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AFAR in the News: AFAR experts explore Silicon Valley’s quest for longevity in The New Yorker

Mar 30
2017

AFAR in the News: AFAR experts explore Silicon Valley’s quest for longevity in The New Yorker View MoreBACK

The April 3, 2017 issue of The New Yorker highlights Silicon Valley’s rising interest in longevity.  An article, “Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever” features insights from several AFAR-affiliated experts:

• Nir Barzilai, MD, AFAR Deputy Scientific Director, 2010 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction winner, and multiple-grantee recipient
Leonard Guarente, PhD, winner of the 2015 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction
Matt Kaeberlein, PhD, winner of the 2011 Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star in Aging Research
• Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, recipient of the 2011 Julie Martin Mid-Career Award in Aging Research
• Richard Miller, MD, PhD, winner of the 2007 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction
Thomas Rando, MD, PhD, recipient of the 2008 Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology
• Jan Vijg, PhD, winner of 2012 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction
• Amy Wagers, PhD, winner of the 2015 Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star Award in Aging Research

The article discusses the eagerness many investors and executives in technology and biotechnology corporations have to discover the secret to immortality. The piece positions the potential for various information technologies, like computer-designed drugs and gene therapies to extend longevity.

Some biomedical researchers in the field aren’t convinced. Jan Vijg, PhD, 2012 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction, counters: “Yes, our bodies are information-processing systems. But to fix the body-as-computer requires an in-depth understanding of what’s going on in your cells at a molecular level. And we don’t even know how many types of cells there are!”

Instead, many of the featured AFAR-affiliated experts emphasize the goal of extending human healthspan and harnessing age-related diseases.

The article continues to contrast the focus between biotechnology corporations and the aging-research field with further insights and vast significant research from AFAR experts.  For example, 2011 Julie Martin Mid-Career Award in Aging Research recipient Dr. Pankaj Kapahi explains the health discrepancy of fruit flies ability to fly upward after consuming the “burger diet” versus the “Spartan diet”. The fruit flies ingesting the less-nutrient dense “burger diet” struggled to fly while the “Spartan” flies easily soared, leading Dr. Kapahi to conclude diet and lifelong health are related.

Read the full article here.


AFAR looks forward to furthering the discussion on biotechnology and biomedical research with a luncheon symposium, The Architects of Aging, on July 25 in San Francisco. Learn more here.





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