LessDeath is planning for a post-aging future

New longevity summer camp plans a deep dive into longevity biotech, to support the growth and effectiveness of the longevity industry’s workforce.

Summer camps mean s’mores, poison ivy and campfires, right? Well, think again!

It just shows how exciting the longevity space is, because it now has its own summer camp. The LessDeath and Longevity Summer Camp is a new organisation and event series dedicated to helping people join the longevity biotech industry through education, career and community strategizing, job opportunities and much more (possibly campfires – we’ll keep you posted).

Longevity is booming, and the space is filled with ideas for tech for diagnosis, therapy and prevention of both the diseases of aging and aging itself. Ideas need nurturing and shepherding through fundraising, regulation, scale-up and commercialising. People who can mentor start-ups and foster creativity also abound, so it’s great to see another opportunity for matching the two spring up.

Founded by Mark Hamalainen (Synthego, OpenCures), Jun Axup (E11, IndieBio) and Kia Winslow (BioAge, Change.org), LessDeath, which is nonprofit pending, has assembled a team of experienced longevity technologists passionate about helping people get involved – whatever their discipline.

The longevity biotech industry is growing fast and needs talent; luckily, there are many entry points – one doesn’t need a biology PhD to be a part of it. Many types of scientists, engineers, programmers, entrepreneurs, investors, technicians, doctors, operations experts and more are needed. For anyone interested in maximising human health and lifespan, LessDeath’s mission is to help them find effective ways to contribute.

Similar to how software bootcamps sprung up to support the growing software industry, and how 80000hours.org provides custom guidance for aspiring effective altruists, LessDeath is developing programmes to grow, train and support the longevity community. It will help people of diverse backgrounds gain essential domain specific knowledge, make social connections, provide personalised career guidance, and connect people with experience and work opportunities that match their talents and interests.

Further inspired by the Effective Altruist movement, LessDeath is combining an annual survey of the longevity community with impact-oriented analysis of longevity technology paths. The results of this work will inform our programming and an annual report on the potential paths to a post-aging future, including recommendations on the numerous ways to contribute.

“Most science fiction and thinking about the future is dystopian – and if we’re lazy that’s what we’ll get,” LessDeath Director and Founder Mark Hamalainen told Longevity.Technology. “I prefer to contribute to building a utopian future, one without sickness, aging or scarcity – where humanity takes care of Earth and does great things in space. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work on such things, and with LessDeath I’m trying to help more people get involved.”

At the first Longevity Summer Camp this July, the team will select the most talented and passionate applicants interested in changing their career to work on maximising human health and lifespan. “Camp Counsellors” drawn from diverse backgrounds including physics, software, arts, semiconductors, medicine, and chemistry, will share the stories of how they got involved in longevity, including their struggles, failures and successes.

Counsellors already on board include Nathan Cheng, Oki O’Connor and Matthew Scholz. Workshop topics will include aging biology, technology paths, the industry/ecosystem, ways to alleviate current bottlenecks to progress and career strategizing.

Nathan Cheng, On Deck Longevity Biotech Program Director told Longevity.Technology he is excited to be supporting Mark Hamaleinen’s LessDeath initiative as a Camp Counsellor. “Despite all the incredible developments in the longevity biotech industry in the last 12 months, there’s still a great need to increase the number of people working on aging,” he said. “LessDeath’s Summer Camp program is a great opportunity to help bring in more people into the field.

“A large untapped source of human capital is currently sitting on the sidelines – talented individuals who recognize the need to tackle biological aging, but don’t know how to get involved or what problems to work on. For these people, it’s especially useful to be able to get career advice and a “lay of the land” firsthand from those who have perspective from within the longevity community. It’s my hope that the camp counsellors can act as sort of lighthouses shining a light on pathways for new industry entrants through the workshops, 1:1s, discussions, and connections made at the LessDeath Summer Camp.”

Check out LessDeath.org for more info and to apply for Longevity Summer Camp this July 20-24 in California. Applications close on 30th May, and scholarships and travel grants are available. With more events already in the pipeline, it’s time to build a post-aging future together!

We’ll be chatting to Mark Hamalainen soon about this exciting project – stay tuned!