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May 15, 2015 – 170th anniversary of Elie Metchnikoff – the founder of gerontology

On May 15, 2015, we celebrate the 170th anniversary of the founder of gerontology, a foundational figure of modern immunology, aging and longevity science, and of modern medicine generally – Elie Metchnikoff (May 15, 1845 – July 15, 1916). For the proponents of healthy longevity and advocates of aging research, Metchnikoff has a special significance. Metchnikoff is of course known as a pioneering immunologist, a vice director of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and the Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine of 1908 for the discovery of phagocytosis (a major contribution to the cellular theory of immunity). Yet, he may also be well credited as "the father" of gerontology – the disciplinary term he coined in his book "Etudes On the Nature of Man," published in 1903, which may mark the beginning of this scientific field.

There is a tradition to celebrate the anniversaries of great persons (scientists, artists, writers, politicians, generals) to promote the area of their activity and popularize their ideology. It may be hoped that, in this year, the anniversary of Metchnikoff will serve to promote and popularize the science and ideology of healthy life extension, including the state level. The "Metchnikoff Day" can provide an impulse for organizing topical meetings and conferences, a stimulus for research, and publications in the media, dedicated to Metchnikoff's legacy and continuation of his life work – the study of aging and longevity. This may play a positive role not only for the advancement and popularization of research of aging and healthy longevity, but also for the promotion of optimism, peace and cooperation.

Events in honor of this day are now being planned by scientific societies, public associations and research centers in several countries, including high level national organizations.

Currently meetings for the Metchnikoff Day are being planned in Kiev, Ukraine, on behalf of the Kiev Institute of Gerontology of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciences; St. Petersburg, Russia, on behalf of the Gerontological Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences and I.I. Mechnikov North-Western State Medical University; in Moscow on behalf of the National Research Center for Preventive Medicine of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, and further meetings in Moscow are planned by several public organizations, including the Fedorov Movement, the Russian Transhumanist Movement and the Russian Longevity Alliance; Larnaca, Cyprus, on behalf of the ELPIs Foundation and the Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute; Oxford, UK, on behalf of the Oxford University Scientific Society and Biogerontology Research Foundation; in Ramat Gan, Bar Ilan University, Israel, on behalf of the Israeli Longevity Alliance and the International Society on Aging and Disease (Israeli branch). Please see the list here:

Hopefully, there will be more events and publications. And of course, additional concerted actions in support of longevity research are possible on other days, such as July 15, 2016 – 100th anniversary since Metchnikoff's death, or October 1 – the UN International Day of Older Persons, celebrated by some parts of the longevity advocacy community as the "International Longevity Day"

Hopefully, thanks to our mutual efforts, "from above" and "from below", thanks to the events, meetings and publications, that we all organize on those and other days – the need to promote research of aging and aging-related diseases to improve health and longevity of the elderly population – will be recognized by all parts of society, including the broad public, the professional and scientific community, and decision makers, and will stimulate actions corresponding to the severity and urgency of the problem.

Thank you for your support!

Ilia Stambler, PhD
Outreach Coordinator. International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD)

More information:
IliaStambler, PhD
Outreach Coordinator. International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD)
Department of Science, Technology and Society. Bar Ilan University. Israel