About the Author

I grew up in a small town in South Texas: the son of decent and honest parents who believed in loving their children and doing right in the world. Everything I am today is due to their determination to teach their children to do right but to be strong and unwavering when confronting wrong.

I studied for my Bachelor’s degree in behavioral biology at The Johns Hopkins University (1992) and my PhD in neurobiology from Yale University (1999). My dissertation focused on characterizing the biochemical changes in prefrontal cortical regions associated with prolonged experience with psychotomimetic and stimulant drugs of abuse. After conducting post-doctoral training periods at the University of Pittsburgh and Yale University, I was appointed as Assistant Professor at UCLA in 2001, where I am now a Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry; I also serve as the Associate Director for Research of the Brain Research Institute. My research focuses on genetic and neurochemical mechanisms that influence cognition, impulse control and decision-making in laboratory animals. I teach hundreds of UCLA undergraduate students each year, and I am fortunate to collaborate with a team of graduate students, post doctoral fellows and UCLA students on my research.

In reaction to escalating extremism amongst animal rights activists, which culminated in the firebombing of my car in 2009, I formed the group Pro-test for Science (www.pro-test-for-science.org). My colleagues and I participate in scientific advocacy by facilitating the response of the scientific community to attacks against researchers.

Outside of work, my time is spent cultivating native California plants in my yard and raising my loving little dog and song birds.


  1. Animal research cannot be avoided at this point of our evolution. I agree scientists need to be left alone.

  2. They say that peoples faces are just a reflection of what goes on in your soul!!!! Your expression does not match that of what you say about your curriculum, and your attitude much less!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder!!!!

    1. Jose, interesting what you think you can deduce from a picture. David is one of the most caring and knowlegable people I know. He definitely has a soul, a huge one. Too bad that your views exclude you trying to understand the individual. Maybe you are mirroring – is it you that lacks a soul? Wonder

  3. Would it be possible if we could get in touch with the author via email about possibly syndicating some of these articles (Mostly just excerpts and links back to the article on this page) on our website?

    We’re big supporters of pro-test, speaking of reasearch and what your trying to accomplish here and would love to share these articles with our audience.


  4. Why has there not been any studies been done on the thinking of animal rights activism. Almost appears like an extreme religion. One of the most striking features I have seen is that those animal rights activist often admit to parental abuse and all is need for them is their animals. How many, so called movie stars, who work for animals have also admitted to abuse as children. Just wondering what is the incidence and love to see a real study done using a scientific study.

    Yet we hear of the Link which links Mac Donalds outdated theory (from New Zeland,) of bed wetting, fire starting and animal abuse as indicator of “jail time” or future abuse! This movement of animal rights activists has fine tuned and perpetuated the theory of “the Link” to the extent of being afraid of your neighbor, be safe – keep an eye on your neighbors to see if your neighbor is guilty of abuse, call the police! Quick! They may go on to murder someone and spend the rest of their life in jail.. This – over 3 or 5 serial murders in the USA over a period of about 20 years or perhaps longer. Hardly a social problem and only used social science in anything that points to this scenario, which leaves a lot of room for error or twisted “research”. Then again those in the very beginning of the animal rights movement over 100 years ago were very suspecious of any research to advance medical progress, like a cure for diptheria,
    I would think that in the fever of the animal rights community, one may find more psycho social problems than expected, especially in the abused as children aspect.

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