David Kirk obituary

David Kirk

Dr. Kirk delivering the final talk at the 2007 Volvox Symposium at Washington University, an event that celebrated his retirement and his many contributions to the study of Volvox. The symposium was attended by representatives from every active Volvox lab at the time. During the symposium, Dr. Hisayoshi Nozaki announced the discovery of a new species of Volvox, Volvox kirkiorum, that he named in honor of the Kirks.

Rüdiger Schmitt and Stephen Miller have published an ‘in memoriam’ on David Kirk in the latest Phycological Society of America newsletter.

David L. Kirk, who died November 1, 2018 at the age of 84, will be remembered as one of the most influential green algal biologists of his time. Trained in biochemistry and developmental biology, Dave shifted his research focus from vertebrates to green algae in the mid-1970’s, and helped to shape Volvox into a premier molecular genetic model for investigating fundamental developmental mechanisms and their evolution. However critical his research accomplishments were to advancing the field of volvocine algal biology, Dave’s many other contributions—as mentor, teacher, science outreach ambassador, colleague, and friend— were arguably equally as significant…

Those fortunate enough to be taught, trained, mentored, and/or befriended by Dave knew him as an important person in their life. As teacher, Dave brought to the classroom an impenetrable knowledge of his topic, and a knack for infusing context and humor in ways that made the subject relevant and engaging. He was versatile, over the years teaching more than a dozen different classes, ranging from introductory biology to vertebrate development, and graduate courses in developmental and cell biology. He found time to co-author multiple editions of a popular introductory biology textbook, Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, which is now in its 15th edition.

The article is an in-depth summary of Dr. Kirk’s life and career by two people who knew him well. There was a lot I didn’t know, and if you have any interest in Volvox at all, it’s worth checking out: psaalgae.org/s/552.pdf


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