Daniel W. Belsky, PhD

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Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Belsky’s research is focused on understanding why socioeconomically disadvantaged populations face shorter healthy lifespans, with the aim of improving intervention strategies to mitigate this health inequality. He is an epidemiologist working at the intersection of genetics, the social and behavioral sciences, and public health. His work brings together discoveries from the cutting edge of genome science with longitudinal data from population-based cohorts and randomized trials to identify mechanisms that cause accelerated health decline in older age.

Belsky’s work builds on evidence that processes of accelerated health decline in aging have their roots much earlier in the life-course. His work focuses on cohorts of children and young and midlife adults as well as older adults to better understand how genetics and environment combine to shape biological processes of aging across the lifespan.

Prior to coming to Columbia, Dr. Belsky was Assistant Professor of Medicine and of Population Health Sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, where he previously completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development with Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi. Dr. Belsky earned his BA from Swarthmore College and his PhD from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health


Education & Training: 

PhD, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC 

BA, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA  



Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology 

Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia Aging Center   


Honors and Awards: 

Young Scholar, Jacobs Foundation, 2018 

Early Career Fellowship, Jacobs Foundation, 2016 

Butler Williams Scholar, National Institute on Aging, 2014   


Selected Publications: 

Belsky D.W., Moffitt T.E., Cohen A.A., Corcoran D.L., Levine M.E., Prinz J., Schaefer J., Sugden K., Williams B., Poulton R., Caspi A. (2018). Telomere, epigenetic clock, and biomarker-composite quantifications of biological aging: Do they measure the same thing? American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(6):1220-1230, 2018 (published online November 2017). 

Belsky D.W., Caspi A., Kraus W., Cohen H.J., Ramrakha S., Poulton R., Moffitt T.E. (2017). 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):644-651. PMC5506399. 

Belsky D.W., Huffman K., Pieper C., Shalev I., Kraus W. (2017). Change in the Rate of Biological Aging in Response to Caloric Restriction: CALERIE Biobank Analysis. Journals of Gerontology A: Biological Sciences, 12;73(1):4-10. 

Belsky D.W., Caspi A., Houts R., Corcoran D., Cohen H.J., Danese A., Harrington H.L., Israel S., Levine M., Schaefer J., Sugden K., Williams B., Yashin A.I., Poulton R., Moffitt T.E. (2015). Quantification of biological aging in young adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Plus) USA. 112(30):E4104-4110. 

Belsky D.W., Caspi A., Israel S., Blumenthal J.A., Poulton R., Moffitt T.E. (2015). Cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive function at midlife: Neuroprotection or neuroselection? Annals of Neurology, 77(4):607-617. 

Belsky D.W., Caspi A., Goldman-Mellor S., Meier M.H., Poulton R., Moffitt T.E. (2013). Is obesity associated with a decline in intelligence quotient during the first half of the life course? American Journal of Epidemiology, 178:1461-1468.  Belsky D.W., Moffitt T.E., Caspi A. (2013). Genetics in population health science: Strategies and opportunities. American Journal of Public Health, 103:S73-S83.