Dr. Muir: A look into life outside the lab


Muir, right, and his wife, Heather, laugh at memories of their engagement photos on Feb. 2. Photo by Sophie Reid.

Sophia Reid

Two boys, two more on the way, two parents, and two cats. This family all started with two teenagers falling in love at a summer job.

Augustana Biology professor, Dr. Muir met his wife, Heather, when they were still in high school working at a local pool. They started as friends but quickly grew closer as they bonded over their love of the natural world, and small funny shared moments.

“I think by the end of the summer we knew that we both kind of liked each other because on the last day we chased a ground hog around together, and you don’t do that with just anybody,” Muir said.

Their family has grown since they chased the groundhog around that one summer day. They now have sons, Liam and Jude, and Heather is pregnant with two more boys.

For Heather and Muir, their young love story brought them together, but they have since built much more than that. With a strong focus on family, that is driven by values of helping others and being good people, they have created the Muir family that everyone sees and loves today.

According to Heather, the Muir family has a designated “family read aloud” every Sunday evening. Here, they all spend time together reading books, eating homemade snacks, and enjoying family time before the work week begins.

“[Tim] is just such an incredible dad. He is so present,” Heather said.

The walls of their house are covered in empowering, affirming, social justice messages. When you walk in their front door, the first wall you see is covered in family photos and a framed sign that reads “In this house we believe black lives matter, no human is illegal, love is love, women’s rights are human rights, science is real, water is life.”

It continues with quotes from activists like Martin Luther King Jr. These are all put next to artwork done by the boys and messages from Muir and Heather that say how proud they are of their kids.

These messages and images are clearly important to the family, and they all go back to the values that Heather and Muir parent with.

“One thing that we want to teach our kids and just keep in the front of our minds is to just be good people and to help others who need help. That’s it. Just be kind. And so, there’s lots of different scenarios in which that comes into play,” Muir said. “So, we have different quotes around the house that really get at that same point. That people deserve kindness and it’s important to give them that.

For Muir, family drives him and remains what he looks forward to most when he leaves work.

“It’s so easy to get out of a bad mood or get out of a bad day by getting a hug from Jude or Liam, they’re just wonderful people,” Muir said.