Fr. Austriaco is a Catholic priest in the Order of Friars Preachers. He completed his B.S. degree in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. He earned his Ph.D. degree in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Following 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, England.
In 1997, Fr. Austriaco entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Preachers. He earned his bachelor’s degree in theology, his master’s degree of divinity, and his licentiate in theology at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. He is currently pursuing a pontifical doctorate in sacred theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 2004
Fr. Austriaco currently serves as an associate professor of biology and instructor of theology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. He is also an investigator of the Rhode Island-INBRE Program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 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 NIH-funded laboratory at Providence College is investigating the genetics of programmed cell death using the yeasts, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans, as model organisms. His research has been published in PLoS ONE, FEMS Yeast Research, Cell, the Journal of Cell Biology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and others. His essays in bioethics have been published in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Studia Moralia, Ethics and Medics, and the Linacre Quarterly. His first book, Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics, was published in December 2011.