close

A A A
Menu

David Le Couteur

Q&A with David G. Le Couteur, MD, from the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia.

Le CouteurMeet David.

"If you are a scientist, academic, teacher or health professional with an interest in aging, gerontology and older people, you must belong to the GSA in order to support aging research and older people. You will be rewarded by belonging to a wide network of likeminded colleagues and the opportunity to attend its eclectic conferences that cover such a diverse range of research topics."

Q: Why did you become a member and what type of involvement do you have?
A: I have been an international member of the GSA since 2012, from Sydney Australia. I have been involved with the Journals of Gerontology Series A as an author, reviewer, associate editor and more recently as Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Gerontology Biological Science, a role I share with Professor Rozalyn Anderson. The Journal of Gerontology Series A is an amazing journal that always publishes outstanding research in aging biology and geriatrics, and I am always very proud to publish my own research here too.

Q: How does GSA assist with your professional development?
A: The GSA is the most significant and influential gerontological society worldwide. As an international member, belonging to the GSA provides an unique opportunity to network with leading aging researchers, attend the GSA meetings, and have access to its Journals.

Q: How did you get interested in the field of aging?
A: I started my career as a family doctor in a very small country town in rural Australia. Most of my patients were elderly, and then and there I realised how little we know about how to manage the medical problems of older people or why aging is such a powerful risk factor for disease; and how gratifying it can be to treat older people. So I came back to the city and obtained my specialist qualifications in geriatric medicine and a PhD that was focussed on aging physiology.

Q: Why is it important for other individuals to join GSA?
A: GSA is the most important organization for promoting aging and gerontology research nationally and internationally. If you are a scientist, academic, teacher or health professional with an interest in aging, gerontology and older people, you must belong to the GSA in order to support aging research and older people. You will be rewarded by belonging to a wide network of likeminded colleagues and the opportunity to attend its eclectic conferences that cover such a diverse range of research topics.

Q: Are you a member of a GSA Interest Group? If so, which ones?
A: Geroscience, it is an absolute ‘must’ for anyone interested in aging biology.

Q: What are your key responsibilities at your job?
A: I am a staff specialist geriatrician in a busy Sydney teaching hospital, so my main role is the care of acutely sick older people who are admitted via the Emergency Department with a wide range of problems from falls and delirium through to septicaemia and acute heart failure. I am involved in research programs at the ANZAC Research Institute (our lab there is studying the aging liver and nanomedicines), the Charles Perkins Centre (the main focus of this research is nutrition and aging) and the CHAMP study (a prospective cohort study of older men).

Q: What is your most memorable research/patient experience?
A: About 10 years ago, we promoted the concept of “deprescribing” and it has been fascinating seeing how this simple word has meme-like influenced the practice of geriatric medicine and research into reducing polypharmacy in older people. This translates into my clinical practice. I have had many patients who are immobile, falling or confused who improve markedly when their medication load has been reduced.

Q: Do you have any tips for emerging gerontologists?
A: These days it is really tough being an academic or scientist in any field of research. Getting funding and published is becoming more and more difficult. However, you are rewarded by persistence. Keep at it and your papers eventually get published, your research students graduate and funding applications are – sometimes - successful. Enjoy your network of colleagues and collaborators nationally and internationally, they will always be an inspiration. If your research or clinical practice allows you to talk to older people then you are really lucky. Older people themselves will be a constant source of ideas and encouragement.

Q: Tell us a little about your most recent activities/accomplishments.
A: In 2016 I was awarded an AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) for distinguished service to medicine as a clinical pharmacologist and geriatrician, particularly through a range of advisory roles and academic research activities. I wish my parents were alive then, I would have so much enjoyed their pride!

Q: Have you had an important mentor in your career? If so, how did s/he make a difference?
A: I haven’t had a mentor, but I have been extremely fortunate to have Rafa de Cabo from the National Institute on Aging as a colleague and friend. What a powerhouse! He has achieved so much in the field of aging biology, having driven the mega studies of aging interventions in mice, with extraordinarily detailed phenotyping of outcomes. He has been a genuine leader and an incredibly generous collaborator, and has encouraged so many scientists nationally and internationally into aging research.

Want to ask David a question? Contact him on GSA Connect!

Share This Page!

Print Page