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SAGE KE Bulletin Board

Impetus for Studying Aging?

24 September 2002

Donna J Holmes

Hi Elaine--

My particular research interests include the evolution of aging, the biology of reproductive aging in female birds and mammals, and women's aging, including midlife health issues related to menopause, etc. I also work as a research fellow for SAGEKE.

I study aging for a combination of reasons:

1. I love evolutionary theory and the power it has to help biologists understand natural phenomena, including the natural diversity of life spans and aging patterns we see in organisms. There is the potential now for evolutionary and comparative biologists to have a significant impact on the field of aging. I started out in behavioral ecology and comparative animal behavior, and the potential for impact was not as great, since theory has already had a great impact on those areas since the 1950s.

2. Aging is "relevant" socially, politically, and personally. I'm a baby boomer and everybody's doing it. I have had some serious health issues in my 40s, and my research interests and personal concerns.

3. The research coming out of our lab at the University of Idaho is cutting-edge. It's exciting to be part of something really excellent, and to get to know other folks with great scientific reputations and minds who are working to shape a field. What's more, aging research is much more fundable than some other parts of biology (especially evolutionary biology generally, and NIH has been paying my salary for a significant part of the last 12 years.

4. I like working with animals, and I use them in my work.

Good luck with your book--I'm sure Evi will keep us posted.

Donna Holmes


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Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150