Aubrey de Grey

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Aubrey de Grey
Aubrey de Grey.jpg
De Grey in Los Angeles, 2008
Born
Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey

(1963-04-20) 20 April 1963 (age 58)
London, England
NationalityBritish
EducationHarrow School
Alma materTrinity Hall, Cambridge
(BA, PhD)
OccupationAdjunct professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology[1]
Known for
Spouse(s)
(m. 1991; div. 2017)
[2][3]

Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey (/dəˈɡr/; born 20 April 1963)[4][5] is an English author and biomedical gerontologist.[6][7][8][9] He was the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, but was fired in August 2021 after allegedly interfering in a probe investigating sexual harassment allegations against him.[10] He is the author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and co-author of Ending Aging (2007). He is known for his view that medical technology may enable human beings alive today not to die from age-related causes.[11] He is also an amateur mathematician who has contributed to the study of the Hadwiger–Nelson problem in geometric graph theory making the first progress on the problem in over 60 years.[12]

De Grey is an international adjunct professor of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology,[13] a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America,[14] the American Aging Association, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.[15] He has been interviewed in recent years in a number of news sources, including CBS 60 Minutes, the BBC, The Guardian, Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post, TED, Popular Science, The Colbert Report, Time, the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, and The Joe Rogan Experience.

Early life and education[edit]

De Grey was born and brought up in London, England.[16] He told The Observer that he never knew his father, and that his mother Cordelia, an artist, encouraged him in the areas she herself was the weakest: science and mathematics.[17] De Grey was educated at Sussex House School[18] and Harrow School. He attended university at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating with a BA in computer science in 1985.[19]

Career[edit]

After graduation in 1985, de Grey joined Sinclair Research as an artificial intelligence and software engineer. In 1986, he cofounded Man-Made Minions Ltd to pursue the development of an automated formal program verifier. At a graduate party in Cambridge, de Grey met fruit fly geneticist Adelaide Carpenter whom he would later marry. Through her he was introduced to the intersection of biology and programming when her boss needed someone who knew about computers and biology to take over the running of a database on fruit flies.[20] He educated himself in biology by reading journals and textbooks, attending conferences, and being tutored by Professor Carpenter.[21][22] From 1992 to 2006, he was in charge of software development at the university's Genetics Department for the FlyBase genetic database.[23]

Cambridge awarded de Grey a Ph.D. by publication in biology on 9 December 2000.[19][24] The degree was based on his 1999 book The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging, in which De Grey wrote 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.

Strategies[edit]

De Grey argues that most of the fundamental knowledge needed to develop effective anti-aging medicine 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."[25]

As of 2005, his work centered on 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 cofounded the SENS Research Foundation (named SENS Foundation until early 2013), a non-profit organisation based in California, United States, where he served until 2021 as Chief Science Officer. The Foundation "works to develop, promote and ensure widespread access to regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of aging,"[26] focusing on the strategies for engineered negligible senescence. Before March 2009, the SENS research program was mainly pursued by the Methuselah Foundation, cofounded by De Grey.

A major activity of the Methuselah Foundation is the Methuselah Mouse Prize,[27] a prize designed to incentivize 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[clarification needed] editorials accompanying an article in MIT Technology Review.[28]

In 2007, de Grey wrote the book Ending Aging with the assistance of Michael Rae.[29]

In a 2008 broadcast on Franco-German TV network Arte, de Grey claimed that the first human to live 1,000 years was probably already alive, and might even be between 50 and 60 years old already.[30]

In 2012, de Grey inherited a considerable fortune of more than US$16 million, US$13 million of which he donated to the SENS Research Foundation.[31]

Cryonics[edit]

De Grey is a cryonicist, having signed up with Alcor.[32]

Mathematics[edit]

On 8 April 2018, de Grey posted a paper to arXiv explicitly constructing a unit-distance graph in the plane that cannot be colored with fewer than five colors, increasing the previously known lower bound by one. The previous lower bound of four was due to the problem's original proposal in 1950 by Hugo Hadwiger and Edward Nelson.[33] De Grey's graph has 1581 vertices, but it has since been reduced to 510 vertices by independent researchers.[34][35][36]

AgeX Therapeutics[edit]

De Grey was formerly Vice President of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, a startup in the longevity space helmed by Michael D. West, PhD. De Grey was appointed to the position within the company in July 2017.[37][38] [39]

Criticism[edit]

Technology Review debate[edit]

In 2005, MIT Technology Review, in cooperation with the Methuselah Foundation, announced a $20,000 prize for any molecular biologist who could demonstrate that SENS was "so wrong that it is unworthy of learned debate." The judges of the challenge were Rodney Brooks, Anita Goel, Vikram Sheel Kumar, Nathan Myhrvold, and Craig Venter. Five submissions were made, of which three met the terms of the challenge. De Grey wrote a rebuttal to each submission, and the challengers wrote responses to each rebuttal. The judges concluded that none of the challengers had disproved SENS, but the magazine opined that one of the submissions had been particularly eloquent and well written, and awarded the contestant $10,000. The judges also noted "the proponents of SENS have not made a compelling case for SENS," and wrote that many of its proposals could not be verified with the current level of scientific knowledge and technology, concluding that "SENS does not compel the assent of many knowledgeable scientists; but neither is it demonstrably wrong."[40] The critics single out three proposed therapies for criticism: somatic telomerase deletion, somatic mitochondrial genome engineering, and the use of transgenic microbial hydrolase.[41]

EMBO Reports[edit]

A 2005 article about SENS published in the viewpoint section of EMBO Reports by 28 scientists concluded that none of de Grey's hypotheses "has ever been shown to extend the lifespan of any organism, let alone humans".[42] The SENS Research Foundation, of which de Grey was a cofounder, acknowledges this as it states, "If you want to reverse the damage of aging right now I'm afraid the simple answer is, you can't."[43] Moreover, de Grey argues that this reveals a serious gap in understanding between basic scientists and technologists and between biologists studying aging and those studying regenerative medicine.[44]

The 31-member Research Advisory Board of de Grey's SENS Research Foundation have signed an endorsement of the plausibility of the SENS approach.[45]

Sexual harassment allegations[edit]

In August 2021, following allegations of sexual harassment by two women, de Grey was put on administrative leave by SENS.[46]

Both women describe situations in which de Grey, {...} explicitly spoke with them about sex. According to Halioua’s account, he even told her that it was her responsibility to sleep with SENS donors to encourage financial contributions. Deming was only 17 when, she alleges, de Grey told her he wanted to speak with her about his “adventurous love life.” Deming says that when she recently became aware that this was not a one-off incident, she was “angry to realize that Aubrey inappropriately propositioned more than one woman over whom he was in a position of power, many in the community knew about it, and no one did anything,” she writes.[47]

Days later, the SENS board of directors decided to remove de Grey from his position as chief science officer, severing all ties with him following the report that he had allegedly attempted to interfere with the sexual harassment investigation.[48]

Bibliography[edit]

  • de Grey, Aubrey (1999). The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging. Austin: R.G. Landes Company. ISBN 1-57059-564-X.
  • de Grey, Aubrey, ed. (2004). Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence: Why Genuine Control of Aging May Be Foreseeable. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. ISBN 978-1573314961.
  • de Grey, Aubrey; Rae, Michael (2007). Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-36706-0. OCLC 132583222.
  • Polymath, D. H. J. (April 2018). "Hadwiger-Nelson problem (Polymath project page)".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MIPT News". Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  2. ^ Chen, Ingfei. Wake-Up Call, Sciencemag.org, 19 February 2003.
  3. ^ Cox, Hugo. Aubrey de Grey: scientist who says humans can live for 1,000 years, Financial Times, 8 February 2017.
  4. ^ Bushko, Renata G., ed. (2005). Future of Intelligent and Extelligent Health Environment, volume 118. IOS Press. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-58603-571-6.
  5. ^ de Grey, A.; Jacobsen, S.D. (8 June 2014). "Dr. Aubrey de Grey: SENS Research Foundation, Co-founder; Rejuvenation Research, Editor-in-Chief". In-Sight (5.A): 29–33.
  6. ^ "Fall 2014 Biology Distinguished Lecturer – Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D. of the Sens Research Foundation". Northeastern University. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Live to 120 Plus—Utopia or Dystopia? – The UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics". ucla.edu. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Regenerative Medicine Against Aging - Dr. Aubrey de Grey - Part 1 - MIT Club of Northern California". MIT Video. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Who wants to live forever? Scientist sees aging cured". Reuters. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Anti-aging foundation SENS fires de Grey after allegations he interfered with investigation into his conduct". Fierce Biotech. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  11. ^ Hang in There: The 25-Year Wait for Immortality, www.livescience.com.
  12. ^ "Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician | Quanta Magazine". Quanta Magazine. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Doctor Aubrey de Grey an MIPT Adjunct Professor". Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (State University). 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013.
  14. ^ Gerontological Society of America. Geron.org. Retrieved on 23 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Aubrey de Grey". ieet.org. Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  16. ^ Stripp, David (14 June 2004). "This Man Would Have You Live A Really, Really, Really, Really Long Time. If a mouse can survive the equivalent of 180 years, why not us? Or our kids? Scientific provocateur Aubrey de Grey has a plan". CNN. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  17. ^ Templeton, Tom (16 September 2007). "Holding back the years". The Observer. Archived from the original on 11 February 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  18. ^ "About Us". Sussex House School. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Executive Team". sens.org. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  20. ^ Aubrey de Grey Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Methuselah Foundation, accessed 9 February 2010.
  21. ^ Tom Templeton. "Tom Templeton on biomedical theorist Aubrey de Grey". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  22. ^ "The Prophet of Immortality". Popular Science. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  23. ^ Misra, S.; Crosby, M.; Mungall, C.; Matthews, B.; Campbell, K.; Hradecky, P.; Huang, Y.; Kaminker, J.; Millburn, G.; Prochnik, S. E.; Smith, C. D.; Tupy, J. L.; Whitfied, E. J.; Bayraktaroglu, L.; Berman, B. P.; Bettencourt, B. R.; Celniker, S. E.; De Grey, A. D.; Drysdale, R. A.; Harris, N. L.; Richter, J.; Russo, S.; Schroeder, A. J.; Shu, S. Q.; Stapleton, M.; Yamada, C.; Ashburner, M.; Gelbart, W. M.; Rubin, G. M.; Lewis, S. E. (2002). "Annotation of the Drosophila melanogaster euchromatic genome: A systematic review". Genome Biology. 3 (12): research0083.research0081–83.research0081. doi:10.1186/gb-2002-3-12-research0083. PMC 151185. PMID 12537572.
  24. ^ Congregation of the Regent House on 9 December 2000, Cambridge University Reporter, 13 December 2000. Special regulations available only to Cambridge degree holders (of whatever discipline) permit the submission of "...a significant contribution to scholarship" instead. Though the awardee has not been registered as a PhD student, the degree is not honorary; applicants are evaluated by the usual methods, with examiners appointed and an oral defense of the submitted work.
  25. ^ Than, Ker (11 April 2005). "Hang in There: The 25-Year Wait for Immortality". Live Science. Archived from the original on 13 February 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  26. ^ "A Brief History". SENS Research Foundation. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010.
  27. ^ "Methuselah Foundation". mprize.org. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  28. ^ Nuland, Sherwin. February 2005. "Do You Want to Live Forever?" Technology Review.
  29. ^ de Grey, Aubrey; Rae, Michael. September 2007. Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. New York, NY: Saint Martin's Press, 416 p. ISBN 0-312-36706-6.
  30. ^ Aux frontières de l'immortalité, 16 November 2008, 23:10, director  : Gerald Caillat
  31. ^ Bagalà, Nicola (27 July 2018). "Dr. Aubrey de Grey – SENS Research Foundation". www.lifespan.io. Archived from the original on 5 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021. I inherited 16.5 million dollars of which I donated 13 million. That was back in 2012 before we had any projects that we could spin out into companies. That inheritance was very timely, but the point is that I would still do it even now. If my mother died today, I’d probably do the same thing, ... every donor is different; some donors are more philanthropically inclined than others.
  32. ^ Herbst, Julia (19 December 2018). "The Bitcoiners Who Want to Defeat Death". Breaker Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 February 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  33. ^ de Grey, Aubrey D.N.J (8 April 2018), The chromatic number of the plane is at least 5, arXiv:1804.02385, Bibcode:2018arXiv180402385D
  34. ^ Lamb, Evelyn (17 April 2018). "Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician".
  35. ^ Dockrill, Peter (19 April 2018). "An Amateur Solved a 60-Year-Old Maths Problem About Colours That Can Never Touch". ScienceAlert. Archived from the original on 5 February 2021.
  36. ^ Mixon, Dustin G. (8 July 2019). "Polymath16, thirteenth thread: Bumping the deadline?". Short, Fat Matrices. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  37. ^ "Agex to develop powerful regenerative and anti-aging treatments". Next Big Future. 16 December 2017.
  38. ^ "Biotime unit Agex Therapeutics appoints Aubrey De Grey as VP of new technology discovery". Reuters. 13 July 2017. Archived from the original on 5 February 2021.
  39. ^ "AgeX Therapeutics lands $10 mln". PE HUB. 17 August 2017.
  40. ^ Pontin, Jason (11 July 2006). "Is Defeating Aging Only a Dream?". MIT Technology Review. Technology Review. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  41. ^ "Life Extension Pseudoscience and the SENS Plan" (PDF). MIT Technology Review. S2CID 16382681. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 November 2012.
  42. ^ Warner, Huber; Anderson, Julie; Austad, Steven; Bergamini, Ettore; Bredesen, Dale; Butler, Robert; Carnes, Bruce A.; Clark, Brian F. C.; Cristofalo, Vincent; Faulkner, John; Guarente, Leonard; Harrison, David E.; Kirkwood, Tom; Lithgow, Gordon; Martin, George; Masoro, Ed; Melov, Simon; Miller, Richard A.; Olshansky, S. Jay; Partridge, Linda; Pereira-Smith, Olivia; Perls, Tom; Richardson, Arlan; Smith, James; Von Zglinicki, Thomas; Wang, Eugenia; Wei, Jeanne Y.; Williams, T. Franklin (November 2005). "Science fact and the SENS agenda. What can we reasonably expect from ageing research?". EMBO Reports. 6 (11): 1006–1008. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400555. ISSN 1469-221X. PMC 1371037. PMID 16264422.
  43. ^ "SENS Research Foundation FAQ". SENS Research Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  44. ^ De Grey, Aubrey (2005). "Like it or not, life-extension research extends beyond biogerontology". EMBO Reports. 6 (11): 1000. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400565. PMC 1371043. PMID 16264420.
  45. ^ "Research Advisory Board". sens.org. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  46. ^ Keane, Daniel (12 August 2021). "Anti-ageing guru Aubrey de Grey accused of harassment". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  47. ^ Aubrey de Grey on Leave After Sexual Harassment Allegations
  48. ^ "SENS Research Foundation removes Aubrey de Grey". STAT. 22 August 2021. Retrieved 22 August 2021.

External links[edit]