Crowdsourced Microfunding of Research at LongeCity

LongeCity has been around for a while, and is home to an energetic community interested in health and longevity. There is as much talk of supplements, frivolous stuff to my eyes, as there is of serious longevity science aimed at rejuvenation, such as the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, but over the years the folk there seem to have made that work in a sustainable way. The LongeCity crowd are more biased towards supporting rejuvenation research than any other health-focused community you're likely to find out there.

One of the other distinctions of LongeCity is that they have spent some years raising funds from the community for small research projects. They have been doing that for some time longer than the current crop of science crowdfunding startups have existed, for example. Making this work is a hard nut to crack, both from the point of view of practical administration and from convincing people to donate, but plenty of $20-40,000 sized projects exist in longevity-related life science research that are both useful and feasible to undertake. So the LongeCity administrators have established an ongoing grant scheme under which they solicit applications, raise funds, and monitor the progress of projects such as evaluating the effects of transplanting young microglia cells into old mice to see if such a procedure can slow or reverse neurodegeneration.

This ongoing set of initiatives and the efforts of crowdfunding startups like Microryza are just the opening notes in the near future symphony of community science funding. There will be a great deal more open fundraising and many more people helped to advance their own favored causes by careful funding of specific small research projects. Like medical tourism, this is still at the stage of shaking out an industry with standards, best practices, and approaches that work. Growth is yet to come: the foundation work is still underway.

On this topic I noticed a recent post that looks over the LongeCity crowdfunding activities and projects of past years:

Help Conquer Death with Grants and Research Funding from LongeCity!

LongeCity has been doing advocacy and research for indefinite life extension since 2002. With the Methuselah Foundation and the M-Prize's rise in prominence and public popularity over the past few years, it is sometimes easy to forget the smaller-scale research initiatives implemented by other organizations. Anyone can have a great idea, and there are many low-hanging fruits that can provide immense value and reward to the field of life extension without necessitating large-scale research initiatives, expensive and highly-trained staff or costly laboratory equipment.

In the past LongeCity has raised funding by matching donations made by the community to fund a research project that used lasers to ablate (i.e. remove) cellular lipofuscin. LongeCity raised $8,000 dollars by the community which was then matched by up to $16,000 by SENS Founation. LongeCity's second successfully funded research initiative was mitochondrial uncoupling. LongeCity's 3rd success was their project on Microglia Stem Cells in 2010. This project studied the benefits of transplanting microglia in the aging nervous system. LongeCity's fourth research-funding success was on Cryonics in 2012, specifically uncovering the mechanisms of cryoprotectant toxicity.

These are real projects with real benefits that LongeCity is funding. Even if you're not a research scientist, you can have an impact [by helping to fund a] small-scale research grant from LongeCity.


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