The Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF) volunteers were all at the Undoing Aging conference in Berlin this last week. Given that they, like most of the insiders, were spending much of their time interviewing and networking, they are little better a source than I am when it comes to reporting on the actual content of the presentations and announcements. Clearly we need to assign someone with a notepad to a seat next year, and make sure he or she stays there. The LEAF folk carried out a great many interviews, and we'll no doubt see those posted in the weeks ahead.
The atmosphere of the event was very much friendly and informal, with plenty of opportunities to join conversations with researchers and advocates during the breaks while having a bite or a drink. The lineup of speakers included many big names, including Mike West, Judith Campisi, Vadim Gladyshev, Jerry Shay, Nir Barzilai, Kelsey Moody, Julie Andersen, and Ruby Yanru Chen-Tsai. Everyone I asked said that the presentations were all top notch, but I can't really say anything about them, given that I spent nearly every moment of my stay running after researchers who were being pulled left and right by people who needed to meet them for whatever reason.
Even though I'd gotten used to asking people for interviews fairly quickly, it still felt funny to have breakfast every morning while Nir Barzilai was sitting with other researchers a few tables away, hearing the unmistakable voice of Aubrey de Grey as he entered the room, or knowing that I could easily bump into, say, MitoSENS lead Matthew O'Connor, as I walked around the hotel. Speaking of MitoSENS, at the end of her talk, Dr. Amutha Boominathan mentioned the upcoming MitoSENS 2 campaign on Lifespan.io, which will be aimed at testing allotopic expression in mice, providing proof of concept that the technique can work in mammals; in other SENS news, during the conference, Aubrey de Grey announced the tenth anniversary of the SENS Research Foundation, and a shiny new website was recently launched in celebration.
Personally, I think the best part of Undoing Aging 2019 was the feeling of being together with so many like-minded people who all agree that aging can and should be defeated; they may all have different reasons to want to see the end of aging, and they may even have different opinions on how and when this will be accomplished, but they're all working together, each in his or her own way, to achieve this common goal. It was heartening to see that they all agree that aging can be brought to its knees, even if they might disagree on methodologies and timeframes; their optimism is what we need to convince the public that a life without aging isn't a pipe dream anymore.