Welcome to the Durica Laboratory Website! The two other homepage sections discuss research and learning opportunities in the lab. My CV can be found here, as well as a link to the OU Department of Biology This section describes my education and training, how I was drawn to science, and other activities around which I love to structure my time. One of those activities is scuba…I have been fortunate to be able to dive in some of the most beautiful places in the world- the Caribbean, Red Sea, Great Barrier Reef, and Micronesia.
But I learned in Long Island Sound, where you are lucky if visibility if good enough to be able to see your hand in front of your face! I was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and attended grade school and high school along the Connecticut Coast. My early interests were in history and political science, but I became interested in biology after attending Clark University in Worcester, MA. (where the ‘father of American rocketry’, Robert Goddard worked). After getting my undergrad degree, I spent some time in the Army, then began graduate school at the University of Connecticut.
There I became interested in molecular biology, and the techniques of gene cloning and nucleic acid hybridization which were being applied to gene analysis. I first worked with the fruit fly, Drosophila, and also picked up ‘classical’ training using this long established genetic model organism. I became interested on the control and function of evolutionarily related gene families. After receiving my Ph.D., I then did a postdoctoral fellowship, where I continued work on another multigene family, the actin gene family, this time in a marine organism, the sea urchin. I continued this work in my first job, at the Texas A&M School of Medicine, where I met- and married- my wife Sherri. We both took jobs in the Norman area, have raised two children here, and, when we can, continue to do the things we love most- being outdoors, either diving or wilderness backpacking.
Sherri is a physician, and during the summers we are involved in working with an NGO, the Bushenyi Alliance for Rural Development. For the past several years, we have visited rural villages in Uganda, interacting with medical students and providing medical and dental health care. We have been able to work with grade school children, acquainting them with basic microscopy and the mechanism for acquiring malaria via mosquito-borne infection. We partnered with the Prakash laboratory at Stanford to acquire a very inexpensive ‘origami’ microscope- the foldscope– for distribution at local schools. We are hopeful to continue this project with schoolchildren over the next several years.