20 September 2022
Aging Research and Drug Discovery
Andrea's exciting experience as an ambassador at the Aging Research and Drug Discovery conference.
This year’s Aging Research and Drug Discovery conference was an indisputably brilliant success. The room was full with people with backgrounds in biology, AI, computer science, business, venture capitalism, consulting, teaching – just to name a few.
For two years now I have been interning at Insilico Medicine, which is an organisation optimising the creation of medicine and therapeutics against a large range of diseases. My work has consisted of creating an example study of how to carry through a target drug discovery of a brain cancer, called glioblastoma multiforme. After my very first speech at ARDD2021, I realised it was time to take on an even bigger challenge.
Together with my partner, Zachary Harpaz from Pinecrest College in Florida, I investigated the correlation between glioblastoma patients’ gene expression and age. I found four targets, all of which had a change in age-correlation sign when comparing their expression in tumour versus control samples. This became the very first evidence for a tumour/age trade off in the brain.
At ARDD2022 we described this investigation as part of the inspire longevity programme, aimed at reaching out to other high school students interested in longevity, and bringing them into this exciting and fast-growing scientific field. As it was my second time being an ambassador for this conference, I really saw the incredible growth of this event in just one year. The most unique feature of this conference, in my opinion, is the openness of all the people there. Everyone is up for sharing their story. Everyone wants to get to know other people, learn from them and collaborate. Those who come immediately feel the inspiring feeling of belonging to this friendly community of people, are eager to learn.
Ranging from enticing and mind-racking speeches from the visiting professors from state-of-the-art laboratories and highly respected companies, to getting career advice from the chief of ‘Nature Aging’ or the CEO of the Buck Institute for Age Research, for example. ARDD has opened up the horizon of longevity to me, and has shown me that I have already set out on my exciting journey into science.
Andrea Olsen, Upper Sixth