Dana Campbell

Dana Campbell finished her PhD in evolutionary biology from Harvard University in 1999. Since then she has enjoyed the benefits of exploring many topics in biology as an independent scholar and at-home mom in Maryland. She spends summers with her husband and two daughters, ages 5 and 9, at the University of Washington marine biology research labs in the beautiful San Juan Islands.

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Most Recent Articles

January 15, 2013
As a kid, I remember being fascinated by the idea that all my cells regularly die and get replaced over an interval of several years, that at age 10 my body was all different from the body I was born with: what did this mean about who I was? We know even more about cell turnover now - I just looked up human cell longevity, and studies using modern cell dating techniques show that the cells in our body average about seven years of age (except for most brain cells, which survive our whole lives with stable wirings, perhaps answering my question of my identity also being stable, I guess).
December 18, 2012
As I write at my computer, my nine-year-old daughter is on Skype with a friend who lives on the other side of the country. Together, they are working on a web page that showcases their passion for hamsters. She figured out how to construct her webpage using the documentation on Google Sites. She’s a pro at finding info using Wikipedia, she loves searching for images using Google, she’s even put together some crude computer animations.
November 27, 2012
As of today we’ve lived in our new home, in our new city, for 85 days. (You can follow our move in my earlier blogs.) Our first month here flew by - everything was new, we tried different things. The second month also went fairly smoothly, as we started to live the new life with a bit more routine. But the third month has been a month of struggles.
November 13, 2012
I just outed my first PhD at-home mom in our new community.  (This fall, our family moved across the country as my husband took a new professorship at a university nearer to our families – I’ve blogged about this several times now:
October 16, 2012
One of my best friends in grad school was also my best colleague. When we first met early in my first year of graduate school (her second), we were in different graduate programs, both of us attending a neurobiology class and we bonded on the bus ride to the medical school class three times a week.  I bombed the class - she aced it - but it was well worth my taking, since getting to know her was probably one of the single best things for my graduate career.
October 2, 2012
Last spring, in a conversation with my (former) neighbor, who also happens to be an accomplished late-career scientist with whom I work from time to time, he sympathized with the dilemma my husband and I were debating at the time: whether to move our family across the country (if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know we decided to move, which is why I identify my neighbor as “former”).  “Big life decisions are the bane of my existence,” was the way he put it.  I could have hugged him.  Big decisions are difficult, draining.  Having someone recognize this as I was going through it - especially someone who has done well in his own life - was a tremendous comfort.
August 28, 2012
We’ve got a huge moving van in front of our house now, and we have until Friday to pack it with all the boxes of stuff we’ve been preparing for months.
July 31, 2012
As I've written before, we're on the cusp of a cross-country move.  Because of our usual summer research routine, in which we work at a west-coast research biology station for two months, we've been in transition for a long time now: living not at our old home, but not in our new home either (although I must admit, the biology station is familiar, welcoming, like a second home).
July 17, 2012
A friend of mine once told me she heard that 80% of people, when asked, say they are “writing a book” (at least, in their head).  I don’t know where she got this “statistic,” it may not accurately represent the population at all, but I like the idea that so many people have a book sitting in their mind.  Hey, I’m one of those 75% with a half-completed book on the back burner waiting for…what? Inspiration? Perseverance? Time? I think all of the above.
June 19, 2012
My daughter said recently, “Mom does still have a tiny sense of humor, it’s just buried deep down inside the momness.” As we finished off the semester and are preparing for our move across the country in August, there is always just too much to squeeze into a day, leaving much stressful unfinished business that seems to get done only just before it absolutely needs to. In these times, you need to remember to laugh, and I thank my daughter for reminding me.


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