The Science Advisory Board is an international network of experts and high-level researchers who have agreed to help The Cure Is Now on a regular basis in many different areas, primarily science, but also including: law, organizational development, technology, policy, and outreach. The board was comprised based on their abilities, experience, and knowledge that would benefit the organization as a whole. The Science Advisory Board advises the Board of Directors in its strategic decision-making process in regards to scientific issues. Sometimes questions will be posed to the whole group, sometimes individual members will be consulted. They share an active dialogue with the Board of Directors. Individuals are chosen not as a “list of names,” but as a group of people we intend to interact with regularly. The mission of The Cure Is Now’s Science Advisory Board is to maintain lines of open communication between our management, medical and life science professionals, scientists, technicians, advocates, as well as those individuals who provide this forum with opinions and suggestions.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: Chair, Science Advisory Board
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist and in addition to being the Chair of the Science Advisory Board at The Cure is Now, is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively. His original field was computer science, and he did research in the private sector for six years in the area of software verification before switching to biogerontology in the mid-1990s. His research interests encompass the characterization of all the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side effects of metabolism (“damage”) that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. He has developed a possibly comprehensive plan for such repair, termed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks aging down into seven major classes of damage and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one. A key aspect of SENS is that it can potentially extend healthy lifespan without limit, even though these repair processes will probably never be perfect, as the repair only needs to approach perfection rapidly enough to keep the overall level of damage below pathogenic levels. Dr. de Grey has termed this required rate of improvement of repair therapies “longevity escape velocity”. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations.
Alan J. Russell, PhD, Highmark Distinguished Career Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Alan Russell (PhD in Biological Chemistry, 1987, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London) is a Highmark Distinguished Career Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was the Founding Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, serving in that capacity from 2001-2011. In addition to his appointments at the University, Dr. Russell is the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, Inc. He has founded three biotechnology companies; ICX Agentase, NanoSembly LLC, and O2Cyte LLC, and was also the Founding President of the now 3,000+ member Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society. Dr. Russell is currently the Chair of the College of Fellows for the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (an elected body consisting of the top 2% of medical and bioengineers in the US).
Dr. Russell serves on the Science Board to the Food and Drug Administration and currently is Chair of the scientific review panel for the Center for Devices and Radiologic Health. Dr. Russell has served many scientific roles for the Department of Defense, including being a member of the Defense Health Board and the founding Co-Director of the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
For the last 15 years, the Russell laboratory has been discovering what can be achieved by exploiting the rich interface of chemistry, biology and materials. Dr. Russell’s work has impacted fields as diverse as chemical and polymer synthesis to tissue engineering and homeland defense. Dr. Russell has pioneered how to make polymers from enzymes and how to incorporate enzymes into bulk polymers. In a series of discoveries Dr. Russell’s laboratory has found how to meld the synthetic and biological worlds.
Within the scientific community, Dr. Russell has participated on 24 advisory boards. Since the outset of his career, he has received numerous prestigious awards for his contributions to
research, teaching and public service. These awards include R&D 100 Award – 2000 (R&D Magazine), three Carnegie Science Center Awards for Excellence – 2000 to 2006, sixteen consecutive appearances in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering – 1992 through present, the Gilbreth lectureship from the National Academy of Engineering – 2004, and the Cockroft Rutherford lectureship from the University of Manchester – 2007, the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Manchester – 2008, #32 in Rolling Stone’s “Top 100 People who will change America” – 2009, the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Pittsburgh Award – 2010, and the Ladies Hospital Aid Society Doctor of Distinction Award – 2011.
Dr. Russell has contributed significantly to the interface between the fields of chemistry, biology, and material science. He has given more than 250 national and international invited lectures. Dr. Russell has published 147 articles in refereed journals, one book, and 10 book chapters and holds 14 patents, with over 25 additional pending
Dr. Mark Kindy
Mark S. Kindy, Ph.D., Professor and Admiral Pihl Endowed Chair Dr. Kindy is an internationally recognized researcher in the neurosciences field, as well as an entrepreneur in the biotechnology industry. Dr. Kindy received his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Boston University School of Medicine and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in La Jolla CA. Dr. Kindy was faculty at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY in Biochemistry and is currently in the Department of Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. He has over 140 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, is owner of 7 patents with 3 pending, and sits on a number of scientific review committees, editorial boards. Dr. Kindy has been Professor and the Admiral Pihl Endowed Chair in Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina since 2002. He was appointed Director of the Neuroscience Institute from 2003-2007 and Director of the Phenomics Center since 2005. Dr. Kindy was appointed as the Assistant Provost for Technology Transfer and Corporate Relations from 2006-2009. Dr. Kindy is also affiliated with the University of South Carolina in Columbia, Clemson University and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. At the international level Dr. Kindy is Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology at Shandong University in Jinan, China, and was instrumental in obtaining a research agreement with the University of Queensland in Australia. Dr. Kindy’s research has focused on the cellular and molecular biology of neuronal injury, the pathophysiology of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, mechanisms of neuroprotection, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other neurodegenerative disorders. His work continues to study the mechanisms of disease, gene therapy and pharmacological interventions in the development of therapeutics for aging and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Kindy has started several biotechnology and CRO companies and serves as a consultant on several companies.
Dr. Matthew Putman
Matthew has a Ph.D. in Applied Physics. He is the co-founder of Nanotronics Imaging and is a Professor and Researcher at Columbia University. He was an owner and Vice President of Development for Tech Pro, Inc., which was acquired by Roper Industries in March of 2008. During his time at Tech Pro, Matthew lead two acquisitions, and the transformation of the instrument manufacturer into new global markets, having formed partnerships or subsidiaries in 15 nations. Matthew holds 5 patents, and has published over 20 technical papers, and in 2002 he won the ACS Best Paper Award. In addition to Columbia, Matthew has lectured at The University of Paris, USC, University of Michigan, and The Technical University of Sao Paulo.Matthew has also produced several plays and films, and is an accomplished composer. He is a founding member of the World Science Festival. He is on the Executive Board of the Montauk Observatory, and is an Artist in Residence for Imagine Science Films.
Dr. Bill Andrews
Dr. William H. Andrews has worked in the biotech industry for 30 years, focusing the last 17 years on finding ways to extend human lifespan through the intervention of telomere shortening in human cells.
Dr. Andrews earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Population Genetics at the University of Georgia in 1981. He was a Senior Scientist at Armos Corporation and Codon Corporation, Director of Molecular Biology at Codon and at Geron Corporation, and Director of Technology Development at EOS Biosciences. He is presently the founder, President and CEO of Sierra Sciences, a biotech company in Reno, Nevada focused exclusively on finding drugs that will transiently induce the expression of endogenous telomerase in human cells. Sierra Sciences has already identified more than thirty such drugs and is presently characterizing their mechanism of action.
While Director of Molecular Biology at Geron Corporation, Dr. Andrews was one of the principal discoverers of both the RNA and protein components of human telomerase and was awarded 2nd place as "National Inventor of the Year" in 1997 for this work. He is presently a named inventor on 43 US issued telomerase patents.
Dr. Sheila Nirenberg
Sheila Nirenberg is a neuroscientist/professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, where she studies neural coding – that is, how the brain takes information from the outside world and encodes it in patterns of electrical activity. The idea is to be able to decode the activity, to look at a pattern of electrical pulses and know what an animal is seeing or thinking or feeling. Recently, she’s been using this work to develop new kinds of prosthetic devices, particularly ones for treating blindness.
Her work has been featured in Discover, Wired, Scientific American, National Geographic, BBC radio, and she’s won numerous awards for innovative research, including a Beckman Young Investigator Award, a Klingenstein Fellowship, a UCLA Frontiers of Science award, a Stein Oppenheimer award, a Whitehall Foundation award, a NYC BioAccelerate Prize, and, from her students, Most Humorous Professor.
Dr. Christopher J Bettinger
Dr Christopher Bettinger is currently an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the Departments of Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering. He directs the laboratory for Biomaterials-based Microsystems and Electronics at CMU, which is broadly interested in the design of novel materials and interfaces that promote the integration of medical devices with the human body. Dr Bettinger has received many honors including the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research, MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering Award for “Outstanding PhD Thesis”, the ACS AkzoNobel Award for Polymer Chemistry, the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society Young Investigator Award, and the MIT Tech Review TR35 Top Young Innovator. He is also a co-inventor on several patents and was a finalist in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. Dr Bettinger received an S.B. in Chemical Engineering, an M.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering as a Charles Stark Draper Fellow, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University in the Department of Chemical Engineering as an NIH Ruth Kirschstein Fellow.
Dr. Alexander D. Wissner-Gross
Dr. Alexander D. Wissner-Gross is a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Laboratory and an incoming Institute Fellow at the Harvard University Institute for Applied Computational Science. He has received 102 major distinctions, authored 14 publications, been granted 9 issued, pending, and provisional patents, and founded, managed, and advised 5 technology companies. In 1998, he won the U.S.A. Computer Olympiad and represented the U.S. at the International Olympiad in Informatics. In 2003, he became the last person in MIT history to receive a triple major, with bachelors in Physics, Electrical Science and Engineering, and Mathematics, while graduating first in his class from the MIT School of Engineering. In 2007, he completed his Ph.D. in Physics at Harvard University, where his research on smart matter, pervasive computing, and machine learning was awarded the Hertz Doctoral Thesis Prize. Following his Ph.D., he was named a Ziff Fellow in Computer Science at Harvard University. His work has been featured in Technology Review, BusinessWeek, Scientific American, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. For more information, visit http://www.alexwg.org
Dr. David Eagleman
David Eagleman is a neuroscientist and a New York Times bestselling author. He directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action at the Baylor College of Medicine, where he also directs the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. He is best known for his work on time perception, vision, synesthesia, and neurolaw. His research is published in journals from Science to Nature, and he has authored several science books, including Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, Why the Net Matters, Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia, and the upcoming LiveWired: The Shape-Shifting Brain. He has also written an internationally bestselling book of fiction, Sum, which has been translated into 27 languages and was named a Best Book of the Year by Barnes and Noble, New Scientist, and the Chicago Tribune. Eagleman writes for the New York Times, Atlantic, Wired, Discover, Slate, and New Scientist, and he appears regularly on radio and television to discuss science and literature. Eagleman is a Guggenheim Fellow.
Ethan O. Perlstein, Ph.D., is an independent research Fellow at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. Dr. Perlstein received his doctoral training in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard University, working in the lab of noted chemist Professor Stuart Schreiber. Before that, Dr. Perlstein received his B.A. from Columbia College, majoring in sociology. Dr. Perlstein focuses on the intersection of cell biology, personalized medicine and quantitative evolutionary theory – a cross-disciplinary perspective called evolutionary pharmacology. Ancient cellular processes, e.g., autophagy, dating back a billion years to our early eukaryotic ancestors, are not inert relics, but were preserved in our tissues as essential components of disease processes which have previously seemed uniquely human. In order to design the next generation of rational drug therapies, Dr. Perlstein and his team proposes to develop and validate predictive, evolutionarily informed explanatory models of existing complex pharmacology, where complications resulting from multiple drug targets and off-target chemical effects make a conceptually simple idea (e.g., drug inhibits reuptake) insufficient in practice. His team will deploy rapidly advancing DNA sequencing and chemical screening technologies to enable human disease-ortholog discovery in the powerful model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer's yeast), though this approach over time will be extended to more complex model organisms.
Dr. Tanya Petrossian, West Coast Science Advisor
Dr. Tanya Petrossian is currently the Global Strategic Product Manager for Cytogenetic Application at Affymetrix. Prior to joining Affymetrix, Dr. Petrossian was a member of the Bioinformatics Core (BIC) in the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG), part of the third installment of the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI). She also was a member of the Advisory Board for Target Selection in the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) and Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSCID).
In 2010, she was chosen to be a United States representative on behalf of the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the Meeting of the Nobel Laureates. Dr. Petrossian has been awarded several honors for her contributions to science, including a “Certificate of Achievement” from Assemblyman Jeff Miller and UCLA’s “Most Notable” Alumni. Her work has been highlighted by press releases from New York Academy of Sciences, Science Alliance, UCLA/UC Newsroom, California NanoSystems Institute, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.
She obtained her Ph.D. and B.S. degrees in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from UCLA and her postdoctoral training in Bioinformatics & Systems Biology at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. She also completed her fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center investigating blood-based biomarkers for breast cancer. Her thesis entitled “From Yeast to Humans: Uncovering the Methyltransferasome” highlighted the novel use of computational methods alongside biochemical techniques to discover methyltransferases from functionally unknown proteins. Her research has contributed to the scientific advancement in the fields of genomics, epigenetics, proteomics, immunology, oncology, and infectious diseases.
Dr. Silvia Gravina
Silvia Gravina received her masters degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and her doctorate in Oncology and Experimental Pathology at Bologna University & Ordway Research Institute Cancer Center. Her thesis was entitled "p21(CDKN1A) and DNA damage response in aging and longevity." She is now working on the OncoSENS epimutations project, sponsored by SENS foundation with Dr Vijg at the Department of Genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her research focuses on epigenetic drift and aging. Recent data suggest that the epigenome is highly dynamic and serves as an interface between the environment and the inherited static genome. The large volume of epigenomic events and its continuous need for maintenance, i.e., after DNA repair or replication, suggest a high chance of errors. Is the epigenome unstable? Do epimutations accumulate with age and do they occur in a random fashion, i.e., as ‘epigenomic drift’? Do they ever reach levels that are high enough to have functional consequences? To experimentally determine epigenetic drift in various organs and tissues of aging mice she is currently focusing on DNA methylation, a major layer of epigenomic control. By employing novel methods for genome-wide, single-cell epigenomics, she is testing the hypothesis that epimutation accumulation and therefore a loss of molecular fidelity can contribute to functional decline of somatic cells that gives rise to chronic pathology and aging.