ASU biochemist John Schloendorn to continue LysoSENS work initiated by the Methuselah Foundation
The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has awarded biochemist John Schloendorn a $30,000 scholarship that will enable him to pursue anti-aging research as a Ph.D. student in the School of Life Sciences. Schloendorn is part of the institute’s inaugural doctoral graduate assistantship class of 2006.
Schloendorn’s pioneering work concerns a new field of research called medical bioremediation. The research focuses on identifying microbes that possess particularly effective mechanisms to biodegrade the molecular “junk” that accumulates inside cells over time, and is at the root of many of the debilities caused by aging. Schloendorn’s research has been and is supported by a seed grant made by the Methuselah Foundation, a charity dedicated to accelerating the process of discovering methods to defeat the debilities caused by aging.
Schloendorn’s work has led to the isolation and characterization of bacteria that efficiently degrade several recalcitrant cholesterol breakdown products, among them 7-ketocholesterol, that are thought to play a major role in atherosclerosis (the cause of almost all heart attacks and strokes). His future objective is to isolate the enzymes responsible for the breakdown and test their therapeutic prospects in cell models of the disease, with the ultimate goal of creating medical bioremediation treatments for humans.
The work is being conducted in the Center for Environmental Biotechnology, part of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute. The Center’s director, Bruce Rittmann, Ph.D., is a world-leading environmental engineer and co-author of the original medical bioremediation concept. Rittmann commented, “John’s research on medical bioremediation is a totally new direction for environmental biotechnology. It allows us to use microorganisms directly to improve the quality of human life. The Biodesign Institute Scholarship is a testament to the high quality of researchers that the Methuselah Foundation is attracting.”
Methuselah Foundation Chairman Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., who devised the “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS)” methodology for combating the mechanisms of aging, commented, “It is a significant step forward that a modest grant by the Methuselah Foundation has leveraged serious institutional money for SENS-related work; this is an encouraging validation of the SENS approach we have been championing. The Foundation will continue to support John’s research expenses, and is also pleased to accept him into “The 300″, a group of donors who pledge $1,000 per year to the Foundation for the next 25 years.”
SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) is a detailed plan for alleviating the debilitation caused by human aging. SENS is an engineering project, reflecting the fact that aging is a medical condition and that medicine is an engineering discipline. Aging is a set of progressive changes in body composition, at the molecular and cellular level, which are side-effects of essential metabolic processes; each of these changes has the potential to be mitigated and eventually reversed. Further details of SENS can be found at: www.sens.org
About the Methuselah Foundation
The Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to accelerating the development of foreseeable, science-based therapies to combat aging. Its main activities are the funding of SENS research, and the Methuselah Mouse Prize, which is being offered to the scientific research teams that significantly extend the lifespan of middle-aged laboratory mice. Further details of the Methuselah Foundation can be found at: www.methuselahfoundation.org
About the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University
The Biodesign Institute is located on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University, a comprehensive public metropolitan research university enrolling more than 60,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students on four campuses. The Biodesign Institute addresses challenges to human health by integrating research in biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, agriculture, environmental science, electronics, engineering and computing. As the largest generator of federal biomedical research funding in the Greater Phoenix area, the institute seeks to translate discoveries into applications that are adopted rapidly by the private sector. For information, visit www.biodesign.asu.edu or call (480) 727-8322.