Longevity drama: Matt Kaeberlein vs. David Sinclair

Accusations among two big names in longevity research

Matt Kaeberlein and David Sinclair, apparently not very impressed by each other

Who we're talking about: David Sinclair, a leading longevity researcher at Harvard University, and Matt Kaeberlein, a leading longevity researcher at the University of Washington.

At one point, Sinclair and Kaeberlein were both working in the lab of the same professor at MIT. It seems that their scientific differences, and maybe even some bad blood, stem from that time.

What's the news: In a tweet yesterday, Kaeberlein announced he is resigning from The Academy for Health and Lifespan Research, a professional body of longevity researchers that has Sinclair as President. Kaeberlein wrote:

I find it deeply distressing that we’ve gotten to a point dishonesty in science is normalized to an extent that nobody is shocked when a tenured @Harvard professor falsely proclaims in a press release that a product he is selling to pet owners has “reversed aging in dogs”. To me, this is the textbook definition of snake oil salesman.

Matt Kaeberlein, University of Washington

How we got here: The spark for this was Sinclair’s claim last week that a brand of dog supplements, sold by a company he co-founded with his brother, reverses aging in dogs.

Kaeberlein doesn't believe these claims are supported by the data. While he has accused Sinclair of exaggeration and hype before, he has never done so in such direct language, and with such a dramatic gesture.

Why this is a big deal: Both Sinclair and Kaeberlein are established figures in longevity research. Both are associated with prestigious universities. Both publish their research in top, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Where they differ is in their attitude towards marketing, hype, and showmanship when it comes to pushing the field forward — and making money in the process.

So what's next? The drama is unfolding, and Sinclair hasn’t responded publicly yet. Meanwhile, the research pushes on.

Kaeberlein, along with his work on rapamycin and human longevity, continues to head the Dog Aging Project, designed to understand and improve the effects of aging in dogs.

On the other hand, Sinclair, among his many other ventures, recently announced that trials of epigenetic age reversal would start in humans in 2025. One way or another, it's exciting days in the longevity field.