John S. Torday, Ph.D.

John Torday, PhD

Investigator, The Lundquist Institute
Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Faculty, Evolutionary Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Division of Neonatology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Director, Perinatal Research Training Program, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Director, Guenther Laboratory for Cell-Molecular Biology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center


Developmental Physiology, Evolutionary Physiology

Research Description

Dr. Torday studies the cellular-molecular development of the lung and other visceral organs. Using the well-established principles of cell-cell communication as the basis for determining the patterns of physiologic development, his laboratory was the first to determine the complete repertoire of lung alveolar morphogenesis. This highly regulated structure offered the opportunity to trace the evolution of the lung from its unicellular origins forward, developmentally and phylogenetically. The lung is an algorithm for understanding the evolution of other physiologic properties, such as the kidney, skin, liver, gut, central nervous system. Such basic knowledge of the how and why of physiologic evolution is useful in the effective diagnosis and treatment of disease.


  • PhD, 1974, McGill University, Montréal, Canada

Recent and/or Significant Publications

Torday JS. A central theory of biology. Med Hypotheses. 2015 Jul;85(1):49-57.
Torday JS, Rehan VK. Evolution, the Logic of Biology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).
Torday JS. Evolutionary biology redux. Perspect Biol Med. 2013 Autumn;56(4):455-84.
Torday JS, Rehan VK. Evolutionary Biology, Cell-Cell Communication and Complex Disease (Wiley, 2012).