Advisory Board

Dr. Jay Phelan

The New York Times article A prescription that may extend life said

“Calorie restriction is doomed to fail, and will make people miserable in the process of attempting it,” said Dr. Jay Phelan, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a coauthor of the paper. “We do see benefits, but not an increase in life span.”
Mice who must scratch for food for a couple of years would be analogous, in terms of natural selection, to humans who must survive 20-year famines, Phelan said. But nature seldom demands that humans endure such conditions.
Besides, he added, there is virtually no chance Americans will adopt such a severe menu plan in great numbers.
“Have you ever tried to go without food for a day?” Phelan asked. “I did it once, because I was curious about what the mice in my lab experienced, and I couldn’t even function at the end of the day.”

Dr. Jay Phelan is a biology professor at UCLA. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard in 1995, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Yale and UCLA. His main area of research is evolutionary genetics and aging. He has been featured on BBC and Talk of the Nation, as well as in magazines and newspapers. An accomplished educator, Jay has received accolades and numerous awards for his teaching.
Jay coauthored Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts, The X-ray Crystal Structure and Putative Ligand-derived Peptide Binding Properties of gamma -Aminobutyric Acid Receptor Type A Receptor-associated Protein, Why dietary restriction substantially increases longevity in animal models but won’t in humans, Breakdown in correlations during laboratory evolution. I. Comparative analyses of Drosophila populations, Breakdown in correlations during laboratory evolution. II. Selection on stress resistance in Drosophila populations, Caloric Restriction Increases Longevity Substantially only When the Reaction Norm is Steep, and Crystal Structure of the Core Domain of RhoE/Rnd3: A Constitutively Activated Small G Protein.