Advisory Board

Dr. Daniela Bakula

Daniela Bakula, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Center for Healthy Aging, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. She is known for her work on Autophagy, the role of Human WIPIs in Macroautophagy, and Nuclear Morphology.

Read WIPI3 and WIPI4 β-propellers are scaffolds for LKB1-AMPK-TSC signaling circuits in the control of autophagy and Defining regulatory and phosphoinositide-binding sites in the human WIPI-1 β-propeller responsible for autophagosomal membrane localization downstream of mTORC1 inhibition.

Several major pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and consumer companies made aging research a priority. Many of these efforts are spearheaded by the latest advances in artificial intelligence, namely deep learning, including generative and reinforcement learning. To facilitate these trends, Daniela is working together with the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen and Insilico Medicine on building a community of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in these areas and launched the annual conference series titled Aging Research and Drug Discovery (ARDD) held in the capital of the pharmaceutical industry, Basel, Switzerland.

Daniela has been involved with the ARDD Conferences since 2018 and has attended every year since then. Read the conference proceedings from ARDD 2021, ARDD 2020: From aging mechanisms to interventions, ARDD 2019: Latest advances in aging research and drug discovery, and ARDD 2018: Aging and drug discovery.

Daniela is part of the team working on Clinical trials targeting aging and The Longevity Molecule project, another clinical trials project on a number of prescription drugs that were highly associated with longer life- and health span in long-lived populations.

Daniela has focused her research on rare genetic diseases that cause premature aging to find connections and help identify the aging mechanisms. Among others, her research involves Woodhouse-Sakati syndrome and Cockayne syndrome. As part of the Molecular Aging team, Daniela focuses her research on understanding the fundamental basis for genetic disorders in humans that are associated with the premature onset of aging.

Several of these disorders are caused by the loss of function of genes required for DNA repair or other aspects of the maintenance of genome stability. These genes include BLM, WRN, and RECQ4, all of which encode proteins from the same family of DNA repair proteins, the RecQ helicases. These genes are mutated in human premature aging diseases such as Bloom’s syndrome, Werner’s syndrome, and Rothmund-Thomson syndrome. Daniela tries to understand how these defects lead both to loss of cell vitality associated with the aging process and to age-related diseases, such as neurodegeneration and cancer.

She was awarded her Postdoc Research at the University of Copenhagen from The Lundbeck Foundation in 2016 to work on Woodhouse-Sakati syndrome and find the link between this new premature neurological aging disease and aging mechanisms. It is a disorder that primarily affects the body’s network of hormone-producing glands (the endocrine system) and the nervous system. People with the syndrome produce abnormally low amounts of hormones that direct sexual development (hypogonadism), which typically becomes apparent during adolescence.

Recently, she has been working on her research involving Cockayne syndrome (CS), a rare genetic disease characterized by neurological dysfunction, photosensitivity, and premature aging. In their research, Daniela found that the Ketogenic diet helped with the transcriptional resolution of secondary structures and DNA repair. Read Ketones facilitate transcriptional resolution of secondary DNA structures in premature aging.

Daniela earned her Ph.D. in 2017 at the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) ‘From Molecules to Organisms’ and the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen with her work on the Characterization of the human WIPI protein family in autophagy, her most cited work. She earned her Master’s Degree of Science in 2012 and her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in 2010, both in Biology from the University of Tübingen. Daniela studied and worked at the Proikas-Cezanne Laboratory in the Department of Molecular Biology.

Read MitophAging: Mitophagy in Aging and Disease and New methodologies in ageing research. Read WIPI β-propellers in autophagy-related diseases and longevity.

Visit her LinkedIn profile. Follow her on Loop, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar, and KOL.