Judith Campisi, PhD

Longevity world mourns researcher whose groundbreaking work in cellular senescence accelerated understanding of the field.

It is with immense sadness that we learnt of the passing of Dr Judith Campisi. A pioneering geroscientist, she was a professor of biogerontology at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, heading up research into senescence and SASP, and how understanding them and reducing them can prevent chronic inflammation and diseases of aging.

As well as a member of the SENS Research Foundation Advisory Board and an adviser at the Lifeboat Foundation, Judy Campisi was co-editor in chief of the Aging Journal with Mikhail Blagosklonny and David Sinclair.

Campisi shared her knowledge, helping to get Unity Biotech off the ground and joining the Scientific Advisory Board at Rubedo, but her home was in the lab.

“I’m a basic scientist, and I think it’s my job to dig down and try to uncover as many facts as we can about senescent cells,” she told us in an interview. “But I talk to companies freely, because I want them to know the details and also the complications, so that they don’t wind up making a mistake.”

As might be expected, yesterday’s loss has been keenly felt by the longevity world.

Eric Verdin, President and CEO of the Buck said: “We are immensely saddened to share our beloved colleague Judy Campisi has passed away. A groundbreaking, fiercely devoted scientist, teacher, mentor, collaborator, friend, Judy was the heart and soul of Buck. Her heart, drive, passion for science inspired us all. Greatly missed.”

Pankaj Kapahi, a professor at the Buck, said: “I’m deeply saddened to share that we have lost a remarkable friend, a wonderful mentor and esteemed colleague, Judith Campisi. Judith’s impact on those around her was profound and lasting. Her legacy will continue to inspire us all. Rest in peace, Judy. You will be greatly missed.”

Aubrey de Grey, President and CSO of Life Escape Velocity Foundation, said: “Deeply saddened to report that one of my foremost role models in the field, Judy Campisi, died yesterday, not even making it to 70 years old. She was the only senior gerontologist who immediately “got” the damage repair paradigm back in 2000. A monumental loss.”

Andrew Steele, author of Ageless, said: “This is absolutely tragic. Judy was kind, incredibly smart and a towering figure in cellular senescence research. She really will be missed.”

Lisa Fabiny-Kiser, CEO at SENS Research Foundation, said: “I am heartbroken to learn of Dr. Campisi’s death.  Her loss to our community is enormous, and why we must press on with the work we do even more ardently. Her impact and legacy in the longevity field will not be forgotten or wasted.”

Kevin Perez, Co-Founder and Head of Research at Epiterna and formerly a research fellow at the Buck Institute, said: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Judy Campisi. She was a pioneer in our field, and one of the most humble scientists I knew.”

João Pedro de Magalhães, Chair in Molecular Biogerontology at the University of Birmingham, said: “Such sad news. I’ve known Judy since my PhD days working on cell senescence, and she was always brilliant and kind. A wonderful scientist and person. She will be deeply missed.”

Jacob Kimmel, Co-founder and Head of Research at NewLimit, said: “Judy changed the biology of aging & trained a generation of talented scientists. She was generous & kind to even her most junior colleagues. Science owes her a debt.”

Alejandro Ocampo, Co-Founder and CEO at Epiterna, said: “Amazing person and scientist. Her work will have an impact in the field forever. Very sad moments. All the best for her family and friends.”

David Barzilai, who comments on longevity and geroscience research as AgingDoc on X, said: “It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing of Judith Campisi, a renowned beloved figure in the geroscience community. Judith’s groundbreaking work in senescence and SASP left an indelible mark in the world. Judith’s legacy will inspire and impact generations to come.”

VitaDAO tweeted: “Dr. Judy Campisi’s passing is a profound loss for the longevity community. A pioneer at @BuckInstitute, her work was crucial in our ongoing battle against aging.”