Our mission is to extend lifespan by discovering anti-aging compounds. We aim to identify the first drug (or drug cocktail) that demonstrably extends human life and prevents the onset of age-related disease and cognitive decline. Our research plan aims to find at least one intervention resulting in major life extension in an animal within five years.
By contrast, university researchers and basic-science institutes generally focus on understanding the biology of aging more than on developing treatments. Biotech companies, even those working on aging, are constrained to test drugs as treatments for specific diseases, rather than investigating the potential to extend life and prevent disease. We’re taking an independent path by directly working on translational biogerontology: finding out which drugs make organisms live longer.
In particular, most of the largest lifespan-extending effects come from neuroprotective drugs, which prevent the death of brain cells, so those are the first drugs we're testing. We're one of very few institutions working on the effect of neuroprotection on lifespan.
Finding a treatment for aging is a single, audacious and practical goal, like putting a man on the moon. It’s not an accident that the Apollo program, the National Cancer Institute in the 1950’s-1960’s when chemotherapy was first being developed, and the Manhattan Project were all centralized projects, each based around a single mission with a deadline. Open-ended funding for a variety of unrelated projects doesn’t work for those kinds of goals. Instead, we're aiming at a single main target -- increasing lifespan -- and we prioritize research based on how it brings us closer to that target.
We believe that the problems of aging will be solved faster if we share results with the rest of the research community and publish as much data as possible. We also pre-register experiments for greater accountability, using the Open Science Framework. As a nonprofit, we work for the public benefit, which means we can share information freely, instead of guarding our discoveries, as conventional biotech companies do.
Our plans include high-throughput, machine-learning-enabled phenotypic screens, as well as factorial study designs. Unlike most biogerontology labs and biotech companies, our team has machine learning and software engineering as core competencies.
Sarah has a background in machine learning and mathematics with applications to biomedical problems. She earned her PhD from Yale in mathematics, for research in manifold learning algorithms and applications to biochemical networks. She earned her BA in math from Princeton in 2010, and completed her senior thesis on reconstructing the 3-D structure of proteins from cryo-electron microscopy data.
As a machine learning engineer, Sarah has worked on a variety of applications including analyzing biological image data. At Starsky Robotics she built deep learning modules for object detection and lane detection for self-driving trucks that were used in the first completely driverless truck run. At Recursion Pharmaceuticals, she built machine learning models for screening drugs based on microscopic image data of cellular phenotypes for rare diseases. At Palantir, she built machine learning tools for TurboTax’s protections against identity theft.
Sarah is personally committed to the fight against the diseases of aging. She was a founding team member and led the research team at MetaMed, a personalized medicine startup that analyzed the research literature to identify experimental treatments for patients with rare or undiagnosed diseases, and built Bayesian models to predict which treatments would work with a patient’s unique characteristics. After MetaMed closed its doors in 2015, she continued as a scientific consultant, providing targeted literature reviews to clients, through which she built her relationship with LRI’s first donors. Samples of her published science writing and selected consulting projects are available on https://www.sarah-constantin.org/. She is also currently working on a book on the history of cancer research.
Joe supports LRI by offering consultation on research strategy and fundraising, and as a partner in research collaborations (such as our work with his digital vivarium startup Vium.)
Joe is the CTO and co-founder of Vium. Previously, Joe was the primary technical founder of hardware/software startup OQO - which entered the Guinness Book of World Records for building the smallest full-featured PC. His experience spans from biotech research to electronics design. Very experienced in invention, prosecution and monetization of intellectual property, he has over 80 patents granted and pending in fields ranging from biophysics and safety systems to antennas, thermal systems, user interfaces and analog electronics. He has written numerous peer-reviewed publications in fields such as biophysics, genetics, electronics and robotics. Joe holds a Harvard A.B., MIT S.M., and Caltech research fellowship.
Stephanie Dainow currently works with Singularity University at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. She specializes in strategic relations, consultative sales, high level business strategy and uncommon partnerships for multinational Fortune 300 companies. Her role focuses on helping Senior Executives think differently about the future and disruption and also understand the urgency around innovative business models that leverage exponential technologies and solve the world's biggest challenges. She has worked in Global Business Development at Interpublic Group’s holding company in New York City and has been independently consulting on strategic business development, growth, marketing and partnerships for several years in various industries. Stephanie has a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Law from the top public school in the Northeast and was a Board Member for TFE, a 501c3 whose vision is to inspire, empower and encourage Harlem-based youth to pursue educational and career goals in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) fields.