Job Opportunity: Research Associate (Immunology)

Job Type: Full-time
Title: Research Associate
Salary: $55,000/year with benefits

SENS Research Foundation (SRF) is hiring a Research Associate for our Research Center (RC) located in Mountain View, CA. SRF is an exciting, cutting-edge non-profit dedicated to transforming the way the world researches and treats age-related diseases. More detailed information can be found at our website: www.sens.org

We seek a Research Associate (RA) to join our small but dynamic Senescence Immunology group for a project geared toward investigating the mechanisms involved in the age-dependent decline in immune surveillance of senescent cells in the cell culture and mice model. The long-term goal is to develop therapeutic interventions to rejuvenate the immune clearance of senescent cells. This project involves working with human blood samples and primary human cells and mice tissue.

The ideal candidate for this full-time position has a BS or MS in the chemical/biological sciences and substantial (at least 1-2 years) bench experience. The candidate must be adaptable, a team player, self-motivated, and interested in problem-solving. The prospective RA will work closely with a postdoc and the Primary Investigator (PI) on a couple of projects with the potential of landing senior authorships in research publications resulting from the work. Duties will include performing wet lab experiments, recording and analyzing data, and presenting the results to laboratory meetings every 2-3 months. Candidates must have experience with molecular biology techniques like PBMC isolation from blood, quantitative real-time PCR, western blot, immunofluorescence, ELISA, microplate readers, FACS analysis, and perform data analysis and presentation. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in primary cell culture.

We offer an excellent benefits package including paid vacation and sick leave, fully covered health insurance (inclusive of dependents), an FSA program, and a company-matched 401(k) plan, all of which is offered after a 90-day introductory period. SENS Research Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

The position is available now and will be filled as soon as the qualified candidate is found. Salary is commensurate with the job title.

Interested candidates should apply by emailing a cover letter and current CV to [email protected].

SRF Masks Available

Official SRF Masks
Now Available

At the end of 2020, we invited all our supporters to submit designs for an official SRF mask. As well as being worn by our staff, these masks are now available – while supplies last – to anyone who’d like to support our work to end age-related disease and disability.

The Importance of Masks

It’s widely agreed that wearing a mask reduces your chances of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others, even during the critical period of “silent spread,” when you have no symptoms and are most likely to transmit the virus to your friends and neighbors.

There’s now a growing body of evidence that wearing a mask also protects you from becoming infected, as well as evidence (reviewed in a recent article from the New England Journal of Medicine) that individuals who get infected despite wearing a mask are still several times less likely to develop severe illness. This may be because face coverings significantly reduce the initial dose of the virus received, giving the body more time to mount a response before things get out of hand.

The Winning Design

The winning design features icons representing the seven strands of the SENS platform, each of which aims to repair a specific category of age-related damage and thus cure and prevent the chronic diseases that it drives. To learn more about the strands, visit the Intro to SENS Research page.

Technical Details

Mask is 100% cotton on the inside and polyester on the outside, has a pocket to fit a filter and has a nose clip. Washable and reusable. Size: 5.5″ x 8.7”

Filter is a 5 ply face mask insert which effectively protects against PM2.5 and other airborne contaminants. Featuring 5 layers of protection including 2 non woven fabric layers, 2 melt blown fabric layers and an activated carbon layer in the middle for max protection. These are disposable and should be replaced every 5 days or less of constant use. Size: 4.72” x 3.15”

Material: Non-Woven Fabric + Melt-Blown Fabric + Activated Carbon Fabric + Melt-Blown Fabric + Non-Woven Fabric

Mask Availability

If you’d like to secure an official SRF mask for yourself, you can order by making a donation through the PayPal links below.

WebMD Feature: Is There a Cure for Aging?

“I think there is at least a 50/50 chance that most people alive today will live to 1,000 years old.”

In a new video produced for WebMD.com, SRF Chief Science Officer Dr. Aubrey de Grey discusses emerging medical technologies that could not only pause aging, but reverse it, in the surprisingly near future.

The video above is included in WebMD.com’s feature article “Is There a Cure for Aging?“, which includes more quotes from Dr. de Grey and other longevity leaders. Check it out!

Enriching Mitochondria

The MitoSENS team has recently published a new protocol which enables researchers to isolate mitochondria from mammalian cells more efficiently and scalably than any prior technique, using only readily available and economical reagents and equipment.

The full text is available to read for free via MethodsX: Rapid enrichment of mitochondria from mammalian cell cultures using digitonin

Abstract

We describe here a simple method to enrich mitochondrial fractions from mammalian cells for downstream analyses in the lab. Mitochondria purification involves cell lysis followed by separation of the organelles from the rest of the cellular components. Here, we use detergent to rupture the cell membrane of mammalian cells followed by differential centrifugation to enrich the organelles. Optimum conditions with respect to detergent concentration, time, sample size, and yield are discussed. The method’s utility in downstream analyses and ease of processing multiple samples simultaneously is also described. All the reagents in this method can be assembled in-house, are economical, and are comparable, if not superior, to commercially available kits in terms of mitochondrial yield and integrity.

  • Rapid enrichment of mitochondria from mammalian cells using commonly available reagents.
  • Multiple samples can be processed simultaneously.
  • Works over a wide range of sample size (1 million to 100 million cells).

Graphical Abstract

Undoing Aging is rescheduled to May 26-28, 2022

Forever Healthy Foundation and  SENS Research Foundation have rescheduled Undoing Aging to 2022. We are looking forward to having Undoing Aging 2022 as a vibrant physical event in Berlin, which unfortunately is not possible in 2021 due to restrictions on events in Germany and the global Corona situation. We will issue ticket refunds to attendees who cannot attend the new date. It will take place May 26-28 at the Radialsystem Berlin. 

The Undoing Aging Conference is focused on the cellular and molecular repair of age-related damage as the basis of therapies to bring aging under full medical control and will bring together scientists and startups from around the globe, all pioneers in their respective fields, who are leading the charge in maintaining and restoring full health in old age.

To accommodate the exciting growth of the emerging rejuvenation biotechnology industry, Undoing Aging 2022 will add a dedicated forum and exhibition space for rejuvenation biotech companies to present themselves to prospective investors and industry partners.

Additionally, the 2022 conference will add a special “Rejuvenation Now” session highlighting the first generation of human rejuvenation therapies that are either currently in clinical trials or are available today.

Undoing Aging 2022 is not only open to the scientific community, but also welcomes startups, investors, the general media, and all interested members of the broader rejuvenation movement. The conference will feature a student poster session showing the work of innovative undergraduate and graduate students in the field of damage repair.

Scientific Organizer: Dr. Aubrey de Grey

Antonov Foundation donates $1M to SRF’s End of Year Campaign

At the end of each year, SRF launches our final fundraising campaign – the aptly named End of Year Campaign – to encourage our donors to donate during the most giving time of year. Most years we have good success in meeting our goal, in large part due to the multitude of donors who believe in our mission to end age-related disease.

2020 was a particularly difficult year for everyone. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting across the globe, jobs being lost or postponed, families being separated, and loved ones dying, our foundation also took a hit. We struggled to find safe and effective ways to continue our life-saving research, both internally and externally. Our Education program suddenly had to find ways to host the students, or else close the program for this year. The enormously successful Undoing Aging Conference was postponed, then postponed again, as restrictions from various countries became more severe to battle the rise in infections.

This year, more than ever, our End of Year Campaign was vital to the survival of SENS Research Foundation and the work that we do to combat all causes of age-related disease and disability. This includes COVID-19, as the greatest predictor of death from this virus is age.

Despite all the challenges, a long-time supporter of ours came forward with a generous donation and a challenge to our base. 

Michael Antonov

The Michael Antonov Foundation was founded with a vision of extending average human lifespan to over 120 and enabling people to better understand the world and become masters of their own destiny. The foundation makes grants and gifts to 501(c)(3) organizations that perform human longevity-centered research and collaborates with industry players in order to maximize the impact of longevity-centered projects. Michael Antonov, the founder of the foundation, is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist passionate about taking on a challenge to extend human lifespan and make them more meaningful. In addition to the foundation, Michael Antonov is the founder of Formic Ventures, an early stage longevity-focused venture capital firm and was previously the co-founder and Chief Software Architect at Oculus, where he helped revive the virtual reality industry.

Michael Antonov donated $400,000.00 to SRF outright at the beginning of our campaign, then set up a matching grant of up to $600,000.00 for our supporters to match. His generosity and vision for our cause encouraged eleven other supporters of SRF to turn his offer of doubling donations into a triple donation. The first $525,000.00 of support we received was tripled, and we are thrilled to announce that the full $600,000.00 of the original match was met. SRF raised a total of $2,335,443.46 in this year’s campaign.

Thank you, from all of us at SRF, for your ongoing support. It takes all of us strongly united as a community, to tackle the issues that we at SRF strive to solve. We would not be able to make the progress we do without the support of benefactors like Michael Antonov, and the dedication and generosity of every single donor, particularly during such trying times as we find ourselves currently.

Thank you again. SRF lives another day to #UnlockLongevity.

Catalysing ApoptoSENS

We are pleased to announce that the ApoptoSENS team led by Dr. Amit Sharma at the SRF Research Center has recently been granted a Catalyst award, courtesy of the Healthy Longevity Global Competition, to continue and expand their critical work on the interactions between senescent cells and natural killer (NK) cells.

The Healthy Longevity Global Competition, administered by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM) with support from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, will issue up to 24 Catalyst Awards per year between 2020 and 2022. Each Catalyst Award includes a $50,000 cash prize and travel costs to attend an annual Innovator Summit, beginning in summer 2021. The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) will collaborate with the NAM on the application and scientific review process.

The major consequence of unresolved DNA damage is a state of growth arrest termed cellular senescence. Although senescence can prevent mutated cells from transforming into cancer, it can also contribute to age-related disease – largely because senescent cells secrete pro-inflammatory factors, collectively known as the Senescence Associated Secretory Phenotype (SASP).

Strong correlations between the accumulation of senescent cells with increasing age and various negative outcomes, as well as the improvements in healthspan observed in several animal models upon their removal, have made senescent cells attractive targets for rejuvenation therapies. The ApoptoSENS strand of the SENS platform is dedicated to the development of those treatments.

Natural Killer (NK) cells are innate immune cells that surveil the body for precancerous cells and cells infected with viruses and other intracellular pathogens. Once the NK cells recognize a target (based on its display of activating and inhibitory receptors), they release cytotoxic proteins such as perforin and granzymes, which induce programmed death – apoptosis – in the target cells.

Recent reports indicate that NK cells can also selectively eliminate senescent cells in cell culture and animal models, opening up a new avenue to develop therapeutic interventions.

This field of research is still in its infancy, and there are several unanswered questions, such as:

  1. can senescent cells escape immune clearance by secreting or presenting decoy receptors, and
  2. how does immune senescence (NK cell aging) impact the cytotoxic potential of NK cells towards senescent cells?

Supported by the Catalyst Award, the ApoptoSENS team will now investigate whether the age-related loss of cytotoxic potential of NK cells toward senescent cells is reversible and, if so, whether and how this may provide routes for therapeutic intervention. If successful, this work will clear a major hurdle to realizing NK cell-based treatments for senescent cell elimination.

Tracking Down Glucosepane

Figure from Generation and Characterization of Anti-Glucosepane Antibodies Enabling Direct Detection of Glucosepane in Retinal Tissue.

The loss of physical function seen in aging tissues is partly due to the formation of irreversible crosslinks between proteins. A new paper in ACS Chemical Biology reports SRF-funded work in the lab of Yale’s Prof. David Spiegel on an antibody that specifically labels the major crosslink glucosepane – a crucial step towards its removal.

SRF launched the biotechnology company Revel Pharmaceuticals based on this work and previously published research on the synthesis of glucosepane.

Abstract

Although there is ample evidence that the advanced glycation end-product (AGE) glucosepane contributes to age-related morbidities and diabetic complications, the impact of glucosepane modifications on proteins has not been extensively explored due to the lack of sufficient analytical tools. Here, we report the development of the first polyclonal anti-glucosepane antibodies using a synthetic immunogen that contains the core bicyclic ring structure of glucosepane. We investigate the recognition properties of these antibodies through ELISAs involving an array of synthetic AGE derivatives and determine them to be both high-affinity and selective in binding glucosepane. We then employ these antibodies to image glucosepane in aging mouse retinae via immunohistochemistry. Our studies demonstrate for the first time accumulation of glucosepane within the retinal pigment epithelium, Bruch’s membrane, and choroid: all regions of the eye impacted by age-related macular degeneration. Co-localization studies further suggest that glucosepane colocalizes with lipofuscin, which has previously been associated with lysosomal dysfunction and has been implicated in the development of age-related macular degeneration, among other diseases. We believe that the anti-glucosepane antibodies described in this study will prove highly useful for examining the role of glycation in human health and disease.

Double Your Impact

A message from Herbie Hancock

Donate for tomorrow - and today!

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to make a charitable donation to help end the diseases of aging, we’re here to tell you that now is that time!

Pandemic or no pandemic, degenerative aging relentlessly damages our bodies and those of our loved ones. But the terrible and selective toll of COVID-19 on older people has put the crippling effects of the aging process into stark relief, even for many who normally avoid thinking about aging or dreaming that something could be done about it.

COVID-19 mercilessly targets the vulnerabilities of the aging body. The disease exploits the waning power of the immune system to keep the virus from establishing a foothold and eliminate the infection if it starts. It continues on to ravage the aging body’s structural weaknesses (so-called “comorbidities”), lack of resilience, and loss of metabolic flexibility. Rejuvenating the body can not only thwart the chronic diseases that are driven by degenerative aging – it is the ultimate defense against future plagues as well.

Evidence to date suggests that rejuvenation biotechnologies targeting senescent cells can both protect the body against SARS-CoV-2 infection, and restore the youthful resilience of the body’s organs and tissues against COVID-19 if the virus takes hold. While most research to date has focused on senolytic drugs, our team at SENS Research Foundation are now working to restore and augment the aging immune system’s ability to eliminate senescent cells more physiologically. Natural killer cells (NK cells) are the main cell type involved in recognizing and extirpating senescent cells from our bodies. Dr. Amit Sharma and Elena Fulton have collected preliminary data at our Research Center showing that the proportion of NK cells that exhibit markers of strong cell-killing ability declines sharply with age. To confirm this preliminary finding, they will look for an age-related reduction in NK cells’ ability to kill senescent cells, using NK cells freshly isolated from young adult, middle-aged, and older people. They will run parallel tests on NK cells from the spleens of young (6 months) and old (24 months) mice.

Schematic: the age-dependent accumulation of senescent cells is in part due to impaired clearance of senescent cells by NK cells with age. Evidence suggests two factors are involved.

First, the fraction of NK cells with highly potent cell-killing function declines with age. Second, over time senescent cells lose the ligands that activate NK cells’ killing function, and begin to express ligands that signal to the NK cells that they are normal cells and should be left alone.

Developing interventions that target these two problems will allow us to enhance and rejuvenate our intrinsic senescent cell-killing ability, mitigating aging and age-associated diseases.

Moving from basic research to anti-aging intervention, the team is developing strategies to enhance senescent-cell-killing ability in old NK cells. They will test rejuvenation strategies including adoptive transfer of young human and mouse NK cells into aging mice, and agents that strip away the protective shielding that senescent cells throw up to defend themselves against NK cells. If transferring young NK cells works as a proof of concept, the team will move forward by adapting CAR-NK cell technology — a cutting-edge immune transfer biotechnology that is currently promising to revolutionize immunotherapy for some cancers at MD Anderson and elsewhere — to instead selectively target senescent cells.

By restoring and augmenting the body’s youthful ability to purge itself of dysfunctional senescent cells, these cells can be targeted without incurring the side-effects of destroying senescent cells when they’re playing their useful physiological roles in wound healing and regeneration, or the other potential toxicities of senolytic drugs (such as dangerous hits on platelets with Navitoclax).

So there is a double incentive to make a generous donation today: the potential to help end the diseases of aging, and the urgent object lesson of a global pandemic, which shows the potential of our research to make a difference against this or future plagues that will seek us out mercilessly if we continue to age as usual.

We urge you to support of SENS Research Foundation and the future of rejuvenation biotechnology by making a donation HERE!

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