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Aubrey de Grey

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Languages: English
Geography: UK
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Aubrey de Grey — an English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology, and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation. He is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and co-author of Ending Aging (2007). He is known for his view that human beings alive today could live to lifespans far in excess of any authenticated cases.

De Grey's research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can thwart the aging process. He works on the development of what he calls "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence" (SENS), a collection of proposed techniques to rejuvenate the human body and stop aging. To this end, he has identified seven types of molecular and cellular damage caused by essential metabolic processes. SENS is a proposed panel of therapies designed to repair this damage.

De Grey is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the American Aging Association, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and an advisor to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He has been interviewed in recent years in a number of news sources, including CBS 60 Minutes, the BBC, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post, TED, Popular Science, The Colbert Report, Time, and the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe.

De Grey was educated at Sussex House School and Harrow School. He went to the University of Cambridge, graduating in 1985 with a BA in computer science from Trinity Hall. After graduation in 1985, de Grey joined Sinclair Research Ltd as an AI/software engineer. In 1986, he co-founded Man-Made Minions Ltd to pursue the development of an automated formal program verifier. He met his wife, fruit-fly geneticist Adelaide Carpenter, at a graduate party in Cambridge, and through her was introduced to the science of anti-aging, when her boss needed someone who knew about computers and biology to take over the running of a database on fruit flies. From 1992 until 2006, he was in charge of software development at the university's Genetics Department for the FlyBase genetic database.

In 1999, his book The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging was published, in which he writes that obviating damage to mitochondrial DNA might by itself extend lifespan significantly, though he said it was more likely that cumulative damage to mitochondria is a significant cause of senescence, but not the single dominant cause. On the basis of the book, the University of Cambridge awarded de Grey a PhD in 2000.

De Grey argues that the fundamental knowledge needed to develop effective anti-aging medicine mostly already exists, and that the science is ahead of the funding. He works to identify and promote specific technological approaches to the reversal of various aspects of aging, or, as de Grey puts it, "the set of accumulated side effects from metabolism that eventually kills us."

As of 2005, his work centered upon a detailed plan called Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which is aimed at preventing age-related physical and cognitive decline. In March 2009, he co-founded the SENS Foundation, a non-profit organization based in California, United States, where he currently serves as Chief Science Officer. The Foundation "works to develop, promote and ensure widespread access to regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of ageing," focusing on the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. Before March 2009, the SENS research program was mainly pursued by the Methuselah Foundation, co-founded by de Grey.

A major activity of the Methuselah Foundation is the Methuselah Mouse Prize, a prize designed to hasten the research into effective life extension interventions by awarding monetary prizes to researchers who stretch the lifespan of mice to unprecedented lengths. De Grey stated in March 2005 "if we are to bring about real regenerative therapies that will benefit not just future generations, but those of us who are alive today, we must encourage scientists to work on the problem of aging." The prize reached 4.2 USD million in February 2007.

In 2005, he was the subject of two highly critical editorials accompanying an article in MIT's Technology Review.

In 2007, de Grey wrote the book Ending Aging with the assistance of Michael Rae. It provides a detailed account of the science, politics and social challenges of the entire SENS agenda.

In a 2008 broadcast on the Arte German & French TV, de Grey confirmed that according to him, the first human who will live up to 1,000 years is probably already alive now, and might even be today between 50 and 60 years old.

Since 2008, soon after he began speaking publicly about his gerontological theories, Dr. de Grey has been Scientific Advisor for the Campaign for Aging Research (C.A.R.)