David A. Micklos, PhD

Primary Institution:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
DNA Learning Center
Executive Director, Dolan DNA Learning Center
Current SEPA Project

As an undergraduate, I studied ornithology and vertebrate ecology. My senior project on the migration of the myrtle warbler introduced me to chi-square analysis. When it dawned on me that these pursuits were avocations rather than job descriptions, I tried my hand at teaching.

As a masters-degree student, I wrote a thesis on “The Social Constraints of Public Relations Science Writers.” Luckily, one of my thesis reviewers was a head-hunter, who added me to his list of candidates for a new position in public affairs and development at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I had never heard of the Laboratory, but I had, of course, heard of its leader, who had also been interested in birds, and began the job in 1982. In 1985, I began to train high school teachers to clone genes, and started the DNA Learning Center in 1988. In 1990, my book DNA Science was published, and I won the Charles A. Dana Award, which impressed even me.

Now I have a unique job that draws together my hybrid experiences in the worlds of biology, journalism, education, and the social sciences. I don’t watch birds too often any more, but I still have my spotting scope. I’m hoping my sons will get interested in birds, because it’s important for people to learn how to see.

Associated SEPA Project(s)