Portsmouth Abbey School Dom Luke Childs Lecturer Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P.
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Published on Oct 19, 2012
Portsmouth Abbey School was honored to welcome Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., to deliver the Dom Luke Childs Lecture to the School community on October 15, 2012.
Fr. Austriaco, who was also a guest speaker at Portsmouth Institute 2012, is a Catholic priest in the Order of Friars Preachers, also known as the Dominicans. Born in the Philippines, he completed his Bachelor's of Science Degree in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. He then earned his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. At M.I.T., Fr. Austriaco worked in the laboratory of Professor Leonard Guarente on the genetics of aging in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After completing his doctoral studies, he was a fellow of the International Human Frontier Science Program at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University College London in the United Kingdom.
In 1997, following a deeper conversion to the Lord, Fr. Austriaco entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Preachers. He completed both his Pontifical Bachelor's Degree in Sacred Theology and his Master's of Divinity Degree at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., in 2003. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 2004. In 2005, he earned his Pontifical License in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) for a thesis in moral theology entitled, Life and Death from the Systems Perspective: A Thomistic Bioethics for a Post-Genomic Age, also at the Dominican House of Studies. He is currently pursuing a Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D) from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.
Fr. Austriaco currently serves as an Associate Professor of Biology and an Instructor of Theology at Providence College in Providence, RI. He is also an Investigator of the Rhode Island-INBRE Program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a scientific advisor at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and an ethics consultant for St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island.
Fr. Austriaco has intellectual interests both in molecular and cellular genetics and in moral theology. His laboratory at Providence College is investigating the genetics of programmed cell death using yeasts as model organisms. Papers describing his research have been published in a number of scientific journals and he has had a number of essays in bioethics published as well. Finally, Fr. Austriaco's first book, Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics, is scheduled to be published by the end of this year.
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