Cover photo for David John Galas's Obituary
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1944 David 2023

David John Galas

February 25, 1944 — May 27, 2023

Human Genome Project Pioneer, Entrepreneur, Inventor

David J. Galas, PhD, 79, passed away on May 27, 2023, at his home on Bainbridge Island, Washington. He was a renowned leader in the Human Genome Project, an entrepreneur, and an inventor of technology used for the first rapid-response Covid test. David was an internationally recognized expert in molecular biology and human genetics, and the inventor of the footprinting technology. He was a Hertz Foundation fellow, interviewer, Board member, and Board Chair. He was a Washington Research Foundation board member. At the time of his death, he was a senior investigator at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute focusing on computational biology and novel machine learning methodologies.

David co-founded the Keck Graduate Institute at the Claremont Colleges. He served on national advisory boards, including the Board on Life Science and the National Cancer Policy Board. He was a lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences.

David had a distinguished educational history: the Chair of Molecular Biology at the University of Southern California, research positions at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He received his PhD from the University of California.

In his personal life, David was a poet and artist. He found joy in expressing himself through his creative endeavors.

David is survived by his wife, Diane Isonaka, sisters Cynthia Galas Johnson and Cathleen Galas, his brother Stephen Galas, his sons from his first marriage, David and John, and grandsons Caleb and Hayden.

Donations can be made to the:

Pacific Northwest Research Institute and the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation

For information on a celebration of David’s life, see:

Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David John Galas, please visit our flower store.


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