UW Medicine

Steven Austad

Steven Austad
Environmental head shot of Dr. Steven Austad, PhD (Distinguished Professor/Chair, Biology) in Volker Lab, 2019.


Dr. Steven Austad is a Distinguished Professor and the Inaugural Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research in Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  He is also Founding Director and current Co-director of UAB’s Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging and Senior Scientific Director of the New York-based American Federation for Aging Research.  Having published more than 200 scientific papers, Dr. Austad’s aging research has won multiple awards, including the Nathan A. Shock Award, the Robert W. Kleemeier Award, the Purdue Outstanding Alumnus Award, the Foundation IPSEN Longevity Prize, and the Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Gerontological Society of America.  With an abiding interest in communicating science to the general public, he has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of National Public Radio and written more than 150 op-eds and essays for electronic and print media, including the Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, and Salon. He has also written four trade books — Why We Age (1997) has been translated into nine languages, Real People Don’t Own Monkeys (2002, co-authored with his wife, J. Veronika Kiklevich), To Err is Human, To Admit It is Not and Other Essays (2022) and Methuselah’s Zoo: What Nature Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Healthier Lives (2022).  Before his career in science, he put food on the table by driving taxis in New York City and training lions for the Hollywood movie industry.