Current Series

For information about events in the series, please visit

About the Series

America is aging. Throughout American history, individuals under the age 18 have outnumbered adults over 65. However, by the year 2030, in only seven years, the U.S. baby-boomer generation will be 65+, meaning that every fifth person in America will be an older adult. By historical standards, the sheer number of older adults is staggering: in 2016, there were 49.2 million older adult Americans and by 2060 that number will double. This dramatic population shift is a byproduct of declining birth rates and increasing life expectancy created by scientific breakthroughs about aging, health, longevity. 

The Center for Aging and Longevity Studies, in collaboration with a grant provided by UCSB's College of Letters & Science will host a Critical Issues in America Series on Aging in America: Leveraging the Frontiers of Aging Research to Promote Healthier Lives and an Empowered Community. The program will run from January 2023 to December 2023. One component of the program is to bring experts to campus to give presentations that take stock of our current understanding and newest discoveries about aging from biological, psychological, and sociocultural disciplines. 

The first speaker of the series is Cynthia Kenyon, a world-renowned expert on the molecular biology of aging. She and colleagues, in 1993, discovered that a single-gene mutation could double the lifespan of a C. elegan, which is a type of roundworm, and that the worm would maintain its health and fertility. These findings shifted thinking about aging and longevity from a process that simply occurs in a haphazard way to a process that can be controlled genetically. 

Professor Kenyon is the Herbert Boyer Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, and an American Cancer Society Professor. She is also the Vice President of Aging Research at Calico Labs.  

Other experts coming to be a part of the Critical Issues in America Series include:

Marc Freedman, President and CEO of CoGenerate, and author of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations

Susan Bluck, Professor, Department of Psychology, and Research Affiliate, Neuro-palliative Care Workgroup, College of Medicine, University of Florida

Malene Hansen, Chief Scientific Officer, The Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Susan Charles, Professor of Psychological Science and Nursing Science, School of Social Ecology, University of California Irvine

Ronald Lee, Edward G. and Nancy S. Jordan Family Professor Emeritus of Economics, and Associate Director, Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging, University of California Berkeley 

Eileen Crimmins, AARP Chair in Gerontology, and Director, Multidisciplinary Research Training in Gerontology, University of Southern California

Other programs will include a Careers in Aging week in April for University of California Santa Barbara students to explore opportunities in aging-related fields. 

Further details are available on the Center for Aging and Longevity Studies - Events page.