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Tom Titus

Photo by Paul Neevel.

“I grew up outside,” says Tom Titus, whose parents moved, when he was 3, to 25 acres on Cedar Flat, east of Springfield. “I had the run of pastures and hills. Our family vacations were outdoor activities.” Titus graduated from Western Oregon with a degree in biology, then worked seasonally at the Sunriver Nature Center where he met his wife, Kim. They moved to Kansas and had two kids, Alex and Laurel, while he earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary genetics. “I worked with salamanders,” he notes, “one of my favorite animals from Oregon.” After two years as a researcher in St. Louis, he landed a grant and brought it to the UO in 1994. He was later hired as a researcher at the UO’s Institute of Neurology. “I work on fish genetics now,” says Titus, who traveled to the Antarctic in March to study the icefish, “but I still teach a summer class on the amphibians and reptiles of Oregon.” A board member of the Eugene Natural History Society for 15 years and currently its president, he will lead off the society’s 2012-13 lecture season in September. An avid writer, as well as a gardener, bee keeper, clam digger and mushroomer, Titus will launch his first book, Blackberries in July: A Forager’s Guide to Inner Peace, rooted in his childhood memories, with a reading at at 7 pm Nov. 15 at Tsunami Books.