SENS Research Foundation is the Watering Hole, Not the Herd

If you visit Fight Aging! on a regular basis you'll know that I strongly favor the SENS Research Foundation and the approach taken by its founders, advisors, and staff to speed the development of human rejuvenation. I think we could do with another ten or twenty similar organizations, and certainly a hundredfold increase in the funding for rejuvenation research, but right now we have just the one. So send the Foundation a donation if you're feeling flush today, because there's no-one else out there at the moment who can do as much for your future longevity with that money.

Or rather I should say that there are dozens and possibly hundreds of people out there who can do as much for your future longevity with those funds - it's just that you don't know who they are. Would you know enough to chase down William Bains in the UK and ask him to work on AGE-breaker drugs for glucosepane, for example? Or pick the group at the Buck Institute best placed work on ways to selectively destroy senescent cells by interfering in their characteristic biology? Or have Janko Nikolich-┼Żugich in Arizona work on restoring the aged immune system by removing unwanted T cells? Of course not. But there is a whole world of researchers out there with useful specialist knowledge and who are these days quite willing to work on the foundation technologies needed for human rejuvenation - provided that the funding can be found.

Organizations like the SENS Research Foundation are the interface between you and the research community: the Foundation staff provide domain knowledge and relationships needed in order to direct funds effectively. Without their work it would be impossible for folk like you or I to help make this field of science move faster - we wouldn't know where to start or who to talk to, never mind where to send funds, and finding out would be so costly in comparison to what we could donate as to make the whole exercise pointless.

The SENS Research Foundation is the watering hole, not the herd. It is the gateway, not the city. It is the door to a network of researchers who are interested in human rejuvenation, but that network is a greater and broader thing than the Foundation. I bring up this point because many people look no further than the gateway: they see the SENS Research Foundation and think of an enclosed group, off to one side of the scientific community, doing its own thing in isolation, and therefore easy to dismiss. For all that this point of view is absolutely incorrect, it is not uncommon. You'll see it liberally applied to biotechnology companies, noted laboratories, and other organizations that are also gateways to broader scientific networks. People look at an organization, see its staff performing some research work in its own domain, but fail to see beyond that to take in the great tree of relationships and connections behind the name plate.

The greatest achievement of the folk behind the SENS Research Foundation (and the Methuselah Foundation before it) is their construction of a lasting and growing network of supporters of rejuvenation research within the life sciences. This was quite the task over the past decade and involved a lot of persuasion, changing the culture of the research community to become more receptive towards longevity science, building relationships, holding conferences, and tireless advocacy. It is that web of relationships, and not the existence of the Foundation per se, that enables growth in funding and progress towards the goal of ending aging. As for all areas of human endeavor, it is relationships and networking that make the world turn: the Foundation is a mailbox, a guidebook, and a banner for a larger community, an outgrowth of that community even, and it is the community that gets things done.

This is worth bearing in mind, because it's all to easy to focus on organizations rather than people and thus miss the whole point of the exercise.


Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.