One of my main research interests is why the biological aging process is so variable: why do some individuals retain good health into old age, while others experience steeper physical or cognitive declines and die at younger ages? I have a longstanding interest in bringing together demographic data from different species to situate human life history patterns in broader evolutionary context, and to improve our understanding of the aging process.
My current research on aging is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (1R61AG078529-01).The central aim of the project is to establish a new animal model system for assessing why individuals age at different rates, using the noninvasive long-term study of wild capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica.
The capuchins of this population in the Área de Conservación Guanacaste, a seasonal dry forest site in Costa Rica, are the subjects of one of the longest-running continuous primatology field studies in the Americas: the Santa Rosa Primate Project. I have been closely involved in research on this capuchin population since 2006, and I now co-direct aging research on capuchins at the site with two collaborators, Amanda Melin at the University of Calgary and Katharine Jack at Tulane University.
This project, for which I am the lead PI, includes key personnel at 6 institutions in the US and Canada. Also working with on this project are:
- Noah Snyder-Mackler (Arizona State University)