Participating Faculty
Donna Holmes

Donna Holmes

Department:Department of Biological Sciences-WWAMI Medical Education Program
Credentials:1987 - Ph.D., Bowling Green State University; Biology
Mailing Address:875 Perimeter Drive- MS 3051
Moscow, ID 83844-3051

Research Interests

Comparative biology of aging and lifespan; life history trade-offs and human health; reproductive aging in female vertebrates; the evolution of menopause.

Research Summary

I’m interested generally in the comparative biology of healthy lifespans and aging in vertebrate animals, including humans. My research is couched in terms of evolutionary life history and aging theory, which predicts that organisms make physiological trade-offs among growth, reproduction, and defenses against disease and oxidative stress. My past research has examined the physiology of longevity and resistance to oxidative stress in mammals and birds. Currently, we are investigating the role of prenatal exposure to androgen hormones in shaping life histories and oxidative defenses in the zebra finch. I’m also interested in the evolutionary and developmental forces that influence human health, aging and lifespan, and in how evolutionary thinking can be applied to understanding current issues in public health, particularly women’s health after menopause. Recent publications from my lab have focused on 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.

Research Publications

Holmes, D.J. Biology and aging: a primer. 2016. M. Harrington and E. Daniele, Editors. Gerontology: Changes, Challenges and Solutions. Praeger (in press).

Holmes D.J., and Cohen A.A. (2014) Overview: Aging and Gerontology. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences. Elsevier. 15-Oct-14 doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.00149-5.

Cohen A.A., and Holmes D.J. (2014) Evolution and the Biology of Aging. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences. Elsevier. 15-Oct-14 doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.00032-5.

Holmes D.J. (2014) Sex and Gender Differences in Life Span, Aging, and Health. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences. Elsevier. 15-Oct-14 doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.00161-6.

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/s/11357-011-9222-8.

Finch, C.E. and D.J. Holmes (2010). Ovarian aging in developmental and evolutionary contexts. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1204:82-94.

Holmes, D.J. and Kathy Martin. 2009. Special Reviews in Ornithology. A bird’s-eye view of O

Holmes, D.J. and L. C. Lavine, Roaches, apoptosis and the ovarian clock: use it or lose it. Heredity, 2009.

Holmes, D.J. and D.M. Kristan. 2008. Comparative and alternative approaches and novel animal models for aging research. AGE: Journal of the American Aging Association 30:63-73.

Holmes, D.J. 2008. The fires of aging. (Review of C.E. Finch, The Biology of Human Longevity. Academic Press, 2007) Science 319:1044-45.

D.J. Holmes and M.A. Ottinger. 2006. Wild and domestic birds as models for the biology of aging. In M. Conn, Ed., Handbook of Models for Human Aging. Elsevier Press.

Reznick D, Bryant M, Holmes D. 2006. The evolution of senescence and post-reproductive lifespan in guppies (Poecilia reticulata). PLoS Biology 4(1):e7.

Holmes D.J., Thomson S.L., Wu J., Ottinger M.A. 2003. Reproductive aging in female birds. Esp. Gerontol.; 38(7):751-6.

Ogburn C.E., Carlberg K., Ottinger M.A., Holmes D.J., Martin G.M., Austad S.N. 2004.Exceptional cellular resistance to oxidative damage in long-lived birds requires active gene expression. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 56(11):B468-74.

Holmes, D.J., Fluckiger R., Austad S.N. 2001. Comparative biology of aging in birds: an update. Exp Gerontol. 36(4-6):869-83. Review.

Holmes D.J., Austad S.N. (1995) Birds as animal models for the comparative biology of aging: a prospectus. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 50(2): B59-66. Review.

Washington State University