Milislav Demerec (1895-1966) was recruited to come to the Carnegie Institution of Washington Station Department of Genetics in 1923 to study Drosophila (fruit fly) genetics. His research was characterized by turning to new organisms and tools if they offered him better opportunities for genetic analysis.
From 1936 to 1941, Demerec served as Assistant Director of the CIW Department of Genetics. In 1941 he became director of both the CIW Department of Genetics and the LIBA Biological Laboratory During his directorship, which lasted until 1960, he established genetics as a major research focus at CSH.
He also enthusiastically supported the bacteriophage courses taught by Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria. Demerec recruited future Nobel Laureates Alfred Day Hershey and Barbara to Cold Spring Harbor during his tenure.