Biographies: Friday Panelists

Art of Aging Panel – Presenter information and bios

Moderator: JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez, School of Public Affairs, UCLA


Bio: JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez spearheaded the creation of an interdisciplinary GE Honors Cluster class titled “Frontiers in Human Aging: Biomedical, Social, and Policy Perspectives”. She has played a pivotal role in the preparation of geriatric social workers. JoAnn has been a member of the Veterans Health Administration Gerontology and Geriatrics Advisory Committee; Associate Director of the VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center of Greater Los Angeles; President of the Board of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics; and advisor to the World Health Organization’s Kobe Center for Health Development, to name a few. She has twenty years of practice experience in health, mental health, and hospice care and has active research on geriatric education, diversity in aging, and community-based elder care.


Kathy Brew, artist/curator/faculty, School of Visual Arts and The New School


Bio: Kathy Brew is an award-winning independent video maker whose experience spans from independent documentaries to experimental work and public television productions. She has served as Curator for Lincoln Center’s NY Video Festival; Co-Director of the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival at the American Museum of Natural History; Curatorial Consultant for WNET’s independent series, Reel New York; and Director of Thundergulch for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her articles have been published in Documentary Magazine, The Independent, World Art, Civilization, High Performance, Shift, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Focus, and Artcoast. She is a contributor to the book Women, Art, and Technology by MIT Press.

Alan Castel, Department of Psychology, UCLA


Bio:  Alan Castel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.  His research focuses on how cognition changes with age and the degree to which people are aware of their memory ability (a form of metamemory). He has published over 40 research articles and book chapters, received the Springer Early Career Achievement Award in Research on Adult Development and Aging from the American Psychological Association, and serves on several editorial boards.  His work has been featured in various media outlets, including the New York Times and AARP.  Currently, he is working on a book about “Successful Aging“.

Steven G. Clarke, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA


Bio: Steven Clarke is an authority on the biochemistry of the aging process and natural repair mechanisms. Dr. Clarke’s research explores the roles of novel protein methyltransferases in aging and biological regulation. In the last few years, his lab has taken a genetic approach, exploring the consequences of the genetic elimination of the methyltransferase in a variety of organisms.  The Clarke lab has developed a methodology for identifying the members of a large family of enzymes that catalyze methyltransfer reactions.  His achievements have been honored by the American Chemical Society Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry as well as by his selection as the 107th UCLA Faculty Research Lecturer.  He served as the Director of the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute from 2001 to 2011.

Madeline Gins, artist, architect, Reversible Destiny Foundation


Bio: Madeline Gins is an American artist, architect, philosopher and poet. She co-created the research project The Mechanism of Meaning, which has been widely exhibited throughout the world. She co-founded the Architectural Body Research Foundation and has contributed to developing an original theory and practice of the relation of the human being to the exterior world, elaborated in her book Architectural Body. Within this theme, Gins has designed and built residences (Reversible Destiny Lofts, Bioscleave House, Shidami Resource Recycling Model House), parks (Site of Reversible Destiny), housing complexes and neighborhoods (Isle of Reversible Destiny). She has received awards from the Japan Arts Foundation and the College Art Association, and written books and essays on the relation among architecture, aging and mortality.

Bryan Turner, Department of Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY


Bio: Bryan S. Turner is a sociologist of religion who has also devoted significant attention to sociological theory, the study of human rights, and the sociology of the body. In Vulnerability and Human Rights, he presents an interdisciplinary dialogue with the literature of economics, law, medicine, philosophy, political science, and religion. His current research involves the role of religion in contemporary Asia and the changing nature of citizenship in a globalizing world. Turner has written, coauthored, or edited more than seventy books and more than two hundred articles and chapters. Turner was an Alona Evans Distinguished Visiting Professor at Wellesley College; he is also professor of social and political thought at the University of Western Sydney, Australia.

© The UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics. All Rights Reserved.