The Michigan Times

Professor Spotlight: Dr David Duriancik

Jyothsna Ganesh

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Dr. David Duriancik started as an assistant professor in the biology department in August 2015. He primarily teaches Mammalian Physiology (Bio432/532) for senior and graduate students. During Fall term, he teaches various lab classes for cell and molecular biology.

He carries out research in nutritional immunology, a focus that is rather new to UM-Flint’s biology department. His research topic is broadly how nutrient deficiencies, adequacies and toxicities can positively or negatively affect the immune system. His interest initially laid in nutrition and sports performance until the research he carried out during his undergrad sparked his interest in immunology.

Originally from Pennsylvania, he grew up outside of Pittsburgh. After finishing his undergrad in molecular biology and biotechnology from a small state school, he moved to Michigan when he started his PhD at Michigan State University. His doctoral thesis was biochemical human nutrition with a focus in nutritional immunology. He continued at Michigan State for his post doctoral for four years before beginning his tenure here.

When Duriancik interviewed at the University, the department was under heavy renovation, and he liked that he could nevertheless throw in his ideas and suggestions during the transition.

“It is a bit scary being new, but it is really exciting too. It gives opportunities to influence what is going on in different ways,” Duriancik said.

Duriancik has a lot of ideas for the department, and would like to help them get external funding and recognition.

“There is a lot of expectations and a lot of opportunities, but it is important that the opportunities meet the expectations,” Duriancik said.

That said, he added that the department has a lot of good, state of the art equipment that allows for research to be carried out, and there is also internal funding to support that. He would also like more interdisciplinary collaboration and research to develop cross-departments within the campus.

Although Flint was the number one choice, he feels a connection with Michigan.

“I like this kind of institution, where it is primarily undergraduate with a Masters level,” Duriancik said.

Having grown up valuing hard work himself, he  said he can relate to most of the students here. He said he observes that they come with unique responsibilities, and is impressed with how they toggle classwork, career goals and multiple jobs off campus. He wants the students to know that the faculty here are there to help them in every way.

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Professor Spotlight: Dr David Duriancik