Cynthia Kenyon, a distinguished scientist at the University of California, joins the company team, involved in the difficult task of increasing life expectancy
Google has attracted Cynthia Kenyon, a prominent scientist who has devoted 30 years of her life to the study of the aging process of the human body.
A former professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Kenyon will now work on Google's Calico project, which aims to extend life expectancy. She has been involved in the project so far as a consultant, but after leaving the university she will devote all of her time to Calico.
Prof. Kenyon's team at the University of California studied nematode worms about 1 mm long. Scientists have proven that after a worm gene is modified, its life doubles from 2 to 4 weeks. One of the modifications even retains its active state regardless of age.
Imagine communicating with someone who looks 40 years old but is actually 80 - this is how scientists describe the effects of their development. Studies conducted by other scientists have shown that such genes control the lifespan and the aging process of Drosophila and mice.
Cynthia Kenyon and her team search for such genes in humans as well. "We are trying to create medicine that will make people more resistant to disease, more energetic and healthy," she said in an interview with Observer. Diseases and life expectancy are closely linked, Kenyon stresses.
The Calico project is led by Arthur Levinson, a former director of the Genentech biotechnology company. The team also involves a number of other eminent scientists and managers. Google is funding such a project because it believes that technology has huge potential to improve people's lives.
One of Google's founders and current company's CEO, Larry Page, suffers from vocal cord paralysis, which prevents him from speaking and sometimes causes shortness of breath. Page intends to invest his own funds in a large-scale research program related to the disease he is suffering from.