Growing up on a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, Dave's fascination with aquaculture (the farming of aquatic life) manifested itself early. Working as an oyster and clam gardener in high school, Dave helped to restore the oyster population to the Lynnhaven River, and began to learn the oyster farming business. In college, his family started the Lynnhaven Oyster Company to raise edible oysters. His work on aquaculture has carried through to his current work with the Public Health and Sustainable Aquaculture Project with Center for a Livable Future.
Dave joined the Center in 2009 as a public health microbiologist with a background in water quality and food safety. He earned a PhD and MS in Public Health from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health working under Dr. Mark Sobsey. His postdoctoral training was at the University of California–Berkeley in Dr. Kara Nelson’s environmental engineering group, which furthered his appreciation for the complex interactions between oceans and human health.
He brings a unique perspective to the Center's food systems research on aquaculture in addition to other work on seafood and public health, hazards in the food supply, and animal worker health. Dave has a large network of collaborators that he works with to further the vision of improving the health, sustainability, equity, and resilience within the food system.
Dave currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.