that researchers who specialise in ageing are searching for the key to eternal life. The question we are trying to answer is this: Can we extend a healthy life span or drastically shorten the lifespan of cancer cells which in principle live forever? Research on ageing deals with questions that concern and interest everyone. At the moment, I’m investigating how substances produced by blue-green algae affect the processes of ageing.
Blue-green algae as a fountain of youth for humanity – how would that work?
Blue-green algae, or more scientifically cyanobacteria, are rather extraordinary and diverse microorganisms. They can produce unusual substances that no other organism on earth can create. These substances can be very toxic, but they also have positive properties, for example they can be effective against cancer or prolong the life of cells. Our cooperation partner, Cyano Biotech GmbH, is one of the few cyanobacteria specialists in in the world.
What do you enjoy doing most at HTW Berlin?
I couldn’t narrow it down to just one thing. The three-day block practical in "molecular biology" is always great and very intensive. It's also interesting to discuss the results of research projects with other colleagues. I also really enjoy developing and implementing new strategies for the study programme together with other staff.
Who is essential for you at HTW Berlin?
I couldn’t imagine HTW Berlin without our motivated students. Developing and implementing new ideas for them is a really worthwhile experience. They often give us feedback on how effectively they can apply the knowledge gained at university in their jobs. What better confirmation of our study programme could we ask for than that!
Who would you like to have coffee or tea with?
Melinda and Bill Gates so I could ask whether their foundation would support a research project at HTW Berlin, naturally in the field of ageing research.
Photos by: Alexander Rentsch
© HTW Berlin, Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
7 August 2019