Founders/Science Advisory Board
Matt Kaeberlein, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors & Co-Founder
Dr. Matt Kaeberlein is Chief Science Officer of Optispan Geroscience and a Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine, with Adjunct appointments in Genome Sciences and Oral Health Sciences. Dr. Kaeberlein’s research interests are focused on understanding biological mechanisms of aging in order to facilitate translational interventions that promote healthspan and improve quality of life for people and companion animals. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and has been recognized by several prestigious awards including young investigator awards from the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association, the Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star in Aging Research Award, the Murdock Trust Award, the NIA Nathan W. Shock Award, and the Robert W. Kleemeier Award for outstanding research in the field of gerontology.
Dr. Kaeberlein is a Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Aging Association (AGE), and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). He is currently the CEO and Chair of AGE, Past-President of AGE, has served on the Board of Directors for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and AGE, and has served as Biological Sciences Chair and on Council for GSA.
Dr. Kaeberlein is the founding Director of the University of Washington (UW) Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute, the Director of the NIH Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging at UW, Director of the Biological Mechanisms of Healthy Aging Training Program, and founder and co-Director of the Dog Aging Project.
Dr. Kaeberlein received a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Mathematics from Western Washington University in 1997. He then received his PhD in Biology from MIT in 2002. He has been faculty at the University of Washington since 2006.
Mitchell Lee, PhD
CEO & Co-Founder
Dr. Mitchell Lee is the Chief Executive Officer of Ora Biomedical. Dr. Lee’s research interests are focused on identifying healthy aging therapeutics, understanding the connections between aging and age-related disease, and investigating how natural genetic variation modifies disease and therapeutics efficacy. He has earned awards for science communication, multiple NIH training grants, and in 2015 was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study.
Dr. Lee has centered his career around leading and managing scientists. During graduate and postdoctoral studies, he mentored over 45 trainee researchers ranging from high schoolers, community college and university undergraduates, to post-baccalaureates and grad students. In recognition of his research mentorship, Dr. Lee was awarded a UW Undergraduate Research Mentor Award in 2018. Dr. Lee was the founding Chair of the American Aging Association (AGE) Trainee Chapter and served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for AGE. During this time, Dr. Lee established standing leadership committees, founded and managed the GeroScience Peer Review Training Program, and organized multiple research conferences.
Dr. Lee received a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Philosophy from Western Washington University in 2010. He remained at WWU and completed an M.S. in Biology in 2012. He received his PhD in Experimental Pathology from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2018. Most recently, Dr. Lee completed a certificate in Biotechnology Project Management from UW/UCSD in 2022.
Ben Blue, PhD
CTO & Co-Founder
Dr. Benjamin Blue is the Chief Technical Officer of Ora Biomedical. Dr. Blue’s research interest is to examine the interplay between the aging process and disease progression with a focus on discovering interventions that best slow the rate of aging. He has broad experience using automation technologies for laboratory model systems. Dr. Blue piloted the development of several novel tools for examining how compounds modify the rate of aging in large cohorts of C. elegans as part of the Caenorhabditis Interventions Testing Program. As a graduate student in Matt Kaeberlein’s Lab, he developed microfluidics techniques that measure the abundance and localization of fluorescent reporters in yeast and designed the machine learning AI pipeline used in the WormBot-AI.
Dr. Blue received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Oregon in 2015. He recently completed his PhD from the Molecular Medicine and Mechanism of Disease (M3D) program through the Department of Lab Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Jason Pitt, PhD
WormBot Inventor & Co-Founder
Dr. Pitt is a research scientist at the University of Washington and the inventor of the WormBot robotics system. He has received grants from the National Institute on Aging, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Dr. Pitt’s research publications have been featured in journals ranging from Science to The Journal of the American Chemical Society. He is a software and hardware engineer responsible for multiple open source and commercial releases. Dr. Pitt is passionate about finding answers to fundamental questions in Biology such as the origin of life and the molecular basis for organismal aging. His most recent work is focused using the WormBot to study the effects of low oxygen on aging in C. elegans.
Dr. Pitt received a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology/Biochemistry from Western Washington University in 1997. He then received his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) from the University of Washington in 2009.
Brian Kennedy, PhD
Dr. Brian Kennedy is internationally recognized for his research in the basic biology of aging and as a visionary committed to translating research discoveries into new ways of detecting, delaying, preventing, and treating human aging and associated diseases. He is a Distinguished Professor in Biochemistry and Physiology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at National University Singapore and serves as Director of (1) the Centre for Healthy Longevity at the National University Health System, (2) the Healthy Longevity Translational Research Programme and (3) the Asian Centre for Reproductive Longevity and Equality at NUS Medicine. Collectively, NUS aging research seeks to demonstrate that longevity interventions can be successfully employed in humans to extend healthspan, the disease-free and highly functional period of life.
From 2010 to 2016, Dr. Kennedy was the President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and he maintained a professorship there through 2020. Dr. Kennedy has an adjunct appointment at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Washington, where he was a faculty member from 2001 to 2010. In addition, Dr. Kennedy is also actively involved with a number of Biotechnology companies. In addition, Dr. Kennedy serves as a Co-Editor-In-Chief at Aging Cell. Finally, Dr. Kennedy has a track record of interaction in China, where he was a Visiting Professor at the Aging Research Institute at Guangdong Medical College from 2009 to 2014. His PhD was performed in the laboratory of Leonard Guarente at M.I.T., where he published the first paper linking Sirtuins to aging.
Jan Gruber, PhD
Dr. Jan Gruber currently holds joint appointments between Yale-NUS, Division of Science and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Gruber’s research interests are in molecular mechanisms of aging including mitochondrial dysfunction, somatic mutation accumulation and the role of different forms of macromolecular damage as a hallmark of aging. He has published over 60 research papers, several of which have received special distinctions and honors.
Dr. Gruber received a Physics Vordiplom at Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH) Germany in 1997, a Master of Advanced Studies in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge in 1999, as well as a Master of Science (2000) and a DPhil in Biochemistry (2004) in the Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics at the University of Oxford.
Jesse Horwitz is the co-founder of Hubble and Agora Brands, and has raised over $150 M. He is a board member and advisor to several health-focused companies. Jesse is also the author of Selling Naked, which focuses on startups and e-commerce and was published by Penguin Random House.
Michael Muir - Director of Invertebrate Research
With a background in Nanotechnology, research lab management, and large-scale invertebrate genetic and drug screening, Michael Muir leads our WormBot discovery science team.
Marian Abadir - Robotics/Research Technician
UW Engineering Undergraduate, Marian Abadir helped construct the first WormBots of our drug discovery army and now conducts drug discovery experiments in the lab.