The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 63: 343 - 357 (2019)

Vol 63, Issue 8-9-10

Special Issue: The Dictyostelium model system

(Auto)Biographical reflections on the contributions of William F. Loomis (1940-2016) to Dictyostelium biology

Published: 11 December 2019

Adam Kuspa*,1 and Gad Shaulsky*,2

1Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and 2Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA


William Farnsworth Loomis studied the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum for more than fifty years as a professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, USA. This biographical reflection describes Dr. Loomis’ major scientific contributions to the field within a career arc that spanned the early days of molecular biology up to the present day where the acquisition of high-dimensional datasets drive research. Dr. Loomis explored the genetic control of social amoeba development, delineated mechanisms of cell differentiation, and significantly advanced genetic and genomic technology for the field. The details of Dr. Loomis’ multifaceted career are drawn from his published work, from an autobiographical essay that he wrote near the end of his career and from extensive conversations between him and the two authors, many of which took place on the deck of his beachfront home in Del Mar, California.


genomics, differentiation, cell motility, amoeba, signaling

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