Cryonics Institute

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Cryonics Institute
2014 Cryonics Institute Logo - 240 pixels.jpg
  • 4 April 1976
  • (42 years ago)
Founder Richard C. Davis, Robert Ettinger, Mae A. Junod, Walter E. Runkel
Focus Cryopreservation of humans and pets in the hope of future reanimation.
Coordinates 42°33′18.7″N 82°51′59.83″W / 42.555194°N 82.8666194°W / 42.555194; -82.8666194
Area served
Method Cryonics vitrification perfusion[1] and cryogenic storage[2]
1821 (November 26th, 2017)
Owner Owned by voting members (members who have human cryopreservation funding and contracts)
Key people
Andy Zawacki, Dennis Kowalski, Stephan Beauregard
Membership fees and donations; Master Cemetery Trust

The Cryonics Institute (CI) is an American member-owned-and-operated not-for-profit corporation which provides cryonics services, regarding the preservation of humans in liquid nitrogen after legal death, with hopes of restoring them when new technology will be developed in the future. CI is located in Clinton Township, Michigan.

As of November 26th, 2017, The Cryonics Institute has 1821 members in total (including 160 preserved bodies & 190 Assoc. Members). 231 of those funded members had contracts with Suspended Animation, Inc. for standby & transport. 160 humans, 257 human tissue/DNA samples and 146 pets and 88 pet tissue/DNA samples are cryogenically preserved in liquid nitrogen storage at the Cryonics Institute’s Michigan facility.

October 30th 2017, the Cryonics Institute has purchased a new property & facility to serve as a 2nd location for long term patient preparation & storage. The facility (Cryonics Institute West) once fully outfitted will be able to hold more patients than the current Michigan location. The location of the new facility is being kept confidential for security reasons.

It has been decided that location secrecy would provide their patients with an extra layer of safety from any unwelcome threats. Location secrecy therefore has a place in cryonics security. Besides a greater patient storage capability the new area has a very low profile with lower vehicle or pedestrian traffic as well as a strong law enforcement presence. The facility will have similar industrial capabilities as well as enhanced security features to keep their patients safe & secure. CI is now the largest provider & steward of whole body cryonics patients in the World. (Source)



The Cryonics Institute was incorporated in Michigan on April 4, 1976 by five local residents: Richard C. Davis, Robert Ettinger, Mae A. Junod, Coraline Jones and Walter E. Runkel. CI's first client was Ettinger's mother in 1977, and until the beginning of the 1990s, the only other client was Ettinger's first wife in 1987.[4]

In March 1978, The Cryonics Institute purchased a building near Detroit.[4] It served as its location until 1994, when the organization moved to the new Erfurt Runkel Building. It is named after John C Erfurt and Walter E. Runkel (who are now both in suspension there), and has a sprinkler system for additional security.[5][6]

Robert Ettinger was CI President for over 25 years until September 2003, when Ben Best became President/CEO and Robert Ettinger became Vice-President. Mr Ettinger retired as Vice-President on his 87th birthday in December 2005, but remained a Director until new directors were elected in September 2006. For most of the 1990s, Benjamin Best was President of the Cryonics Society of Canada (CSC) and was Editor of Canadian Cryonics News until the last issue was published in Spring of 2000. He is still a Director of CSC.

In 2003, an article was published in Sports Illustrated magazine centering on the cryonics organization Alcor; the article contained accusations from a fired Alcor employee alleging Alcor had mishandled the cryopreservation of baseball player Ted Williams. Although the Cryonics Institute was not involved in the case, the media hype spurred the state of Michigan to place CI under a "Cease and Desist" order for six months.

Subsequently, the Michigan government decided to license and regulate the Cryonics Institute as a cemetery.[7] As a result, the perfusion of the bodies could not be performed in the Cryonics Institute building from 2004 to 2012. In accordance to law, this was done at the facilities of a funeral director. In 2012, the new Michigan Republican government reversed the Cryonics Institute's classification as a cemetery, removing it from cemetery regulation.[8]


Cryonics Institute main facility in Clinton Township, Michigan

The Cryonics Institute has 12 Directors on its Board of Directors[9] four of whom are elected by the members every year at the Annual General Meeting (usually held on the last Sunday of September). The Board then selects the Officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. All members of the board are volunteers.[10]

All Officers[11] of the Cryonics Institute are also Directors.[12] As of September 2014, the Cryonics Institute Directors & Officers were:

President Dennis Kowalski
Vice-President Alan Mole
Chief of Operations/Secretary Andy Zawacki
Chief Communications & Social Media Stephan Beauregard
Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer Patrick Heller
Chief Investment Office/Asst Secretary Joseph Kowalsky
Chief Business Office/Asst Treasurer S.R. Luyckx
Chief CI Kevin Doyle
Chief Legal Officer Connie Ettinger
Chief Financial Advisor Paul Hagen
Chief Overseas Director Marta Sandberg
Chief Organizational & Director Debbie Fleming


The Cryonics Institute only allows its members to arrange for whole body storage, not only the heads (neuropreservation). CI members have the possibility to fund cryonics preservation through life insurance policies which name the Cryonics Institute as the beneficiary. Members who have signed up wear medical alert bracelets informing paramedics, hospitals & doctors to notify CI in case of any emergency; in the case of a person who is known to be near death, CI can send a team for remote standby for those who have opted for the standby service.

The basic $28,000/$35,000 cryopreservation fees and contract with the Cryonics Institute does not include Standby or Transport. CI members living outside of Michigan must normally provide extra funding (Less than $5000) to pay for Funeral Director services and shipping. CI members in the United States wanting Standby & Transport from cryonics professionals can contract for additional payment to the Florida-based company Suspended Animation, Inc / (US Mainland Only) or with I.C.E. an international medical response team, composed of cryo-medics, who provide hypothermic-based stabilization & transport founded by the Co-Founders Aaron J. Drake & Eric J. Vogt (Starting December 14th, 2017) / USA & Worldwide. (Source)

[13] Cryonics Institute members in Canada wanting Preparation (Perfusion CI-VM-1) & Transport can contract for additional payment between $3,000CDN & $5,000CDN with Magnus Poirier Team 24/24, 7 days a week. CI has had clients from as far away as India and New Zealand.

Technical procedures[edit]

The Cryonics Institute has always provided initial procedures, transport and storage internally, without contracting out to other providers.[14] For most of its history, CI perfused bodies with the (antifreeze) cryoprotectant glycerol, but in the year 2000 a cryobiologist was hired: Yuri Pichugin, Ph.D.

CI's Scientific Advisory Board currently consists of Peter Gouras, Henry R. Hirsch, Raphael Haftka, Klaus Sames, Ronald G. Havelock,Yuri Pichugin, Robert Duncan Enzmann & Gunter Boden. CI patients can fund the procedure through life insurance policies which name Cryonics Institute as the beneficiary or pay by pre-payment. Members who have signed up wear medical alert bracelets informing hospitals & Dr's to notify CI in case of any emergency; in the case of a person who is known to be near death in USA (Mainland), CI can send a team for remote standby by/with SA.

If you don't respond, it alerts your selected friends, family and emergency resources by text message so they can call or check in to make sure all is well. hospitals & Dr's to notify CI in case of any emergency; in the case of a person who is known to be near death in USA (Mainland), CI can send a team for remote standby by/with SA or by/with partners.

The Cryonics Institute have also a Check-In App, a personal alarm system available for all cryonicists, no matter the Organization that checks if the member is all right at scheduled intervals throughout the day.

If the member don't respond, it alerts will selected friends, family & emergency resources by text message so they can call or check in to make sure all is well.


At The Cryonics Institute, Pichugin developed a vitrification mixture; the first human client received it in the summer of 2005 using a new procedure in which the head was vitrified while still attached to the body, which was frozen without cryoprotectant.[15] In February 2007 the Cryonics Institute abandoned its efforts to patent its vitrification mixture and disclosed the formula to preclude others from preventing its use by CI.[clarification needed][16] Dr. Pichugin resigned from the Cryonics Institute in December 2007.[17]

In the summer of 2005, the Cryonics Institute obtained custom-built computer-controlled cooling boxes, with LabVIEW software which would allow controlled cooling to a temperature as low as −192 °C (−313 °F). This equipment was necessary for effective application of vitrification, because cooling should be as fast as possible prior to the solidification temperature of the vitrification mixture (about −125 °C), but cooling should be very slow below that temperature to reduce cracking due to thermal stress.

Instead of using dewars for storage, The Cryonics Institute cryopreserves bodies in large fiberglass/resin liquid-nitrogen-filled "thermos bottles" which CI calls "cryostats". The first cryostats were hand-built in-house[18] by Facilities Manager Andy Zawacki, but now the units are custom built by an external manufacturer. Costs for liquid nitrogen in the newest and most efficient cryostats was below $100 per human body per year in May 2006. Cost reduction is greatly assisted by the use of a 3,000 gallon bulk tank for liquid nitrogen, which is located behind the building. From this central point the liquid nitrogen gets distributed to the cryostats over a system of pipes. Liquid nitrogen is refilled on a weekly basis and does not need electricity to operate.


Neuropreservation refers to the practice of cryopreserving only the head. The theory is that only the information contained in the brain matters, and that a new body could be cloned or regenerated at some point in the future. The Cryonics Institute doesn't offer this option, partially because it may cause extra damage to the patient, and partially because the idea of "frozen severed heads" may alienate the public.[19]

Stem Cell Injection[edit]

The President of the Cryonics Institute, Dennis Kowalski believes that scientists can use stem cells to repair damaged cells which could help revive frozen patients. According to the research, he suggests that the first human frozen by cryonics will be revived within the next 50 to 100 years. With stem cell injections, frozen corpses could be brought back to life and made to look younger than when they died.[20]


  1. ^ "Guide to Cryonics Procedures". Cryonics Institute. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Cryostats for Cryogenic Storage". Cryonics Institute. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Cryonics Institute (CI) Statistics Details". Cryonics Institute. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Bridge, Steve (1992). "Fifteen Years in Cryonics". Alcor Indiana newsletter. Alcor Indiana. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Long Life" (PDF). Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ Best, Ben. "Cryonics Institute Sprinkler System". Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ Piet, Elizabeth (February 17, 2004). "Cryonics lab one of three in United States". USA Today. Retrieved May 30, 2008. 
  8. ^ Cryonics Institute President's Report, Ben Best (May–June 2012). "LONG LIFE magazine" (PDF). Immortalist Society. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Board of Directors". Cyronics Institute. Retrieved July 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. ^ "Frozen Bodies Reside In Clinton Township". Channel 4 Detroit. Archived from the original on March 22, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Officers of the Cryonics Institute". Cryonics Institute. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Directors of the Cryonics Institute". Cryonics Institute. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  13. ^ Best, Benjamin (2008). "A History of Cryonics" (PDF). The Immortalist. Cryonics Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 28, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  14. ^ Mondragon, Carlos (1994). "Defining the Cryonics Institution". Cryonics and Life Extension Conference. Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Retrieved August 23, 2009. 
  15. ^ Ben Best. "The Cryonics Institute's 69th Client". Cryonics Institute. Retrieved March 9, 2007. 
  16. ^ Best, Benjamin (February 23, 2007). "Cryonics Institute Vitrification Formula Disclosure". CryoNet. Retrieved September 2, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Dr. Pichugin resigns, Chana de Wolf visits". Cryonics Institute. December 14, 2007. Retrieved May 1, 2008. 
  18. ^ Darwin, Mike (1991). "Cold War: The Conflict Between Cryonicists and Cryobiologists". Cryonics. Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  19. ^ Best, Benjamin (2008). "Revival Assets Seminar" (pdf). The Immortalist. Cryonics Institute. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Humans frozen by cryogenics could be revived using stem cells". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-03-09. 

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