Kidney researcher to speak about climate change

Sep 12, 2016

Dr. Richard Johnson speaks tonight about human evolution and climate change as part of the Aspen Global Change Institute's speaker series.
Credit Courtesy of Aspen Global Change Institute

Kidney expert Dr. Richard Johnson discusses how climate change relates to the evolution of mankind tonight as part of the Aspen Global Change Institute’s public speaker series.


Johnson, who is the chief of the renal division and hypertension at the University of Colorado, researches kidney disease, diabetes and obesity, and he has found connections to climate change in his studies.

“As my research has progressed over the years, we became aware that kidney disease was being linked with heat stress,” Johnson said. “Initially, when I started my research career, I never thought I’d be studying climate change.”

His discussion tonight will center on how mutations in human ancestors’ past may now be causing higher rates of obesity and kidney disease.

“We have developed some insights into how animals and humans protect themselves under situations of food shortage or dehydration,” Johnson said. “Some of these protective mechanisms can actually cause disease as well.”

Johnson is the author of The Sugar Switch and The Fat Switch.