Richard M. Cawthon, M.D., Ph.D.


Research Associate Professor

Research Focus

Senescent aging (the increasing risk of dying with increasing chronological age in adults) appears to begin in adolescence. We seek to understand the mechanisms by which negligible senescence is maintained in middle childhood (~ages 5-14), and then develop treatments for adults to restore negligible senescence and maintain that state indefinitely. Those treatments, combined with protocols to clear senescent cells, may allow rejuvenation of middle-aged and older adults to a young adult biological age. We would all still die, of course, but only from the causes of death that kill people in their 20s and 30s. Demographers estimate that the world's population will plateau in a few decades at around 9 billion people and also plateau, at only a 10-15% higher number, in the absence of senescent aging.

Representative Publications

Cawthon RM. Telomere measurement by quantitative PCR. Nucleic Acids Res. 2002. PMID: 12000852.

Kerber RA, O'Brien E, Cawthon RM. Gene expression profiles associated with aging and mortality in humans. Aging Cell 2009. PMID: 19245677.

Cawthon RM, Meeks HD, Sasani TA, Smith KR, Kerber RA, O'Brien E, Baird L, Dixon MM, Peiffer AP, Leppert MF, Quinlan AR, Jorde LB. Germline mutation rates in young adults predict longevity and reproductive lifespan. Sci Rep. 2020. 

PMID: 32561805.

Complete list at MyBibliography

Contact Information


Office: 801.585.5520

Lab: 801.585.5520

Building/Office: EIHG 7120