Daniel W Belsky

Daniel W Belsky

Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences

Education & Training

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


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

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 (March 2018): 956797617744542-. 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

Belsky, DW, Huffman, KM, Pieper, CF, Shalev, I, and Kraus, WE. "Change in the Rate of Biological Aging in Response to Caloric Restriction: CALERIE Biobank Analysis." The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 73.1 (December 2017): 4-10. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schaefer, JD, Scult, MA, Caspi, A, Arseneault, L, Belsky, DW, Hariri, AR, Harrington, H, Houts, R, Ramrakha, S, Poulton, R, and Moffitt, TE. "Is low cognitive functioning a predictor or consequence of major depressive disorder? A test in two longitudinal birth cohorts." Development and psychopathology (November 16, 2017): 1-15. Full Text

Domingue, BW, Liu, H, Okbay, A, and Belsky, DW. "Genetic Heterogeneity in Depressive Symptoms Following the Death of a Spouse: Polygenic Score Analysis of the U.S. Health and Retirement Study." The American journal of psychiatry 174.10 (October 2017): 963-970. Full Text

Domingue, BW, Belsky, DW, Harrati, A, Conley, D, Weir, DR, and Boardman, JD. "Mortality selection in a genetic sample and implications for association studies." International Journal of Epidemiology 46.4 (August 1, 2017): 1285-1294. Full Text Open Access Copy

Belsky, DW, Caspi, A, Cohen, HJ, Kraus, WE, Ramrakha, S, Poulton, R, and Moffitt, TE. "Impact of early personal-history characteristics on the Pace of Aging: implications for clinical trials of therapies to slow aging and extend healthspan." Aging cell 16.4 (August 2017): 644-651. Full Text

Belsky, DW. "Translating Polygenic Analysis for Prevention." Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics 10.3 (June 2017): e001798-e001798. Full Text Open Access Copy


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

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

Early Career Research Fellowship awarded by Jacobs Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

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