Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães is one of the arguably few people who found their purpose in life at a very young age. When he was still in elementary school, Dr. de Magalhães realized that he, like everyone else in the world, suffered from an incurable, progressive disease – aging. Consequently, he decided to become a biogerontologist, and dedicate his life to finding ways to conquer ageing, and put an end to the suffering and deaths that come with it.
João started his journey from the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia in Porto, his hometown, where he graduated in Microbiology. He then was part of the UnIGENe research group at the Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology in Porto, and completed his doctorate at the University of Namur, Belgium, where he joined the Aging and Stress Group.
He has worked with luminary and genomics pioneer George Church at Harvard Medical school, Boston, USA, where he did his postdoctoral studies. Today, he is a Reader (a title equivalent to Associate Professor) at the University of Liverpool, England, where he studies ageing and longevity at the genetic level, and he is also an affiliate Principal Investigator in the Neuroendocrinology and Aging Group at the University of Coimbra, Portugal.
João believes that gene sequencing of extraordinarily long-lived animals (such as the naked mole rat or the bowhead whale) as well as of human supercentenarians may provide important insights on the genes that control the aging process. This knowledge is potentially leading to drugs to mimic the effect of these genes in people to protect them from age-related diseases. To this end, he leads the research endeavours of the Integrative Genomics of Aging laboratory of the University of Liverpool.