Fr. Nicanor Austriaco is a Catholic priest in the Order of Friars Preachers. Born in the Philippines, he earned his Ph.D. degree in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After completing his doctoral studies, he was a fellow of the International Human Frontier Science Program at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University College London.
In 1997, following a deeper conversion to the Lord, Fr. Austriaco entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Preachers. He completed both his pontifical bachelor’s degree in sacred theology and his master’s of divinity degree at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., in 2003. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 2004. In 2005, he earned his pontifical license in sacred theology summa cum laude. He is currently pursuing a pontifical doctorate degree in sacred theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.
Fr. Austriaco currently serves as an associate professor of biology and an instructor of theology at Providence College in Providence, R.I. He is also an investigator for the Rhode Island-IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Program funded by the National Institutes of Health, a scientific advisor at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and an ethics consultant for St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island.
Fr. Austriaco has intellectual interests both in molecular and cellular genetics and in moral theology. His laboratory at Providence College is investigating the genetics of programmed cell death using yeasts as model organisms. Papers describing his research have been published in a number of scientific journals and he has had a number of essays in bioethics published as well. Finally, Fr. Austriaco’s first book, Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics, is scheduled to be published by the end of this year.