The HEAVEN Project


Dr. Sergio Canavero, Photo Credit: Discover Magazine

Ira Pastor, ideaXme longevity and aging ambassador and founder of Bioquark, interviews Dr. Sergio Canavero, neurosurgeon and Founder of the HEAVEN project (Head Anastomosis Venture).

Ira Pastor Comments:

On the last several shows we have spent time talking to many people working on the “cutting edge” as it pertains to the emerging therapeutic and preventative interventions related to the diseases and processes of aging.

However, today we are going to go a bit beyond, to the “bleeding edge” of things.

To give some context, when one mentions the science-fictionesque topic of “head transplantation” (or a related topic: the “brain transplant”), for most people, it remains a topic purely in the context and sphere of science fiction.

Yet most people are unaware of the following history:

In 1908, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alexis Carrel, a French surgeon who had developed surgical methods to connect blood vessels in the context of organ transplantation, collaborated with the American Dr. Charles Claude Guthrie to perform the first head grafts between dogs.

In 1954, Dr. Vladimir Demikhov, a Soviet surgeon who conducted important work to improve coronary bypass surgery, performed experiments in which he grafted a dog’s head and upper body, onto another dog. The effort focused on how to provide blood supply to the donor head and upper body.

In 1965, American neurosurgeon Dr. Robert J. White did a series of experiments in which he attempted to graft the vascular system of isolated dog brains onto existing dogs monitoring brain activity with EEG and also monitored metabolism and showed that he could maintain high levels of brain activity and metabolism by avoiding any break in the blood supply. In 1970 he did four experiments in which he cut the head off of a monkey and connected the blood vessels of another monkey head to it.

From 1970–1994, Dr. Paul A. Pietsch, a Professor in the School of Optometry and an Adjunct Professor of Anatomy at Indiana University, conducted and published a long series of brain shuffling and transplantation experiments in regenerative organisms between salamanders and frogs.

Related “brain switching” experiments have routinely taken place in the world of embryology to the current day between species such as chickens, ducks, quails and finches.

The point of this history is twofold:

1) Topics in the realm of “science fiction” (whether that be spider silk spinning, suspended animation, liquid breathing, or yes, even head / brain transplant research) are indeed being worked on the “real world.”

2) There are thinkers and thought leaders that have begun to think about human translational opportunities of these tools.

Dr. Sergio Canavero

Dr. Sergio Canavero

Our guest today in Prof. Sergio Canavero, MD, Founder of the HEAVEN project (Head Anastomosis Venture) who has been planning the world’s first human head transplantation.

Dr. Canavero is a neurosurgeon, formerly director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group. He worked as a neurosurgeon at the University Hospital Turin, Italy, for 22 years.

Dr. Canavero graduated cum laude from the University of Turin, passed the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in the Medical Sciences in the USA, was a visiting physician at the Neurosurgical Division of Karolinska Hospital Stockholm, Sweden, and is a honorary professor of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.

He was a member of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons (AANOS), a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, an intern at the Neurological and Neurosurgical Hospital Pierre Wertheimer in Lyon, France, and a consultant for the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), USA.

He has written numerous scientific books, including Central Pain Syndrome. Pathophysiology, Diagnosis and Management, Textbook of Therapeutic Cortical Stimulation, Textbook of Cortical Brain Stimulation, and Immortal: Why Consciousness is Not in the Brain.

Dr. Canavero has published or contributed to more than 140 scientific articles.

On this show we will hear from Dr. Canavero:

About his background, where he grew up, how he became interested in science, medicine, and neurosurgery. What drew him into the area of attempting such a “bleeding edge” initiative as human head transplantation. Various aspects of his current rodent, monkey, and cadaver head transplant research. Bioethical issues surrounding head transplantation research. Implications of his work towards human immortality. Finally, synergistic applications of his work with the world of cryonics.

Ira Pastor, ideaXme longevity and aging ambassador

Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.

Follow Ira Pastor on Twitter: @IraSamuelPastor

If you liked this interview, be sure to check out our interview with Bill Faloon on Mankind’s Quest for Extending Lifespan!

ideaXme is a global podcast, ambassador and mentor programme. Our mission: Move the human story forward!™ ideaXme Ltd.

Originally published at on August 16, 2019.



ideaXme: Move the human story forward!™

For all those who love big ideas and great stories. #movethehumanstoryforward #science #futurism #quantumai #technology #spaceexploration #climatechange