Daniel Belsky, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Epidemiology (in the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center)
Profile Headshot


Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Epidemiology (in the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center)

Administrative Titles

  • Faculty, Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 2002 Swarthmore College
  • PhD, 2012 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health

Editorial Boards

  • Journals of Gerontology
  • Demography

Honors & Awards

  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher 2020-present
  • Neal Miller New Investigator Award, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research
  • Fellow, CIFAR CBD Network
  • Early Career Fellow, Jacobs Foundation
  • Young Scholar, Jacobs Foundation
  • Butler Williams Scholar, NIA



Dr.  Belsky's research sits at the intersection of public health, population & behavioral sciences, and genomics. His studies seek to understand how genes and environments combine to shape health across the life course. The goal of Dan's work is to reduce social inequalities in aging outcomes in the US and elsewhere.

Dan’s focus for the past several years has been on development and evaluation of methods to quantify the pace and progress of biological process of aging in young, mid-life, and older-adult humans and the application of these methods to study:

  1. How life-history and social factors contribute to individual differences in healthy aging
  2. Whether and how aging processes can be modified by intervention.

With collaborators Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi he originated the Pace of Aging method to quantify the aging process from longitudinal analysis of human physiology and recently translated this method into a DNA-methylation blood test that can be implemented from a single time point of data collection. He is principal investigator of NIH-funded projects to test how caloric restriction may slow or reverse aging-related changes to the genome (CALERIE), to understand long-term impacts of in-utero famine exposure on biological aging (Dutch Hunger Winter Family Study, with Bertie Lumey), and to test the potential of anti-poverty policy intervention to slow biological aging (MyGoals for Healthy Aging, with Peter Muennig). Dan's work has received international attention, including by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Guardian newspapers, and appeared in outlets including PNAS, Nature Human Behaviour, Nature Aging, the JAMA journals, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, and top journals in epidemiology and gerontology. Since 2020, he has been named an ISI highly-cited researcher. (current CV)

Research Interests

  • Aging
  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Chronic disease
  • Community Health
  • Genetics

Selected Publications

  1. Waziry R, Ryan CP, Corcoran DL, Graf G, Huffman KM, Kobor MS, Kothari M, Kraus VB, Kraus WE, Lin DTS, Pieper CF, Ramaker ME, Bhapkar M, Das SK, Ferrucci L, Hastings WJ, Kebbe M, Parker DC, Racette SB, Shalev I, Schilling B, Belsky DW*. Effect of Long-Term Caloric Restriction on DNA Methylation Measures of Biological Aging in Healthy Adults: CALERIE™ Trial Analysis. Nature Aging, 3(3):248-257, 2023. PMC10148951
  2. Belsky DW*, Caspi A, Corcoran DL, Sugden K, Poulton R, Arseneault L, Baccarelli A, Chamarti K, Gao X, Hannon E, Harrington HL, Houts R, Kothari M#, Kwon D#, Mill J, Schwartz J, Vokonas P, Wang C, Williams B, Moffitt TE. DunedinPACE: A DNA methylation biomarker of the Pace of Aging. eLife, 11:e73420, 2022. PMC7282814
  3. Graf GH, Zhang Y, Domingue B, Harris KM, Kothari M, Kwon D, Muennig PA, Belsky DW*. Social mobility and biological aging among older adults in the United States. PNAS Nexus, 1(2):pgac029, 2022. PMC9123172
  4. Crowe CL, Domingue BW, Graf GH, Keyes KM, Kwon D, Belsky DW*. Associations of Loneliness and Social Isolation with Healthspan and Lifespan in the US Health and Retirement Study. Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences, 76(11):1997-2006. PMC8514074
  5. Graf GH, Crowe CL, Kothari M, Kwon D, Manly JJ, Turney IC, Valeri L, Belsky DW*. Testing Black-White disparities in biological aging in older adults in the United States: Analysis of DNA methylation and blood chemistry methods. American Journal of Epidemiology, 191(4):613-25. PMC9077113
  6. Belsky DW*, Moffitt TE, Cohen AA, Corcoran DL, Levine ME, Prinz J, Schaefer J, Sugden K, Williams B, Poulton R, Caspi A. 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). PMC6248475
  7. Belsky DW*, Huffman K, Pieper C, Shalev I, Kraus W. 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, 2017. PMC5861848
  8. Belsky DW*, Caspi A, Kraus W, Cohen HJ, Ramrakha S, Poulton R, 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):644-651, 2017 PMC5506399.
  9. Belsky DW*, Caspi A, Houts R, Corcoran D, Cohen HJ, Danese A, Harrington HL, Israel S, Levine M, Schaefer J, Sugden K, Williams B, Yashin AI, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. Quantification of biological aging in young adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Plus) USA. 112(30):E4104-4110, 2015. PMC4522793
  10. Belsky DW*, Caspi A, Arseneault L, Corcoran D, Houts R, Moffitt TE, Prinz J, Sugden K, Wertz J, Williams BS, Odgers CL. Genetics and the geography of health, behavior, and attainment. Nature Human Behaviour, 3(6):576-586, 2019. PMC6565482
  11. Belsky DW*, Domingue BD, Weedow R, Arseneault L, Boardman J, Caspi A, Conley DC, Fletcher J, Freese J, Herd P, Moffitt TE, Poulton R, Sicinski K, Wertz J, Harris KM. Genetic analysis of social-class mobility in five longitudinal studies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Plus) USA, 115(31):E7275-84, 2018. PMC29987013

Global Health Activities

PROMENTA: The PROMENTA Research Center aims to provide answers to three central questions in mental health, well-being, and drug use research: -What processes lead to poor and good mental health, and how? -How do social and geographic inequalities in mental health arise? -How can we develop, tailor, and evaluate effective interventions in communities to promote good mental health? To address these questions, we examine sources of mental health on a variety of levels, such as genetic risk, neuro-cognitive development, the psychosocial environment, and the socio-cultural and political context.