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Distinguished Residents Dr. David Kirk

Dr. David Kirk

Dougherty Ferry Assisted Living & Memory Care  St. Louis, Missouri

David Kirk, PH.D., has led a very distinguished life and continues to follow his passion while making Dougherty Ferry his home since 2017. 

After being born and raised in Clinton, Massachusetts, David began his college education at Northeastern University in Boston and went on to receive his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Bio Chemistry. David was a professor at University of Chicago. He later joined Washington University and worked for Colgate-Palmolive. He was considered a world authority on underarm sweat at that time. He claims he had the world’s largest collection of sweaty armpit photography! 

He spent his lifetime teaching developmental biology and doing research on the evolutionary origins of multicellular organisms. He is internationally known for developing a green alga called Volvox as a model system for studying the evolution of multicellularity. There are scientists around the world who continue to work on Volvox. He co-authored numerous scientific publications on these topics and wrote a book on Volvox for Cambridge University Press. 

David has a passion for educating and supporting teachers, devoting much of his time making sure evolution is a key part of a sound K–12 science curriculum. He led the revision of the Science Outreach “Hands-On” Modern Genetics program that is now used in many of the St. Louis high schools. He also served as principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health grant that funded development of middle-school, inquiry-based learning materials in collaboration with the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden. David is being recognized for the 2018 Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Award from the Academy of Science of St. Louis. 

David is the father of one son and lost his first wife due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Later, he met his sweetheart, Shirley, through a matchmaker. 

“I was looking for a friend, and I fell in love,” he said. 

David’s advice: “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”