Kelvin J. A. Davies, Ph.D., D.Sc. is the James E. Birren Chair of Gerontology. Professor Davies was born and raised in London, England and is a dual citizen of Great Britain and the U.S.A. Educated at London University, Liverpool & Lancaster Universities, the University of Wisconsin, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard, he was previously a faculty member at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. Before moving to USC’s Andrus Gerontology Center in 1996, Professor Davies was Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the Albany Medical College in New York, where he was also John A. Muntz University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Medicine.
Deeply involved in research into oxidative stress and free radicals, Professor Davies is the (founding) Editor-in-Chief of the premier scientific journal in the field, Free Radical Biology & Medicine. Professor Davies is a Fellow of the Oxygen Society; a Fellow of the Society for Free Radical Biology & Medicine; a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a Fellow of the Royal Institution (London); winner of the Harwood S. Belding award of the American Physiological Society; and holder of various medals, honorary degrees, and fellowships from several universities and scientific societies. Professor Davies is past President of the Society for Free Radical Biology & Medicine and the International Society for Free Radical Research. In 1996, he was named the National Parkinson Foundation Scholar. Recently he was awarded the Gold Medal of the European Society for Free Radical Research, and in 2012 Professor Davies was knighted as a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite de France (Knight, National Order of Merit of France) by the President of France.
During aging, and in several age-related disease processes, vital cellular proteins, lipids, and DNA and RNA are damaged by free radicals produced by metabolism, chronic inflammation, radiation, smoke, pollution, and by many foods and drugs. These oxidized, non-functional, or dysfunctional cellular constituents must be removed or repaired before they cause further cell damage.
Professor Davies’ research centers on the role of free radicals and oxidative stress in biology. In particular he is interested in genes that repair oxidatively damaged proteins, lipids, RNA, and DNA, and his laboratory has made major contributions to our understanding of this subject over the past twenty years. At the Andrus Gerontology Center, Professor Davies is focusing his research on the regulation of oxidative stress repair genes during aging. His laboratory is involved in biochemical, molecular biology, and genetic studies of both normal aging processes, and aging pathologies such as Alzheimer and Huntington diseases.