Fifth Alcor Conference
on Extreme Life Extension

Alcor: providing cryonic suspension services since 1972

Speaker Biographies


Michael D. West, Ph.D.

is the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of A.C.T. Group of Worcester, Massachusetts; a company focused on the medical and agricultural applications of nuclear transfer (cloning) technologies. He manages the Company's subsidiaries: Advanced Cell Technology, Inc., Cyagra, LLC, and CIMA Biotechnology, Inc.. He received his Ph.D. From Baylor College of Medicine and has focused his academic and business career on the application of developmental biology to the age-related degenerative disease. He was the Founder of Geron Corporation of Menlo Park, California and from 1990 to 1998 he was the Director, and Vice President, where he initiated and managed programs in telomerase diagnostics, telomerase inhibition, telomerase-mediated therapy, and human Embryonic Stem (ES) cells.

Gregory Benford, Ph.D.

is a working scientist who has written some 23 critically-acclaimed novels. He has received two Nebula Awards, principally in 1981 for Timescape, a novel which sold over a million copies. It also won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Australian Ditmar Award, and the British Science Fiction Award. In 1992, Dr. Benford received the United Nations Medal in Literature. He is also a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine since 1971. He specializes in astrophysics and plasma physics theory and was presented with the Lord Prize in 1995 for achievements in the sciences. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and Phi Beta Kappa. Over the years, he has been an advisor to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United Sates Department of Energy, and the White House Council on Space Policy, and has served as a visiting fellow at Cambridge University. Currently he holds research grants from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is the author of 140 research papers in his field, and has also published in biology and climate change. His first book-length work of non-fiction, Deep Time (1999), examines his work in long duration messages from a broad humanistic and scientific perspective.

Ray Kurzweil, Ph.D.

was the principal developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large vocabulary speech recognition. Ray has successfully founded, developed, and sold four AI businesses in OCR, music synthesis, speech recognition, and reading technology. All of these technologies continue today as market leaders.

Ray Kurzweil received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the world's largest award in invention and innovation. He also received the 1999 National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. He has also received scores of other national and international awards.

Kat Cotter, D.C.

is Vice President of Maximum Life Foundation. Until recently, she was the Director of Lifespan Longevity Center in Los Angeles, California and partner in the Chiropractic and Wellness group. She left private practice to dedicate herself full-time to work with the foundation and help further life extension research. She is certified through the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine by the New York Chiropractic College as an Anti-Aging practitioner. She holds a doctorate in Chiropractic through Southern California University of Health Sciences along with certifications in several other areas. She has experience in public relations, public speaking, marketing, and in the planning and development of conferences and seminars. Dr. Cotter is President and co-founder of the, a health resource site. She is also the director of “The Longevity Bootcamp”, the first conference on aging designed for the general public, which focuses on what can be done right now to help people take charge of their own aging process. She is Co-Chair for this year's Extreme Life Extension Conference. She is a member of Alcor Life Extension Foundation and is on their Board of Directors.


, tutorial Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D.

received his BA, MA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, where he is currently a research associate. His main research areas are the role and etiology of oxidative damage in mammalian aging, including both mitochondrial and extracellular free radical production and damage, and the design of interventions to reverse the age-related accumulation of oxidative and other damage.


, tutorial Gregory Fahy, Ph.D.

received his bachelor of science degree from the University of California at Irvine in 1972 and his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the Medical College of Georgia in 1977. He then moved to the American Red Cross, where he directed an organ cryopreservation program until leaving in 1994 to become the Head of the Tissue Cryopreservation Section of the Transfusion and Cryopreservation Research Program of the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. At the time he joined NMRI, he also became the Chief Scientist of two biotechnology companies, LRT (currently Life Science Holdings) and Organ, Inc. (currently Organ Recovery Systems). He left Maryland in 1997 and currently is the Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of 21st Century Medicine in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Robert A. Freitas, Jr., J.D.

is a Research Scientist at Zyvex Corp. in Texas, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing in California, and author of Nanomedicine, Vol. I (Landes Bioscience, 1999), the first technical book on medical nanorobotics. In 1996, he authored the first detailed technical design study of a medical nanorobot ever published in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal, and has twice been a finalist for the annual Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology. Freitas is presently completing Volumes II and III of Nanomedicine and is consulting on molecular assembler design at Zyvex.


Steven B. Harris, MD

was trained as an internist and geriatrician, and is now Director of Research at Critical Care Research, Inc. He has been interested in experimental gerontology and has published work in dietary restriction experiments in mice, and in humans in Biosphere II. His current work is in experimental induction of very rapid hypothermia in lab animals by means of liquid fluorocarbon breathing. The goal of this work is to ultimately make possible brain resuscitation without damage, after half an hour or more of cardiac arrest and "clinical death". Dr. Harris is a contributing editor of SKEPTIC magazine and a self-confessed enthusiast of science fiction, usenet, and scuba.


Rudi Hoffman CFP

is an independent Certified Financial Planner and investment and insurance broker based in Daytona, FL. Mr. Hoffman is the leading writer of life insurance in the world for the purpose of funding biostasis, with over 100 policies written in the last few years alone. He is also an Alcor member since 1994, and counts cryonicists among his best friends. "Ending the stranglehold that death has on us all is the most important work we can do for humanity. My passion to help show people how cryonics is affordable grows from my personal experience and my hatred of death and aging." Mr. Hoffman has been in financial services since 1978.



David A. Kekich

serves as chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Transvio Technology Ventures, LLC. Mr. Kekich founded the country's largest life insurance master general agency, co-founded the world's biggest private stock loan company and arranged venture capital funding for private companies. He is a recognized expert on private investing and authored the venture capital handbook "How The Rich Get Richer With Quiet Private Investments". Mr. Kekich founded both public and private companies, was engaged as a consultant and served as director to numerous private and public corporations. He has also sold and developed real estate. In 1999, Mr. Kekich founded the "Maximum Life Foundation", a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to controlling aging.


TutorialJerry Lemler, MD

is a Board Certified psychiatrist who came to Alcor from Tennessee in March of 2001 to become the organization's first full-time Medical Director. In September of the same year, Dr. Lemler was elected President and CEO of Alcor by the Board of Directors. Dr. Lemler is a native of New Rochelle, NY, who earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. Following his formal psychiatric residency training in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Dr. Lemler was in private psychiatric practice in Mobile, Alabama, after which he served four years as the Chief of Staff of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute in Knoxville, TN. In 1994 Dr. Lemler received The National Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.


tutorialRalph C. Merkle, Ph.D.

received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1979 where he co-invented public key cryptography. He joined Xerox PARC in 1988, where he pursued research in computational nanotechnology until 1999. He is now Vice President, Technology Assessment at Foresight and a Nanotechnology Theorist at Zyvex, where he continues to pursue research in nanotechnology. He chaired the Fourth and Fifth Foresight Conferences on Nanotechnology, was corecipient of the 1998 Feynman Prize for Nanotechnology for theory, and was corecipient of the ACM's Kanellakis Award for Theory and Practice, the 2000 RSA Award in Mathematics, and the IEEE Kobayashi Award. Dr. Merkle has published and spoken extensively and has ten patents. His home page is at


Max More, Ph.D.

studied philosophy, economics, and politics at Oxford University and the University of Southern California. As President of Extropy Institute he synthesizes diverse perspectives and disciplines to look for ways to use advanced technologies to improve the human condition. He is author of "The Extropian Principles", a document codifying the extropian transhumanist movement's shared goals of moving beyond human limits. He is also Director of Content Solutions and Futures specialist at ManyWorlds, Inc. More frequently lectures, writes, and appears in the media on issues surrounding the impact of emerging technologies. Dr. More has organized several multi-disciplinary conferences on advanced and emerging technologies and their effects on culture and business and has spoken internationally at many conferences on future trends. He has been a member of the Alcor Foundation since 1986.

Natasha Vita-More

is a media artist, lecturer and writer. She is founder of Transhumanist Arts & Culture, an organization that encourages a well-rounded and cross-disciplinary fusion of ideas in discussing and dealing with the future. She is a long-time activist for new technologies, environmental problem solving, advanced education, and the preservation of human dignity. She is known for breaching gaps in public awareness of transhumanity and building bridges for cultural sustenance of superlongevity. Her future body design “Primo Posthuman (3M+)" has received worldwide acclaim. Exhibitions: London Contemporary Museum, Brooks Memorial Museum, Olympic Arts Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Filmex International, American Film Festival, Kyoto Convention Center, and Accademia Belle Arti.


Christine Peterson

writes, lectures, and briefs the media on nanotechnology. She is co-founder and President of Foresight Institute, a nonprofit which educates the public, technical community, and policymakers on nanotechnology and its long-term effects. She directs the Foresight Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology, organizes the Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, and chairs the Foresight Gatherings. She lectures on nanotechnology to a wide variety of audiences, focusing on making this complex field understandable. With Eric Drexler and Gayle Pergamit, she wrote Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution (Morrow, 1991), which sketches nanotechnology's potential environmental and medical benefits as well as possible abuses.

Michael R. Rose, Ph.D.

went to the University of Sussex in 1976 for his doctoral studies on aging in Drosophila melanogaster. There he began his work on the evolution of aging and created Drosophila stocks with postponed aging by selection for later reproduction. In 1991, his Evolutionary Biology of Aging appeared, offering a view of aging that was a complete departure from the views that had dominated the aging field since 1960. Evolution described the field of gerontology as having become "after Rose". In 1997, Rose was awarded the Busse Research Prize by the World Congress of Gerontology.


Stephen Spindler, Ph.D.

is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside, and the Chief Scientific Officer at Biomarker Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of California, San Diego in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences with a focus in Biochemistry at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston, Texas in 1976. He performed Postdoctoral studies in the Department of Biochemistry at Colorado State University and in the Endocrine Research Division of the University of California, San Francisco. In 1981 he joined the faculty at the University of California, Riverside. For the past 17 years, he has studied the molecular biology of caloric restriction and aging.

, tutorial Brian Wowk, Ph.D.

is a physicist and senior scientist at 21st Century Medicine, Inc. He earned his B.Sc. in physics, M.Sc. in medical physics, and Ph.D. in physics in 1997 at the University of Manitoba. His graduate studies encompassed radiotherapy physics and magnetic resonance imaging of human brain function. He has numerous publications in the fields of medical imaging and cryobiology, and holds four patents. His work in the field of nanotechnology has been featured in Popular Mechanics magazine. Dr. Wowk is currently a staff scientist at 21st Century Medicine, Inc., where his work includes development of synthetic ice blocking molecules, and engineering of organ perfusion systems.