The Dog Aging Project
The Dog Aging Project at the University of Washington is an innovative initiative that brings together a community of over 30,000 dogs, owners, veterinarians, researchers, and volunteers to carry out the most ambitious canine science project in the world. The study aims to understand how genes, lifestyle, and environment influence aging in order to assist both pets and people in increasing healthspan, the period of life spent free from disease. The Project focuses on studying aging in dogs because trials in humans are challenging and expensive. Even though dogs age more rapidly than humans, they get the same diseases of aging, are genetically diverse, and share our environment. Studies like this will inform the next generation of medicine, keeping us healthier for longer.
The work is centered on two fundamental goals: understanding how genes, lifestyle, and environment influence aging and intervening to increase healthspan, the period of life spent free from disease. Dogs truly are science’s best friends. Although they age more rapidly than humans, they get the same diseases of aging, have a rich genetic make-up, and share our environment. By studying aging in dogs, we can more quickly expand our knowledge of the aging process not just in dogs but also in humans. The Dog Aging Project will follow tens of thousands of companion dogs for ten years in order to identify the biological and environmental factors that maximize health and longevity.
Matt Kaeberlein, PhD
Founder and Co-Director of the Dog Aging Project
Dr. Matt Kaeberlein is a Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, with Adjunct appointments in Genome Sciences and Oral Health Sciences. Dr. Kaeberlein’s research interests are focused on biological mechanisms of aging in order to facilitate translational interventions that promote healthspan and improve quality of life. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and has been recognized by several prestigious awards including young investigator awards from the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association, the Vincent Cristofalo Rising Start in Aging Research Award, the Murdock Trust Award, the NIA Nathan W. Shock Award, and the Robert W. Kleemeier Award for outstanding research in the field of gerontology from the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).
Dr. Kaeberlein has been awarded Fellow status with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Aging Association (AGE), and the GSA. Dr. Kaeberlein is currently the CEO and Chair of AGE, Past-President of AGE, has served on the Board of Directors for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and AGE, and has served as Biological Sciences Chair for GSA. Dr. Kaeberlein is the founding Director of the UW Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute, the Director of the NIH Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging at UW, Director of the Biological Mechanisms of Healthy Aging Training Program, and founder and co-Director of the Dog Aging Project.
This article was written by Margaretta Colangelo