Steven Austad

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Steven N. Austad (born c. 1946 in Long Beach, California) is a biologist and a distinguished professor and chair of the UAB Department of Biology, and director of the UAB Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging. As a scientist, Austad has conducted research into aging in animals and humans, with a focus on sex differences. He serves on dozens of professional boards and panels, and has written widely on aging and other topics for technical and popular audiences.

Austad earned his bachelor's degree in English literature at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1969 and worked as a newspaper reporter, and as a taxi driver. From 1972 to 1975 he worked as a wild animal trainer for Noel Marshall Enterprises in Hollywood, before returning to school to study biology.

He completed a bachelor of science at California State University in Northridge in 1976, and a Ph.D. in biological sciences at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1981. He remained at Purdue as a post-graduate researcher and then conducted additional research as a visiting assistant professor at the University of New Mexico before being invited to join Harvard University's Department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology as an assistant professor in 1986.

Austad left Harvard to become an associate professor of zoology at the University of Idaho and an affiliate professor University of Washington School of Medicine in 1993. He was made a full professor at Idaho's Department of Biological Sciences in 1997. In 2004 he left to accept a professorship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Ten years later he became the scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research in New York.

Austad is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

From 2015 to 2018 Austad contributed a biweekly column, "On Science", to The Birmingham News.


  • Austad, Steven N. (1997) Why We Age: What Science Is Discovering about the Body’s Journey Through Life. New York: John Wiley & Sons.


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