David Gobel (born 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American philanthropist, entrepreneur, inventor, and futurist. He is co-founder and CEO of the Methuselah Foundation, CEO of the Methuselah Fund, and the first to publicly advance the idea of longevity escape velocity or actuarial escape velocity.
David Gobel is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Methuselah Foundation, a medical charity based in Springfield, VA. To date, Methuselah has given more than $4 million to support research and development in regenerative medicine.
With co-founder Aubrey de Grey, Gobel established Methuselah in 2003 in order to "shed light on the processes of aging and find ways to extend healthy life." That same year, he seed-funded the Methuselah Mouse Prize to encourage the development of new life extension therapies in mice, which are genetically similar to humans. So far, three Mouse Prizes have been awarded: one for breaking longevity records to Andrzej Bartke of Southern Illinois University; one for late-onset rejuvenation strategies to Stephen Spindler of the University of California; and one to Z. Dave Sharp for his work with the pharmaceutical rapamycin.
Through Methuselah, Gobel, and de Grey established research programs focused on advanced human bioremedial biology at Rice University and Arizona State University—the world's first use of environmental remediation techniques to be directed at reversing "pollution" in human cells. They also established a Mitochondrial Research initiative at Cambridge University aimed at improving the error correction and repair capabilities of fundamental energy producing organelles in humans.
Methuselah has also provided funding and strategic support to companies developing breakthrough technologies and clinical interventions in regenerative medicine. These companies include: Organovo (NYSE: ONVO), a pioneer in 3D tissue printing; Silverstone Solutions (acquired by BiologicTx in 2013), a maker of kidney-matching software that has enabled hospitals and transplant organizations to more quickly and accurately pair patients with compatible donors; Oisin Biotechnologies, a creator of an intervention to remove harmful senescent cells ("zombie" cells) based on their DNA expression; and Leucadia Therapeutics, a company developing a therapy to address Alzheimer's disease by restoring the flow of cerebrospinal fluid across the cribriform plate in the nasal cavity.
In 2013, Methuselah announced a new $500,000 partnership with Organovo to place 3D bioprinters in several U.S. university research labs as springboards for cutting-edge research.
In the same year, Methuselah launched a second prize series, entitled New Organ, to accelerate solutions to the global organ shortage. The first prize in this series, the $1 million New Organ Liver Prize, "will award $1,000,000 to the first team that creates a bioengineered replacement for the native liver of a large mammal, enabling it to recover in the absence of native function and survive three months with a normal lifestyle." In 2016, NASA announced the Vascular Tissue Challenge in partnership with Methuselah Foundation. The challenge offers a $500,000 prize “to be divided among the first three teams that successfully create thick, metabolically-functional human vascularized organ tissue in a controlled laboratory environment.”
In 2013, Methuselah began fiscally sponsoring and collaborating with the Organ Preservation Alliance (OPA), an initiative coordinating research and stakeholders focused on the preservation of tissues and organs. In 2015, OPA became an independent tax-exempt non-profit organization.
SENS Research Foundation
In 2007, under the auspices of the Methuselah Foundation, Gobel and Aubrey de Grey initiated a new rejuvenation research program entitled "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence" (SENS), in order to help identify, repair and remove cell-level damage before it causes systemic harm. Under the continuing leadership of de Grey, SENS spun out from Methuselah as the independent SENS Research Foundation in 2009, and continues its work "to use regenerative medicine to repair the damage underlying the diseases of aging."
Transportation Security Administration
As Chief Venture Strategist in the Office of Security Operations at TSA from 2002 to 2013, Gobel proposed, designed, and operated the Department of Homeland Security's first venture capital arm. He was responsible for multiple investments in cutting-edge security capabilities, including the VOXER iPhone app and the world’s first hand-held mass spectrometer (aka 'Tricorder').
He also conceived and co-designed the IdeaFactory, DHS’s innovation management system. Using "wisdom of crowds" principles and bottom-up techniques to bring the experience and intelligence of 170,000 employees to bear on critical problems of security, efficiency, and public service, IdeaFactory is featured on whitehouse.gov as an example of government innovation.
During his tenure at TSA, Gobel helped design and develop numerous other programs, including TSA’s Red Cell counter-terrorism group, the Arena XXI transportation security system, the Virtual Continuity of Operations conops, and TSA’s Information Technology Management Council.
Gobel is co-founder of the Super Centenarian Research Foundation, an organization partnered with multiple universities focused on the scientific study of the 65 individuals in the world known to be 110 years or older.
He developed corporate and technology strategy at Eyegaze, a contractor and marketer of eye-tracking systems that enable quadriplegics to type and communicate with only their eyes.
From 1996 to 2002, Gobel was president of Obvious Software LLC, a venture project to design and build the world’s first fully independent artificial intelligence robotic online professional stock trading system. He also developed VastMind, a cloud-enabled parallel processing grid computing application to utilize wasted CPU cycles in broadband and LAN connected computers.
He co-founded Starbright in 1995, partnering with Steven Spielberg, Intel, Sprint, and Tandem Computers to design and create Starbright World, a broadband network that allows sick kids at thousands of homes and over 110 children's hospitals to "go out and play" in a rich virtual world where they can communicate with friends and family. He is also co-inventor of World's, Inc., one of the internet’s earliest shared 3D virtual worlds using avatar-based communication.
As co-founder and vice president of Knowledge Adventure, Inc. (1991–1994), Gobel invented "mouse movies" (now known as non-linear video) in which the movement of the user's mouse would link non-linearly to a database of video frames. At Knowledge Adventure, Gobel produced and directed 6 best-selling multimedia titles, including "3D Body Adventure," "Buzz Aldrin's Space Adventure," "Science Adventure," "America Adventure," "Bug Adventure," and "The Discoverers" by Daniel J. Boorstin.
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- Hope, Jason, "The Methuselah Foundation", October 21, 2013.
- Diep, Francie, "The Methuselah Foundation Offers $1 Million Prize for a Bioengineered Liver" Popular Science, December 19, 2013.
- Duggan, Alan, "Want to live forever? Mice could help…" Popular Mechanics, May 20, 2014.
- "Methuselah Foundation Announces Methuselah Prize Award to Dr. Huber Warner," Red Orbit, May 30, 2014.
- "An Interview with Dave Gobel" at the Wayback Machine (archived December 21, 2002), Online Magazine.
- FastForward Archives #9--with Dave Gobel", blogtalkradio.
- "The marketing problem of life extension technologies", Pimm - Partial Immortalization, July 28, 2008.
- Keefe, Aaron, "Interview with Mr. David Gobel, CEO, Methuselah Foundation", Pondr, June 10, 2011.