Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hey Buddy, Wanna Be a Longevity Researcher?

I think I'm going to call this the "Hey Buddy, Wanna Be a Researcher?" series, and this is the third installment. In this case, I'm going to talk about the Methuselah Foundation, a non-profit organization conducting research focused on remediating crucial but currently neglected aspects of the human aging process.

The Methuselah Foundation sponsors the M Prize, based on the successful X Prize programs, for extending the lifespan of an ordinary lab mouse. In addition, they are directly funding two research programs: LysoSENS and MitoSENS.

LysoSENS is where people like you and me have the opportunity to participate. The goal of the project is to reduce or eliminate the accumulation of some pathogenic material in the body. The researchers' means of reaching this goal is to search for enzymes capable of selectively degrading the respective target material in the environment.

So, you ask me, how can I help with that sort of research? It turns out that there are microbes in nature that are capable of breaking down many of these substances. If there weren't, then buried human and animal bodies would be causing massive polution to our soil in terms of cholesterols and other harmful substances. So we know that there are microbes that break down these substances in the soil in the form of decomposing plant and animal matter.

So the researchers are seeking candidate microbes by asking for the public (that's us) to send in samples that may contain these microbes. But they're not just looking for any common samples... they want exotic soils from diverse areas, not dirt from your garden or compost heap. So be creative... pick up a handful (50-100 grams) of soil from an unusual location and package it up. Ship it to the address below, and you can contribute to helping humans live longer and healthier lives.

Addresses to send your samples to:

By regular mail:

John Schloendorn
The Biodesign Institute
PO Box 875701
Tempe, AZ 85287-5701

(The above address cannot receive FedEx / UPS shipments)

By FedEx / UPS:

K. Anderson / Schloendorn
The Biodesign Institute
1001 South McAllister Ave
Tempe, AZ 85287-5701

(The above address cannot receive regular mail)

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