Michael Rae is the co-author of Ending Aging, a research assistant at the SENS Foundation, and a long-standing figure of note in the calorie restriction community: "I would say that one exciting recent development is that, with an increase in our research budget this year (based on performance last year and a more optimistic financial outlook from many of our donors), we've recently approved funding for several quite important and exciting research projects. One is a project whose ultimate aim is to tissue engineer a new thymus. The thymus is a gland located near the breast bone, where T-cells (an important immune cell) mature. The thymus shrinks with age, and the tissues on the outer layer of the organ where T-cells mature lose their architectural integrity, leading to a progressive failure to produce new T-cells to fight novel infections. The thymus engineering project, which is underway with SENS Foundation support at the Wake Forest University Institute for Regenerative Medicine by Dr. John Jackson and colleagues, is to use a trick that you may have heard of having been used to make a new rat heart using the tissue scaffolding of another's. ... The fifth SENS Conference was, indeed, quite amazing! Unlike the previous conference, this time much more of the work being presented had already been published; it was none the less remarkable to see just how much had been accomplished in the last year, from restoring cognitive function in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease using a drug that boosted up the ability of their brains' lysosomes ('garbage disposal systems' as it were) to break down the sticky beta-amyloid protein [to] a just-begun study on a very bold and ambitious way [to] restore the loss of cells and degraded circuitry of the aging neocortex (the area of the brain where, arguably, our highest, most 'human' cognitive activity occurs)."