Dr. Holmes is interested very generally in the comparative biology of healthy lifespans in vertebrate animals, including humans. Her research is couched broadly in terms of evolutionary life-history and aging theory, which predicts that organisms make physiological trade-offs between growth, reproduction, and effective defenses against disease and oxidative stress. Her past research has focused specifically on the physiology of longevity and oxidative stress resistance in exceptionally long-lived animals, including a variety of bird species. Current research in her lab is focused on investigating the role of prenatal exposure to androgen hormones in shaping life histories and oxidative defenses in the domestic zebra finch. Dr. Holmes also has an ongoing interest in the evolutionary and developmental forces shaping human longevity, and in how current research on animal aging, nutrition and lifespan is relevant to human health. Her recent publications have focused on a wide variety of topics, including the evolution of reproductive senescence in wild guppies, the use of birds as animal models for understanding basic aging processes, the effects of prenatal exposure to testosterone on survival in house sparrows, and the comparative biology of ovarian aging in a variety of vertebrates, including women, nonhuman mammals, birds, and fishes.
Finch, C.E. and D.J. Holmes. 2010. Ovarian aging in developmental and evolutionary context. Special Issue: Demography and Aging. M. Weinstein and K. O’Connor, Eds. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences (in press).
Holmes, D.J. and K. Martin. 2009. Special Reviews in Ornithology. A bird’s-eye view of aging: What’s in it for ornithologists? The Auk 126(1):1-23.
Holmes, D.J . and D. Kristan. 2008. Comparative and alternative approaches and novel animal models for aging research. AGE: Journal of the American Aging Association 30:63-73.
Reznick, D., M. Bryant, D. Holmes. 2006. The evolution of senescence and post-reproductive lifespan in guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Public Library of Science: Biology 3(1):135-143.
D.J. Holmes and M.A. Ottinger. 2006. Wild and domestic birds as models for the biology of aging. M. Conn, Ed., Handbook of Models for Human Aging. Elsevier Press.
D. Holmes and S. Austad. 2004. Declining immunity with age in the wild? Evidence from bird populations. Science of Aging Knowledge Environment (SAGE KE), Science Online (21), pe22.
D.J. Holmes, S.L. Thomson, J. Wu and M.A. Ottinger. 2003. Reproductive aging in female birds. Experimental Gerontology, 38(7): 751-756.