Back to Stories & News

June 11, 2018 – Michael Cinkosky recently joined Morris Animal Foundation as the Senior Director of Information Systems. Michael has worked for many years in designing and building information systems in support of biomedical research and he is excited to be applying his experience to the needs of the Foundation, starting with the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.

Michael grew up in the Chicago area, but headed west to study the “great books” at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After graduation, he took what was supposed to be a temporary position at Los Alamos National Laboratory working on the GenBank DNA sequence database for the NIH. Ten years later he was the principal investigator on the project and had successfully led the GenBank team through a complete overhaul of every aspect of the effort. During this time, Michael also was involved in the Human Genome Project at Los Alamos, and he helped establish the National Center for Genome Resources in Santa Fe.

He then moved to the University of Utah, where he was the founding Director of Information Systems for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. The team he brought together at HCI specialized in building tools to support cancer research and one of their biggest projects was the complete redesign and implementation of the Utah Population Database, one of the most important resources for genetics research in the world.

In recent years, Michael has worked in several research-oriented commercial organizations, but he is returning to his roots in the nonprofit research world with his move to Morris Animal Foundation. Currently, Michael is focusing on the needs of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, including preparing the data for widespread use, and enhancing the internal information systems so the team can keep up with the significant demands expected in the second half of the project.

Michael grew up with cats, but it was in Salt Lake City that his wife, Jennifer, convinced him they needed a dog. They adopted Maggie, a wonderful red healer mutt who set the bar impossibly high for future family dogs. Maggie eventually succumbed to cancer, but her memory lives on. Their family has since grown to include two boys, two cats and two dogs.