About Maximus Peto

As the owner and director of Long Life Labs, I’d like to introduce myself.

I first became interested in learning about the science of health and longevity in 2006, when I was a recreational bodybuilder (I still am). In 2006, I was studying the science of gaining muscle mass through exercise and nutrition. This lead me to learn about the importance of stimulation of insulin and IGF-1 pathways in the process of growing muscle mass. I ended up achieving a maximum bench press of 305 lbs (3 reps) – I was pretty proud of that.

This study lead me to begin learning about insulin sensitivity, and that overeating impairs insulin sensitivity. I had actually gained quite a lot of weight in 2006, going from ~160 lbs to ~225 lbs.

In learning about insulin sensitivity, I also began to learn about what scientists call “caloric restriction” – the practice of living a consistent, reduced-calorie lifestyle. I learned that caloric restriction actually enhances insulin sensitivity, which is one of the main ways by which it seems to extend the healthy lifespan of various animals.

So I put it together that:

  1. Modest under-eating seemed to make animals healthier, partly by making them more sensitive to insulin.
  2. Overeating, as I was doing, was reducing my insulin sensitivity, which could very well be shortening my lifespan.
  3. Conclusion: my eating and exercise habits could probably make a big difference in the length of my personal, healthy, lifespan.

So I decided I needed to lose weight, and set out to apply the things I learned about insulin sensitivity to lose the excess weight I had gained. From May 2007 through November 2007 (about 7 months), I lost 60 lbs of mostly body fat.

Around this time, I had learned about Aubrey de Grey and his “SENS” paradigm for understanding the molecular damage which results in what we call “age-related degeneration and disease”. “SENS” is an acronym for:

“Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence”

Aubrey de Grey

Aubrey de Grey

Basically, Aubrey had what I thought was a good argument as to why each of the diseases commonly attributed to “aging” are actually approachable biomedical engineering problems, and are solvable in my lifetime.

After being convinced of this, I strongly felt that I wanted to begin contributing to the development of these engineering solutions for human aging. The problem was, I had a background in finance, accounting and management, with an undergraduate degree in finance, and had earned an MBA. At that time (2007), I was teaching accounting and business courses at local colleges. So, I asked myself: would I rather (1) make money and donate to the cause, or (2) become a scientist and work directly on the cause?

After some careful thought and introspection, I decided that I would find it more personally satisfying to work directly on the research and development of solutions to repair the molecular “damage” which causes increased disease and degeneration in human aging.

I had actually saved up quite a bit of money by 2008, and was considering going back to school for biochemistry. But leaving my easy, modest-paying job as a full-time accounting lecturer was a difficult choice. Moreover, if I started college again, I’d have to start with Chemistry 1. I had a whole year of chemistry, then a year of organic chemistry, then a year of biochemistry, not to mention other courses. It would take at least three years!

So I made a deal with myself. During a long summer break from teaching classes, I learned there was a way to get credit for the whole first year of college chemistry courses (called “CLEP” testing). The deal I made with myself was this:

“This summer, while on teaching break, I’ll try to test out of the first year of chemistry (chemistry 1 and 2). If I’m successful, I’ll quit my job and go back to school for biochemisry”.

CLEP exam for chem

I had never taken a chemistry course before (not even in high school), so it seemed a little daunting. But I was very, very determined. I ultimately did pass the CLEP test for chemistry 1 and 2 that summer (hooray!), so I followed-through on my commitment: I quit my job teaching college accounting, and enrolled in the biochemistry curriculum at the University of Toledo in the autumn of 2008.