About Me

I am an Assistant Professor at Duke University School of Medicine and Social Science Research Institute  and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at the Duke University Medical Center.

I work at the intersection of genetics, the social and behavioral sciences, and public health.  My work brings together discoveries from the cutting edge of genome science and longitudinal data from population-based cohorts to identify mechanisms that cause accelerated health decline in older age. I take a life-span approach that encompasses research on cohorts of children, young and middle-aged adults, and older adults. My goal is is to understand why socioeconomically disadvantaged populations suffer increased morbidity in older age and earlier mortality, and to devise strategies for intervention to mitigate these health inequalities.

Research Areas of Interest

  • Aging
  • Genetic Epidemiology – Life course and developmental approaches
  • Psychiatric Epidemiology
  • Health disparities and social gradients in health

My current research is organized around three questions: (1) What are the genetic and environmental causes of early-onset chronic health problems such as obesity, asthma, and substance use/abuse? (2) How do health problems in the first half of the life course relate to the pace of health and functional decline in later life? (3) What public health strategies can be deployed to address these challenges?






Email  dbelsky@duke.edu

Tel. 919-613-4534


Research Gate

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