Dr. David Hoffman

When: August 25th, 4:30 – 6:00 PM

Where: Capitol One Cafe in the Domain

Address: 11801 Domain Blvd Suite 160, Austin, TX 78758

About Dr. David Hoffman: David Hoffman was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1957.  Before the age of 10, he had developed a strong interest in dinosaurs, astronomy, and math. He attended the University of Massachusetts majoring in chemistry, with a BS degree in 1979, and a masters degree in 1981. He then did one year in a graduate program in physics at Penn State, which was probably a mistake, followed by one year in the workforce, as a staff member in a materials research laboratory.

In 1983, David entered the Ph.D. program in chemistry at Duke University in North Carolina and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1986, where he used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study the transport of carbon dioxide and bicarbonate across cell membranes.  He then did post-doctoral research in Duke Medical Center, where he used NMR and x-ray diffraction to determined the structure of several proteins and RNA molecules, which was fairly cutting-edge work at the time.

In January 1993, David applied for faculty positions at several universities, one of which was UT Austin.  He’s been a member of the Biochemistry faculty at UT for 25 years, where he continued to use NMR and x-ray diffraction to study the structures of a number of proteins and RNA molecules.

Growing somewhat bored with protein and RNA structure, Dr. Hoffman gradually wound down his research lab a few years ago and took on an unusually heavy teaching load. Dr. Hoffman recently began teaching a course in astrobiology, because it seemed interesting. In summer 2018, Dr. Hoffman started research in a new area (for him), where he is now developing NMR methods for the detection of “biomarkers”, which are molecules that indicate the presence of life, in collaboration with geologists at UT.  This work will hopefully be useful in the study of early life on Earth, and perhaps useful in the search for evidence of life on Mars and elsewhere in our solar system.

In addition to doing science and teaching science, Dr. Hoffman enjoys bicycling, swimming, running, occasionally competing in triathlons. He dislikes driving and gets around by bicycling or riding the bus whenever possible.