Our guest in this episode is Martin O'Dea. As the CEO of Longevity Events Limited, Martin is the principal organiser of the annual Longevity Summit Dublin. In a past life, Martin lectured on business strategy at Dublin Business School. He has been keeping a close eye on the longevity space for more than ten years, and is well placed to speak about how the field is changing. Martin sits on a number of boards including the LEV Foundation, where, full disclosure, so does David.
This conversation is a chance to discover, ahead of time, what some of the highlights are likely to be at this year's Longevity Summit Dublin, which is taking place from 17th to 20th August.
Topics addressed in this episode include:
*) Emma Teeling and the unexpected longevity of bats
*) Steve Austad and a wide range of long-lived animal species, as featured in his recent new book "Methuselah's Zoo"
*) Michael Levin and the role of bioelectrical networks in the coordination of cells during embryogenesis and regeneration
*) Filling four days of talks - "not an issue at all"
*) A special focus on "the hard problems of aging"
*) The work of the LEV (Longevity Escape Velocity) Foundation and the vision of Aubrey de Grey
*) Various signs of growing public interest in intervening in the biology of aging
*) A look back at a conference in London in 2010
*) Two events in 2013: academic publications on "hallmarks of aging", and Google's creation of Calico
*) Multi-million dollar investments in longevity are increasingly becoming "just pocket change... par for the course"
*) Selective interest from media and documentary makers, coupled with some hesitancy
*) Playing tennis at the age of 110 with your great grandchildren - and then what?
*) The possibility of "a ChatGPT moment for longevity" that changes public opinion virtually overnight
*) Why the attainment of RMR (Robust Mouse Rejuvenation) would be a seminal event
*) The rationale for trying a variety of different life-extending interventions in combination - and why pharmaceutical companies and academics have both shied away from such an experiment
*) The four treatments trialled in phase 1 of RMR, with other treatments under consideration for later phases
*) A message to any billionaires listening
*) A message to any politicians listening: the longevity dividend, as expounded by Andrew Scott and Andrew Steele
*) Another potential seminal moment: the TAME trial (Targeting Aging with Metformin), as advocated by Nir Barzilai
*) Why researchers who wanted to work on aging had to work on Parkinson's instead
*) Looking ahead to 2033
*) The role of longevity summits in strengthening the longevity community and setting individuals on new trajectories in their lives
*) The benefits of maintaining a collaborative, open attitude, without the obstacles of NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements)
*) Options for progress accelerating, not just from exponential trends, but from intersections of insights from different fields
*) Beware naïve philosophical concerns about entropy and about the presumed wisdom of evolution
*) The sad example of campaigner Aaron Schwartz
*) Important roles for decentralized science alongside existing commercial models
Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration