Announcement from the SRF Board of Directors

In August 2021, the SENS Research Foundation Board of Trustees separated from Dr. Aubrey de Grey, our Co-Founder and then-Chief Science Officer. This was a difficult decision, but, as we said at the time, a necessary one.

In doing so, we wholeheartedly acknowledged that we are an organization that is, and always will be, shaped by Dr. de Grey’s vision for transformation within the longevity field. In that spirit, in December 2021, we began a cautious, but important process of re-unifying with Dr. de Grey – a process aimed at helping both Dr. de Grey and the Board move forward from a difficult and contentious period and refocus our collective efforts on bolstering research that can permanently cure the effects of aging. Dr. de Grey would rejoin the Foundation as a consultant with a pathway toward a full and proper re-integration. Such an arrangement was to be made cautiously, with an eye toward our shared mission, and free from public spectacle.

We regret to report that, effective immediately, Dr. de Grey will no longer be consulting with SRF.

It’s important to note that, as with our previous separation, this is not related to the findings of last year’s independent investigation. While those investigations did substantiate instances of poor judgment and boundary-crossing behaviors, Dr. de Grey is not a sexual predator. Rather, the termination of Dr. de Grey’s consultancy with the Foundation is entirely due to his unwillingness to comply with even the most basic conditions of the agreements he signed with advice from his counsel. In the spirit of transparency, you can access the signed contract here: LINK

The SRF staff is talented, positive, and dedicated to our cause. We want to ensure they can advance their work free from distraction. As a Board, this will become both our sole focus and our promise. Every one of our Directors has worked exhaustively to preserve this Foundation during an unprecedented, challenging time in our history. A number of our members need to move on to other endeavors, but we will be looking to expand the Board and further the cause in the near future. We are grateful for every member’s service and commitment to the longevity field, as well as their strength in making these difficult but necessary decisions.

It is SRF’s intention that we and Dr. de Grey can continue to work in a way that is aligned toward a common purpose: to cure the disease of aging. Until such time, we will do all we can to assure you we are navigating this situation in a manner that honors our mission and fiduciary duties while respecting the legacy of our founding.

Sincerely,

The SENS Research Foundation Board of Directors

SRF Celebrates Women’s History Month

Throughout history, women interested in science and engineering have broken barriers to make important discoveries, conduct game-changing research, and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Rosalind Franklin’s x-ray crystallography work was critical to the discovery of DNA’s double-helix structure. Although she received recognition for her discoveries on coal and viruses, her contributions to the structure of DNA were largely unrecognized in her lifetime. Therefore, she is often referred to as the “dark lady of DNA” and the “Sylvia Plath of molecular biology.” Franklin led pioneering work at Birkbeck College on the molecular structures of viruses. She passed away the day before her structure was to be unveiled. Her continued research eventually won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982.

Margaret Dayhoff founded the field of bioinformatics. Dayhoff dedicated her career to applying the evolving computational technologies to support advances in biology and medicine. She is best known for the creation of protein and nucleic acid databases and tools to disrupt the databases. She also developed one of the first one-letter codes (PAM) used for amino acids, which reflected an attempt to reduce the size of the data files used to describe amino acid sequences. Dayhoff was the first woman to hold office in the Biophysical Society and the first person to serve both as secretary and eventually president.

Esther Lederberg discovered the lambda phage, an important tool for studying gene regulation and recombination. Lederberg also invented the replica plating technique, which is used to isolate and analyse bacterial mutants and track antibiotic resistance. Prior to Esther’s invention scientists had been largely unsuccessful with their techniques, including the use of blotting paper, metal brushes with small prongs and even toothpicks in their experimentation. Lederberg’s work with geneticists at Stanford University greatly assisted their winning of the Nobel Prize in 1958 for discovering the role of genes in regulating biochemical events in cells.

Marie Maynard Daly performed foundational work in histone chemistry, protein synthesis, and the health impacts of cholesterol and hypertension. For seven years, she worked on the composition and metabolism of components of the cell nucleus at the Rockefeller Institute in New York. Daly was the first African American woman to obtain a PhD in chemistry in the United States, at Columbia University. Overcoming the dual hurdles of racial and gender bias, Daly was committed to developing programs to increase the enrollment of minority students in medical school and graduate science programs.

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is a viral immunologist known for being the scientific lead of the VRC’s COVID-19 Team, with research aimed at COVID-19 vaccines. Anthony Fauci wrote in a Time’s profile that Corbett has “been central to the development of the Moderna mRNA vaccine and the Eli Lilly therapeutic monoclonal antibody that were first to enter clinical trials in the U.S.” and that “her work will have a substantial impact on ending the worst respiratory-disease pandemic in more than 100 years.” In December 2021, Corbett was assigned to Boston’s COVID-19 advisory committee by mayor Wu.

Encouraging girls to see themselves as future scientists through the unveiling of the role women have played in STEM is important, ongoing work for science educators. SRF encourages the development and support of women in longevity research, both as scientists and as administrators and support personnel. Our Education program teaches the next generation of young women to follow their dreams and make new discoveries to drive our field forward.

We are proud to present the many women of SENS Research Foundation, including our researchers, executive, and administrative teams. SRF is currently 100% female-led internally, with an all-women Senior Staff Team and Chairperson on the Board of Directors. While it does take the entire community of SRF staff and supporters to move our mission forward, this month we are thrilled to highlight the women who continue to drive our progress in longevity research.

Please visit the Team section of our website to learn more about the amazing women of SRF.

Categories SRF

Exploring Synergies between Senolysis and Stem Cell Therapy

  • Research Info
  • Team Members
  • Photos
  • Funding
  • Research Info
  • Team Members
  • Publications
  • Photos
  • Funding

The accumulation of damaged/senescent cells in the body with time is a hall mark of aging. These cells are believed to play a key role in the onset and/or progression of various aging-associated diseases. More generally, the decreased regenerative ability of transplanted stem cells in older recipients may also be partly attributable to the presence of a high level of senescent cells.

Many factors produced by senescent cells – including proinflammatory cytokines, profibrotic molecules and damaging agents such as labile iron and reactive aldehydes – are known to disrupt the function of normal cells and cause organ function to decline. The hostile environment created by senescent cells is likely to impair the ability of transplanted stem cells to home in on target tissues, mature and restore tissue function.  Therefore, prior removal of senescent cells will likely enhance the effectiveness of stem cell transplantation therapies.

In recent years, two major observations in the longevity field have been made:

  • The use of senolytics to remove senescent cells significantly improved health and lifespan in mice and as might be expected, this approach enhanced the repopulation ability of endogenous stem cells1.
  • Stem cell transplantation has demonstrated beneficial effects in reducing aging-associated functional decline in both mice and humans, and extended lifespans in mice2,3.

The SenoStem project will test the hypothesis that prior removal of senescent cells by senolytics will create a more favorable niche for stem cells to engraft, and thus enhance their regenerative effect in older recipients. The overall aim is to determine whether these two different lifespan-extending interventions can act synergistically.

The first phase of this project will be to carryout in vitro and in vivo studies in order to identify the most  effective and safe senolytic from a list of established and in-house candidates.

The second phase of the project will assess the effectiveness of a combination therapy in which mice are treated with a lead senolytic identified in phase I, followed by transplantation of stem cells. We expect that the combination therapy will be more effective than either the senolytic or stem cell treatment alone.

Senescent cells impair the function of healthy stem cells in aged bodies. Accordingly, prior treatment with a senolytic drug is expected to result in superior function of transplanted stem cells.

References

  1. Chang J, et al. Clearance of senescent cells by ABT263 rejuvenates aged hematopoietic stem cells in mice. Nat Med. 2016 Jan;22(1):78-83. doi: 10.1038/nm.4010. PMID: 26657143
  2. Kovina MV, et al. Extension of Maximal Lifespan and High Bone Marrow Chimerism After Nonmyeloablative Syngeneic Transplantation of Bone Marrow From Young to Old Mice. Front Genet. 2019 Apr 12;10:310. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00310. PMID: 31031800
  3. Guderyon MJ, et al. Mobilization-based transplantation of young-donor hematopoietic stem cells extends lifespan in mice. Aging Cell. 2020 Mar;19(3):e13110. doi: 10.1111/acel.13110. PMID: 32012439

Team Members

We’re Hiring!

Please visit the Work With Us page to learn about available positions.

Principal Investigator

Hadi Rebbaa

Abdelhadi Rebbaa, PhD

Research Staff

ElenaMagay

Elena Magay, PhD

Oliver Frost

Oliver Frost (PhD Student)

Postbaccalaureate Fellows

Summer Scholars

Lab Alumni

Publications

Photos

Resources

Funding

To support our work please consider making a donation to SENS Research Foundation!

This project is funded by:

Job Opportunity: Educational Coordinator

Job Type: Full-time
Title: Educational Coordinator
Salary: Pay is salaried, commensurate with job title and responsibilities.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology and/or education, or relevant field (Required)
  • 1+ years of teaching experience (Preferred)

SENS Research Foundation (SRF) is hiring an Educational Coordinator for our foundation 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 disease. Learn more about us at www.sens.org

Qualified candidates will have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in biology and/or education (or relevant field). Other qualifications or skills should include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Capacity for scientific literacy and passion for our mission
  • Extremely thorough and organized
  • Flexible and willing to learn new skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Excel
  • 1+ years of teaching experience

This is a full-time position and will be remote to start – however that may change post-COVID concerns. We are willing to be flexible for the right candidate. Duties will include:

  • Coordinating between students, researchers, and admin staff
  • Coordinating between SRF and host institutions
  • Facilitating and organizing seminars and presentations
  • Organizing application materials and screening applications for academic programs
  • Managing logistical inquiries from applicants
  • Managing schedules

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. 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 job title.

TO APPLY:

Interested candidates should apply by submitting their resumes and cover letters to [email protected]

COVID-19 considerations:

All employees are to follow COVID restrictions, which will lighten as our workplace is vaccinated. All employees are expected to wear PPE. Vaccinating is strongly encouraged.

SENS Research Foundation & Underdog Pharmaceuticals jointly awarded $252,000 NIA research grant

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a grant to advance research on Engineered Cyclodextrins targeting toxic oxidized cholesterol to eradicate atherosclerosis — the cause of most heart attacks and strokes.

Former SRF V.P. of Research and current Underdog Co-founder Matthew O’Connor, Ph.D. and current SRF V.P. of Research Alexandra Stolzing, Ph.D., are the Principal Investigators.

Underdog Pharmaceuticals’ research has combined computational and synthetic chemistry programs to custom-engineer cyclodextrins to capture, and remove from cells, oxidized cholesterol derivatives such as 7-ketocholesterol.

Their technology removes the arterial plaque by clearing the non-degradable cholesterol that accumulates within cells in the arterial walls. The grant also supports exploring the use of Underdog’s technology to target oxidized cholesterol in the Alzheimer’s disease brain.

Their long-term goal is to deliver a simple and affordable preventive therapy for the world.

The novel therapeutic approach was born from one of SRF’s flagship research programs designed to understand and repair the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease. SENS Research Foundation and Underdog Pharmaceuticals are very proud to receive this important peer-reviewed NIH grant.

We are excited about how this collaboration will contribute to the advancement of our mission to develop, promote, and ensure widespread access to therapies that cure and prevent the diseases and disabilities of aging.

SRF’s researchers presenting our work at Indian biosciences conferences

Our VP of Research Dr. Alex Stolzing and Senescence Immunology Research Group Lead Dr. Amit Sharma will be presenting at conferences in India

Dr. Stolzing will be presenting a talk on “Aging Interventions – an update” at the 35th Annual Conference of Aging Interventions, organized by the Society of Neurochemistry, India (SNCI), running from December 2nd-4th, 2021.

Dr. Sharma will also presenting a talk titled “ ‘Engineering Natural Killer cells: Improving immune surveillance of senescent cells in aging and age-related diseases’” at the Conference. 

The conference will have attendees at University of Hyderabad, Gachibowli, as well as remote attendees via video conferencing.

Dr. Stolzing will also be a panelist at the Darwin International Conference, also hosted in India, and will be discussing: “Aging: a curable disease or an inevitable process?”. The Darwin International Conference is a virtual conference running from December 2-5, 2021.

Executive Summary, Final Investigative Report

Dear SENS Research Foundation Community:

Today, we are releasing the Executive Summary concerning the second of two investigations into the conduct of SRF’s Founder and former Chief Science Officer, Dr. Aubrey de Grey. As this report notes, during the course of SRF’s first investigation into Dr. de Grey’s conduct, “witnesses reported Dr. de Grey may have engaged in inappropriate conduct toward others.” In the interest of accountability, we expanded the investigator’s scope to look into these allegations as well. It’s important to note that this investigation was an extension of, rather than a reassessment of, the initial investigation.

As you will see in the enclosed report, the investigator affirms some additional, limited boundary-crossing and unprofessional behaviors had occurred over a 12-year period.  We hope this report helps to bring closure to the individuals who came forward to raise concerns, and also to our larger longevity community.

This investigation and its findings do not have any bearing on the SRF Board of Directors’ unanimous decision to separate from Dr. de Grey in response to his unacceptable interference during the initial phase of the investigation. The SRF Board has not officially deliberated (and will not officially deliberate) on whether either report’s findings might have led to Dr. de Grey’s termination or other disciplinary matters.

This report concludes SRF’s work with its independent investigator, Van Dermyden Makus. We are deeply grateful to the investigators for their guidance, their diligent work and their professionalism during this challenging chapter in the life of the Foundation.

The release of this report also symbolizes a page turning of sorts for SRF – the closure of a difficult and disruptive period in our history. With an eye toward the future and the great work ahead of us, bolstered by strong interim leadership, scientists and staff, we now move forward with a renewed commitment and sharpened focus on our goal of advancing innovation within the longevity field.

Our respect for Dr. de Grey and his work remains deep and unwavering. His accomplishments are singular; he brought this Foundation — this profound scientific moment, truly — into being. While our separation was necessary, we intend to move forward with SRF in a way that honors his legacy.

We remain deeply grateful to the SRF team and our supporters for not losing faith during an unsettling time. In the months and years ahead, we will do all we can to honor your trust.

Onward,

The SENS Research Foundation Board of Directors

To read the full Executive Summary of the Final Investigative Findings, click this link.

British Daily Mirror featured an interview with SENS Research Foundation’s Science Writer Michael Rae about the world’s richest men taking on the longevity challenge

In the wake of the summer space race between Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the world’s richest men are taking on a new challenge – immortality.

Amazon boss Bezos, 57, is one of the main backers of Altos Labs, which has raised £200million and just opened a new laboratory in Cambridge.

But Bezos, worth £150billion, is far from being the only one taking on the grim reaper.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, 48, has invested more than £600million in a “longevity lab” called Calico.

Meanwhile Russian tech mogul Yuri Milner, 59 – worth around £3billion – has handed grants worth millions of pounds to the science of anti-ageing.

Longevity expert Michael Rae, 50, from California’s Bay Area, tells the Sunday People that the science of living forever is making huge leaps forward.

As well as being backed by Thiel, his SENS group has also had meetings with Bezos.

And with big-money backing, he is optimistic …

SENS Research Foundation, based in Mountain View, California, believes aging is a disease that can be tackled like any other.

Its goal is to “comprehensively repair the damage that builds up in our bodies over time.”

One research strand is asking if backup copies of cells [sic — mitochondrial DNA -SRF] can be created to replace malfunctioning ones.

The new cells [sic — mitochondrial DNA -SRF] would be implanted in our flesh so they can take over when our system starts to degrade.

This would mean we can refurbish our bodies time and again – like we replace faulty chips in a computer.

Michael Rae, 50, a science writer at the foundation, explains: “The Big Kahuna is when we get to the point that your life expectancy is no longer a function of your age.“

“Right now, every year you live, you’re closer to your doom. Once you take away ageing, it becomes open-ended. That doesn’t mean you’re immortal – you can still be murdered or hit by a catastrophic infection like Ebola, or die in a plane crash.“

“But you are no longer going to be more vulnerable to disease and death.“

“At that point, if you do the maths on how unlikely it is to die, it gives a life expectancy of about 1,000 years.

“You can still die the next day, or live to 2,000 years. It becomes about what happens in your life.” …

Longevity expert Michael Rae is hopeful that death from serious disease will plummet in the next decade as anti-ageing drugs currently in development hit the market.

He said: “One rejuvenation technology I suspect is going to be coming pretty quickly, in the next 10 years, is with drugs called senolytics.“

“There are certain cells that stop reproducing themselves and become metabolically abnormal.”

“They start excreting all kinds of inflammatory factors that make them more prone to becoming cancerous.“

“Senolytic drugs selectively kill those cells – there’s evidence that the body becomes rejuvenated in a wide variety of ways when you use them.“

“These drugs should be effective in eliminating a number of age-related diseases, which is a big step forward.“

“The immune system can already remove these damaged cells – but it seems it either falls apart as we age or it’s just incomplete.“

“We’re working on a range of ways to make it easier for your immune system to clear those cells out.“

“One thing we’re looking at to do this is by using engineered cells that will do the job for you.” …

He said: “The big concern I have about the research is that it’s not going fast enough because it’s not being funded adequately.“

“We’re not going half as fast as I’d like – every day that we’re delayed, we have another 110,000 people dead from this plague of ageing.“

“I watched my grandparents die. My grandfather was living on oxygen and had a hard time walking around by the time he passed.“

“My grandmother was almost blind and needed help getting out of bed.“

“I’ve done a variety of things to keep myself healthy, but I’m conscious the science is not developing as quickly as I would want.“

“Beyond that, yes there are concerns. If we unshackle people from the ageing process, the population is going to increase over time and that could pose certain ecological constraints.“

“It’s certainly going to pose a need for rethinking things like retirement ages and pension plans – and the way we structure our lives around ageing and dying.“

“But one has to maintain a sense of proportion. These things have technical fixes.“

“We have to be better about using resources on all kinds of fronts because the world is already headed for an environmental disaster.“

“Are we really saying the solution to things like our ecological problems is that people have to keep dying of cancer and heart attacks?”

Biological reprogramming technology

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is reported to be one of the main backers of Altos Labs, a collection of state-of-the-art research centres in Cambridge, Japan and California headed by US scientist and cancer expert Richard Klausner.

The scientists here are using £200million of funding to develop something known as “biological reprogramming technology”.

This will allow the cells in our body to be rejuvenated, turning back the clock and reversing the ageing process.

There is also hope that the research will bring an end to life-changing conditions such as Parkinson’s, heart disease and cancer – as our cells will no longer degenerate and mutate.

One new scientist on the team, Spaniard Manuel Serrano, says he was offered five times his salary to move to Cambridge to work for Altos Labs, showing the firm is recruiting the best and brightest in the business.

Expert Michael Rae told us: “Reprogramming technology is taking a cell that has accumulated age-related changes that are dysfunctional and winding the clock back.

“You remove some of those abnormal changes, so it behaves like a youthful cell.

“Once you’ve done that it starts ageing again. So eventually you will have to wind it back again and again – but that’s fine as long as you keep up with it.

“In some ways that is even more exciting because if you are 70 years old and you can wind the clock back, you’ve done a lot for that person.

“Bezos is in his 50s – so he has made a bet that’s going to pay out at a very good time for him.”

Read full article HERE.

Longevity Science Foundation’s $1 billion, 10 year distribution shows shift in attitudes since SRF inception

SRF is elated at the announcement in Longevity Technology of a fund that will distribute more than $1 billion over a ten year period specifically “to research, institutions and projects advancing healthy human longevity and extending the healthy human lifespan to more than 120 years.”

Few may remember the environment in which SRF began, in which interest in longevity research and significant extension of human life was far outside the mainstream and inordinately difficult to raise funds for. Along with the recent founding of Altos labs, the Longevity Science Foundation’s extraordinary commitment heralds a hard-fought shift in attitudes towards fighting aging.

The Foundation will be advised by a “‘Visionary Board’ of leading longevity researchers, led by Evelyne Bischof and joined by Andrea B Maier, Eric Verdin, Matt Kaeberlein and Alex Zhavoronkov…”

According to Longevity Technology, “The focus of the Foundation will be to . . . . support projects in four major areas of healthy longevity medicine and tech – therapeutics, personalised medicine, AI and predictive diagnostics . . . . that can make a significant difference in people’s lives as soon as possible – even within five years.” The Foundation will also focus on “…driving longevity medicine from theoretical concepts to real-world applications…” that can be transformed into clinical treatments. Translational medicine has been hindered by a lack of sufficient funding, where the promises of revolutionary therapies remain locked away from discovery.

Visionary Board member Andrea B Maier also serves as co-director of the Centre for Healthy Longevity at the National University of Singapore, and predicts “In 5 years, healthy longevity will not only exist as a lab-proven concept, but will become part of everyone’s life.

The article also reports that “the Foundation will also empower people from all over the world to directly support the development of longevity research . . . and share findings with the public to enhance awareness of longevity care and available treatments.”

SENS Research Foundation looks forward to seeing this sector grow rapidly over the near future with evermore mainstream acceptance, and more resources like the Longevity Science Foundation’s offer the hope of ending aging in our lifetimes.

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