Jim Mellon Funds Aging Research at University of Oxford

Jim Mellon is doing a fair amount to help push the research and medical communities towards the development of therapies to slow and reverse the progression of aging. He is quite vocal in the business community, and is one of the founders of Juvenescence, very much involved in building portions of a longevity-focused biotechnology industry. He wrote a book on that topic as a part of convincing the broader investment community that this is an important new field. He has set up conferences, both for industry and for the broader community, such as the Longevity Forum. Here is an example of another approach, which is to fund institutional research programs to advance the state of the science.

We are delighted to announce that Jim Mellon (1975, PPE), British investor and philanthropist, has gifted £1 million to support and advance the study of Longevity Science at Oxford, and specifically at Oriel. The gift will establish the Mellon Longevity Science Programme at Oriel to help the most vulnerable in society by advancing research into health resilience in ageing populations. The gift is the largest of its kind dedicated to Longevity Science to a UK university, making Oriel and Oxford a focal point for efforts to improve future health resilience by boosting the immunity and healthspan of ageing populations. More specifically, the gift will support the work of Professor Lynne Cox, George Moody Fellow in Biochemistry at Oriel, and a principal investigator in the Department of Biochemistry. Her lab studies the molecular basis of human ageing, with the aim of reducing the morbidity and frailty associated with old age through better health resilience.

"There has never been a more important time to address the frailty of human health. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the huge economic and social costs connected to the lack of immune resilience in our increasingly ageing population and the need for greater scientific research into this area. Boosting immunoresilience among the most vulnerable in society and advancing healthspan are critical to helping more people reach their potential as well as, more urgently, improving our collective resilience in the face of future pandemics. Oxford's leadership in the field of research and understanding of the ageing process makes it a natural home to advance longevity science and support the growth of the longevity industry, and I am proud to support this work."

Link: https://www.oriel.ox.ac.uk/about-college/news-events/news/orielensis-jim-mellon-gifts-%C2%A31-million-aid-research-improving-future


Giving 1 million to SENS would be infinitely more usefull than to any "traditional" institution with limited to no efficacy, like Calico. I really don't understand because Jim is known to be a good friend with Aubrey, but instead giving money to others ?

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 19th, 2020 8:28 AM

@Jonathan Weaver

Good question.

Aubrey himself has donated more than 10M dollars already. 1 Million is not enough to do much of research. Rather it will attract attention and show that [anti] aging research is not quackery and is a worthy goal for donation and even investment. This alone could bring way more money than enthusiasts donating to SENS.

IMHO, If we ask the question, how come the extremely rich people like Besos or Bill Gates who for sure at not ignorant nor stupid, and probably quite smarter than the average don't bother with anti-aging , we have to try being in their shoes. While accelerating senolytics and calorie mimetic research(and other things in the pipeline) now can easily buy each on of them 10 years of life expectancy and health-span for a few tens of millions. Huge amount for me, rounding error for them. However, they are besieged by all kind of charities and business proposals so they have to be quite skeptical and have strong filters. Anti-aging gets lost in those filters. Once it is shown within reputalble institutions that it is a valid and worthy field of research it will be on their radar.

Posted by: cuberat at May 19th, 2020 1:05 PM

So this money will go to study false aging, AKA progeria. What a waste...

Posted by: Antonio at May 19th, 2020 5:39 PM

What is great about this, isn't so much the amount of money, but is, instead, the widening of a potential audience through recognition of a respected academic institution. Greater than that alone, the validity of such allows those with hopes and dreams, to apply their intellect and education towards something that is genuinely exciting, and that they are personally passionate about, without the stigma from friends, family or colleagues, who could damper that excitement, cause trepidation in the openness of such discussion, or worse of all, shut it down as being "impossible", which is just the skeptic's way of saying "If I can't invent it, neither can anyone".

Person by person, institution by institution, this is catching on. Telling people about this now, is like foreseeing everyone using laptops and wifi, let alone smartphones, back in the 80's, when the Apple IIGS was the hottest new technology in the school computer lab. The number of people who are now looking at the science of aging from a realistic perspective, is probably like the number of people who had an Apple IIGS or Commodore or Amiga at home 30 years ago. Sure, it was more than just a lone few, but not far beyond that - and then gaming and programming and office applications and Windows took hold; and as word began to spread, it popularized to the point where what once seemed bookish or nerdy, now seems so commonplace, that it seems behind the times not to be at least cognizant of the fact that computers have become rather essential to daily life, much like mitochondria will be seen as such 20 years(*or less) from now, as tech continues to merge with bio, and the curious minds of the internet meld, courtesy of the seeds planted by Jim Mellon at Oxford.

The more eyes and ears on this project, the more minds; and more minds will equate to more data, more funding, more discussion, greater popularization, and a need seen by the future common collective as having to be solved. Once a human being becomes aware of a problem, such as a plumbing leak, the urgency to attend to it, and solve it, will become greater and greater as it grows, especially once solutions are seen as being within reach; and the more and more people age, the more and more this will be like humanity's plumbing leak, that finally can't be ignored, especially when institutions begin displaying proof of concept to varying degrees, and then more and more dots get connected, as urgency increases, and the collective plumbing leak gets solved, leaving the house livable and lively once again. Solving the human aging problem in a few decades or less, will be like solving household issues, or car engine problems, today. Tricky and challenging at times, but most certainly not beyond the realm of fixable. And the best way to expedite this, is to make it an international issue, which, going back to the beginning, shows the importance of a modest $1M contribution, and how that comparatively small seed, can grow roots, and then branches, and can then blossom and show its true colors once its season arrives.

Posted by: Adam at May 19th, 2020 10:51 PM
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