Tom Kirkwood is Professor Emeritus at Newcastle University, where he directed the Institute for Ageing and Health since 2004 and was Dean for Ageing from 2010-2015. He now also holds an affiliate professorship at the University of Copenhagen Center for Healthy Aging.
Of particular significance has been his work on the scientific basis of aging, examining why and how we age and the underlying causes of age-related disability and disease, including the impact of social and behavioral factors.
He led a major population-based investigation (the Newcastle 85+ Study) which examined in unprecedented detail the spectrum of health and associated biological, functional and psychosocial measures in a cohort of very old people. He has advised the UK government and international organizations on aspects of population aging. He has published many scientific papers and won several international prizes for his research. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and has also worked with bodies in the business, professional and voluntary sector. He has served on various national and international grant-awarding panels.
Kirkwood has contributed extensively to shaping the public debate on aging, through his 2001 BBC Reith Lectures and frequent contributions to television, radio, and print media. His books include the award-winning Time of Our Lives: The Science of Human Ageing, Chance, Development and Ageing (with Caleb Finch), The End of Age based on his Reith Lectures, and An Age of Wonders: the Story of the Newcastle 85+ Study (with Gordon Morris).