Daniel W Belsky

Daniel W Belsky

Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences

Office Location: 
2020 W. Main St., Suite 201, Durham, NC 27705
Mailing Address: 
Box 104023, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: 
(919) 613-4534
Biography

After finishing his Ph.D. at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health in 2012, Dan came to Duke for a postdoc at the Center for The Study of Aging and Human Development. Dan joined the faculty at Duke in 2014. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine and Social Science Research Institute. Dan is a Senior Fellow at the Aging Center and a Research Scholar at the Duke Population Research Institute.

The goal of Dan’s work is to reduce the severe inequalities in aging outcomes faced by socially disadvantaged populations in the US and elsewhere. To this end, Dan's research seeks to understand how genes and environmental factors combine to shape human health across the life course. His work leverages tools from genome science and longitudinal data from population-based cohort studies to identify mechanisms of positive development early in life and of aging and chronic disease. Ultimately this work aims to inform policy and clinical interventions to reduce health disparities in aging.

Dan’s current projects are organized around two sets of questions: 

(1)  Why do socially disadvantaged individuals experience more rapid health decline in aging?
To answer this question, Dan is working on three related projects:

  • How can we quantify processes of biological aging in young humans who do not yet have age-related diseases? 
  • How do genetic and environmental factors affect the rate of biological aging?
  • What are molecular and behavioral pathways to resilience through which at-risk individuals can slow their pace of aging? 

(2)  How do our genes shape the environments we live in
To answer this question, Dan is working on two related projects:

  • How do genetic factors shape patterns of social attainment?
  • What are changes we can make to environments that modify genetic influences on social attainments and disease risk?

Dan lives in Durham with his wife and two young daughters. He enjoys cooking, eating, and running.

Overview

The goal of Dan’s work is to reduce social inequalities in aging outcomes in the US and elsewhere. Dan's research seeks to understand how genes and environments combine to shape health across the life course. His work uses tools from genome science and longitudinal data from population-based cohort studies. The aim is to identify targets for policy and clinical interventions to promote positive development in early life and extend healthspan.

Areas of interest: Aging, health disparities, epidemiology, life course, genetics, genomics, gene-environment interaction, health measurement

After finishing his Ph.D. at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health in 2012, Dan came to Duke for a postdoc at the Center for The Study of Aging and Human Development. Dan joined the faculty at Duke in 2014. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine and Social Science Research Institute. Dan is a Senior Fellow at the Aging Center and a Research Scholar at the Duke Population Research Institute.

Areas of expertise: Epidemiology and Health Measurement

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2012

Selected Grants

Biomarkers of Caloric Restriction in Humans: the CALERIE Biorepository awarded by National Institutes of Health (Committee Chair). 2015 to 2020

Aging in 1000 healthy young adults: the Dunedin Study awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2020

Early Career Research Fellowship awarded by Jacobs Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Physical Resiliencies: Indicators and Mechanisms in the Elderly Collaborative awarded by National Institutes of Health (Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Life Course Process of Alzheimer's Disease: Sex Difference and Biosocial Mechanisms awarded by University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Co Investigator). 2017 to 2019

A pilot study to advance translation of molecular signatures of biological aging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Investigating increasing selectivity of low educational attainment across US birth cohorts in the 20th Century awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

Generating new knowledge to support reversibility interventions awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2014 to 2017

Subcontract - The Social and Genetic Epidemiology of Health Behaviors: An Integrated Approach awarded by University of Colorado - Boulder (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2015

Subcontract - Social Demographic Moderation of Genome Wide Associations for Body Mass Index awarded by University of Colorado - Boulder (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2015

Marioni, RE, Belsky, DW, Deary, IJ, and Wagner, W. "Association of facial ageing with DNA methylation and epigenetic age predictions." Clinical Epigenetics 10.1 (November 8, 2018): 140-null. Full Text

Gaydosh, L, Belsky, DW, Domingue, BW, Boardman, JD, and Harris, KM. "Father Absence and Accelerated Reproductive Development in Non-Hispanic White Women in the United States." Demography 55.4 (August 2018): 1245-1267. Full Text

Belsky, DW, Domingue, BW, Wedow, R, Arseneault, L, Boardman, JD, Caspi, A, Conley, D, Fletcher, JM, Freese, J, Herd, P, Moffitt, TE, Poulton, R, Sicinski, K, Wertz, J, and Harris, KM. "Genetic analysis of social-class mobility in five longitudinal studies." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.31 (July 9, 2018): E7275-E7284. Full Text

Belsky, DW. "LIFE-COURSE LONGITUDINAL STUDIES ARE NEEDED TO ADVANCE INTEGRATION OF GENOMICS AND SOCIAL EPIDEMIOLOGY." American Journal of Epidemiology 187.6 (June 1, 2018): 1337-1338. Full Text

Marzi, SJ, Sugden, K, Arseneault, L, Belsky, DW, Burrage, J, Corcoran, DL, Danese, A, Fisher, HL, Hannon, E, Moffitt, TE, Odgers, CL, Pariante, C, Poulton, R, Williams, BS, Wong, CCY, Mill, J, and Caspi, A. "Analysis of DNA Methylation in Young People: Limited Evidence for an Association Between Victimization Stress and Epigenetic Variation in Blood." The American Journal of Psychiatry 175.6 (June 2018): 517-529. Full Text

Belsky, DW, Moffitt, TE, Cohen, AA, Corcoran, DL, Levine, ME, Prinz, JA, Schaefer, J, Sugden, K, Williams, B, Poulton, R, and Caspi, A. "Eleven Telomere, Epigenetic Clock, and Biomarker-Composite Quantifications of Biological Aging: Do They Measure the Same Thing?." American Journal of Epidemiology 187.6 (June 2018): 1220-1230. Full Text

Marsman, D, Belsky, DW, Gregori, D, Johnson, MA, Low Dog, T, Meydani, S, Pigat, S, Sadana, R, Shao, A, and Griffiths, JC. "Healthy ageing: the natural consequences of good nutrition-a conference report." European Journal of Nutrition 57.Suppl 2 (June 2018): 15-34. Full Text

Rasmussen, LJH, Moffitt, TE, Eugen-Olsen, J, Belsky, DW, Danese, A, Harrington, H, Houts, RM, Poulton, R, Sugden, K, Williams, B, and Caspi, A. "Cumulative childhood risk is associated with a new measure of chronic inflammation in adulthood." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines (May 9, 2018). Full Text

Wertz, J, Caspi, A, Belsky, DW, Beckley, AL, Arseneault, L, Barnes, JC, Corcoran, DL, Hogan, S, Houts, RM, Morgan, N, Odgers, CL, Prinz, JA, Sugden, K, Williams, BS, Poulton, R, and Moffitt, TE. "Genetics and Crime: Integrating New Genomic Discoveries Into Psychological Research About Antisocial Behavior." Psychological Science 29.5 (May 2018): 791-803. Full Text

Domingue, BW, Belsky, DW, Fletcher, JM, Conley, D, Boardman, JD, and Harris, KM. "The social genome of friends and schoolmates in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.4 (January 9, 2018): 702-707. Full Text

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