In Memoriam

Dr. Judith Campisi

Your presence will live on in our hearts and in all our endeavors to keep the flame of life burning bright.

Remembering Dr. Judith Campisi

Dr. Judy Campisi has a long history with SRF – being a member of our Research Advisory Board, a recipient of multiple extramural research grants, and speaking at every conference we held.

She was a petite woman, but a giant in the field, with a grand smile and a brilliant mind. Her loss to our community and our mission is enormous and why we must press on with the work we do even more ardently.

Our thoughts and heart go out to her family and friends and colleagues. Her impact and legacy in the longevity field will not be forgotten or wasted.

Dr. Campisi received a PhD in biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and completed her postdoctoral training in cell cycle regulation at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. As an assistant and associate professor at the Boston University Medical School, she studied the role of cellular senescence in suppressing cancer and soon became convinced that senescent cells also contributed to aging. She joined the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a senior scientist in 1991. In 2002, she started a second laboratory at the Buck Institute. At both institutions, Dr. Campisi established a broad program to understand the relationship between aging and age-related disease, with an emphasis on the interface between cancer and aging.

Dr. Campisi was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

She has received numerous awards for her research, including two MERIT awards from the National Institute on Aging and awards from the AlliedSignal Corporation, Gerontological Society of America, and American Federation for Aging Research. She was a recipient of the Longevity prize from the IPSEN Foundation, the Bennett Cohen award from the University of Michigan, and the Schober award from Halle University, and she was the first recipient of the international Olav Thon Foundation prize in Natural Sciences and Medicine. Dr. Campisi served on advisory committees for the Alliance for Aging Research, Progeria Research Foundation, and NIA’s Intervention Testing Program. She was also an editorial board member for more than a dozen peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Campisi was a scientific founder of Unity Biotechnology, a California-based company focused on developing therapies for age-related pathologies. She served on the scientific advisory boards of the Geron Corporation, Sierra BioScience, and Sangamo Biosciences.

SENS Research Foundation Research Advisory Board

SENS Research Foundation has an established Advisory Board for its research programs. These distinguished specialists play a key role in our work: guiding our research budget and ensuring our focus on scientific projects that will open up the bottlenecks in progress toward a comprehensive panel of age-reversing biomedicine. In doing so, they are guided by the Advisory Board Statement of Principles, to which all members are signatories.

Statement of Principles

Two thirds of all deaths worldwide, and about 90% of all deaths in the developed world, are from causes that only rarely kill young adults. These causes include Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes and most cancers. They are age-related because they are expressions of the later stages of aging, occurring when the molecular and cellular damage that has accumulated in the body throughout life exceeds the level that metabolism can tolerate. Moreover, before it kills them, aging imposes on most elderly people a long period of debilitation and disease. For these reasons, aging is unarguably the most prevalent medically-relevant phenomenon in the modern world and the primary ultimate target of biomedical research.

Regenerative medicine can be defined as the restoration of an individual’s molecular, cellular and/or tissue structure to broadly the state it was in before it experienced damage or degeneration. Aging is a degenerative process, so in theory it can be treated by regenerative medicine, thereby postponing the entire spectrum of age-related frailty and disease. But in practice, could regenerative medicine substantially postpone aging any time soon? If so, it will do so via the combined application of many distinct regenerative therapies, since aging affects the body in so many ways. Recent biotechnological progress indicates that many aspects of aging may indeed be effectively treatable by regenerative medicine in the foreseeable future. We cannot yet know whether all aspects will be, but extensive scrutiny has failed to identify any definite exceptions. Therefore, at this point there is a significant chance that such therapies would postpone age-related decline by several years, if not more, which constitutes a clear case for allocating significant resources to the attempt to develop those therapies.

Unfortunately, the regenerative medicine approach to combating aging is not yet being adequately pursued by major funding bodies: only a small number of laboratories worldwide are funded (either publicly or privately) to develop therapies that could rejuvenate aged but otherwise undamaged tissues. SRF has risen to the challenge of filling this void in the biomedical research funding arena. Research is chosen for funding on the basis of the following major criteria:

  • It is demonstrably relevant to the development of regenerative medicine targeting some aspect of aging.
  • It is poorly funded by other sources.
  • Funding from other sources seems unlikely to be forthcoming in the near future.

As and when it is developed, this panel of therapies may provide many years, even decades, of additional youthful life to countless millions of people. Those extra years will be free of all age-related diseases, as well as the frailty and susceptibility to infections and falls that the elderly also experience. The alleviation of suffering that will result, and the resulting economic benefits of maintained productivity of the population, are almost incalculable. In our capacity as the overseers of SRF’s research strategy, we urge you to do all you can to help SENS Research Foundation carry out this mission with maximum speed.

Signed,

Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University

Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Director, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Director, Molecular Oncology Programme, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO)

Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging; Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Professor, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard and MIT

Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, UC Berkeley, and Berkeley Stem Cell Center

Research Director, Fondation Voir et Entendre, Institut de la Vision, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie

Associate Professor and Group Leader, Cellular Senescence and Age-Related Pathologies, University of Groningen

Chief, Endocrinology Division, Phoenix VA Health Care System

Chair, Haseltine Global Health

Director, Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Professor, Biophysics Laboratory, University of Missouri-Columbia; Founder, Organovo, Modern Meadow

Senior Research Scientist, Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging, NORC and the University of Chicago

Distinguished Professor in Biochemistry and Physiology and Director, Centre for Healthy Ageing, National University of Singapore

Executive Director, Exponential Medicine and Chair of Medicine & Neuroscience, Singularity University

Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute

Chair of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing, University College London

Director, SLM Blue Skies Innovations Ltd.

Chair, Department of Immunobiology and Co-Director, Center on Aging, University of Arizona

Professor of Experimental Immunology, Tübingen University

Scientific Director and Professor, The Jackson Laboratory for Mammalian Genetics

Chair in Geriatrics, Department of Cell Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Director, A.N. Belozersky Research Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University

Director, Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Professor of Chemistry, Yale University

Director, Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Harvard University

Chair, Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

 Founder and CEO of AgeX Therapeutics, Inc

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