2011 Hogarty Family Foundation Lecture
Aging, Calories and Cancer
Connections for Healthy Living
Steven N. Austad, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center
Department of Cellular & Structural Biology
Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
About the Speaker
Dr. Austad is a professor at the Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Research and the Department of Cellular & Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. His path to his current position as a research specialist in the biology of aging has been an unusual one. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English literature, he enjoyed a variety of unusual jobs, ranging from taxi driver in New York City to lion trainer in Hollywood. This latter experience re-awakened a latent interest in what makes animals tick and led him to graduate school in biology. He began his faculty career as an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University, doing field research in the U.S., South America, and Papua New Guinea. He later moved to the University of Idaho, where he spent 11 blissful years living in the forest before moving to his current position in 2004. During one of his field expeditions, he discovered that opossums aged at an incredibly rapid rate, turning from vigorous adults to decrepit codgers in less than a year. His curiosity piqued, he began investigating aging in other species, both long- and short-lived, his interests gradually shifting to a more medical perspective. He has won multiple research awards, and serves on the editorial board of the most significant aging research journals in his field. His research now concentrates on the cellular and molecular biology of aging in a wide range of animal species.
In addition to his research, Dr. Austad has a passion for communicating the excitement of science to the lay public. He has written for National Wildlife, Natural History, International Wildlife, Scientific American, and for the National Geographic Society. His trade book on aging (Why We Age, John Wiley & Sons, 1997) has been translated into 7 languages. He has lectured widely, served on the Science Advisory Board of National Public Ration, and helped design museum exhibitions on aging. With his wife, Dr. J. Veronika Kiklevich, he published a book of bizarre animal stories (Real People Don’t Own Monkeys, Sourcebooks, 2001), and he is currently working on a book analyzing the criminal justice system from the perspective of a scientist.