Biological Sciences, Health Sciences
Applications in Health Sciences
Applications in Life Sciences
Daniel began his career in biology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. He completed his doctoral work in evolutionary biology with Paul Harvey at Oxford University. After post-doctoral work in Paris, at Queen’s University in Ontario, and at the University of Minnesota, in 1995 he joined the faculty in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia. Daniel joined the University of Washington Department of Pathology in the summer of 2013. Daniel is broadly interested in evolutionary genetics, with specific projects on senescence, sexual selection, natural genetic variation, and the evolution of networks.
Throughout his career Daniel has been interested in genetic variation in patterns of aging in natural populations, and he has ongoing projects on flies, dogs, marmosets and humans. The study of aging provides a powerful framework with which to better understand the evolutionary forces acting upon the organism at all levels of organization, from behavior and demography to large-scale molecular networks. In the past few years, Daniel has turned to high-throughput approaches as a way to understand the mechanisms that underlie natural variation for patterns of aging. His first effort to apply network thinking to aging, dating to 2004, involved a comparison of the network structure of yeast protein-protein interaction networks. Daniel found that proteins associated with longevity in yeast had higher connectivity than other proteins. Work in the ensuing decade has shown similar patterns in flies and even in humans. In another study, Daniel found that connectivity of the yeast gene regulatory network was able to predict the degree of variability in gene expression among different environments.
More recently, in collaboration with Dean Jones, a biochemist at Emory University, Daniel has been using high-dimensional metabolomic profiling to study the molecular networks that are associated with patterns of aging. The Jones lab has developed a method to identify over 50,000 unique metabolomics features in small samples of human plasma, approximately two orders of magnitude more than standard metabolomics approaches. As part of an NIH-funded multi-PI grant, Daniel and Dean are looking at metabolomics patterns and age in the common marmoset. However, starting with a pilot project funded by the American Federation of Aging Research, they began using metabolomics in our fly work. They are able to obtain measures of over 30,000 unique mz features from a sample of three flies (~3 mg). Our recent (unpublished) studies on diet restriction and aging in fruit flies suggest that monoamine neurotransmitters play an important role in the diet restriction response. This work is an excellent example of how high-throughput data discovery approaches can generate novel and testable hypotheses. Daniel is currently writing an NIH proposal to fund this work in collaboration with Emory and the Buck Institute.
Daniel has joined the Department of Pathology at UW after almost two decades on the faculty at the University of Georgia.