The youthful side of longevity

Andrea Olsen on how the Youth Longevity Association is spreading awareness of longevity.

The Youth Longevity Association was founded to introduce driven high school students into an international community of inspired researchers to advance longevity research, fostering long-term links and collaborations in the space. YLA trains its members through various age-research education programmes and large-scale team projects, preparing them for professional work experience recruitment. They welcome exceptional high schoolers to their team to start their careers early and increase the world’s longevity, step by step.

Longevity.Technology: The YLA is a terrific idea; longevity is an accelerating space, but many research areas are still in their infancy, with their potential benefits not being realised for decades, the youth are who will ultimately benefit. Add to that the importance of embedding healthy living practices from the get-go and attracting top talent to the field of geroscience and the YLA becomes a no-brainer. As well as funding longevity research, the YLA offers its members the chance to participate in group projects, hackathons and essay competitions, and to train with longevity experts in order to be recruited by laboratories and organisations in the longevity field!

We caught up with YLA’s founder and CEO Andrea Olsen to find out more…

Andrea Olsen…

The motivation to start the Youth Longevity Association

The YLA came about as a result of my Insilico internship and my ARDD ambassadorship combined. At ARDD in 2021, I presented a project I had done at Insilico and it was a very exciting journey for me – the whole event and the buzz around the topic of longevity was inspiring, and I thought: “Why not create something for youth?”.

At the moment, the longevity space is mostly just available for the older generations – high school students, for example, don’t even know that such a field exists! I wanted to spread awareness of longevity and get more people involved.

Building the longevity community

We have weekly interviews with longevity experts – we recently interviewed Dr Evandro Fang, who studies mitophagy at the University of Oslo. We attended the Longevity Summit, carrying out various interviews. I am also preparing a high school longevity course that members will be able take.

And a big part, of course, is finding those high school students who would be interested in joining the YLA – this involves quite deep demographic research and pitching at different conferences.

We have a very international community, including students from Hong Kong and the US, and we use social media apps to communicate with each other very quickly.

Looking to the future

As well as competing in hackathons, attending conferences and conducting interviews, we are always open to feedback and to suggestions on how we might gain experience. Of course, we’re always open to people who are interested in mentoring us in the field of longevity or our careers, so we’re always looking for business experts, CEOs and researchers – and sponsors who’d like to support our work as well!

Find out more about the Youth Longevity Association – visit their website HERE.