A Few Recent Conference Reports from the Aging Research Community

There are more than enough conferences focused on aging and the treatment of aging these days to collectively be called a conference circuit, I think. A researcher in the field of aging could find two or more scientific events every month to attend, and the business side of conference hosting is catching up. I had to give up noting every event of interest a number of years ago for the sake of space, and I know of at least one individual who provides a service to the community by maintaining what is becoming quite a lengthy calendar of conferences.

That there are more conferences rather than fewer conferences is a sign of health for the field. When people hold conferences, they do so because there is a sizable scientific or professional organization with the funds to spare, or because a for-profit conference host sees an opportunity to make a profit by providing a conference series as a service to the community. As a rough metric of growth, it is helpful. A field with twenty conferences in a year is better funded and moving more rapidly than one with two.

Today I'll point out a small selection of reports that cover conferences held earlier this year. While looking through these, consider that next year will start off much the same way. There is a good selection of longevity-related conferences and meetings early next year: Longevity Therapeutics, a number of other investor-focused events running alongside the big JP Morgan healthcare conference in San Francisco, the Longevity Leaders event in London, and of course Undoing Aging 2019 in Berlin at the end of the first quarter.

A Summary of the 5th Annual Aging and Drug Discovery Forum 2018

"Why do we age?"; "Can we intervene in the aging process?"; and if so, what approaches should aging science take to transform research into viable therapeutic interventions to improve public health? Understanding the mechanisms of aging will be of vital importance to answering these questions. However, several obstacles stand in the way of generating efficacious and safe interventions that extend the period of healthy life. At the 5th Annual Aging and Drug Discovery Forum which was held during the Basel Life Congress, Basel, Switzerland, September 12-13, 2018, leading aging experts from academia and industry came together to discuss top issues in aging research. Here, we provide a brief overview of the presented results and discussion points.

A Report from the 2018 International Society on Aging and Disease Conference

The International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD) recently held its third international conference in Nice, France, bringing together researchers - and longevity activists - from around the world. Prof. Gilson founded the Ircan Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging in Nice in 2012. "It was perhaps the first institute that specifically aimed to couple the themes of aging and cancer in the same laboratory, even if the links between them had been known to some extent. That was its originality. We've laid the foundations - to have the expertise, the right people, the right models - and I think we're going to have important answers for the role of telomeres in aging and, more generally, cellular senescence, which is the favorite current target of a lot of pharmaceutical or fundamental research that we are revisiting via our original models."

Thoughts on the 2018 Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing

When I first learned about the possibility of achieving human rejuvenation through biotechnological means, little did I know that this would lead me to meet many of the central figures in the field during a conference some seven years later - let alone that I would be speaking at the very same event. Yet, I've had the privilege to attend the Fourth Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing (EHA) held in Brussels on November 8-10, an experience that gave me a feel of just how real the prospect of human rejuvenation is. The first day of the conference was basically a journey into the world of cellular senescence: methods of targeting senescent cells, the SASP, drug delivery systems, and so forth; however, other topics, such as the extracellular matrix, transcriptomics, and stem cells, were also discussed. A great deal more researchers and other people otherwise involved in the community were present on the first morning than there were at the pre-conference meeting; the peak was probably during the second day, which saw a wider variety of topics, including genomics, DNA repair, bioinformatics, and the first panel of the conference.


How come we never hear about human hibernation as an approach to longevity any more? I woke up in my normal routine to mostly darkness this morning. Assuming I could afford it, I wouldn't mind slumbering until the first week of March, with occasional interruptions for Christmas, New Years, and stress relief with the wife. I wish someone would find a pill or some bear genes we could CRISPR in to make this happen.

Posted by: Tom Schaefer at December 11th, 2018 7:24 AM

@Tom Schaefer: The hibernation approach seems to work well for my friends tortoise who's 79 now. He walks around all day in the sunshine every Spring/Summer when he's awoken. Here in the UK the cold mornings and dark nights (from 4PM onwards) are a nightmare. I'd love to skip November-February each yr.

Posted by: Steven B at December 11th, 2018 8:16 AM

@Reason, why do you more focus on ageing conferences, raither than more practical regenerative medicine or bioengineering conferences? Do you plan to cover them?

Posted by: Ariel at December 11th, 2018 11:47 AM

@Arial: Too much to cover, too little time, and I'm not well connected in that part of the field. Besides, plenty of sites cover regenerative medicine and bioengineering. I don't think I'd be adding anything.

Posted by: Reason at December 11th, 2018 11:56 AM

2018 was my 4th (out of 5) Annual Aging and Drug Discovery Forum and could truly witness the dynamics of the field.

Posted by: albedo at December 16th, 2018 2:28 AM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. 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.