George M. Martin

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George M. Martin (born June 30, 1927, in New York, New York) is an American biogerontologist. He received both his B.S. in Chemistry and his M.D. from the University of Washington and has been a member of its faculty since 1957. Martin is a Professor Emeritus (Active) in the Department of Pathology, Adjunct Professor of Genome Sciences (Retired) and Director Emeritus of the University of Washington’s Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.[1]


His research has involved genetic approaches to elucidate the pathobiology of aging and age-related diseases. Important highlights include the discovery of the genetic defect causing Werner syndrome[2] and certain familial forms of Alzheimer's disease.[3] Martin also led research leading to the first evidence that cells from arteries, especially from parts that develop severe atherosclerosis, have limited potential to divide. He and colleagues also demonstrated that senescent cells cannot be "rescued" when their cytoplasm is mixed with cytoplasm from a normal young cell. His laboratory was also the first to demonstrate the rising frequencies, with age, of somatic mutations in human epithelial cells. His recent research has utilized genetic engineering in mice to elucidate mechanisms of aging and Alzheimer's disease.

Martin's honors have included election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a Lifetime Achievement Award of the World Alzheimer Congress. He currently serves as the Scientific Director of the American Federation for Aging Research and he has served as President of the Tissue Culture Association and the Gerontological Society of America. Martin has served as an Editor and on Editorial Boards of many scholarly journals including Science, Age and Ageing, Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, Aging Cell, Ageing Research Reviews, Geriatrics and Gerontology International and Alzheimer's Disease Review. He currently serves as chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of The Ellison Biomedical Foundation.

Martin is not as well known as some of today's leading futurists, such as Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge, but some of his futuristic predictions are quite similar and predate those of Kurzweil and Vinge. For example, in 1971 Martin described the importance of exponential growth in science and, based on the continuation of such a trend, he outlined a hypothetical proposal for achieving "immortality" through a process now described as mind uploading:

The ultimate solution [for immortality] is pure science fiction. In fact, the rationale for implementing the interim solution is largely based upon two articles of faith. The first is the perfectly reasonable proposition that science will continue to grow – if not at its present exponential rate, at least linearly. The second, requiring a good deal more optimism, is the belief that Homo sapiens, during this critical phase of his natural history, will not destroy himself and his planet. We shall assume that developments in neurobiology, bioengineering and related disciplines… will ultimately provide suitable techniques of 'read-out' of the stored information from cryobiologically preserved brains into nth generation computers capable of vastly outdoing the dynamic patterning of operation of our cerebral neurones. We would then join a family of humanoid 'post-somatic' bio-electrical hybrids capable of contributing to cultural evolution at rates far exceeding anything now imaginable.[4]


  1. ^ Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the University of Washington
  2. ^ Oshima J, Yu CE, Boehnke M, et al. (September 1994). "Integrated mapping analysis of the Werner syndrome region of chromosome 8" (PDF). Genomics. 23 (1): 100–13. doi:10.1006/geno.1994.1464. hdl:2027.42/31345. PMID 7829057.
  3. ^ Schellenberg GD, Deeb SS, Boehnke M, et al. (April 1987). "Association of an apolipoprotein CII allele with familial dementia of the Alzheimer type". Journal of Neurogenetics. 4 (2–3): 97–108. doi:10.3109/01677068709102337. PMID 2885403.
  4. ^ Martin GM (1971). "Brief proposal on immortality: an interim solution". Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. 14 (2): 339. doi:10.1353/pbm.1971.0015. PMID 5546258.

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