(See Former Lab Members)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Daniel Promislow

Daniel Promislow: 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 moved to the University of Washington in July 2013, where he is professor in the Departments of Pathology and Biology. Daniel is broadly interested in evolutionary genetics, with a particular focus on projects related to aging, as well as studies on sexual selection, natural genetic variation, networks, and metabolomics. Daniel is also director of the Canine Longevity Consortium, an NIH-funded project to understand the factors that influence healthspan and lifespan in dogs. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys running, cooking, skiing, and prior to his move to Seattle, he played guitar in the Athens band, Klezmer Local 42.


Xiaqing Zhao: Xiaqing recently finished her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Paul Schmidt. She is broadly interested in the mechanisms of natural phenotypic variation, especially those related to fitness. Her PhD work focused on the genetic basis of the naturally-varying diapause propensity in wild populations of D. melanogaster. In the Promislow lab, she will work on mechanisms of natural variation in lifespan and response to dietary restriction. When she is not working, Xiaqing enjoys skiing, cycling, cooking and playing the piano.

Silvan Urfer: Silvan is a veterinarian with a background in population genetics and survival analysis and is currently working on the Dog Aging Project for the Promislow and Kaeberlein Labs. He earned his veterinary degree and his doctorate from the University of Bern in his native Switzerland and did postdoctoral work at the Ostrander Lab at NIH/NHGRI in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Wolf Lab at UW Medicine Pathology, where he worked on population genetics and biomarkers of aging in dogs. Following Norm Wolf's retirement at the end of 2011, he worked on analyzing large veterinary databases in cooperation with the private sector, investigating preventive veterinary interventions that could have beneficial effects on overall life expectancy in dogs. In 2016, Silvan came back to the UW as a Senior Fellow to work on the Dog Aging Project. In his spare time, he also investigates the effects of aging on yeast-fermented Vitis vinifera lysates using organoleptic bioassays.

Rotating Students

Ben Blue: Born in Homer Alaska, Ben received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the Robert. D Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. After graduation he spent 2 years as a technician for the Caenorhabditis Intervention Testing Program where he developed microfluidic tools to investigate the interplay of healthspan and lifespan in the nematode C. elegans. Ben decided to pursue a further career in aging research and has enrolled at UW through the Molecular Medicine and Mechanisms of Disease PhD program. He is currently performing his first year rotations before picking a lab to join. In his free time he plays more board games than he probably should.

Graduate Students

Kelly Jin: Kelly was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her BS and MS in biochemistry and cell biology from UC San Diego. She then worked for 3 years at a diagnostics company in San Diego, where she became interested in using statistical and computational methods to learn about complex disease. As a perpetual West Coast girl, Kelly then moved to Seattle where she is currently working towards her PhD in Molecular Medicine in the Promislow Lab at the University of Washington. In the lab, she is broadly interested in discovering and modeling genetic and environmental components of age-related disease. Outside of the lab, Kelly enjoys hiking, playing tennis, and exploring the city. She is also constantly on the hunt for new exotic foods to try.

Research Scientist

Ben Harrison: Ben grew up in Vancouver, Washington and studied biology at Clark College in Vancouver and at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He earned a PhD in genetics at the University of Wisconsin in 2007 and joined the faculty at the University of Alaska where he taught courses in genetics, molecular biology and evolution. Ben joined the Promislow lab in 2016 where he pursues his interests in the architecture of complex traits. Outside of the lab Ben enjoys spending time with family, fixing cars, exploring the outdoors and eating wildlife.

Lab Technician

Cecilia Fitzgerald-Cook: Cecilia stayed her beautiful hometown of Santa Cruz, California to study Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UCSC. There, she interned in three different laboratories, each year spent studying in a different discipline of biology: micro-paleoclimatology, marine population biology, and molecular biology. It was during her last internship at the Sanford lab that she became interested in stem cell biology. After graduating, she worked for a year for two biotechnology companies in the area: Santa Cruz Biotech., followed by Two Pore Guys Inc. She decided to move to Seattle with her partner in September 2017, and has been enjoying more time for hobbies including fiddle playing, biking, and hiking. She is also pursuing newfound hobbies including hunting, brewing Taiwanese oolong tea gongfu-style in yixing clay teapots, and antique cast iron cookware restoration. She plans to attend a PhD program focusing on the intersection between stem cell biology and autoimmune disorder research after two more years of work in the Promislow Lab.

Lab Assistants

Gabi Endicott: Gabi is a junior majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Philosophy with a minor in Chemistry. After graduating, she hopes to go to veterinary school and eventually work in a zoo that specializes in animal conservation. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new foods, going on road trips, and taking naps.

Haley Dixon: Haley is currently a junior at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Bio Physiology. After graduating, she hopes to attend Physical Therapy graduate school, specializing in pediatrics. In her free time, Haley enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Monika Helak: Monika is a junior at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Microbiology. She hopes that some of the ‘gut microbiome’ insight gained at the lab will help her save the world from the bad bacteria of the future. She enjoys working on organic farms in the tropics, frying plantains and reading self-help books about eating and pooping.

Undergraduate Research Students

Natalie Pearlman: Natalie is a junior currently majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and plans to attend Medical School after graduating. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys backpacking, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and cooking.

Elise Hoffman: Elise is a second year undergraduate at the University of Washington planning to study biology. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and work in pediatrics as well as do global health work. When she has free time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, spending time with friends and exploring Seattle.

Neta Simon: Neta is a first year undergraduate at the University of Washington studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. After graduation she hopes to continue with graduate studies in genetics. In her free time she enjoys hiking, dancing, exploring Seattle, spending time with friends, and finding new coffee shops to study in.

Irene Cruz: Irene is a sophomore majoring in Microbiology and Medical Anthropology. After earning her bachelor degrees she hopes to join the peace corps and attend graduate school. She's a proud cat mom to kitties Frida and Minerva and enjoys good food, strong coffee, and farmer's markets.

Alex Zhu: Alex Zhu is a sophomore intending to study neurobiology. He is also interested in gene editing, computer science, and creative writing. When he's not working with fruit flies, you can find him singing, reading, listening to podcasts, playing games with friends, and asking a lot of questions.

Madi Eggerding: Madi is a senior majoring in Comparative History of Ideas and Anthropology. She aspires to make the transition from interdisciplinary humanities to a graduate education in immunology. She's passionate about cross disciplinary projects, bioart, and swing dancing.

Meghna Manoj: Meghna is a sophomore currently majoring in Biology. After graduating she hopes to attend Medical School. When she’s not at the lab or volunteering at the hospital, Meghna likes to watch Netflix, hang out with friends and hike.

JulieAnn Uh: JulieAnn is a sophomore intending to study neurobiology. She is interested in health sciences and hopes to go to medical school at some point. Her hobbies include playing video games, baking, and staying hydrated.

Forrest Golic: Forrest Is a second year undergrad from North Bend, Washington. He is frequently spotted in the campus libraries studying MCD Biology and history. When he can he enjoys cycling, skiing, hiking, climbing and taking photographs (check these out -> www.golicphoto.com).

Rene Coig: Rene is originally from southern Louisiana, where he earned a BA in Sociology in 2002. He then moved to Seattle and worked as a 3D game artist and animator for ten years before deciding it was time for a career change. He is now working toward a second Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology. He is interested in studying applications of gene therapies in medicine with a specific interest in cell signaling and hormones. He is a loving cat dad and enjoys outdoor adventures, music and gardening. He is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to mix very small amounts of clear liquids together at Promislow Lab.

Valeria Aizen: Valeria is a sophomore majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. After graduating she hopes to continue graduate studies in molecular biology. When she's not in the lab or library she enjoys playing the piano and violin, hiking and skiing, writing stories, reading, visiting natural history museums, or discussing books with her friends.