Aging research is perhaps the most promising area of biotechnology as it may help create more of the most precious asset of any living being - more time in the healthy state. It is also the most complex and multifactorial biological process that holds many mysteries waiting to be uncovered. Why do some species live longer than others? Why do some people live longer than others? Why do we after we reach a certain age start losing many functions, decline, and die? Can we slow down or stop some, or all, of these degenerative processes? Can we track aging and correct the pathological processes before they turn into diseases? How far can we push the limits of our body functions with diet, sleep, and exercise? Can we do it with pharmacological interventions, regenerative medicine, gene therapy, nanotechnology? There are thousands of questions waiting to be answered and every answer is a rewarding experience.
Aging research is also one of the most altruistic endeavors
anyone could undertake. A great doctor may see ten thousand patients during their lifetime and help them gain additional ten years of quality life each. That is one million years of quality life. If you find a way to cheaply add just one year of quality life for everyone on the planet, you generate almost eight billion quality life years. Your research may also be used in other highly-impactful areas of human development including space exploration and colonization. We need new technologies to ensure that people can live longer and survive in diverse environments.
In general, research papers in the biology of aging are cited more often than in many areas of basic science, and result in broader media coverage and public attention. With training in aging research, it is also possible to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry or medical practice resulting in higher income. The venture capitalists realize the explosive potential of this emerging industry and will be funding more and more companies in this space resulting in shortage of qualified labor. And massive convergence of aging research with other areas of science like artificial intelligence and robotics, will result in even more jobs requiring deep knowledge of aging and longevity.
Since aging research is such a broad field, there are hundreds of alternative career paths to pursue for a highschool or an undergraduate student. The ARDD conference and the community around it provides a perfect platform to understand this field better, meet the top thought leaders in academia, industry, and venture capital all in one place.
It presents a unique opportunity to explore your academic, industry, or clinical career by learning from the top people in almost every area of aging research, meeting the founders of different startup companies and venture capitalists who think about how the industry is going to evolve in the future.