Introduction and Interview with VitaDAO Advisor Professor David M. Wilson III
David M. Wilson III is a Professor of Neurosciences at Hasselt University and Founder & CEO of Boost Scientific, with over 30 years of experience in the field of life sciences. His independent and collaborative work contributes significantly to advancing research in DNA repair, premature aging, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease.
David advises VitaDAO on its general strategy as an organization in the longevity space, and drive the project forward by acquiring and developing longevity therapeutics.
What personally fascinates you about the field of longevity, and how did you get into it?
David: “That’s not a simple question, and my journey was not direct. When I began my graduate school training, I elected to pursue a career in an area of recognized expertise within the institution, i.e., DNA repair.
At the time, DNA repair was relegated to a small number of rare diseases, such as xeroderma pigmentosum, and was sort of a niche scientific field, with a focus mostly on disease mechanisms related to cancer. Of course, since then, the field of DNA repair has exploded, touching on virtually every molecular process and disease, as well as the phenomenon of aging. In fact, genomic instability is considered a driver hallmark of the aging process.
…genomic instability is considered a driver hallmark of the aging process.
After starting my independent career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where the interest was examining DNA repair mechanisms as susceptibility pathways with respect to low-dose ionizing radiation exposure, I moved to the National Institute on Aging, Intramural Research Program in 2002. It was at that time that I began to envision how the repairing of oxidative DNA damage might play a critical role in aging and age-related disease — basically an extension of the free radical theory of aging.
What fascinates me about the field of longevity is how complex it is, which presents both an enormous challenge and a need for multifactorial and integrated efforts, but also loads of opportunity.”
What recent progress in the field do you consider the most notable?
David: “To avoid offending any of my colleagues, I would say the progress in gero-sciences in general. Like DNA repair, aging was really a niche field for many decades, but in recent years, interest in the topic has exploded.
That likely stems from the changing aging demographics in our society (many of us are getting older), but is also due to the advancing capabilities in science to carry out large-scale, integrative investigations. What was primarily a field that was focused on caloric restriction, resveratrol, rapamycin, and metformin, now includes things like numerous analogs to the original molecules, senolytics, and many more targeting the molecular pathways of aging.
Indeed, the anti-aging intervention industry is a massive movement at present, with new ideas and reagents being discovered and another start-up coming online seemingly routinely.”
Why are you interested in taking part in this Web3/blockchain experiment?
David: ”I’ll be honest, the blockchain idea is new to me, but I’ve always been a proponent of scientific outreach, and I think the idea of engaging the broader community is a worthwhile concept. If I can share my experience and knowledge with people, in the hopes of providing informative insights on how to tackle this massive problem of aging and age-related disease, I’m happy to do so.”
What do you hope decentralized funding mechanisms can address in the future?
David: ”I think decentralized funding simply provides everyone a chance to be a part of not only the drug development process but of the associated profits. It’s just one more piece of the puzzle to help facilitate the discovery of new therapies and interventions. Given the broad skepticism in today’s society, it provides a real opportunity for those that are motivated, by whatever reason, to get involved and experience first-hand the process of pharmaceutical discovery.”
It’s just one more piece of the puzzle to help facilitate the discovery of new therapies and interventions.
Can you give your broad vision for the future of longevity?
David: “I believe we all envision a day where we, using safe and simple interventions that are affordable, can live a long and healthy life, without the hardships that many experience in the final years or even decades of their life. With greater openness and collaborative spirit, for which I hope VitaDAO is just the beginning, I believe this vision is attainable.”
Professor David M. Wilson III currently holds Professor in the Neurosciences Group position at Hasselt University and is Founder of Boost Scientific functioning as a professional consultant. He was formerly a Section Chief at The National Institute on Aging in the Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology.
With a Ph.D. from Stritch School of Medicine and post-doc training from Harvard School of Public Health, David has gained a diverse foundation of expertise from various academic, medical, and government research institutions.
VitaDAO is an international, decentralized project and will launch in the coming weeks. If you wish to participate, join our discord and get to know our community of researchers, web3 experts and longevity enthusiasts.
— Website (vitadao.com)
— Twitter (twitter.com/vita_dao)
— Discord Community & Working Groups (discord.gg/SMz2RRYCY5)
— Telegram Community (t.me/vitadao)
— Would you like to get involved? You can fill out our contact form (airtable.com/shrgouAxrM9jsjUlF)