PARTICIPANTS: Faith Salie, David Sinclair, Marilyn Maye, Robert Butler, Richard Weindruch, Renee Reijo Pera
PROGRAM DATE: Sunday, June 1, 2008

Will it one day be possible to take a pill to stay young? How will an average life expectancy of beyond a hundred years affect society and the planet? Our audience joined leading longevity researchers Robert Butler, David Sinclair and Richard Weindruch, along with embryonic stem cell biologist Renee Reijo Pera, to investigate the facts and implications surrounding scientific developments — emerging technologies, novel therapies, and innovative medical practices — that forecast a radical extension of a healthy human life. Featuring a special performance by acclaimed singer, Marilyn Maye.

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TV and Radio Personality

Faith Salie is an Emmy Award–winning contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! She launched Entertainment Weekly’s channel on Sirius XM. As a commentator on politics and current events, Salie has appeared on ABC, CNN, HLN, and Fox News. She was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show as the ethics expert for O Magazine. As host of the National Public Radio show Fair Game, she interviewed news makers from Lorne Michaels to President Carter to Zach Galifianakis. Salie graduated from Harvard and received her master’s degree from Oxford University, where her fellow Rhodes scholars went on to become governors and mayors while she landed on a Star Trek collectible trading card worth hundreds of cents. Her first book, Approval Junkie, will be published this year.


David Sinclair’s research focuses upon the search for genes and small molecules capable of slowing the pace of aging in cells and on preventing diseases associated with old age. He is an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Harvard-MIT Broad Institute for Bioinformatics.


Marilyn Maye is an award-winning, renowned jazz singer who has been named an Official Jazz Legend by the American Jazz Museum. She has been onstage with many of the greatest jazz performers, including Count Basie, Charlie “Bird” Parker, and Big Joe Turner.

Gerontologist, Psychiatrist, Pulitzer Prize in Letters (General Non-Fiction)

Robert Butler is a pioneer in gerontology — the study of aging and its biological, psychological, and social implications. His book, Why Survive? Being Old in America, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976. Butler is director and CEO of the U.S. branch of the International Longevity Center in New York City.


Richard Weindruch has devoted decades to exploring extreme low-calorie diets and their promise in delaying aging. He is a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin, and the director and co-founder of LifeGen Technologies. He is also a scientist with the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.

Renee Reigo Pera
MSU photo by Kelly Gorham
Embryonic-Stem-Cell Biologist

Reijo Pera is a professor and the Director of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education Center at Stanford University. Her research is aimed at understanding the developmental genetics of human germ cell formation and differentiation. Her early work resulted in identification of one of the first genes specifically implicated in human germ cell development. Subsequently her laboratory has established techniques for differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to germ cells and genetic manipulation of the pathways.

Reijo has received numerous awards throughout her career and most recently was cited as one of twenty influential women in the US by Newsweek. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin (Superior), her doctoral degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and her postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute for BioMedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.