Steven N. Austad is a distinguished professor and department chair in the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
A multi-award winning researcher, his scientific interests concern many aspects of the biology of aging and the evolution of life histories, from molecular processes to evolutionary demography. He investigates aging in a number of species.
Aging is a major puzzle in biology. It is also arguably the most important health problem facing humans today, underlying all major causes of death and disability in the developed world. Why do animals age at all? Why do some species live short lives, physically decaying rapidly and others live exceptionally long and healthy lives? Attempting to identify the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that account for such species differences is the basis of Dr. Austad's research in comparative biogerontology. A second interest of his laboratory is in development methods for the assessment of animal healthspan, so that the impact on health (as well as longevity) of potential senescence-retarding therapies can be investigated. More detail on these general interests is given below.