Beyond Borders: the Aging Research Hub in Singapore (Time Initiative)

Another posts by a student in the “Time Initiative”, a group working to get more students in college / university studying the biology of aging and making their career in this area:

Hi, it’s Jessica again from the Untangling Aging series! In my previous post, we explored VC and longevity moonshots. Today, let’s venture beyond borders and dive into the aging research hub in Singapore. Join me with Brian Kennedy as he shares his perspectives on global aging.

In every corner of the world, from the bustling streets of New York City, USA, to the tranquil, nature-rich landscape of Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, the process of aging unfolds. No one is spared. However, whenever I visit my grandparents in China, a naive part of me still expects to encounter the younger version of themselves etched in my mind’s eye from our last departure. Not witnessing someone’s aging on a daily basis could serve as a preservation for their healthy youthfulness in our memories, but I could not stay complacent in this rosy ignorance. Recently, two of my professors, both of whom I’m a huge fan of, had to halt class as they flew across the sea to attend to their ailing parents’ medical emergencies.

As a second-generation Chinese-Canadian, with most of my extended family residing in China, I maintain an acute awareness of aging as a global phenomenon. This awareness has been reinforced through recent pictures of my white-haired grandparents and news of their hospital visits, far away from me. So, I’ve always wanted to look beyond what is happening in North America and into other parts of the world––especially Asia. This area is intimately linked to my identity, yet it still feels so foreign to me.

After a round of online research, I found Singapore to have an impressive presence in aging research. Their Centre for Healthy Longevity (CHL), affiliated with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the National University of Health System (NUHS), brought together scientists and clinicians to investigate all aspects of aging––from wet lab, to clinical trials and demographic research. Interestingly, Professor Brian Kennedy, the Director of CHL, was previously the President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a prominent research institution in Marin County, USA. I was intrigued by his background as someone who was familiar with aging research both within the States and across the sea. As someone who wanted to get involved more internationally, I reached out to him for a conversation.