Some of the names who have the most “clout” in longevity are not the ones who have the highest potential for “radical upside risk” (those ppl are more likely to be the tissue engineers like Jean Hebert). Be aware that longevity people often tend towards excess groupthink/paying attention to the same people, and you want to pay attention to peripheral bioengineering/biophysics people in order to find the ones with “most potential” of “changing everything”. Most of you will not have the time to dig as deep into all these personalities as what I have
Read The Longevity Seekers (Google Books ) for an early history of the field!
I’ve been told I view people from a “rose-tinted lens” (there is strategic reason why I do this ).
And… what is my role? I am, in some ways, the “narrator” “willing to try anything”. In some ways, I have higher breadth (of certain kinds) than anyone else in the field if we use certain information-theoretic ways of defining “breadth” (including access to intergenerational momentum flows). I’ve enabled the careers of several people in the area, but we will see more interesting things happen.
Ppl who a lot of the younger GenZ are paying the most attention to (also higher uniqueness metrics with more potential to shape the near-future narrative/they “stand out” more, esp b/c many have different backgrounds)
- Adam Marblestone (possibly the smartest person in the world who cares, extreme right-tail openness+integrity+kindness [tho much less free time than before], engineering approaches/first-principles, maps aging out with Jose Ricon, TILING TREES). Is on my list of “most important ppl in the world”. also maps out climate science - Climate technology primer (2/3): CO2 removal – Longitudinal Science . See https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fragi.2021.714926/full . Highest raw-intelligence/horsepower out of EVERYONE on the list (by a far margin)
- Jose Luis Ricon (is bullish LIKE the engineers, also just very smart and is on the verge of being taken super-seriously, high-kindness). 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 - doesn’t play “gossip girl”/“mean girls”-like social games, esp b/c he grew up as an European outsider to longevity so he never played the “signalling” games other biologists played and will be a permanent inspiration to young outsiders who also want to enter aging even if they don’t have a biology background. An intellectual flaneur.
- David Sinclair (somewhat polarizing [though not to aubrey-levels], but even when his research is kind of messy/sensationalist/cherry-picky to the point of frustrating many scientists, 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). Some say (with mixed feelings) that he has become the public face of aging after Aubrey’s cancellation. He’s at Harvard so he attracts A LOT of top talent like Yuancheng Lu. Also a salesman
- 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. Has a “higher sense of taste” than most others in longevity (not subject to the same blindspots as many are). His longevity disciples are super-promising too (tho I wish he could scale his taste/disciples more) - I feel that his disciple Lada Nuzhna is destined to be a future leader in the field someday (has a level of passion/energy/conviction/“willingness to try anything” that very few others have + has deep technical skills and was at top of her ML/DL courses at Northwestern + is wholesome to an extent that no one else I know in longevity is).
- Aubrey de Grey. The historical pioneer who helped formulate the problem. 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) was singular and indispensable. His book “Ending Aging” provides a valuable outline of where to think, but deserves a more detailed update. High approachability. That said, has some super-major blindspots and sometimes non-responsive to feedback (but he’s far more magnanimous towards his haters than most people are towards theirs). Very informal style. Was recently mega-cancelled (sadly, a lot of longevity people cannot stand him ). The 2nd SRF report (which few paid attention to) showed that he at least was not as much of a “sexual predator” as what some painted him as (though the statnews report on him did say that he did do things that made some feel uncomfortable [eg maybe there was a sexually charged atmosphere at SENS]). Many outsiders appreciate him b/c he was seen as more outsider-friendly than other longevity researchers. An incredible mentor to MIchael Rae (of crsociety.org fame), who also co-wrote the “Ending Aging” book he did. Investigation of Dr. Aubrey de Grey Concludes | Lifespan.io
- Also Greg Fahy - read his book
- 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 historically had to put up with lots of ppl’s BS). has “strategic genius”, focuses on the big picture (“wisdom”) over details (eg has mentioned that a lot of longevity research isn’t as “elegant” as math/category theory). 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. BE CAREFUL ABOUT WASTING HER TIME (she seems to value her time more highly than anyone else - and KNOWS that a lot of ppl crave her attention so she has key mechanisms to protect herself against this). There’s this interesting/strange energy around her where people keep bringing her up (more than anyone else in aging) whenever they’re about to meet her or attend one of her talks. Known for being “hard to read”/sphinx-like. Laura also trained a discipline https://twitter.com/JoanneZPeng who also has super-high taste and is more worth reading than most other longevity ppl (esp b/c she was raised in the “progress studies” mold and is super-attentive to what’s holding back general progress in longevity/basic research). Also is close to https://twitter.com/celinehalioua (who I don’t know well, but is worth paying attention to) => who historically has done technically brilliant bioengineering research (showing very high fluid intelligence that is rare) but now is more of a CEO/management role at Loyal and has v. little free time.
- 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 religious frames very different from most people, but somehow has focused more of his attention on Republican politics as of late.
- Foresight Institute community. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg5UVUMqXeCQ03MelT_RXMg . 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, 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. doesn’t play “gossip girl”/“mean girls”-like social games. He helped form the ondeck longevity slack, which helped spawn many IRL collaborations that hopefully will maintain momentum and not end. He is also an inspiration to outsiders who were traumatized by their early education/PhD programs.
- 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!)
- https://twitter.com/allisondman?lang=en (organizes the foresight institute and seems to do the “longevity coordination problem” better than anyone - her energy/social bandwidth is insane => foresight is SO great at bringing in outsider energy), was Christine Peterson’s star successor. Really cares about not dying. She’s very underrated as (she brings more attention to other people than she does to herself)
- Sebastian Aguiar - Aging Research and Investment | Lifespan.io (VC, amazing Youtube interviews outlining biotech VC). Probably healthier for the global computation if some of the attention on laura was redirected in his direction. Geroscience and Biotech Venture Capital - Sebastian A. Brunemeier - YouTube
The most insight-dense people (pay attention to their content first - many of these can think at multiple levels of scoping)
- Redirecting... (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 https://twitter.com/AOri_lab (bc ultimately proteaostasis IS the most important thing)
Specialists who intensely focus on core processes critical in aging (autophagy, proteostasis, chaperones, DNA repair)
- Jan Vijg (read his book on genome damage!). not bullish due to genetic mosaicism. clearer/more independent thinking than most
- Ana Maria Cuervo (her papers are intensely worth reading, autophagy is one of the most critical components of aging)
- Martin Baraibar - Google Scholar and IBPS | Integrative cellular ageing and inflammation
- Friguet B - Search Results - PubMed (also proteostasis)
- Li Huei Tsai. chromatin structure in brain aging! (far more insightful/important/actionable papers than most)
- Shorter Lab: Research
- Colin Ewald (look at his extracellular matrix stuff!) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClOnplI2mzpJlwdX3vlOMJA/videos
- David Spergel at Yale, the crosslink breaker guy. SENS-funded. https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/67/Supplement_1/1229-P
Not in aging, but Tier1 biotech people important for tech development/ending stagnation (more upside risk in biotech than general aging)
- https://twitter.com/leecronin and Fraser Stoddart (we need nanotech => progress might not be obvious for a while, but better tool development ultimately gives us max chances of giving a step-like reward function). True “geeks” by Joscha’s def of the term
- https://foresight.org/molecular-machines/ (this is really where MOST of the future innovation is)
- Kenny Workman (reversing stagnation). not in aging, but making ML easier to biologists which may supercharge a lot of future biology research. Described as “intense” and focused and very little noise.
David Baker (proteins at UW - impaired proteastasis is basis of much of aging. also impt for reversing stagnation in biotech). Also Mohammed AlQuraishi is worth following.
** George Church (a lot of radical/experimental approaches in his lab, one of the few promising labs with potential to reverse stagnation). George Church on reversing aging | ApplySci @ Harvard - YouTube (also see his interview by Tufts aging)
- Boyden lab for reversing stagnation (and characterizing everything in the brain => “measure all” for physical insight).
- https://twitter.com/drmichaellevin (not in aging, but a lot of the smartest bio people I know pay attention to him, also impt for ending stagnation in bioscience)
- Andres Sandberg/Nick Bostrom (among the smartest generalists ever. Not directly in aging, but they do think about it/survival. Reading them will broaden your thinking into new worlds like no one else. Also great for scoping)
- Daphne Koller - the canonical example of a modern-day woman genius, PGMs can be important (but not quite grounded yet)
- Collision Brothers/Emergent Ventures/Vinod Khosla (who wrote an amazing tome on reversing tech stagnation)
- Francis Crick/Freeman Dyson (the truest of true scientists, more need to follow their life paths)
- Broad Institute (impt for defining the next-gen of biology techniques, a direct funnel of the smartest mathematicians and physics people into biology)
- Alexey Guzey and New Science. Attracts more geeks into the field and will end stagnation (will help in solving https://www.quora.com/Is-Peter-Thiel-right-when-he-says-The-political-people-who-are-nimble-in-the-art-of-writing-government-grants-have-gradually-displaced-the-eccentric-and-idiosyncratic-people-who-typically-make-the-best-scientists?q=peter%20thiel%20right%20when%20he%20says). He made it safe to be vulnerable af in front of the ppl who matter.
- Michael Eisen, Michael Nielsen, Ethan Perlstein
- http://www.nanotech.upenn.edu/, Nanorobotics - Wikipedia, Nanobots promise to change the future of medical treatment
- Frances Arnold, Mikhail Shapiro
Regeneration/repair people (where the highest upside risk is)
- Anthony Atala (organ regeneration at wake forest)
- Jean Hebert (is bullish, neuronal cell replacement). Extremely high-kindness/high-integrity, Allison of foresight would do anything to get him more funding. Also believes that you don’t need to understand things at super-granular levels of detail to defeat aging.
- Rusty Gage - Salk Institute for Biological Studies /dylan reid (neuronal cell replacement, the ultimate thing)
- brain organoid people
- chimera research (putting rat neurons into mouse brains, or uh, human cells into mice)… i know some SCRB ppl do it
- https://twitter.com/kennethhayworth?lang=en (at Janelia). Connectomics neuroscientist, into cryonics
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)
- Michael Rae (helped coauthor the ending aging book and form the crsociety.org group, VERY well-versed in nutrition like mike lustgarten is. google his name and read his comments everywhere)
- Mike Lustgarten (youtube videos among the best for tracking biomarkers)
- Redirecting... (better-than-others understanding of pchem)
- Dayan Goodenowe (his talks are amazing and makes the significance of so many “weird” fatty acids parseable). Dr. Kevin Perrott, CEO/founder of OpenCures & Dr. Dayan Goodenowe, CEO/founder of Prodrome Sciences - YouTube
- Alex Pustov, Ben Greenfield, fireinabottle.net (has best explanations of the relevant lipids, but too pro-meat). Overall I’ve found that near-vegans (who supplement with omega-3’s) age the best.
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 AND seems to have special properties that other aging researchers do not have (she may someday have a level of public fame that may approach Sinclair’s on sufficiently long-timescales). Cares more about diet than most longevity researchers. Married to a biophysics professor at Yale.
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” (the bar to “impress” him is higher than that of others THOUGH he is more responsive than most too), but was one of the first to gently nudge the overton window towards both rapamycin and treating aging as a disease.
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”. Sadly has left longevity.
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]
https://www.ocampolab.com/ (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
- ought.ai 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)
https://mariakonovalenko.wordpress.com/ (did much of the original PR right as a serious scientist, then disappeared). Has many of the right elements
Riva Melissa Tez (carries the transhumanist/edgy/contrarian energy better than most)
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]
The Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth - Kindle edition by Anton, Ted. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. 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: https://twitter.com/fedichev?lang=en, https://twitter.com/Aging_Scientist, https://twitter.com/Blagosklonny (rapamycin stuff, encourages ppl to max their tolerable rapamycin dose). https://twitter.com/agingdoc1 also seems more alive than most (appreciates my value too!). Will unload analysis later.
Brian Manning Delaney
https://twitter.com/Orlando_uy 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