The Future of SENSFAI - Daniel Kimbel
Author: D.K. Kimbel - SENS Foundation
The SENS Foundation Academic Initiative (SENSFAI) has recently entered a period of transition. Since its establishment three years ago (at the time as the Methuselah Foundation Undergraduate Research Initiative, or MFURI), the Academic Initiative has provided students interested in doing SENS research with guidance, mentoring, and funding. However, the Initiative's activities have diminished over the last year. SENSFAI is now under new leadership, and its purpose and structure are being rethought. Some important matters will not change; for instance, the development of talented students will remain the Initiative's main focus. For students who wish to launch careers in the development of rejuvenation biotechnologies, there remains no better place to start than the SENS Foundation Academic Initiative. However, the manner in which student projects are organized is being improved. In the past individual students have been assigned to individual mentors, with each student completing his or her discrete project over a period of a few months to a year. Now, students and mentors will be organized into larger groups working in parallel on closely related projects, allowing for greatly enhanced levels of collaboration. This new system should create a small but close-knit community of young scientists involved in SENS research, and the members of this group could conceivably remain in contact for the duration of their careers. In addition to this structural change, the Academic Initiative will become more aggressive in its outreach, particularly on the internet. This will begin with the launch of a completely new website, sensfai.org, and continue with an advertising campaign that will encourage undergraduate students to rethink aging and, ultimately, to focus their efforts on its defeat through scientific endeavor. Over the coming months and years, then, SENSFAI will be restructured, grow its student base, and expand its outreach operations, always in support of the mission of the SENS Foundation.