The speaker list below is provisional and might change due to the recent rescheduling of the conference:
Dr. Nathaniel David
Dr. Ned David is Co-Founder and President of UNITY Biotechnology.
Ned co-founded UNITY in 2011, largely because he thought it was “simply the coolest biology he had ever seen.”
Before UNITY, Ned co-founded four other biotechnology companies that together raised over $1.5 billion in financing and today employ over 400 scientists, engineers, and business people. Ned builds companies because he sees company creation as a means to create technologies that change the world. Ned is a co-founder of Syrrx (acquired by Takeda), Achaogen (AKAO), Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (KYTH, acquired by Allergan), and Sapphire Energy. Ned holds pending and issued patents in fields such as nanovolume crystallography, antibiotic resistance, aesthetic medicine, and cellular senescence. He has served on the board of directors of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Sapphire Energy, and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and is a member of the board of trustees of the University of California Foundation.
Ned was named one of the Top 100 innovators in the world under 35 by the MIT Technology Review. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in Molecular and Cellular Biology and an A.B. in Biology from Harvard University.
Dr. Paul Robbins
Paul D. Robbins, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of the Medical Discovery Team on Aging and the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism (iBAM) and Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Before moving to the University of Minnesota, Dr. Robbins was a Professor of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in Jupiter, Florida and Director of the TSRI Center on Aging. Previously he was a Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Director of Basic Research for the Molecular Medicine Institute and Co-Director of the Paul Wellstone Cooperative Muscular Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as well as Interim Director of Molecular & Cellular Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
He received his B.A. from Haverford College, his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Mulligan at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. He has co-authored over 345 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 185 book chapters and reviews with a H-index of 120, and i10-index of 434 and 48,344 citations and has edited four books.
Dr. Robbins’ current research is focused on developing clinically relevant approaches to extend human healthspan. These approaches including the development of senotherapeutic drugs, able to specifically kill (senolytics) or suppress (senomorphics) the senescent cells that accumulate with age, and the identification of youthful factors secreted by adult stem cells.
Dr. Tilman Grune
Tilman Grune is scientific Director of the German Institute of Human Nutrition and Full Professor of Molecular Toxicology at University of Potsdam.
Studies of Medical Biochemistry in Moscow, Russia, Graduation at the Humboldt University Berlin (Charité), Germany, followed by post-doc positions in Berlin, Germany, and Albany (NY), US, several faculty positions in Berlin, Germany, and Düsseldorf, Germany, and a full professorship at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany.
Prof. Dr. Grune is founding Editor-in-Chief of REDOX BIOLOGY, and on the Editorial Board of several journals, including Free Radic. Biol. Med., Aging Cell, PLOS one and Chairman of several European and national collaborative projects.
His research is focused on the oxidative stress response of cells and the role of oxidative damage in aging. The oxidative damage to proteins, the protection of proteins from oxidation and the fate of a protein if it is oxidized are major research topics. Therefore, various proteases and proteolytic systems for the ability to recognize and degrade oxidized proteins are investigated.
Dr. Grune's recent focus is on oxidation-related changes in the aging process. Model systems of aging senescent cells, as cardiomyocytes and ß-cells, are employed to investigate processes of protein oxidation, the removal of oxidized protein and effects of nutritional components on these processes. A central role in these investigations is the investigation of functional consequences of the formed age-related protein aggregates. Targeted prevention of aggregate formation and their removal are in his latest research focus.
Dr. Jerry Shay
Jerry W. Shay is the Vice Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He is also the Associate Director of the Harold Simmon's NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and holds the Southland Corporation Distinguished Chair in Geriatrics Research. He holds the title of Distinguish Teaching Professor. In 2012 he was awarded a University of Texas Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award, in 2013 the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Professor Award and in 2015 the Distinguished Basic Science Educator Award.
Dr. Shay’s seminal work on the relationships of telomeres and telomerase to aging and cancer is well recognized. Dr. Shay received the AlliedSignal Award, the Ted Nash Foundation Award, the American Association of Aging Hayflick Award, an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award, and in 2017 Dr. Shay received the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NIH Alliance Pioneer Award.
“The excitement at Undoing Aging in 2019 convinced me that I wanted to be at the 2020 conference. I am looking forward to presenting our novel approach to targeting telomeres in cancer and how this improves immunotherapy”, says Jerry Shay.
Dr. Laura Niedernhofer
Laura Niedernhofer, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Institute on the Biology of Aging & Metabolism (iBAM) at the University of Minnesota. Internationally recognized as an expert in the molecular and cellular basis of aging, Dr. Niedernhofer’s expertise is in how cellular senescence is regulated as well as the role of DNA repair during aging.
Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Dr. Niedernhofer was at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida. She has trained at MIT, Duke, Vanderbilt and Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. This year she was awarded a Glenn Award for Aging Research and the Vincent Cristofolo Rising Star Award in Aging Research from the American Federation for Aging Research.
Dr. Vera Gorbunova
Vera Gorbunova is an endowed Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and a co-director of the Rochester Aging Research Center. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of longevity and genome stability and on the studies of exceptionally long-lived mammals.
Dr. Gorbunova earned her B.Sc. degrees at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Dr. Gorbunova pioneered comparative biology approach to study aging and identified rules that control evolution of tumor suppressor mechanisms depending on the species lifespan and body mass.
Dr. Gorbunova also investigates the role of Sirtuin proteins in maintaining genome stability. Dr. Gorbunova identified high molecular weight hyaluronan as the key mediator of cancer-resistance in the naked mole rat. Recently she demonstrated that transposable elements contribute to aging process by driving age-related inflammation.
Her work received awards of from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation, American Federation for Aging Research, and from the National Institutes of Health. Her work was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize from PNAS, prize for research on aging from ADPS/Alianz, France, Prince Hitachi Prize in Comparative Oncology, Japan, and Davey prize from Wilmot Cancer Center.
"Looking forward to learning about new exciting science and new interventions to undo aging", says Dr. Vera Gorbunova.
Dr. Jeanne F. Loring
Jeanne F. Loring is Chief Scientific Officer of Aspen Neuroscience in La Jolla, California and Professor Emeritus at Scripps Research Institute.
She founded the Centers for Regenerative Medicine at both the Burnham Institute (2004) and Scripps (2008). Her laboratory studies genomics and epigenetics of human pluripotent stem cells, the remarkable cells that can make every cell type in the body. Her lab is using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to develop a patient-specific neuron replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease and a stem cell-based treatment for multiple sclerosis, and for studying the underlying causes of autism during human brain development. With the San Diego Zoo, her scientists are developing a "zoo" of iPSCs from endangered species to produce gametes to aid in their conservation by assisted reproduction. Her team is also sending brain organoids generated from human iPSCs to the International Space Station for a study of neuroinflammation in microgravity.
Dr. Loring is an advocate for patients and an outspoken critic of stem cell clinics that operate outside any ethical or scientific oversight. She speaks out against unregulated stem cell therapies that have caused severe injuries and even death, and the clinics who convince desperately ill patients to pay for treatments that are not effective.
Dr. Steve Horvath
Professor, Human Genetics and Biostatistics David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Dr. Horvath's research lies at the intersection of aging research, epidemiology, chronic diseases, epigenetics, genetics, and systems biology. He works on all aspects of biomarker development with a particular focus on genomic biomarkers of aging. He developed a highly accurate multi-tissue biomarker of aging known as the epigenetic clock.
Dr. Horvath developed systems biologic approaches such as weighted gene co-expression network analysis which lend themselves for integrating gene genomic data sets. These methods have been used for a broad spectrum of age related diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease. Dr. Horvath received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1995 and a Doctorate of Science in Biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2000.
Dr. Jessica Tyler
Jessica Tyler is a Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City, where she heads the Laboratory of Epigenetics and Genome Integrity.
Her research focuses on the regulation of genomic processes by chromatin structure and mechanisms of replicative aging, using budding yeast as a model system for the aging of stem cells in humans. During her postdoctoral studies with Dr. James Kadonaga at the University of California, San Diego, she identified the key chromatin assembly factors Anti-silencing Function 1 (Asf1) and characterized Chromatin Assembly Factor 1 (CAF-1) from Drosophila.
Dr. Tyler’s earlier work revealed that chromatin assembly and disassembly not only regulates S phase events, but also gene expression and the DNA damage response. Her finding that yeast lacking these chromatin assembly factors have altered lifespans led her to uncover that histone levels drastically decrease during aging, and is a cause of aging. Their lab has subsequently uncovered other changes that drive the aging process.
Dr. Tyler was a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar and was awarded the Tenovus Medal and the Charlotte Friend Woman in Cancer Research Award from the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR).
"We have to come together to figure out this aging problem, before we are too old", says Dr. Tyler.
Dr. Christian Schafmeister
Christian Schafmeister, PhD is a Professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.
His background is in biophysics, software engineering, and synthetic organic chemistry. As a graduate student, he constructed the first large unnatural protein 4HB1. In Christian's postdoctoral research, he co-invented "stapled peptides". As an independent researcher, Christian's group is developing a radical new approach to pioneering "bottom-up nanotechnology" - creating large, complex molecules to carry out complex molecular recognition and catalytic functions in the way that biological proteins do. Their approach is to synthesize stereochemically pure cyclic building blocks (bis-amino acids) that they couple through pairs of amide bonds to create spiro-ladder oligomers with programmed shapes (spiroligomers). These spiroligomers bind proteins and act as enzyme-like catalysts.
Christian hold a B.S. from Simon Fraser University and Ph.D. from the University of California in San Fransisco.
Christian Schafmeister says, “We are developing "therapeutic catalysts" - small, robust, non-immunogentic catalysts that will permeate the tight spaces within tissues and fix things. Our specific targets include reversing the unwanted cross-links that develop in the extracellular matrix with aging.”
Dr. Richard Siow
Richard Siow, PhD is Director of Ageing Research at King's (ARK) at King's College, London.
ARK is a multidisciplinary consortium to better understand the mechanisms of ageing, improving health-span and the social impact of ageing.
He was previously Vice-Dean (International), Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London and is an Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. He recently established the Longevity AI Consortium at King’s College London, an academic-industry R&D hub to develop AI methodologies to improve the quality of longer lives and extend health-span using AI enhanced technologies for personalised physical, mental and financial longevity.
Richard’s research focuses on cardiovascular nutrigenomics in health and age-related diseases. His projects include the development of 3D bioprinting and microfluidic models of skin, brain and cardiovascular ageing and longevity. He is UK Lead of International Society on Aging and Disease, Committee member of the European Vascular Biology Organisation, European Society for Microcirculation and Society for Free Radical Research Europe. He is a member of the Strategic Advisory Board for UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity.
“AI holds enormous potential to rapidly accelerate the implementation of longevity research and development. We are developing a unique academic-industry R&D hub to focus on preventive and personalised physical, mental and financial health, marking us out from other ageing centres around the world”, says Richard Siow.
Dr. Tamir Chandra
Tamir Chandra, PhD holds a Chancellor’s fellowship at the University of Edinburgh and MRC Human Genetics Unit. He did his PhD at the University of Cambridge, where he started his work on changes in the cell nucleus upon cellular senescence. He continued his work on the role of epigenetics and the nucleus in cellular models of ageing and rejuvenation at the Babraham Institute and now in Edinburgh.
His vision is to impact the lives of people suffering from age-related disabilities and to increase the health-span in old age. He is trying to achieve this by understanding the underlying mechanisms of ageing, which will hopefully allow us to design interventions for epigenetic rejuvenation and slowing down the degenerative process associated with ageing.
“Tremendous progress has been made in the last year. Undoing Aging 2020 is the time and place to impress the wider community with carefully evaluated next steps and scientific rigour”, says Tamir Chandra.
Dr. Wenyu Zhou
Endlessly being amazed by the order and intricacy of life in its forms and interconnections, Wenyu enjoys research adventures and discoveries, leveraging her expertise in integrating different types of high-throughput data (next-generation sequencing based, mass spectrometry based and others) and implementing advanced statistical modelings.
Wenyu published in Nature, Nature Medicine, Cell Stem Cell, Cell Systems, and others, and actively serves as a reviewer for a number of scientific journals in the genomics field. Wenyu had postdoctoral training with Dr. Michael Snyder at Stanford University, and received her PhD in Biology from the University of Washington at Seattle.
"Individuals are aging at different rates as well as potentially through different biological mechanisms, which provide the opportunities for individualized, targeted intervention", says Wenyu Zhou.
Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães
Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group, University of Liverpool
Prof de Magalhaes graduated in Microbiology in 1999 from the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia in his hometown of Porto, Portugal, and then obtained his PhD in 2004 from the University of Namur in Belgium.
Following a postdoc with genomics pioneer Prof George Church at Harvard Medical School, in 2008 Prof de Magalhaes was recruited to the University of Liverpool where he leads the Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group. His lab studies the ageing process and how we can manipulate it to fend off age-related diseases and improve human health.
Prof de Magalhaes has authored over 100 publications and given over 100 invited talks, including three TEDx talks. In addition, he has a long-term interest in technological trends and their future impact on society.
“I very much look forward to attending Undoing Aging 2020! The anti-ageing field has exploded in recent years, there is so much excitement that we will be able to tackle aging in the foreseeable future”, says Joao Pedro de Magalhaes.
Dr. Georgina Ellison-Hughes
Georgina Ellison-Hughes is a Professor of Regenerative Muscle Physiology at King’s College London, UK.
Georgina’s research has been at the forefront of adult-derived cardiac stem/progenitor cells and has made a seminal contribution in the paradigm shifting work to establish the adult heart as a self-renewing organ with regenerative capacity. Her research programme focuses on rejuvenating the regenerative capacity of striated (skeletal and cardiac) muscle, particularly preventing and treating the loss of muscle mass associated with ageing and/or disease.
She has published more than 55 peer-reviewed papers in reputed journals (Total Impact Factor = 408; Citations = 2743; H-index =30 (Scopus)) and is an editorial board member of Scientific Reports, BMC Molecular and Cell Biology, PharmAdvances and Stem Cells International.
Her talk at UA2020 will focus on the impact of ageing and senescence on the heart’s regenerative potential. She will show how by eliminating senescent cells using senolytic agents, the regenerative capacity of the aged heart can be rejuvenated.
"Old age impairs the ability of our heart to repair and regenerate. I hope to be able to convince you how we can rejuvenate the regenerative capacity of the aged heart", says Dr. Ellison-Hughes..
Dr. Dieter Willibold
Dieter Willibold, Ph.D. is Professor at University Düsseldorf and Director of the Institute of the Biological Information Processing at Forschungszentrum Jülich
Dieter Willbold studied biochemistry in Tübingen (Germany), Bayreuth (Germany) and Boulder (Colorado, USA). He completed his Ph.D. in 1994 at the University of Bayreuth. After some more years in Bayreuth and a couple of research visits, e.g. at the Sackler School of Medicine of the Tel-Aviv University, in 1998 he was leading his independent junior research group at the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology in Jena, Germany.
In 2001 Willbold became an associate Professor at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. Since 2004, he is full professor and chair of the Institute of Physical Biology in Düsseldorf and director of the Institute of Biological Information Processing at the Forschungszentrum Jülich.
His main interests are protein interactions with physiological and artificial ligands, high resolution structural biology, aging, neurodegeneration, neuropathic pain and autophagy.
"I think that many age related diseases, especially neurodegenerative diseases, are caused by prion or prion-like behaving etiologic agents. Because they form spontaneously but very rarely, age is the most important risk factor – besides genetic and environmental conditions that favor the formation of the first prion seed. Undoing aging therefore, relies decisively on the development of anti-prionic treatment strategies and anti-prionic compounds. I will introduce the first anti-prionic compound that is already in clinical development", says Dr. Dieter Willibold.
Dr. Ke Cheng
Ke is Randall B. Terry, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Regenerative Medicine, at the Molecular Biomedical Science Department of NC State University and at the Biomedical Engineering Department (joint with UNC-Chapel Hill), NC, USA
Dr. Cheng's research lies at the interface of stem cell therapy, biomaterials, and nanomedicine. His lab is using both cellular (adult and tissue-specific stem cells) and acellular approaches (such as secretome, exosome, and microRNAs) to address degenerative diseases in heart and lung diseases, as well as for skin and hair regeneration. The work in the Cheng Lab has been translated into Phase 1 clinical trials and commercialized into several university start-ups.
Dr. Cheng received a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Georgia.
"Regenerative medicine is a practice of using the best gifts from mother nature, combined with human wisdom, to combat incurable diseases and slow down the aging process", says Dr. Cheng.
Dr. Adiv Johnson
Adiv Johnson obtained both his B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and his Ph.D. in Physiological Sciences from the University of Arizona. As an undergraduate, he studied the effects of dietary restriction and different pharmaceuticals on mosquito lifespan. As a graduate student, he investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying various ocular diseases (including the age-related disease glaucoma and the inherited retinopathy Best disease, which is phenotypically similar to age-related macular degeneration). He then went on to become a Research Fellow in Ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. During his postdoctoral fellowship, he researched ocular regeneration in planarian flatworms and performed patient-specific disease modeling using induced pluripotent stem cells.
In 2015 he joined the advanced microscopy company Nikon Instruments, where he currently works as a national sales manager. He has consistently maintained active aging research projects and his primary research interests are lifespan regulation, healthspan extension, and rejuvenation.
"Aging clocks that can accurately measure a patient’s biological age have the potential to significantly accelerate clinical trials that test anti-aging interventions. Highly robust aging clocks that predict human age in a given tissue can be developed via machine learning analysis of large patient datasets. Moreover, bioinformatics analyses of transcriptomes and proteomes can identify thoughtful molecular targets for anti-aging therapies. They can additionally help us understand the biological processes that are most impacted by aging", says Dr. Adiv Johnson.
Dr. Jamie Justice
Jamie N. Justice, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Section on Gerontology and Geriatrics at Wake Forest School of Medicine. She is an engaged member of the interdisciplinary US-based Translational Geroscience Network, and Chair of Gerontological Society of America’s Emerging Scholars and Professionals Organization. Dr. Justice received her Ph.D. and postdoc at University of Colorado Boulder and second postdoc at Wake Forest School of Medicine where she gained a translational research background (mice, human and nonhuman primate), studying interventions with potential to prevent, delay, or treat age-related functional decline and chronic diseases.
In her current research Dr. Justice studies promising geroscience-guided interventions in clinical trials in older adults. This includes 1) serving on the executive committee of clinical trial Targeting Aging with MEtformin (TAME), which is designed to facilitate U.S. regulatory approval for aging and age-related diseases as a drug target; 2) leading clinical investigations on the biological aging process cellular senescence, including clinical trials of senolytics which mitigate senescent cell burden. Her talk at Undoing Aging 2020 will discuss advances, setbacks, and current approaches in translating senotherapeutic drugs to clinical trials, specifically intermittent dosing with senoltyic combination dasatinib and quercetin in older patient populations.
“I am a first-time Undoing Aging attendee. I am looking forward to fresh global perspectives on aging as a drug target, including new interventions and biomarkers for clinical trials,” says Jamie Justice.
Dr. Jordan Miller
Jordan Miller received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from MIT in 2003 and earned his PhD in Bioengineering from Rice University in 2008.
His primary interests combine synthetic chemistry, 3D printing, microfabrication, and molecular imaging to direct cultured human cells to form more complex organizations of living vessels and tissues for research in regenerative medicine. Precisely engineered in vitro systems at the molecular, micro- and meso-scale are well suited to decouple the relationship between tissue architecture and cell function. These systems are now permitting comprehensive closed-loop design and optimization of large-scale engineered tissues through refinement with computer models of mass transport and assessment of their therapeutic potential in vivo.
"Our vital organs wear out over time. We are working towards the ultimate goal of a ready supply of tissue and organ replacements for human patients, made from their own cells.", says Dr. Jordan Miller.
and many more to come