InsideTracker Scoop: Interview with Professor Leonard Guarente, a leader of aging research, from M.I.T.

By Perrin Braun Aug 14, 2013

 

Dr. Leonard Guarente has spent the past 23 years trying to answer the question “Why do we grow old?”  He is a renowned scientist best known for his research on lifespan extension, caloric restriction, and treatment of diseases related to aging, and his expertise on health and longevity make him an integral part of the InsideTracker team. 

interview-with-lenny-guarente

In his current position as Novartis Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Guarente and his team of researchers at the Paul F. Glenn Lab for the Science of Aging are working to discover the link between diet and aging. His ultimate goal is to allow people to live healthier, disease-free lives—an objective that is right in line with the work that InsideTracker does!

Raised in Revere, Massachusetts, Dr. Guarente is a decades-long resident of the Bay State, having studied molecular biology at M.I.T. as an undergraduate and then moving on to Harvard, where he received his Ph.D. Following the completion of his graduate training, he set up his own lab at M.I.T. in 1981 and became an expert in gene transcription, which is the mechanism that cells use to make copies of their genes. However, Guarente yearned to study something new—something that could really make an impact on human lives. Roughly 15 years ago, almost no molecular biologist was working on aging, so he set his sights on trying to figure out how to extend youthfulness and decrease age-related chronic diseases. One of Dr. Guarente’s most important discoveries was sirtuins, a family of proteins that slow aging. Importantly, he is recognized as the leading proponent of the hypothesis that restricting calories slows aging by activating these sirtuins.  

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Dr. Guarente fortuitously met InsideTracker founder Dr. Gil Blander, who was doing his postdoctoral research at Guarente’s lab for about five years. Since Blander knew that his colleague had been interested in aging and health, the two kept in contact. Consequently, he proposed that Dr. Guarente become a member of Segterra’s InsideTracker scientific advisory board, where he currently works with a team of scientists to make the scientific research and blood analysis program as rigorous and reliable as possible.

After studying health and longevity for over two decades, Guarente realized that many people lacked concrete knowledge about what was going on inside of their bodies. Like many other health-conscious individuals, he wanted to know if his diet and exercise regimen was truly beneficial to his health. Guarente became convinced that InsideTracker was hitting the mark after seeing the results of his own bloodwork. Guarente reported that the bloodwork analysis was “extremely useful” and was able to show him to how to improve the levels of one of the biomarkers. Prior to receiving his InsideTracker results, Guarente wasn’t able to see exactly what was going on inside of his body, but with this new knowledge, he was able to pinpoint exactly what needed to be done in order to optimize his health.

In his quest to find solutions to age-related chronic diseases, Guarente has seen scientific advances that give people increasing amounts of control over what’s going on inside their bodies and how it affects their health. However, InsideTracker is different because it enables anyone to receive scientifically proven data that reveals tremendous amounts of information about his or her health status. 

Currently, Dr. Guarente is working with InsideTracker’s scientists to build a new product called PhysioAge (Physiological Age). This product will tell InsideTracker customers their age, which will be estimated by their body’s health and probable life expectancy. PhysioAge will use blood biomarker levels, which are all based on peer reviewed scientific publications, and then show customers which biomarkers contribute positively or negatively to their age, and simple ways to improve them.

“I always tell people to monitor their health,” Guarente said. “The simplest way to do that is weigh yourself and your keep body weight under control, but InsideTracker goes way beyond that.” We look forward to more exciting news from Dr. Guarente!

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