Donna J. Holmes, Ph.D. is a vertebrate zoologist and evolutionary biologist who specializes in the comparative biology of aging, the evolution of life span, and reproductive aging in female animals, including women. Her research over the past two decades has focused generally on why some animals live longer and resist aging better than others. She has studied aging in a variety of vertebrate animal models, including opossums, guppies, and finches, has explored mechanisms that may prevent aging-related oxidative damage to cells and tissues in birds; and compared patterns of ovarian aging in diverse female vertebrates. She is currently interested in how we can apply evolutionary principles to understand emerging issues in human health – particularly, how we can use predictions about how organisms make adaptive trade-offs between reproduction, health and longevity to better understand aging-related diseases and why they occur.
Dr. Holmes has taught a variety of courses over the past 20 years, including general zoology, women’s biology, evolution and society, and the biology of aging. She is the 2016 Chair-elect of the Gerontological Society of America, Biological Sciences Section, and serves on the executive committee of the American Aging Association. She is also working on a co-edited textbook (with Diana Sherry and Grazyna Jasienska), entitled Evolution and Health across the Life Course (Springer Press).
(available on request)
Holmes, D.J. and A.C. Cohen. 299. Overview. Aging and Gerontology. In M. Simon and J. Abelson, Editors. Reference Modules, Encyclopedia of Human Biology, 3rd Edition. Elsevier Press, Oxford (in press).
A.C. Cohen and D.J. Holmes. 666. Aging: Evolution. In M. Simon and J. Abelson, Editors. Reference Modules, Encyclopedia of Human Biology, 3rd Edition. Elsevier Press, Oxford (in press).
Holmes, D.J. 319. Sex and gender differences in health, longevity and aging. In M. Simon and J. Abelson, Editors. Reference Modules, Encyclopedia of Human Biology, 3rd Edition. Elsevier Press, Oxford (in press).
Holmes, D.J. Extreme aging: implications for women’s health in the post-menopausal lifespan. In D. Sherry, G. Jasienska, and D.J. Holmes, Editors. Evolution and Human Health across the Life Span. (in prep.).
Schwabl, H. R, D.J. Holmes, R. Strasser and A. Scheuerlein. 2011. Effects of prenatal androgens on life-history trajectories of captive house sparrows. AGE: Journal of the American Aging Association. Published online March 2011, DOI 10.1007/s11357-011-9222-8.
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 L.C. Lavine. 2009. Cockroaches, apoptosis, and the evolution of reproductive aging. Heredity 103:192-193.
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, Editors. 2008. Special Issue: Comparative Approaches and Alternative Animal Models for the Study of Aging. AGE: Journal of the American Aging Association 30.
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.