Kent Heckenlively is a science teacher, an attorney, and a founding editor of Age of Autism. During college Heckenlively worked for U.S. Senator Pete Wilson and was the school's Rhodes Scholar candidate. In law school he was a writer and editor of the school’s law review and spent his summers working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.
In the summer of 2010 and 2011, Heckenlively attended the Teacher Research Academy at Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratories, spending eight weeks in a virus lab investigating the expression of micro-RNAs in a monkey model of Ebola infection. Kent is also a member of the Compass group, a consortium of autism parents, leading scientists, and philanthropists in Silicon Valley looking for answers to neuro-immune diseases.
Heckenlively served on the Executive Council of the San Ramon Valley Education Association for several years and was the Health and Safety Committee Chairman for the teacher's union, representing more than sixteen hundred educators, therapists, and psychologists.
"I must confess that the two years spent writing PLAGUE have changed many of my views," says Heckenlively. "I've been deeply impressed by the humanity and compassion of so many scientists, while at the same time have become more keenly aware of the political and financial obstacles that prevent scientists from making the kind of significant contributions to the well-being of society that they dreamed of at the beginning of their careers."
In the fight against chronic diseases, Kent finds great wisdom in the strategy used by Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Mandela believed change could only come about when one engaged in satyagraha, a Buddhist concept which insists on speaking the absolute truth, while at the same time practicing ahisma, a commitment not to harm those who might be your adversaries.
PLAGUE is being released by Skyhorse Publishing, which also publishes the work of Mo Yan, the
2012 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature.
Kent and his wife Linda live in Northern California with their two children, Jacqueline and Ben.
Fun fact: Kent played football for De La Salle High School whose Spartans had a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003, a record unequaled by any American sport. This accomplishment is depicted in the film, When the Game Stands Tall, starring Jim Cazaviel and Laura Dern, released in 2014. Kent firmly believes that even though all this success happened after he stopped playing football it was "just a coincidence" and not a reflection of his athletic skills.
Kent with his team at Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratories - Summer 2011 - Teacher Research Academy.