We are capable of so much, technologically, culturally, and personally, and in that spirit, I have started an initiative titled "MoreLife". MoreLife is a result of one of my deepest yearnings: for humankind to have an option to live longer and healthier. And it is inspired by researchers in aging and longevity, folks in tech who dedicate their free time to meaningful projects, and philosophers behind efforts such as DataKind, Code for America, Scikit-Learn and many others.
We are now at a juncture in the aging field: year over year, there is an exponential increase in data availability, but not necessarily in availability of data scientists, artificial intelligence practitioners, software engineers, data engineers, machine learning experts, and more. The goal of MoreLife is to bridge this gap between aging research labs and machine learning / engineering expertise. Think of it like this: Tech for MoreLife (where more = better well-being + extended longevity).
The initiative is made up of two groups of people: researchers and individuals. Researchers in aging share a list of problems that are slowing them down. Individuals, then, try to help eliminate these problems. Individuals in the tech sector are already building data and engineering projects in their free time, then why not contribute to solving one of the biggest problems impacting humankind. And contributors will get a lot more than a generic blog post or a tutorial out of it. They'll be able to work on cutting edge research problems with some of the best aging and longevity researchers in the field. And they can show off your work and the impact of their work.
I'm launching this initiative in the amazing NYC/NJ area, sign up below if you're interested.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
I'm discussing More Life with several aging labs and researchers in the NYC/NJ area, and one of the aging labs and researchers in the country has helped identify a set of initial projects volunteers can start with.
Image analysis: there are images from experimental cellular and animal (tissue) models of aging and age-related disorders. In these images, # for specific fluorescent structures per cell need to be counted and changes of patterns in stainings need to be recognized. Given any image, this requires counting how many flourescent structures there are and how they change over time.
Data organization and analysis: comparisons of changes in proteins, RNA and metabolites across experimental models of aging or age reversing interventions need to be made.
Database creation / data engineering: development of a database of animal colony records and integration of different data generated from each mouse model.
Website development to request and share resources across labs. Projects 3 and 4 are general projects and will be usable by other research labs. Get in touch for details.]
More projects from other labs are coming soon. Details of the lab and the projects will be provided during a meeting (coming soon).
If you are a researcher, laboratory, or a company working in aging and longevity who could use help from the tech sector, then please get in touch.
If you are an individual who can help (be creative), then please sign up. I am sorry — there is no funding and there are no prizes, yet. But I'm working on it. I promise to work hard to make it easier to contribute.
PROBLEM (Statement of need)
Aging is one of life's greatest mysteries. It is also a self-destructing time bomb and needs to be stopped.
Call for participation. Sign up. It's time for MoreLife.
In humans, aging represents the accumulation of (genetic, molecular, cellular, etc.) changes over time. These changes have physical, psychological, and social impact on individuals and society. Majority (or at least a significant proportion) of humans experience the following symptoms of aging during their lifetimes (and many more):
As you age, the risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, metabolic, and other diseases rises sharply.
The worst part: Of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the world, about 100,000 die from age-related causes. As Aubrey de Grey says, “it’s about thirty World Trade Centers, sixty Katrinas, every single day”.
That’s scary. Insanely scary. So scary that it should be unacceptable.
In industrialized countries, this number is even higher — around 90% of people die from age-related causes. Yes, this bucket is broad, but that’s because aging comes with a broad range of deterioration.
In addition to the physical, psychological, and the social cost, there's also a massive economic cost associated with these diseases. It has been estimated that delaying the onset of these diseases, in the US, by just two years would save over $7 trillion over the next fifty years.
"No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking." - Voltaire
Because it’s time.
Time for more life. Time to add more years to life and more life to those years.
I believe humanity should have a choice — to live or to die, to age or not to age. And we should have this choice as early as possible.
This has always been one of humanity's dreams, and now because of progress in basic research and technology, we are close to realizing this dream.
I envision a world where breakthroughs in aging and longevity are accelerated. And they are accelerated because we:
mobilize to form a cohesive and constructive social force that advocates for a longer and healthier life
connect and collaborate in a way that brings together some of the most engaged technical individuals, researchers, laboratories, and drug companies.