Help us: Donate
Follow us on:
×

Martin O’Dea Talks About the Longevity Summit

This summit aims to pave the way towards the longevity future.

Martin O'Dea InterviewMartin O'Dea Interview
 

We recently had the opportunity to speak to Martin O’Dea about a new longevity-focused event happening in Ireland’s capital city on September 18th-20th. Martin holds an MBS and is a business lecturer at Dublin Business School in Dublin, Ireland. He is also the author of Beyond the Subjectivity Trap.

Martin, you are one of the organizers of the all-new Longevity Summit Dublin 2022. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got interested in the field? 

Thanks Steve, I first met Aubrey de Grey in 2011, in London. The logic of his broad thesis, particularly the link between the decline of old age and the chronic diseases we try so hard to treat (though not in a preventative manner), struck me very forcibly. My background is varied but included lecturing in business strategy, and I wanted to contribute what I could to this most urgent task of investing in preventing this decline.

What made you decide to start a new annual conference focused on rejuvenation biotechnology?

I really loved the events I attended; Berlin, New York, London, Brussels, etc. were all such wonderful experiences. There is nothing as great as watching people come together, collaborate, invest, socialize and put in motion efforts that can have such enormous health benefits.

What is the goal of the Summit, and how can it help drive the field forward?

There are a few.

There is an enormous industry emerging (perhaps the industry of the 21st century) from research that was conducted 10-15 years ago under the broad umbrella of Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence.

This type of pioneering investigation must continue so that the science for the industry of 2035 can be built now. This is a platform to explain and raise awareness of this essential non-profit research. We must expand the current thriving industry but also work towards the future.

Another goal is to bring investors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and people from all backgrounds together to build and work on tackling this enormously important work.

One more goal to highlight is, honestly, that people have fun. In a world where armaments companies can raise vast sums of money in palatial settings, I think this should be something that people can express and enjoy their passion in.

Ireland is a wonderful place in general, but the location you have chosen is not entirely by chance, is it? Why host the conference here?

The Mansion House has an amazing history and was the home to the very first Irish parliament. It is currently home to the city’s Lord Mayor and is also just in the perfect city center location. It is within 2 minutes walk from Grafton Street and St. Stephens Green for anyone looking to see a nice city center park or take in a moment of really top-class buskers and shopping. I do hope people will take in some of the history of the building itself at some point through the event.

What is it about Ireland and its economic situation that makes it so important for the aging research and rejuvenation field?

For the last few decades post the formation of the European Union, Ireland has been the hub of a lot of investment, particularly U.S. investment into Europe. This is attributable to many things, including language and cultural connections, tax rates, and levels and focus of education.

What has occurred from this is that Dublin is not only home to practically all European headquarters of the biggest companies in Pharma and Tech, among others, but also Ireland has grown supporting industries, including corporate law and finance, to the very highest standards. If there is a multi-million or multi-billion deal, it will happen with professionalism and assuredness. Because of this, I think Ireland is excellently positioned to immediately become a longevity hub.

Would you say that being part of the European Union is also helpful for the emerging rejuvenation biotechnology industry in Ireland and in what ways?

Yes, membership has been central to Ireland’s financial success over recent decades, but will also continue to be so into the future. One could make the argument that the unfortunate departure of the other English-speaking island may well enhance this position and also the unwavering commitment to that membership.

It has typically been a struggle to popularize the idea of rejuvenation biotechnology with the general public and even the authorities. Do you find the situation in Ireland to be similar, or are people more receptive to the idea?

Another ‘big’ question. I think, generally, over the last decade, this field has become drastically more accepted and embraced with each passing year.

Realistically speaking, though, it should be vastly ahead of where it is now in terms of popularity, and pursuant to this, the public should be pushing for progress from governments and authorities and not just investors.

There have been some ‘very big, small’ decisions recently, such as looking at multiple outcomes in a clinical trial with TAME that bodes well for future years. But, when it comes to people maintaining health, then things can almost never move fast enough.

Can you tell us a bit more about the Awards Presentation happening at the event?

I think scientists who tackle this area, which is mind-bogglingly complex, and find routes to progress and thus add millions of life years across very large populations are really heroic, and it is just a little effort on our part to shine a light on the work and the people. They richly deserve this and much more.

We will have a contribution award and a rising star award, which will be presented by a group you are very familiar with: lifespan.io.

A decade ago, it seemed to be that the biggest thing holding back progress in the field was funding, but that appears to have changed in the last couple of years, and there has been an influx of funding and investment coming in. Do you agree that the funding situation has improved, and what do you see as being the key moments in the last few years supporting this?

I think that investors had to see other investors invest and preferably some big hitters back around 2010. I recall 2013 and Google’s launching Calico as something that really changed the conversation.

I think in terms of the money involved and also the public awareness the Jeff Bezos investment in Altos Labs feels like another step-change.

There have been many others through the years who did the intelligent investment and also provided the support to the long term pre-investible work, such as Jim Mellon, who, needless to say, we are thrilled is coming to the event in Dublin.

So, if funding has improved, what do you think is holding back progress and support for the idea the most now?

Public awareness. There is just a remaining gap in the general public’s familiarity with what is possible and what is most effective.

So many people now wish to maintain health and well-being. They want to track their own health with devices and take as much control as they can of their continued good health.

People also want to invest heavily in fighting cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, frailty, and immunosenescence, but what is really needed is the most important joining-the-dots exercise perhaps ever. That this is all part of a biological continuum, and that we understand the underlying causes and have roadmaps, at various stages of implementation, to tackle those causes, needs rooftop shouting.

Anything else you would like to tell us?

I would like to thank Lifespan for this opportunity and also Executive Director Stephanie Dainow, who we are also delighted will speak in just a matter of weeks now at the conference. Other than that, I just hope as many people as possible can make it to Dublin and we can make this an historic and great fun event.

Heroes banner

Related Community Members

About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 600 articles on the topic, interviewed over 100 of the leading researchers in the field, hosted livestream events focused on aging, as well as attending various medical industry conferences. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Swiss Monthly, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve is one of three recipients of the 2020 H+ Innovator Award and shares this honour with Mirko Ranieri – Google AR and Dinorah Delfin – Immortalists Magazine. The H+ Innovator Award looks into our community and acknowledges ideas and projects that encourage social change, achieve scientific accomplishments, technological advances, philosophical and intellectual visions, author unique narratives, build fascinating artistic ventures, and develop products that bridge gaps and help us to achieve transhumanist goals. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project.
No Comments
Write a comment:

*

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Want the latest longevity news? Subscribe to our Newsletter!