Canonical list of aging people worth paying more attention to than others

Protagonists shaping the narrative for the new generation

  • Adam Marblestone (possibly the smartest person in the world who cares, extreme right-tail openness+kindness, engineering approaches, maps aging out with Jose Ricon, TILING TREES). Is on my list of “most important ppl in the world”
  • Jose Luis Ricon (is bullish, also just very smart and is on the verge of being taken very seriously, high-kindness, works for the Collision brothers). Takes an engineering mindset [which most aging researchers don’t have => this makes him more optimistic than them]. Might be the highest-curiosity/openness out of anyone on this list.
  • Martin Borsch Jensen (might be very promising, in the position of mentoring the next-gen of people [and i think he understands next-gen better than most current researchers]) => also he seems to be roadmapping strategy on a higher level than other aging researchers (his approaches don’t seem to be as “institutionally trapped”). One has said he is one of 15% of people in the field to have high epistemic integrity.
  • Aubrey de Grey. The historical pioneer who helped formulate the problem. Many aging researchers are somehow critical of him. His constantly repeating himself shows that he does not value his own precious time enough. His historical value in defining the scope of the problem (and in encouraging people to think that YES it IS possible) is indispensable. His book “Ending Aging” provides a valuable outline of where to think, but deserves a more detailed update. Extremely high-kindness. Also Greg Fahy
  • Laura Deming. Her signal/noise ratio is one of the highest of any I’ve ever seen, very low mimetic pollution/least prone to clickbait, seems fascinatingly super-careful and elegant with everything she says. thoughtstreams very uncorrelated with others [it comes from being unschooled - she was the only Millennial to receive a true education in the spirit of the Diamond Age and also the least "trapped"]) => ultraunique and seems viciously good at avoiding busywork that can be done by anyone else (though VC means she has to put up with lots of ppl’s BS). has “strategic genius”, focuses on the big picture (“wisdom”) over details. Living proof that more unschooling and recreating the ideal childhood/making people more agenty is crucially important for solving aging (increasing the courage/boldness of future people through unschooling rather than putting them through the living hell of K12 education is necessary to get ppl to have the guts to do things radically different from before => imperative for necessary progress). Pays more attention to peripheral areas (like biophysics and math) rather than mainstream aging fads.
  • reason @ fightaging (super-knowledgeable, I haven’t seen him get anything wrong, is more obsessed with the problem than anyone, but he also seems a bit robotic and doesn’t vary the format of his output very much, which makes him not stick out to most people). Is not as knowledgeable about Marblestone/Boyden/nextgen stuff as I’d like. Very low dynamic range (does not make his content high-contrast from his other content, which makes the total sum of his content harder to remember).
  • Vitalik/Thiel/Balaji. Two of my friends have called Balaji “the new Thiel”. Thiel is great at rhetoric and defining the problem on frames very different from most people, but somehow has focused more of his attention on Republican politics as of late. :confused:
  • Foresight Institute community. . It attracts really good people and commenters (eg Karl Pfleger is great)
  • Nathan Cheng - has all the free time to 100% dedicate all his time to this (an admirable trait that none of the others have). Total outsider with humble background and zero ego and enough technical skills to matter. More willing to try anything than most people (more narrative flexibility than many people). His example should make it easier for there to be other longevity protagonists in the area. High-kindness to a unique extreme
  • (super-expressive and open in a way others aren’t, has great biotech energy. Her high level of openness in pursuing her biotech startup makes you trust her far more and I feel like it is already empowering everyone because she is not like boring af like the founders of other biotech startups and seems to be lowering the barriers towards biotech startups in general)
  • VitaDAO people (esp Tim Anderson). This may very well change how aging research (and research in general) is done. When you give funders (many of the crypto-rich, like Vitalik, care about longevity and reversing stagnation) the ability to ascertain quality, you don’t let the direction of research to be shaped by gatekeepers like tenure committees or journal articles (they may, in fact, be more okay with science prior to what it became after obsession with statistical significance drove up costs => statistical significance is not necessary for winning a Methuselah Mouse Prize). Because aging affects everyone (and b/c Pascal’s wager AND because it affects one’s ability to maximize their lifetime output/wages over time), giving people a personal stake in aging research can be higher leverage for promoting open scientific practices than doing it for research for almost any other field. I was initially skeptical, but now I’m surprisingly impressed with the openness of the entire process (the people here may be more open than researchers anywhere else). Also it makes it easier for everyone to participate (you no longer need to go through weird traumatizing-to-50% credentials in order to contribute useful work!)

The most insight-dense people (pay attention to their content first - many of these can think at multiple levels of scoping)

  • Denis Odinokov (some of the best facebook posts ever, also explores different directions from other people and is not as overly affected by research fads). FRIEND HIM IF YOU REALLY CARE
  • Vadim Gladyshev (gives you some of the best scoping ever, also really understands metabolomics. If there’s ANYONE whose papers I would read first, it would be his)
  • Vera Gorbunova - also scopes at several levels, comparative proteomics of aging in long vs short-lived organisms. Scope goes from the structural level (on SIRT6) up to the comparative metabolomics level. Interspecies Differences in Proteome Turnover Kinetics Are Correlated With Life Spans and Energetic Demands - ScienceDirect is a TRULY MUST-READ PAPER. Bowhead whales have already solved the problem of making warm-blooded mammals live for 200+ years - now we just have to better understand their proteomes.
  • Tony Wyss-Corey (gets the proteomics/metabolomics REALLY right, super-helpful for seeing the future of the quantified self). His papers are some of the most important for those interested in wellness
  • JP de Magalhaes (super-high-kindness, only active researcher to publicly express desire for immortality), creates a lot of infrastructure for a lot of the “omics” stuff. S/N ratio not the highest (as the nature of omics/bioinformatics often is). Part of high-kindness is trying to make one’s data as open as possible, and he’s more open than most
  • Alessandro Ori (bc ultimately proteaostasis IS the most important thing)

Specialists who intensely focus on core processes critical in aging (autophagy, proteostasis, chaperones, DNA repair)

Chemistry people

Not in aging, but Tier1 biotech people important for tech development/ending stagnation (more upside risk in biotech than general aging)

Regeneration/repair people (where the highest upside risk is)

Biophysics ppl (bc the highest upside risk and smartest people are here). They define much of the theoretical big-picture whose gaps will be later filled in with more ordinary scientists - they make it easier for others to follow their big-picture outlines

  • Jude M. Phillip, PhD Publications . Very novel research direction from others (b/c biophysical measurements!)
  • Adam Marblestone (his PhD thesis outlines much of the future direction of bioscience research)
  • Erez Lieberman-Aidan, Jeremy England [biophysics geniuses who don’t work on aging, but biophysics is needed to get a better grounding!] READ THEM + Bialek if you’re REALLY smart.
  • de Graff AM[Author] - Search Results - PubMed
    ** Ken Dill (The Dill Research Group ), one of VERY few ppl who does biophysics of aging work, his textbooks on protein actions should be mandatory reading for anyone in the field
  • research - Kaganovich Lab

Nutrition people/supplementation (impt for slowing aging, but won’t be the ones who solve it)

Well above-average relevance

  • Steve Austad (comparative biology of aging, made a bullish bet on longevity escape velocity happening in our lifetimes [ppl who study other animals often are more bullish b/c they see what happens in quahogs/bowhead whales/naked mole rats])

  • Morgan Levine (early stage, very clear thinking about epigenetics and chromatin on the statistical level). Currently writing a book - I have intuition (esp on foresight interviews) that she will be MUCHH more lucid on epigenetic aging (to a broader audience) than the original pioneers of it - I’ve noticed she is also stepping up the PR game.

  • Matt Kaeberlein (very high-kindness, is really good at calling bullshit out). his grad student Ben Blue seems particularly promising and more scaleable than most (ML methods in aging). I once called him the Socrates of Aging. Has appropriate level of skepticism towards “research fads”, but was one of the first to gently nudge the overton window towards both rapamycin and treating aging as a disease.

  • David Sinclair (somewhat polarizing, but even when his research is kind of messy/sensationalist/cherry-picky to the point of frustrating a number of people, it’s interesting to watch and he is ahead of his time on a few things => his paper on xenohormesis is uniquely inspiring). Some visionaries sacrifice some precision for higher recall. Drives a lot of the narrative and sometimes optimizes for fame/attention (which often annoys some other researchers)

  • Daniel Promislow (his papers in sysbio of aging AND comparative bio of aging are just super-ultra-clear and more grounded than many other sysbio ppl)

  • Anne Brunet (interesting things come out from her lab, need to look more)
    William Mair (often runs aging conferences/talks, is often the person who asks the most questions during talks [aka one of the most alert])

  • Sarah Constantin (extremely high S/N ratio, has very high epistemic standards - what she did with Longevity Research Institute really helped ground ppl’s thinking). Has lots of sympathy for those who follow “weird life paths”

  • Karl Pfleger - outsider who really cares and made a list of all the longevity companies. Affiliated with Foresight. used to host longevity salons at his place. The Foresight Institute hosts longevity salons which attract sharp questions from many who really care [and I know that the founder, Christine Peterson, also REALLY cares]

  • (this could go big or it might not go big, there’s SOME potential in genetic reprogramming)

  • Caleb Finch (wrote THE TOME on aging)

High-insight General Biology people (you still need to understand A LOT of biology to understand aging)

  • Hongkui Zeng (Allen Brain Institute. We need to map the hell out of the brain in order to understand how best to repair it w/o interfering). Jean Hebert interacts with her.

Rationalists who upgrade EVERYONE’s THINKING (and who really care). You can get A LOT DONE by giving them more funding/encouragement to put all their time into the problem (an army of aspies).

  • Evan Ward
  • Matthew Barnett
  • Core Pathways of Aging - LessWrong (john wentworth - extremely smart outsider coached in uri alon’s systems biology who is trying to make aging more tractible to mathematicians. Selects strangely highly memorable examples)
  • Sarah Constantin
  • Emanuele Ascani
  • people

Brain Aging people

  • Timothy Salthouse

Some of the people I’m closest to (this will change over time, but they will finally provide the emotional support/motivation for me to really focus on this rather than chase distractions). Most are too early-stage to get noticed… yet… Also, I attract those on the extreme right-tail of intelligence+openness+kindness (which has value in of itself)


CATEGORIZE LATER (did much of the original PR right as a serious scientist, then disappeared). Has many of the right elements

Michael Rose (at UCI) - ran many of the early experiments to evolve long-lived flies documented in Methuselah Flies, very critical of current approaches/people in the area (but this also means he doesn’t keep up with most of the latest research).

[will update with time, am missing names on which people are especially good in biophysics/pchem of aging or who intensively study single proteins that are still relevant - eg in autophagy - - or who characterize the kinds of long-lived damage to proteins] has a page-turning history of the drama that happened in the 2000s)

TO BE CATEGORIZED LATER (not everyone has the time to read everything):

Marcia Haigis, Bruce Yankner, , Alexander Mendenhall @ UW (transcriptional noise is fascinating!)

There are also other people working at in-profit places (eg google calico, sprig discovery, genentech) who I am not mentioning simply b/c I don’t see them as much

BTW you do not have to be a walking encyclopedia of aging to do meaningful work in aging! There are already many walking encyclopedias in the field and you may have more progress by just being really good at some bioengineering techniques!


People with good comments: CANAnonymity [can be strangely rambly but when he posts coherently, he puts BIONUMBERS to his posts and his posts are appropriately high-density], SIRT6 on reddit, Ira S. Pastor (is surprisingly smart even though he gives off marketing vibes), Michael Rae

others who seem worth-reading/fairly independent:,, (rapamycin stuff, encourages ppl to max their tolerable rapamycin dose). also seems more alive than most (appreciates my value too!). Will unload analysis later.

Brian Manning Delaney has a dedicated twitter feed with some degree of taste (isn’t completely indiscriminate with posting anything aging-related)

Daniel Lemire - CS rather than aging, but he really cares about longevity, and his blogroll shows some interesting links


ppl good to follow just b/c they’re broader thinkers:

mayve (even has exosomes). also aging brain IS the most impt thing

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also BrackLab? also computational stem cell biology ppl

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nanobots people -

note: I know I missed a lot of names, including traditional aging pioneers (but I wanted to create my own list that’s orthogonal to that of many others). Feedback from Matt Kaeberlein:

It’s your list Alex, not mine.

There are tons of people doing really good and important work in the
field. I tend to be more interested in folks who are actually doing
stuff, making discoveries, and moving the needle rather than just
talking about doing stuff. Aubrey is the one person in that category
who I’d say, thus far, has had an outsized impact on the field.
Although it’s debatable whether that’s been net positive or negative.
As you note, I have a low tolerance for BS :slight_smile:

On the research/translational side it’s hard to argue that people like
Judy Campisi, Brian Kennedy, Jim Kirkland, Nir Barzilai, Valter Longo
etc. aren’t still moving the needle or at least played major parts in
getting us to where we are today. I don’t necessarily agree with
these people on everything, but their contributions are undeniable.
Claudio Franchesci was way ahead of the curve on inflammaging. Joan
Mannick is arguably leading the charge on translation. Steve Horvath
has definitely moved the needle. Among the ‘younger’ generation, I
like the work of Dario Valenzano, Morgan Levine (on your list I
think), Alex Zhavoronkov, Berenice Benayoun… there are many more.

Honestly, it just struck me that most of the ‘protagonists’ on your
list haven’t actually done anything significant for the field yet.
Maybe they will? Or maybe that just reflects that I’m getting old.

Like I said, it’s your list not mine.

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Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz | Janelia Research Campus for imaging stuff

Jeanne Loring & Zheng Cui?