David E. Harrison, Ph.D.


Researches the genetics of aging and lifespan, seeking to understand the basic mechanisms of aging, and adult stem cells, with the goal of delaying normal aging processes.

The Harrison research group investigates aging in mouse models, focusing on processes that have the potential to retard aging and prolong health. For example, one line of research investigates mutations that reduce IGF-1 and insulin function. Such mutations can increase life span and delay certain aspects of aging, especially development of cancer. We also demonstrated through an Intervention Testing Program (ITP) that rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway, extends median and maximal lifespan in mice. We are continuing our ITP research.

Our other focus area is on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and other adult stem cells, which constantly proliferate and differentiate to maintain tissue functions throughout life. If aging exhausts the function of adult stem cells, the balance between damage and repair is disrupted and tissue functions become defective. Our group has found that genetic mechanisms protect hematopoietic stem cells from exhaustion in some mouse strains, and we are working to define the specific mechanisms. Our long-term goal is to promote healthful aging in humans, either by delaying normal aging processes or by minimizing or eliminating diseases of aging.

Education and experience


Stanford University
Postdoctoral fellow, physiological genetics
Adv: Dr. E.S. Russell

Stanford University
Ph.D., inorganic chemistry
Adv: Dr. Henry Taube

Bates College
B.S., chemistry


The Jackson Laboratory

The Jackson Laboratory
Director of training

The Jackson Laboratory
Associate Professor

The Jackson Laboratory
Assistant Professor