Josh Mitteldorf studies evolutionary theory of aging using computer simulations.
The surprising fact that our bodies are genetically programmed to age and to die
offers an enormous opportunity for medical intervention. It may be that therapies
to slow the progress of aging need not repair or regenerate anything, but only
need to interfere with an existing program of self-destruction.
Mitteldorf has taught a weekly yoga class for thirty years. He is an advocate for
vigorous self care, including exercise, meditation and caloric restriction.
After earning a PhD in astrophysicist, Mitteldorf moved to evolutionary biology as a
primary field in 1996. He has taught at Harvard, Berkeley, Bryn Mawr, LaSalle
and Temple University. He is presently affiliated with MIT as a visiting scholar.
In private life, Mitteldorf is an advocate for election integrity as well as
public health. He is an avid amateur musician, playing piano in chamber groups,
French horn in community orchestras. His two daughters are among the first children
adopted from China in the mid-1980s.
Much to the surprise of evolutionary biologists, genetic experiments indicate
that aging has been selected as an adaptation for its own sake. This poses a
conundrum: the impact of aging on individual fitness is wholly negative, so aging
must be regarded as a kind of evolutionary altruism. Unlike other forms of
evolutionary altruism, aging offers benefits to the community that are weak, and
not well focussed on near kin of the altruist. This makes the mechanism
challenging to understand and to model.
more at http://mathforum.org/~josh