Austad named interim director of Barshop Institute

SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 2, 2012) — Steven Austad, Ph.D., was appointed interim director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity Studies at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, effective Jan. 1. Dr. Austad is a leading figure in comparative biology, which seeks to compare and contrast the biology of longer-lived species with that of shorter-lived species.

He succeeded Arlan Richardson, Ph.D., who recently stepped down as Barshop Institute director after 15 years. Dr. Richardson returned to full-time research.

Dr. Austad, professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at the Health Science Center, is author of several books that translate the science of aging for the lay public, including Why We Age: What Science Is Discovering about the Body’s Journey Through Life. This work has been published in eight languages to date.

In November, Dr. Austad received the 2011 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction given by the American Federation for Aging Research. He accepted the award in Boston, where he presented the Wright Lecture titled “From Mice to Methusaleh: What We Can Learn from the Comparative Biology of Aging.”

The Wright Award is named after the founder of the federation and honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to basic or clinical research in the field of aging.

Dr. Austad, a well-funded researcher, is conducting studies in diverse models of aging, including bats, ocean clams and mice. He also studies hydra, which are freshwater animals a few millimeters in length that have regenerative ability.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

Share This Article!