Meet Aubrey De Grey – Chief Science Officer at SENS Research Foundation, VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, and editor-in-chief of Rejuvenation Research, the highest-impact peer-reviewed academic journal focused on postponing aging.
He works on the development of medical innovations that can postpone all forms of age-related ill-health with an undivided focus is on rejuvenation: that is, the active repair of the various types of molecular and cellular damage which eventually cause age-related disease and disability, as opposed to the mere retardation of the accumulation of such damage.
Our guest tells his story of how he came to be a biologist from being destined to be a pianist according to his mother in the beginning and later choosing programming out of a wish to make more of a contribution to the progress of mankind.
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"I wanted to be a scientist, but ultimately, I wanted to make a difference to the world. And I recognized that scientists, in the long run, make the most difference.”
Having chosen programming at the age of 15 and for the purpose of making more of a difference to the world, Aubrey continued in that career till he got exposed to something much more demanding.
"I started programming, and I thought that one of the biggest problems the world faces is that people have to spend so much of their time doing stuff that they wouldn’t do unless they were being paid for it – I’ll stop that by helping in artificial intelligence research to create more automation. ”
Learn why Aubrey chose to switch fields back in 1990 and pursue a career that could ultimately fulfil his desire of being able to make as big of a difference to the world as possible.
"Having found out that nobody was working on trying to keep people healthy late in life – not properly, anyway – I thought, what? I better switch fields, really? And that’s what led to my moving into the biology of aging back in the early 1990s. ”
Our guest is the person who played a key role in the introduction and spreading of this revolutionary idea in the field of gerontology – a switch from making efforts for the prevention of ‘aging’ to making efforts for the remediation of the process called ‘aging.’
"I was fortunate enough to have a few ideas in the late 90s that were quite well received, so I rose to great prominence in gerontology very quickly. In the year 2000, I had the idea that comprehensive damage repair is the most promising and practical way to keep people healthy late in life. ”
"My goal is and has always been to grow this movement to a point that I become unnecessary, that there are people in the field who are better than me. And then I will retreat into glorious obscurity. ”
It took him much and more to make people realize that not only do they want to live, but they also want to live long and live healthy – that eventually leads to the idea that they want to defeat the biologically deteriorative process called aging.
"If it’s all about simple health care and if one recognizes that longevity is simply a side effect of not getting sick, then the argument becomes a great deal easier to make. ”
Learn why defeating aging is more about reducing the combined effect of time on biological systems than trying to prevent that effect from occurring at all.
"The most common sense and most practical approach to keeping people healthy late in life was simply to repair the damage that the body does to itself throughout life, not necessarily perfectly, but well enough so that the overall amount of damage that remains in the body is within the capacity of the body to tolerate. ”
Aubrey has contributed much and more to the spreading of awareness about all these concepts because that is how the scientists can motivate people from all domains to donate and contribute to the progress of research that eventually benefits the whole of mankind.
"If you’re working on something that is interesting and important, it’s not such a problem to get people to come and work for you.”
Learn how switching fields is one of the most innovative and productive things that can happen in one’s career. It opened a whole new dimension for Aubrey, and it also allows for a profitable transfer of skill sets from one domain to another.
"It’s quite clear that when people switch fields, they very often do really good things in the new field because they’ve got the skill set to work on really hard problems because of their transferable skill, but they’re not encumbered by the conventional wisdom that everybody else in the field have.”
Aubrey has high hopes for the future of gerontology and welcomes any feedback or help that people have to offer him on his way to the achievement of these universal goals.
"I think within the next 10 years, we will have reached the threshold of research that I historically have called robust master rejuvenation. It’s only a matter of time before we can bring aging under comprehensive medical control.”
He also believes that only a collective effort can uproot the problem altogether.
"I believe that at the end of the day, this problem of aging will not be solved by one person or one organization. It will be a collective effort because it should divide and conquer approach.”
Aubrey is trying to get people to move past all the obstacles that are stopping them from being concerned about aging. Any contribution to the movement that he has initiated is much appreciated.
"It’s all about past people’s fear of getting their hopes up and knowing that people have been wrong about the defeat of aging right through the history of civilization.”
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Special Guest: Aubrey De Grey.