Kelvin J.A. Davies

Executive Vice Provost

Kelvin J. A. Davies, PhD, DSc, FRSC, FRCP, MAE, FRI, FLS, is a USC Distinguished Emeritus Professor. He was formerly the James E. Birren Chair and Executive Vice Dean (Dean of Faculty & Academic Affairs and Dean of Research) at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and Director of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center. He was concurrently Distinguished Professor Gerontology in the Leonard Davis School; Distinguished Professor of Molecular & Computational Biology in USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences; and Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. Professor Davies also holds an honorary Distinguished Professorship at King’s College, London University and is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University. Educated at London and Liverpool Universities, the University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley, he was previously a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and Albany Medical College.

Kelvin Davies has been President of four major scientific societies, is (founding) Editor-in-Chief of three scientific journals and associate editor for several others. He pioneered the study of protein oxidation, proteolysis and adaptive gene expression during adaptation to oxidative stress. He discovered the mechanism of action of the highly successful anticancer chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin™) and the cause for its cardiac toxicity at high doses. He uncovered the role of free radicals in mitochondrial adaptation to exercise. He discovered five stress- genes including RCAN1 which regulates calcineurin and whose mis-regulation contributes to Alzheimer disease, Down syndrome, and Huntington disease. Davies demonstrated that impaired induction of the Proteasome and mitochondrial Lon protease genes contributes to senescence and severely diminished stress-resistance in aging. He has pioneered the concept of impaired ‘Adaptive Homeostasis’ as a major factor in aging.

Davies has been awarded some 15 honorary doctoral degrees and professorships. He has won numerous medals, prizes, and awards, including the Denham Harman Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award of the American Aging Association, the Sir Arthur Harden Medal of the (British) Biochemical Society, the Harwood S. Belding award of the American Physiological Society, and the Sir Trevor Slater Award of SFRR International. In addition, he has been elected a Fellow of no less than 14 national/international scientific academies and societies, including the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea), the Royal Institution, the Royal Society of Medicine, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Linnean Society of London, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Aging Association, and the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.  Kelvin Davies was knighted as a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite de France (Knight of the National Order of Merit of France) in 2012 by then French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his “… services to science, humanity, and international cooperation.” In 2018 he was elevated to the rank of Knight Commander by current French President Emmanuel Macron. Recently, he was awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar award to conduct research at the Sorbonne Universities in Paris, France.