Fundraising for Mitochondrial Uncoupling Research

As you might recall, the Immortality Institute started their search for a new research project to fund earlier this year. This is a follow-on to raising funds for laser ablation of lipofuscin last year. I am hopeful that the Institute can make this a regular yearly feature, and not least because establishing reliable methods for crowdsourcing life science funding is an important development for the future of research.

The Institute has settled on the project to be funded, which is an investigation of the phenomenon of mitochondrial uncoupling:

Scientific research is the only way to conquer the blight of involuntary death. The community isn't rich, so we pick our priorities quite carefully. The mitochondroial uncoupling project ticks all the important boxes:
  • it investigates a crucial mechanism of how and why we age
  • it may show the path towards practical interventions in the aging process
  • it is small enough that your donation, every cent of which will be matched by ImmInst, *will* make a real difference
  • it is led by a reputable scientist who will respond to community questions and update us periodically on the progress of the research

Any donation, of any amount is appreciated. We need at least $6000 to get going, with the matched funding in place that means at least $3000 from donors like you. Any surplus would go into the next scientific research initiative that is already in the pipeline.

You can read the project proposal for the work that will take place in a research laboratory in Singapore at the Institute website, and discuss fundraising and prospects in the forums - even direct questions and suggestions to the researchers. This sort of transparency in fundraising and the research process is something that will become increasingly important as costs of life science research continue to fall:

Using C. elegans, we propose to answer the following questions:

1) Can chemical uncoupling be used to significantly reduce mitochondrial ROS production in vivo? At what dose of uncoupler is this effect maximal?

2) Does reduction of mitochondrial ROS production result in decreased mtDNA damage, preserved mitochondrial function and protection of mtDNA integrity?

3) Does (1) lead to lifespan extension and, if so, can this extension be plausibly explained by (2)?


We are in an ideal position to carry out this investigation because we have already established the relevant assays, including novel mtDNA related assays, as part of ongoing investigations in our laboratory. The proposed project would be embedded into these ongoing investigations with full support from the [primary investigator] and would take advantage of the specialized nematode facilities, standard lab equipment and reagents available in the Centre. A recently graduated student with more than two years of nematode specific laboratory experience could be recruited for 6 months to carry out the work proposed. For this we require budget sufficient to hire one recent graduate for a period of 6 months. Assuming a 45h week, we would therefore require no more than $6000 to carry out the entire project.

I think this is a worthwhile effort, and encourage you to donate. We absolutely want to see many, many more grassroots organizations adopt this sort of fundraising operation: pick good projects that get the most out of modest donations, and make the most of new technology and established facilities. As is always the case, I'm not asking you to do anything I haven't done myself: I donated $1000 to the project today, and consider it money well spent.


$1000 donation? Wow - hats off to you Reason, that is a significant donation to the cause. That has inspired me to make a larger than normal donation - $200. That puts me into (distant) second place in contribution size to you.

Posted by: Dan C at August 24th, 2010 8:20 AM

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