Interview with Aubrey de Grey — Scientific Advisor at VitaDAO

3 min readMay 10, 2021

Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a biomedical research charity that performs and funds laboratory research dedicated to combating aging.

His research interests encompass the characterization of all the types of self-inflicted cellular and molecular damage that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and obviate that damage.

Dr. de Grey will participate in the longevity working group and advise on the general strategy of the DAO. He will serve as a bridge between the longevity and Web3 communities and help educate VitaDAO members about longevity.

Image reference: Rejuvenation biotechnology: Aubrey De Grey at TEDxVienna


What personally fascinates you about the field of longevity? How did you get into it?

Aubrey de Grey: “It’s not so much fascination as incredulity that so many otherwise rational, smart people are not interested in it. That’s really the main thing that got me into it, to switch from AI research. I would love to be able to leave the crusade to others, but there’s still some way to go before I become superfluous.”

What recent progress in the field do you consider the most notable?

Aubrey de Grey: “Far and away, it’s the emergence of investor interest over the past few years. I wouldn’t want to point to any specific technological strand — they’ve all been making good progress. But the arrival of private-sector financial support, in increasingly large amounts, is accelerating the development of all the required technologies simultaneously, and enormously.”

…the arrival of private-sector financial support, in increasingly large amounts, is accelerating the development of all the required technologies simultaneously, and enormously.

Why are you interested in taking part in this VitaDAO web3/blockchain experiment?

Aubrey de Grey: “There are many investment strategies that work, and a given investor’s choice between them is influenced by many factors, lots of them subjective and personal. Thus, intrinsically, the best thing for a new investment sector — call it an asset class if you like — is the availability of a really broad portfolio of diversified assets”

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What do you hope decentralized funding mechanisms can address in the future?

Aubrey de Grey: “Decentralisation is pretty clearly the way of the future in many walks of life, but especially in situations where people want to spend money in ways that have high uncertainty, and they want to hedge their bets. I have high hopes.”

Can you give your broad vision/dream for the future of biotech/longevity?

Aubrey de Grey: “Broadly, I see biotech continuing to advance at a steady pace for the foreseeable future, and I see that translating very non-linearly into longevity advances. Sometime soon — I would put my 50/50 estimate at 15 years from now — I think we will reach what I have called “longevity escape velocity,” where we have become good enough at repairing the self-inflicted damage of aging that we are buying humanity time faster than time is passing.”

~My guess is (50% chance): 15 years from now we’ll be buying humanity time faster than time is passing.

More about Aubrey

Aubrey de Grey is a public speaker who gives 40–50 invited talks per year at scientific conferences, universities, companies in areas ranging from pharma to life insurance to the mass public.

He is also an Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA in computer science and Ph.D. in biology from the University of Cambridge.

Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association and sits on numerous journals and organizations’ editorial and scientific advisory boards.

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VitaDAO is the world’s first decentralized intellectual property collective, funding and commissioning research into human longevity.