Open main menu

Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey (/dəˈɡr/; born 20 April 1963)[7][8] is an English author and biomedical gerontologist.[9][10][11][12] He is the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation and VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, Inc.[13][2] He is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and co-author of Ending Aging (2007). He is known for his view that medical technology may enable human beings alive today not to die from age-related causes.[14] He is also an amateur mathematician who has contributed to the study of the Hadwiger–Nelson problem.[15]

Aubrey de Grey
Aubrey de Grey.jpg
In Los Angeles, 2008
Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper De Grey

(1963-04-20) 20 April 1963 (age 56)
London, England
ResidenceLos Gatos, California, United States
EducationHarrow School
Alma materTrinity Hall, Cambridge
(MA, PhD)
OccupationChief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation[1]
VP of New Technology discovery at AgeX Therapeutics[2]
Adjunct professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology[3]
Known for
Adelaide Carpenter
(m. 1991; div. 2017)
Parent(s)Cordelia de Grey[6]

His research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can prevent the aging process.[16] He works on the development of what he calls "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence" (SENS), a collection of proposed techniques to rejuvenate the human body and stop aging. To this end, he has identified seven types of molecular and cellular damage caused by essential metabolic processes. SENS is a proposed panel of therapies designed to repair this damage.[17]

De Grey is an international adjunct professor of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology,[18] a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America,[19] the American Aging Association, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.[20] He has been interviewed in recent years in a number of news sources, including CBS 60 Minutes, the BBC, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post, TED, Popular Science, The Colbert Report, Time, the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, and The Joe Rogan Experience. He is also a member of Flooved advisory board.


Early life and educationEdit

De Grey was born and brought up in London, England.[21] He told The Observer that he never knew his father, and that his mother Cordelia, an artist, encouraged him in the areas she herself was the weakest: science and mathematics.[22] He was educated at Sussex House School[23] and Harrow School. He attended the University of Cambridge, and studied at its constituent college of Trinity Hall. He graduated with a BA in computer science in 1985.[24]


After graduation in 1985, de Grey joined Sinclair Research Ltd as an artificial intelligence and software engineer. In 1986, he cofounded Man-Made Minions Ltd to pursue the development of an automated formal program verifier. At a graduate party in Cambridge, de Grey met fruit fly geneticist Adelaide Carpenter whom he would later marry. Through her he was introduced to the intersection of biology and programming when her boss needed someone who knew about computers and biology to take over the running of a database on fruit flies.[25] He educated himself in biology by reading journals and textbooks, attending conferences, and being tutored by Professor Carpenter.[26][27] From 1992 to 2006, he was in charge of software development at the university's Genetics Department for the FlyBase genetic database.[28]

Cambridge awarded de Grey a PhD in biology on 9 December 2000.[24][29] The degree was based on his 1999 book The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging, in which de Grey wrote that obviating damage to mitochondrial DNA might by itself extend lifespan significantly, though he said it was more likely that cumulative damage to mitochondria is a significant cause of senescence, but not the single dominant cause.


De Grey argues that most of the fundamental knowledge needed to develop effective anti-aging medicine already exists, and that the science is ahead of the funding. He works to identify and promote specific technological approaches to the reversal of various aspects of aging, or, as de Grey puts it, "... the set of accumulated side effects from metabolism that eventually kills us."[30]

As of 2005, his work centered on a detailed plan called Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which is aimed at preventing age-related physical and cognitive decline. In March 2009, he cofounded the SENS Research Foundation (named SENS Foundation until early 2013), a non-profit organisation based in California, United States, where he currently serves as Chief Science Officer. The Foundation "works to develop, promote and ensure widespread access to regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of aging,"[31] focusing on the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. Before March 2009, the SENS research program was mainly pursued by the Methuselah Foundation, cofounded by de Grey.

A major activity of the Methuselah Foundation is the Methuselah Mouse Prize,[32] a prize designed to incentivize research into effective life extension interventions by awarding monetary prizes to researchers who stretch the lifespan of mice to unprecedented lengths. De Grey stated in March 2005 "if we are to bring about real regenerative therapies that will benefit not just future generations, but those of us who are alive today, we must encourage scientists to work on the problem of aging." The prize reached 4.2 USD million in February 2007.

In 2005, he was the subject of two highly critical editorials accompanying an article in MIT Technology Review.[33]

In 2007, de Grey wrote the book Ending Aging with the assistance of Michael Rae.[34] It provides a detailed account of the science, politics and social challenges of the entire SENS agenda.[35]

In a 2008 broadcast on the Arte German & French TV, de Grey claimed that the first human to live 1,000 years was probably already alive, and might even be between 50 and 60 years old already.[36]

Since 2008, soon after he began speaking publicly about his gerontological theories, de Grey has been scientific advisor for the Campaign for Aging Research (C.A.R.).[37]

As of 2013, the SENS Research Foundation has an annual budget of $4 million.[38]

Pro-aging tranceEdit

de Grey, 2012

The "pro-aging trance" is a term coined by de Grey to describe "the impulsion to leap to embarrassingly unjustified conclusions in order to put the horror of aging out of one's mind".[39] According to de Grey, the pro-aging trance or "pro-aging edifice"[40] is a psychological strategy which people use to cope with aging, and which is rooted in the belief that aging is not only immutable and unavoidable, but desirable in some sense, as part of the natural or divine order that should not be perturbed. De Grey refers, in this regard, to the general public's ambivalence towards aging. For example, he states that SENS research is often misunderstood or misrepresented as likely to lead to prolonging, rather than postponing, the period of decrepitude characteristic of old age—a belief that de Grey calls the "Tithonus error". He describes this "pro-aging" stance as an irrational response[41] to the perceived inevitability of aging, and compares it with related ideas and experimental findings in terror management theory.[42] However, de Grey believes that defeating aging is feasible and that the pro-aging trance represents a huge barrier to combating aging.[43]

Funding of SENS Research FoundationEdit

In 2011, de Grey inherited roughly $16.5 million on the death of his mother.[44] Of this he assigned $13 million to fund SENS research, which by 2013 had the effect of roughly doubling the SENS Research Foundation's yearly budget to $4 million.[citation needed] Other donors who have given millions to the Foundation include investor Peter Thiel.[44] The foundation also has yearly funding drives that have been successful with some significant donors offering matching grants for members of the public who donate.[45][46]

AgeX Therapeutics, Inc.Edit

In July 2017 de Grey was appointed Vice President of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, a startup in the Longevity space helmed by Michael D. West, PhD.[2][13][47]

The seven types of aging damageEdit

De Grey proposed the following types of aging damage:

  1. Mutations – in chromosomes causing cancer due to nuclear mutations/epimutations:
    These are changes to the nuclear DNA (nDNA), the molecule that contains genetic information in eukaryotes, or to proteins which bind to the nDNA. Certain mutations can lead to cancer, and, according to de Grey, non-cancerous mutations and epimutations do not contribute to aging within a normal lifespan, so cancer is the only endpoint of these types of damage that must be addressed.
  2. Mutations – in mitochondria:
    Mitochondria are components in eukaryotic cells that are important for energy production. They contain their own genetic material, and mutations to their DNA can affect a cell's ability to function properly. Indirectly, these mutations may accelerate many aspects of aging.
  3. Junk – inside of cells, aka intracellular aggregates:
    Cells are constantly breaking down proteins and other molecules that are no longer useful or which can be harmful. Those molecules which can't be digested simply accumulate as junk inside of cells. Atherosclerosis, macular degeneration and many kinds of neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's) are associated with this problem.
  4. Junk – outside of cells, aka extracellular aggregates:
    Harmful junk protein can also accumulate outside of cells. The amyloid senile plaque seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients is one example.[48]
  5. Cells – too few, aka cellular loss:
    Some of the cells in bodies cannot be replaced, or can be replaced only very slowly – more slowly than they die. This decrease in cell number causes the heart to become weaker with age, causes Parkinson's disease, and impairs the immune system.
  6. Cells – too many, aka cellular senescence:
    This is a phenomenon where some cells can no longer divide, but also do not die and let others divide. They may also do other things that they're not supposed to, like secreting proteins that may be harmful. Cell senescence has been proposed as cause or consequence of diabetes mellitus type 2.[49] Immune senescence is also caused by this.[citation needed]
  7. Extracellular protein crosslinks:
    Cells are held together by special linking proteins. When too many cross-links form between cells in a tissue, the tissue can lose its elasticity and cause problems including arteriosclerosis and presbyopia.[30][50]


De Grey is also a cryonicist, having signed up with Alcor.[51] He has supported and advocated human cryopreservation, for example by signing an open letter to support research into cryonics,[52] and by being an advisor to a UK cryonics and cryopreservation advocacy group.[53]


On April 8, 2018 de Grey posted a paper to the arXiv explicitly constructing a unit-distance graph which cannot be colored with fewer than 5 colors. The previous lower bound is due to the problem's original proposal in 1950 by Hugo Hadwiger and Edward Nelson.[54] The result has been discussed by mathematician Gil Kalai[55] and computer scientist Scott Aaronson with Aaronson writing that there has been independent verification using SAT-solvers.[56] De Grey's graph has 1581-vertices but it has since been reduced to 633 vertices by independent researchers.[57][58]


Technology Review debateEdit

In 2005, MIT Technology Review, in cooperation with the Methuselah Foundation, announced a $20,000 prize for any molecular biologist who could demonstrate that SENS was "so wrong that it is unworthy of learned debate." The judges of the challenge were Rodney Brooks, Anita Goel, Vikram Sheel Kumar, Nathan Myhrvold, and Craig Venter. Five submissions were made, of which three met the terms of the challenge. De Grey wrote a rebuttal to each submission, and the challengers wrote responses to each rebuttal. The judges concluded that none of the challengers had disproved SENS, but the magazine opined that one of the rebuttals had been particularly eloquent and well written, and awarded the contestant $10,000. The judges also noted "the proponents of SENS have not made a compelling case for SENS," and wrote that many of its proposals could not be verified with the current level of scientific knowledge and technology, concluding that "SENS does not compel the assent of many knowledgeable scientists; but neither is it demonstrably wrong."[59] The critics single out three proposed therapies for criticism: somatic telomerase deletion, somatic mitochondrial genome engineering, and the use of transgenic microbial hydrolase.[60]

EMBO ReportsEdit

A 2005 article about SENS published in the viewpoint section of EMBO Reports by 28 scientists concluded that none of de Grey's hypotheses "has ever been shown to extend the lifespan of any organism, let alone humans".[61] The SENS Research Foundation, of which de Grey was a cofounder, seems to agree with the EMBO Report as it states, "If you want to reverse the damage of aging right now I'm afraid the simple answer is, you can't."[62] Nonetheless, de Grey argues that this reveals a serious gap in understanding between basic scientists and technologists and between biologists studying aging and those studying regenerative medicine.[63] The 25-member Research Advisory Board of his own SENS Research Foundation have signed an endorsement of the plausibility of the SENS approach.[64]


  • The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999, Cambridge University Press)
  • Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence: Why Genuine Control Of Aging May Be Foreseeable (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2004)
  • Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime (with Michael Rae) (St. Martin's Press, 2008)
  • Polymath, D. H. J. (April 2018). "Hadwiger-Nelson problem (Polymath project page)".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ SRF Home, SENS Research Foundation. Retrieved on 23 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Biotime unit Agex Therapeutics appoints Aubrey De Grey as VP of new technology discovery". Reuters. 13 July 2017.
  3. ^ MIPT News Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Chen, Ingfei. Wake-Up Call,, 19 February 2003.
  5. ^ Cox, Hugo. Aubrey de Grey: scientist who says humans can live for 1,000 years, Financial Times, 8 February 2017.
  6. ^ The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging. Dedication.
  7. ^ Bushko, Renata G., ed. (2005). Future of Intelligent and Extelligent Health Environment, volume 118. IOS Press. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-58603-571-6.
  8. ^ de Grey, A.; Jacobsen, S.D. (8 June 2014). "Dr. Aubrey de Grey: SENS Research Foundation, Chief Science Officer and Co-founder; Rejuvenation Research, Editor-in-Chief". In-Sight (5.A): 29–33.
  9. ^ "Fall 2014 Biology Distinguished Lecturer – Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D. of the Sens Research Foundation". Northeastern University. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Live to 120 Plus—Utopia or Dystopia? – The UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Regenerative Medicine Against Aging - Dr. Aubrey de Grey - Part 1 - MIT Club of Northern California". MIT Video. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Who wants to live forever? Scientist sees aging cured". Reuters. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Agex to develop powerful regenerative and anti-aging treatments". Next Big Future. 16 December 2017.
  14. ^ Hang in There: The 25-Year Wait for Immortality,
  15. ^ "Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician | Quanta Magazine". Quanta Magazine. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  16. ^ de Grey, Aubrey. "Defeating Age". IAI. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  17. ^ "SRF Home - SENS Research Foundation". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  18. ^ Doctor Aubrey de Grey an MIPT Adjunct Professor. MIPT. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine. (28 June 2013). Retrieved on 23 October 2013.
  19. ^ Gerontological Society of America. Retrieved on 23 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Aubrey de Grey". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  21. ^ Stripp, David (14 June 2004). "This Man Would Have You Live A Really, Really, Really, Really Long Time. If a mouse can survive the equivalent of 180 years, why not us? Or our kids? Scientific provocateur Aubrey de Grey has a plan". CNN. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  22. ^ Templeton, Tom. Holding back the years, The Observer, 16 September 2007.
  23. ^ "About Us". Sussex House School. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012.
  24. ^ a b "Executive Team". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  25. ^ Aubrey de Grey Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Methuselah Foundation, accessed 9 February 2010.
  26. ^ Tom Templeton. "Tom Templeton on biomedical theorist Aubrey de Grey". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  27. ^ "The Prophet of Immortality". Popular Science. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  28. ^ Misra, S.; Crosby, M.; Mungall, C.; Matthews, B.; Campbell, K.; Hradecky, P.; Huang, Y.; Kaminker, J.; Millburn, G.; Prochnik, S. E.; Smith, C. D.; Tupy, J. L.; Whitfied, E. J.; Bayraktaroglu, L.; Berman, B. P.; Bettencourt, B. R.; Celniker, S. E.; De Grey, A. D.; Drysdale, R. A.; Harris, N. L.; Richter, J.; Russo, S.; Schroeder, A. J.; Shu, S. Q.; Stapleton, M.; Yamada, C.; Ashburner, M.; Gelbart, W. M.; Rubin, G. M.; Lewis, S. E. (2002). "Annotation of the Drosophila melanogaster euchromatic genome: A systematic review". Genome Biology. 3 (12): research0083.research0081–83.research0081. doi:10.1186/gb-2002-3-12-research0083. PMC 151185. PMID 12537572.
  29. ^ Congregation of the Regent House on 9 December 2000, Cambridge University Reporter, 13 December 2000. Special regulations available only to Cambridge degree holders (of whatever discipline) permit the submission of "...a significant contribution to scholarship" instead. Though the awardee has not been registered as a PhD student, the degree is not honorary; applicants are evaluated by the usual methods, with examiners appointed and an oral defense of the submitted work.
  30. ^ a b Hang in There: The 25-Year Wait for Immortality interview with LiveScience
  31. ^ [1] Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Methuselah Foundation". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  33. ^ Nuland, Sherwin. February 2005. "Do You Want to Live Forever?" Technology Review.
  34. ^ de Grey, Aubrey; Rae, Michael. September 2007. Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. New York, NY: Saint Martin's Press, 416 p. ISBN 0-312-36706-6.
  35. ^ Ben Best (December 2007). "Book Review: Ending Aging". Life Extension Magazine. Life Extension Foundation. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  36. ^ Aux frontières de l'immortalité, 16 November 2008, 23:10, director : Gerald Caillat
  37. ^ "Longevity Meme Newsletter, July 20 2009". Fight Aging!. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  38. ^ "Organizational Reports". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  39. ^ de Grey, Aubrey (August 2008). "Combating the Tithonus Error: What Works?". Rejuvenation Research. 11 (4): 713–715. doi:10.1089/rej.2008.0775. PMID 18729803.
  40. ^ de Grey, Aubrey (February 2009). "Cracks in Social Gerontology's Pro-Aging Edifice". Rejuvenation Research. 12 (1): 1–2. doi:10.1089/rej.2009.0841. PMID 19236163.
  41. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  42. ^ Pyszczynski, T; Greenberg, J (September 2013). "Understanding the paradox of opposition to long-term extension of the human lifespan: fear of feath, cultural worldviews, and the illusion of objectivity". Rejuvenation Research. 16 (S1): S36–7.
  43. ^ Aubrey de Grey. "Aubrey de Grey: A roadmap to end aging - Talk Video -". Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  44. ^ a b Ben Best (2013) "Interview with Aubrey de Grey, PhD". Life Extension Magazine.
  45. ^ SENS Research Foundation (February 2015). "February 2015 Newsletter". SENS Research Foundation Newsletter. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  46. ^ Reason (15 December 2014). "SENS Fundraiser Success!". Fight Aging!. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  47. ^ "AgeX Therapeutics lands $10 mln". PE HUB. 17 August 2017.
  48. ^ "PTN interviews Dr. Aubrey de Grey, researcher of anti-aging regenerative medicine". PlanetTech News. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  49. ^ Testa, Roberto; Antonio Ceriello (2007). "Pathogenetic Loop Between Diabetes and Cell Senescence". Diabetes Care. 30 (11): 2974–2975. doi:10.2337/dc07-1534. PMID 17965314. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  50. ^ Aubrey de Grey (22 February 2010). Aubrey de Grey – In Pursuit of Longevity. Singularity University.
  51. ^ "Aubrey de Grey, PHD, An Exclusive Interview with the Renowned Biogerontologist". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  52. ^ "Scientists Open Letter on Cryonics". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  53. ^ "List of Advisors". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  54. ^ de Grey, Aubrey D.N.J (8 April 2018), The chromatic number of the plane is at least 5, arXiv:1804.02385, Bibcode:2018arXiv180402385D
  55. ^ Kalai, Gil (10 April 2018), Aubrey de Grey: The chromatic number of the plane is at least 5
  56. ^ Aaronson, Scott (11 April 2018), Amazing progress on longstanding open problems
  57. ^ Lamb, Evelyn (17 April 2018). "Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician".
  58. ^ Dockrill, Peter (19 April 2018). "An Amateur Solved a 60-Year-Old Maths Problem About Colours That Can Never Touch".
  59. ^ "Is Defeating Aging Only a Dream?". Technology Review. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  60. ^ "Life Extension Pseudoscience and the SENS Plan" (PDF). Technology Review.
  61. ^ Warner, H.; Anderson, J.; Austad, S.; Bergamini, E.; Bredesen, D.; Butler, R.; Carnes, B. A.; Clark, B. F. C.; Cristofalo, V.; Faulkner, J.; Guarente, L.; Harrison, D. E.; Kirkwood, T.; Lithgow, G.; Martin, G.; Masoro, E.; Melov, S.; Miller, R. A.; Olshansky, S. J.; Partridge, L.; Pereira-Smith, O.; Perls, T.; Richardson, A.; Smith, J.; Von Zglinicki, T.; Wang, E.; Wei, J. Y.; Williams, T. F. (November 2005). "Science fact and the SENS agenda. What can we reasonably expect from ageing research?". EMBO Reports. 6 (11): 1006–1008. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400555. ISSN 1469-221X. PMC 1371037. PMID 16264422.
  62. ^ "SENS Research Foundation FAQ". SENS Research Foundation. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  63. ^ De Grey, A. D. N. J. (2005). "Like it or not, life-extension research extends beyond biogerontology". EMBO Reports. 6 (11): 1000. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400565. PMC 1371043. PMID 16264420.
  64. ^ "Research Advisory Board". Retrieved 23 April 2015.

External linksEdit