The GMGI Science Hour with Dr. Steven Austad: A Warm Up

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Known as: Dr. Steven Austad, Distinguished Professor and Inaugural Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Based out of: Birmingham, AL

What he does in 10 words or less: Researches the biology of aging.

Why what he does is important to you: Aging is the number one cause of death and disability in today’s world. But why do animals age? We are successful at producing healthy adults, but why is it harder to keep that adult healthy through time? Dr. Austad’s research focuses on finding out why some animal species age quickly, like mice, and why some age slowly, like humans. The long-term goal of his research is to develop treatments to slow the aging process, keeping people fit and healthy longer.

What you’ll learn from the talk: Throughout Dr. Austad’s presentation, you will learn about diverse animal species who have long live spans and how their basic biology can give us clues to improving our own lives. Some of these animals have longer life spans than humans, demonstrating successful tactics to combating age. By focusing on exotic species, like clams who live up to 500 years and hydra that don’t age at all, Dr. Austad and his team can relate these findings to human benefits and even assess whether a treatment that makes a mouse live longer also improves the quality of its life. He has also found in recent years that the sexes often respond differently to treatments that extend life and health and have started to explore why this is so.

Key Terms:

Longevity: a long life.

In situ: the study of an organism in its original habitat.

Lifespan: the total number of years we live.

Healthspan: how many of those years we remain healthy and free of disease.

When: Thursday, February at 7:00pm on Zoom. Register here.