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VitaDAO Letter: Prizes and Research!

May 9, 2023
Sarah Friday

VitaDAO Letter: Prizes and Research!

Welcome back to the VitaDAO Newsletter, your monthly source of insights into the VitaDAO community. Inside this Newsletter, find:

  • Zuzalu: pop-up city community
  • A recap of VitaDAO’s 3rd DeSci & Longevity Symposium
  • Info on VitaDAO’s job openings
  • Summary of VitaDAO’s recent proposals
  • Meet DAO member: Laurence Ion

🚨Anotha One: A 3rd Research Symposium

An event so good, we did it a third time! On April 5th, Max Unfried and Eleanor Sheekey hosted a third VitaDAO research symposium. Garnering over 700 viewers, the event was a day packed with education and learning about the future of rejuvenation therapies and longevity. Speakers from around the world provided valuable insights into the fascinating world of aging, including talks on reproductive aging, AI and aging, and longevity drug discovery. Notable speakers included Jackie Han, Zhongwei Huang, Kamil Pabis, Dr. Arturo Bujarrabal, Prof. Karsten-Henrich Weylandt, Vadim Gladyshev, and Aubrey de Grey.

🏆Hypothesis Prize Winners

The Longevity Prize is a DeSci initiative aiming to accelerate research efforts. Coordinated by VitaDAO, Foresight Institute, Methuselah Foundation, and, the Longevity Prize aims to highlight and accelerate progress in longevity. The first prize, the Hypothesis Prize, was awarded to individuals who formulated a hypothesis in an undervalued area of longevity. First-place winner, Carlos Galicia, proposed the study of rejuvenation during embryogenesis as a solution to age-related decline. Second-place winner, Rakhan Aimbetov, proposed the study of proteostasis disruption in age-related diseases. Third-place winner, Shahaf Peleg, proposed the exploration of mitochondrial dysfunction in aging through the use of a novel approach of external energy replacement using mtON technology. You can watch a recording of the Award Ceremony, here.

The Longevity Prize is a crowdsourced prize funded through the Gitcoin community and matched by Vitalik Buterin to fund longevity research projects. Want to learn more? Listen to Allison Deuttman, president of Foresign Institute, and Eleanor Sheeky discuss this ecosystem generator.

🌎Zuzalu & Creating A Longevity Network State

Zuzalu is a first-of-its-kind pop-up city community initiated by Vitalik Buterin & frens in Montenegro, from March 25 to May 25, 2023. Taking place in Montenegro, Zuzalu has brought 200 core residents brought together through a shared desire to learn, create, live longer and healthier lives, and build self-sustaining communities.

VitaDAO is supporting every aspect of longevity at Zuzalu, including various events on biotech innovation and jurisdictions for longevity, as we’re exploring evolving VitaDAO towards a Longevity Network State, and building a special jurisdiction for medical innovation with a better regulatory framework.

We will dive into how biotech innovation can bring aging under medical control, and how new cities and states can enable better regulatory pathways for innovating in longevity therapeutics.

During the first week of Zuzalu, we introduced residents to longevity, starting with the lifestyle aspects, then an overview of how we can really bring aging under medical control, with biotech innovation and special jurisdictions with better regulations We then delved deeper into why Zuzalu is exciting to our mission — building new cities, jurisdictions, and states for longevity and medical innovation, exploring how people congregating physically can unite & foster groundbreaking advancements in healthcare and human lifespan.

And then we got to learn from many founders of new cities and network states — while exploring the intersection of longevity and network states on a panel with Adam Gries, Balaji, Laurence Ion and Niklas Anzinger

Sad you’re unable to join Vitalik and many others in person? Watch sessions live through the Zuzalu Livestream.

🧪The Longevist: A Curation of Longevity Research

Drum roll please🥁…. introducing The Longevist, an overlay journal curating the most impactful longevity research every quarter. You might be wondering to yourself, how exactly does this journal work? Each quarter, a mix of industry and academic experts in the longevity space vote on preprints to feature. With a focus on quality, The Longevist aims to select 10–20 articles a year, showcasing top articles from servers like BioRxiv, MedRxiv, and Arxiv.

This month, The Longevity launched 2023 Q1 voting. With over 20 voters, the top three selections were more than clear:

  1. Gene Therapy Mediated Partial Reprogramming Extends Lifespan and Reverses Age-Related Changes in Aged Mice
  2. p16-dependent upregulation of PD-L1 impairs immunosurveillance of senescent cells
  3. Multidimensional proteomics identifies molecular trajectories of cellular aging and rejuvenation

Want to join in on the action? Help fund the dissemination of longevity research. Connect with or to vote, build, or contribute.

🗣️VitaDAO in the Wild

- Laurence Ion and Vincent Weisser joined the Epicenter Podcast to speak about the purpose of DeSci, the advantages of DeSci, and ways VitaDAO is accelerating the space.

- Coindesk wrote about VitaDAO’s new initiative, VitaTech, a for-profit company that will be created to secure and distribute funding for longevity research.

-VitaDAO Governance Lead, Gavin Singh, spoke at DeSci Tokyo about governance in the DeSci space.

🏛️VitaDAO Governance: Season 0 of Governance Recap

Earlier this year, the VitaDAO community voted to improve the governance process by “batching” governance into seasons. Expanding from February 20th to April 3, the VitaDAO community had its first round of seasonal governance: what a learning experience! It was exciting to see community engagement when discussing governance goals and during the creation of proposals.

Season 1 aimed to pass proposals that focused on increasing community size, increasing the number of token holders, accelerating research assets, and increasing researcher engagement. It is with excitement to share four proposals passed as part of VitaDAO’s first season of governance:

  • SG 0.3a: This proposal will establish the Commercialization Squad, a group of individuals whose goals are to increase the $VITA token utility value and commercialize VitaDAO’s assets.
  • SG 0.3c: This proposal will establish VitaTech, a US-based for-profit company to license longevity technologies from US universities and research institutions and raise non-dilutive funding to commercialize assets.
  • SG 0.3b: This proposal approved Molecule’s offer to pay for IP services in sweat equity as opposed to cash.
  • SG 0.1a: This proposal defined the creation of an Ambassador Program, a collection of people appointed to be Ambassadors and perform outreach on behalf of the DAO.

📣Community Approved: What you voted for!

VDP-63 Passed! VitaDAO and the Gorbunova Lab are launching Matrix Bio, a cutting-edge research venture leveraging the anti-cancer and pro-longevity effects of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid from naked mole rats to humans. VitaDAO will fund up to 300k to support the screening and development of small molecule inhibitors of hyaluronidases.

VDP-74 Passed! This vote was an assessment of Etheros Pharma, a preclinical biotech that is pioneering a new small-molecule drug class to extend mammalian lifespan and neural healthspan.

VDP-80 Passed! This vote was an assessment of ImmuneAGE, the first drug discovery platform for immune system rejuvenation. ImmuneAGE is developing compounds that target the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) of the bone marrow.

VDP-85 Passed! This vote was an assessment of HDAX, a preclinical-stage drug discovery company targeting a class of proteins implicated in neuropathies and inflammation.

VDP-86 Passed! This vote was an assessment of Humanity, an app that uses wearable technology and quantified-self methods to measure one’s rate of aging.

VDP-94 Passed! This vote re-allocates the remaining tokens already minted under VDP-11 and deploys them in partial satisfaction of VDP-72 obligations; to defer minting more tokens in the near-term.

💪Exercise Your Right to Vote on VitaDAO’s Governance Forum:

Find all of VitaDAO’s pending live proposals on Discourse, VitaDAO’s governance hub for proposals before they are moved on Snapshot. These proposals are open for engagement, voting, questions, and conversation!

💸We’re Hiring!

VitaDAO has six job openings! If you are a well-organized and dynamic person, curious about the world of longevity, crypto, and open-source communities, then we’re looking for you! Open roles include Legal Lead, Onboarding Lead, Governance Lead, Community Moderator, Company Builder, and Operations Champion. Come get rewarded with competitive compensation while simultaneously helping shape the future of VitaDAO!


Haven’t noticed? VitaDAO has made new changes to its website: Find updated descriptions of projected funded by VitaDAO and even explore VitaDAO’s new treasury dashboard.

👋Meet Longevity Dealflow Steward: Laurence Ion

Laurence Ion is an entrepreneur and investor working to “rejuvenate” the biotech industry. With a tech background and a keen passion for the scientific method, he’s helping translate science into startups, accelerating progress in medical innovation, on a mission to bring aging under medical control. He now serves as Steward of the Longevity Dealflow Working Group and as Director of Vitality Healthspan Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports healthspan research.

Why longevity?

I am working in service of life (vita, in Latin), helping end aging.

Because I love life, it makes sense to tackle aging, the biggest hindrance to life (and the root cause of all age-related, chronic diseases).

Unlike most young people, I know what it’s like to lose my health and VITAlity (ok I’ll stop with the Vita puns). I know what it’s like to feel frail, to feel old — I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals, I’ve had many surgeries.

How did you first get involved in the longevity space?

While I’ve had a big passion for biology and biomedical innovation, I was disillusioned with the current medical approach, so I was in tech entrepreneurship and investing, but about 5 years ago I decided to switch to the longevity biotech industry because progress was slower than expected.

I started as an angel investor, syndicating and working on a longevity VC fund. I realized that the bottleneck in the field is the lack of diversity of startups. Capital was needed earlier, to create more startups.

You were involved in VitaDAO from the earliest stages. How did you meet the team and what drew you to VitaDAO?

I had been growing my involvement in the crypto space since 2013 and was inspired by Griff Green to use the power of decentralized communities and cryptoeconomic incentives to fund longevity labs, especially given the alignment between the crypto and longevity fields.

When I came across the IPNFT framework, enabling DAOs to hold real-world IP assets, I reached out to Tyler and decided to drop everything and help in any way I can, because I wanted to fund early-stage research and accelerate it to commercialization, creating startups that wouldn’t otherwise exist, bringing that much-needed diversity, as well as scalable democratic participation.

What is the greatest challenge of being VitaDAO’s Longevity Dealflow Steward?

Keeping up with all the amazing things going on and all the requests from members, while also finding time to focus and innovate, myself.

So far, we, the VitaDAO community, have demonstrated we can act at a world-class level, with impressive, scalable, collaborative, deal flow, deploying $4M+ into 17+ projects, and bringing on the most fitting Strategic Members, including big pharma, crypto VCs, angels. This, while keeping things decentralized, requires tremendous coordination, but it’s worth it! I think that being a Steward in VitaDAO is the best way to achieve my mission of serving life… and it’s fun! Otherwise, I wouldn’t have dedicated my life to this, doing what was needed, as well as flying & living wherever needed.

While I don’t care about the title, people need to refer to me somehow, and I’m usually doing whatever is most important for VitaDAO at any point, but making sure deal flow runs smoothly while also empowering members and keeping it non-hierarchical, is definitely a challenge.

What does the future of VitaDAO look like?

Growing this highly-aligned community, a lot, with improving our capacity for action, such that we are scaling enough that the community has significant force. And with scale, as well as physical presence (special economic zones/jurisdictions/new cities, states, etc) the will of the people can be much more effective.

We can become as big and resourceful as a country. We can remove any barrier and achieve progress much faster than people think.

Any closing thoughts for readers?

Don’t hesitate to reach out, join us on Discord, hang out, and you’ll figure out how you can add value and potentially have the most significant role in VitaDAO. Think outside the box, be resourceful!

🗓️Upcoming Event

VitaDAO @ Longevity Med Summit — May 4–5, 2023- Come join VitaDAO in sunny Lisbon, Portugal at the 2023 Longevity Med Summit. Here, join other longevity enthusiasts, in learning about the development of anti-aging science, the exploration of new regenerative and longevity therapeutics, and the limiting R&D challenges faced in therapy development.

Longevity Zero to One @Zuzalu May 7–10 — Dive into the science, get career guidance from experts, and create your impact roadmap.

Longevity Biotech Conference @Zuzalu — May 12–14 — Discover breakthroughs in rejuvenation & anti-aging biotech.

🤝Get Involved

Have a special skill set? Contribute to VitaDAO and receive $VITA in return. Join the VitaDAO community on Discord and stay up to date on Twitter! As of February, VitaDAO’s Discord is now token-gated, requiring a minimum of 10 $VITA to gain access to basic contributor channels.

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