News Release 

Michael A. Petr to present at the 6th Annual Aging Research, Drug Discovery, and AI Forum in Basel

Biogerontology Research Foundation

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IMAGE: A.Petr, Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Copenhagen, to present "Ketogenic diet to delay brain aging " at the 6th Ageing Research, Drug Discovery, and AI Forum in Basel, Switzerland. view more 

Credit: Source: 6th Annual Aging Research, Drug Discovery, and AI Forum in Basel

Thursday, September 5, 2019 - Today the Biogerontology Research Foundation, a leading UK non-profit foundation dedicated to increasing healthy longevity and promoting advances in ageing research, Insilico Medicine, a biotechnology company developing the end-to-end drug discovery pipeline utilizing next generation artificial intelligence, and the Scheibye-Knudsen Lab, University of Copenhagen, announce the presentation of Michael A.Petr, PhD Candidate, The University of Copenhagen, at the 6th Aging Research, Drug Discovery, and AI Forum during the Basel Life Congress, September 10-12, 2019 in Basel, Switzerland.

Now in its 6th year, the Aging Research, Drug Discovery and AI Forum was founded and chaired consecutively by Alex Zhavoronkov, Founder and Chief Science Advisor for the Biogerontology Research Foundation and CEO of Insilico Medicine.

Cockayne syndrome (CS) is a devastating rare genetic disease characterized by progressive neurodegeneration and premature aging, among other clinical symptoms. The disease is caused by the DNA repair genes ERCC6 (CSB) or ERCC8 (CSA) mutation, and currently there is no treatment for these patients. Our previous work shows that molecules (such as acetyl-CoA and citrate), participating in protein and carbohydrate metabolism, are decreased in models of this disease suggesting that these may be key metabolites in Cockayne syndrome and perhaps aging.

To test this hypothesis we have knocked out CSB and INDY, the citrate transporter, in human cell lines, fruit flies and mice and subsequently investigated aging phenotypes in these models. The results of the study suggested that the loss of citrate transportation exacerbates Cockayne syndrome phenotypes across species and that ketones replenishment may prevent these changes. Our findings support the idea that the intermediary metabolism may be a key regulator of the aging process and, most importantly, may be a target for interventions.

"This research is essential to understand the specific mechanism with which the ketogenic diet delays brain aging and to justify the diet's translation into the clinic for premature and normal aging patients," said Michael A.Petr, PhD Candidate, the University of Copenhagen.

"I am extremely thrilled that Michael A. Petr will join us this year in Basel. Michael A. Petr is a talented young scientist at the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who combines computational approaches with wet-lab experimentation. Recently, he has developed a computer vision based high throughput lifespan machine allowing the testing of hundreds of conditions in parallel. I am therefore very excited to hear about Michael's approach,"said Dr. Daniela Bakula, University of Copenhagen.

"Over the last 5 years, the "Ageing & Drug Discovery" and "AI for Healthcare" forums have been leading events at Basel Life, attracting hundreds of delegates from over 50 countries. This year, we are combining the 2 platforms into a 3 day-event titled "the 6th Ageing, AI and Drug Discovery Forum" to explore the convergence of these 2 cutting edge disciplines. Under the program leadership of Professor Morten Scheibye-Knudsen and Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, with distinguished scientists and industry experts in the field, we look forward to exploring breakthroughs for this great healthcare need for the planet," said Dr. Bhupinder Bhullar, Chair, Innovation Forum program committee, Basel Life 2019.

"The 6th annual Ageing Research, Drug Discovery, and AI Forum at Basel Life will have a fresh program featuring some of the most prominent scientists and industry players in ageing and longevity research covering the theory, applications and convergence of these three exciting areas," said Alex Zhavoronkov, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor of the Biogerontology Research Foundation and CEO of Insilico Medicine, Inc.

The 6th Ageing Research, Drug Discovery, and AI Forum Basel will bring together leaders in the ageing, longevity, and drug discovery field, to describe the latest progress in the molecular, cellular and organismal basis of ageing and the search for interventions. Furthermore, the forum will include opinion leaders in AI to discuss the latest advances of this technology in the biopharmaceutical sector and how this can be applied to interventions. This event intends to bridge academic and commercial research and foster collaborations that will result in practical solutions to one of humanity's most challenging problems: ageing. The Forum will be held in Basel, Switzerland, September 10-12, 2019.

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About Michael A.Petr

Michael Petr holds a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering from North Carolina State Univeristy, USA, and throughout his bachelors worked in companies like United Therapeutics and GSK. After his bachelors, was a research fellow in Rafael de Cabo's lab at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, MD where he comprehensively phenotyped aging mice in vivo with an array of preclinical imaging, computer vision and metabolic readouts. Currently he is a PhD candidate in Morten Scheibye-Knudsen's at the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen studying the mechanism of interventions for aging and developing automated phenotyping technologies. His works attempts to bridge automation tech to comprehensive phenotyping of models orgnanisms for rapid readout of aging effects. Outside of his research Michael is active with Engineers Without Borders.

About the Biogerontology Research Foundation

The Biogerontology Research Foundation is the UK's leading non-profit focused on Longevity, supporting ageing research and multiple initiatives relating to advancing Healthy Longevity and expediting the coming paradigm shift from disease treatment to personalized precision prevention. It was the main initial donor that provided financial and organisational support to Longevity International UK for the purpose of establishing the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity. It was also actively involved in the successful initiative of adding a new extension code for "ageing-related diseases" accepted in 2018 by the World Health Organization during the last revisions of its International Classification of Diseases framework.

About the University of Copenhagen

With over 40,000 students and more than 9,000 employees, the University of Copenhagen is the largest institution of research and education in Denmark and among the highest ranked universities in Europe. The purpose of the University - to quote the University Statute - is to 'conduct research and provide further education to the highest academic level'. Approximately one hundred different institutes, departments, laboratories, centres, museums, etc., form the nucleus of the University. University Website: http://introduction.ku.dk/presentation/

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine is an artificial intelligence company headquartered in Hong Kong, with R&D and management resources in Belgium, Russia, UK, Taiwan, and Korea sourced through hackathons and competitions. The company and its scientists are dedicated to extending human productive longevity and transforming every step of the drug discovery and drug development process through excellence in biomarker discovery, drug development, digital medicine, and ageing research. In 2017, NVIDIA selected Insilico Medicine as one of the Top 5 AI companies in its potential for social impact. In 2018, the company was named one of the global top 100 AI companies by CB Insights. In 2018 it received the Frost & Sullivan 2018 North American Artificial Intelligence for Ageing Research and Drug Development Award accompanied with the industry brief. Brief company video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l62jlwgL3v8.

Official website: http://insilico.com

About the Scheibye-Knudsen Laboratory

The growing proportion of the elderly population represents an increasing socioeconomic challenge, not least because of age-associated diseases. It is therefore increasingly pertinent to find interventions for age-associated diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cardiovascular diseases. Although the cause of ageing is currently unknown accumulation of damage to our genome, the DNA, may be a contributing factor. In the Scheibye-Knudsen lab we try to understand the cellular and organismal consequences of DNA damage with the aim of developing interventions. We have discovered that DNA damage leads to changes in certain metabolites and that replenishment of these molecules may alter the rate of ageing in model organisms. These findings suggest that normal ageing and age-associated diseases may be malleable to similar interventions. The hope is to develop interventions that will allow everyone to live healthier, happier and more productive lives.

Laboratory website: http://scheibye-knudsen.com/

About Basel Life 2019

Ageing Research for Drug Discovery Forum description

In this symposium, leaders in the ageing, longevity, and drug discovery field will describe the latest progress in the molecular, cellular and organismal basis of ageing and the search for interventions. Furthermore, the forum will include opinion leaders in AI to discuss the latest advances of this technology in the biopharmaceutical sector and how this can be applied to interventions. This event intends to bridge academic and commercial research and foster collaborations that will result in practical solutions to one of humanity's most challenging problems: ageing.

A panel of thought-leaders will give us their cutting edge reports on the latest progress in our quest to extend the healthy lifespan of everyone on the planet.

Conference Official Website: https://www.basellife.org/2019.html

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