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Controversial DNA-Modifying “Biohacker” Found Dead In D.C. Spa #technology #Biohacking

The 28-year-old CEO of a controversial biohacking company was found dead in a Washington D.C. spa on Sunday.

The body of Aaron Traywick, CEO and founder of Ascendance Biomedical, was discovered in a spa room on Massachusetts Ave. shortly after 11:30 a.m. Sunday, the Metropolitan Police Department reported.

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The investigation remains ongoing. No evidence suggests foul play.

Ascendance employees Andreas Stuermer and Tristan Roberts told Vice News that Traywick was found in a flotation therapy tank.

The soundproof tanks are typically filled with body-temperature saltwater to promote “sensory deprivation,” which proponents say aids in the exploration of alternate states of consciousness. (Read more about the tanks here.)

“Aaron was a passionate visionary. He seemingly never tired as he brought people together to work on some of the most imposing challenges facing humanity,” Roberts said in a statement to Vice.

“While many in the biohacking scene disagreed with his methods, none of them doubted his intentions. He sought nothing short of a revolution in biomedicine; the democratization of science and the opening of the flood gates for global healing.”

Biohacker Traywick made headlines in February after injecting himself with an un-tested herpes treatment, a stunt that sent ripples through the biohacking community. Some said Traywick’s theatrics gave biohacking – experimenting with genetic material without consideration for accepted ethical standards – a bad rap.


Following the February antics, reports emerged that Ascendance employees had begun distancing themselves from Traywick and his ostentatious methods.

“We all lost touch with him. It was radio silence,” Stuermer told VICE in February.

Stuermer and Ascendance could not be reached for comment.

In October Traywick injected a biohacker volunteer with a D.I.Y. treatment for HIV, a move that prompted the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a statement that the sale of such D.I.Y. therapies is illegal. Because Ascendance wasn’t selling the products, and conducted all testing on volunteers, the company effectively skirted the FDA’s strict rulings.

Traywick isn’t the only biohacker attempting to “improve” themselves though.

Josiah Zayner, 36, recently made headlines by becoming the first person to use the revolutionary gene-editing tool Crispr to try to change their own genes.


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