The Astera Institute was created to bring humanity the greatest imaginable good in the most efficient possible way. When your ambitions are boundless, but your resources are finite, leverage is your friend. In the words of Konrad Zuse, “I was too lazy to calculate, so I invented the computer.” Inspired by such extreme examples of “work smarter,” Astera seeks to activate the areas of exponential latent potential within science and technology. We want to create benevolent super-intelligence, live to 200, fix science, and do engineering worthy of Asimov.
Astera Institute was established by Jed McCaleb. It is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to developing high leverage technologies that can lead to massive returns for humanity. Astera’s unusually high impact derives from housing moonshots and novel scientific research that have no other natural home in today’s research and development landscape. Astera focuses on longevity, AGI, metascience, and frontier engineering.
Jed McCaleb is the Founder of the Astera Institute. His focus is on accelerating progress, expanding potential, and increasing net happiness.
He is also co-founder and Chief Architect of the Stellar Development Foundation, the organization that maintains the open-source Stellar Network.
He has donated to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, OpenAI, and many other causes.
Research Fellow. Metascience.
Michael Nielsen is a Research Fellow at the Astera Institute. He develops tools and processes to speed up the way scientific discoveries are made.
Michael is a pioneer in quantum computing and the open science movement. He co-wrote Quantum Computation and Quantum Information, one of the most cited physics texts of all time. His book Reinventing Discovery helped make open science a global issue in the scientific community.
Previously he was the Foundation Professor of Quantum Information Science at the University of Queensland where he co-founded and directed the Quantum Information Science Initiative. He has been a Research Fellow at the Recurse Center and Y Combinator Research, where he developed novel tools to augment human cognition, such as Quantum Country, an interactive medium to help people better understand complex material.
Research Director. Longevity (consulting)
Adam Marblestone is Research Director for Longevity at The Astera Institute and a Schmidt Futures Innovation Fellow where he is galvanizing the creation of Focused Research Organizations more broadly.
Previously, he was a research scientist at Google DeepMind studying connections between AI and neuroscience, Chief Strategy Officer of the brain-computer interface company Kernel, a research scientist in Ed Boyden’s Synthetic Neurobiology Group at MIT developing new technologies for brain circuit mapping, a PhD student in biophysics with George Church and colleagues at Harvard, and a theoretical physics student with Michel Devoret at Yale working on quantum information theory.
His work has been recognized with a Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35 Award (2018), a Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship (2010) and a Goldwater Scholarship (2008).
He also helped found BioBright, and was an advisor at the Open Philanthropy Project.
Jessica Baldwin is the Operations Manager for Astera Institute.
Prior to her time at Astera Institute, Jessica worked with a range of non-profit organizations supporting administrative and operational procedures including the 500 Capp Street Foundation, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Scientific Director: Rejuvenome. Longevity.
Nicholas Schaum is Scientific Director of The Rejuvenome.
Previously, as a researcher in the Wyss-Coray Lab at Stanford, he worked in conjunction with the Chan Zuckerberg BioHub to organize dozens of labs and hundreds of researchers into the Tabula Muris Consortium to produce the Tabula Muris and Tabula Muris Senis. These cell atlases were the foundation for Schaum’s further studies into whole-organ aging and single-cell parabiosis.
Research Fellow. Metascience.
Benjamin Reinhardt is a Research Fellow at the Astera Institute where he is roadmapping the development of a Private Advanced Research Project Agency. As host of the Idea Machines Podcast, he conducts long-form conversations with experts in innovation systems.
Previously, he was an Entrepreneur In Residence at Entrepreneur First Singapore and at Susa Ventures. He worked in deep learning at Magic Leap, studied space robotics at Cornell, and has a Bachelor of Science in History.
Anastasia Gamick has run early operations for startups across neurotech, biotech, fintech, and robotics. Her experience includes Neuralink, Khosla Ventures funded robotics company Creator, NASA-JPL, Curative, and Segovia.
Pritha Ghosh is a Research Principal at the Astera Institute.
Previously, she was a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses, where she assessed emerging technologies and participated in institutional capacity-building with partner nations. She has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry.