Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., Harvard University (1971)
A.M., Harvard University (1968)
B.S., Union College (1967)
A.M. (honorary), Amherst College (1987)

Postdoctoral Fellow

Harvard University, Biochem. and Molecular Biol. (1971-72)

University of California, Berkeley, Zoology (1972-74)

Teaching Interests

I teach introductory biology (Molecules, Genes and Cells), Developmental Biology, Cell Biology, and the First Year Seminar Improvisational Thinking.

The fields of cell and developmental biology have undergone phenomenal changes in the thirty years that I have taught them. I try to integrate the great experiments of the past that are often ignored with modern advances that deepen our understanding. Since science is an empirical activity. I emphasize in class the experimental evidence for theoretical models. I believe science should be learned also by doing, which is why all my science courses are lab courses. In Developmental Biology lab, I introduce as many different organisms as I can, to expose students to the great aesthetic satisfactions of studying early embryos. In Cell Biology, we use sophisticated instruments such as the flow cytometer and confocal microscope to supplement more traditional techniques.

My First-Year Seminar attempts to do something only rarely done at Amherst, to provide general theory and practice of improvisation which is often limited to specialized courses in music or drama. Successful improvisations require large amounts of preparation, but then have to be performed in the moment, making them usually less predictable and more exciting than reworked presentations. We attempt to apply improvisational thinking to as wide a range of subjects as possible and analyze how it works and when it is advantageous. This also leads to investigations of the nature of the creative process. Students and guest presenters have ample opportunity to demonstrate improvisational skills.

Awards and Honors

Fulbright Fellowship, 2001

Faculty Senior Sabbatical Fellowship, Amherst College, 2001, 2008, 2012, 2015

National Academy of Sciences Interacademy Exchange Fellow, 1985

Scholarly and Professional Activities

Member Advisory Committee of Directorate for Biological Sciences, National Science Foundation

Reproductive Biology Editor, Journal of Experimental Zoology

Associate Editor, Molecular Reproduction and Development

Scientific Advisory Board,  Signal Transduction                                                              

Editorial Board, The Biological Bulletin

Editorial Board, Journal Chemical Biology                                                                                             

Consultant, Hematech, LLC

Consultant, Lusofona University, Lisbon

Adjunct Professor, Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

NSF Review Panels

Fulbright Award Evaluation Committees

NASA Review Panel


Dominic Poccia's Web site

See also: Research Interests and Selected Publications

Tags:  dominic poccia