Profile of Michael W. Deem

Michael W. Deem

Michael W. Deem is an experienced senior professional who has operated in senior management, Board, and advisor capacities with companies ranging from start-up, to rapid growth, to large multi-national companies. His intellectual bandwidth has benefited companies from a wide cross section of industries that include Life Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, Genomics, Data Science, Biotechnology, Energy, and Cancer Research. He is currently a General Partner with SmartHealth Catalyzer and CEO of a startup. Michael Deem was previously an Entrepreneur in Residence at Khosla Ventures. Michael was with Rice University for two decades, 2002-2020, where he was the John W. Cox Professor of Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy.  He was Chair of Bioengineering at Rice University from 2014 to 2017.  Prior to joining Rice, Michael Deem was an assistant and associate professor at UCLA, 1996-2002. Michael received his BS from the California Institute of Technology, PhD from UC Berkeley, and postdoctoral fellowship from Harvard University.

Michael spends a lot of time working, but he also finds time to give back to the community. Numerous graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers have benefited from his mentoring as they have advanced their careers. He reviews research articles, assists young academic members in getting their knowledge published, and aids students with their research initiatives. This improvement in human capital was very rewarding. Dr. Deem has also worked with CEOs to establish strategies and build organizations while serving on several for-profit and nonprofit boards.

Michael Deem has published over 200 papers, given over 300 invited talks, invented 16 US patents, and mentored hundreds of students. Michael has made significant contributions to bioengineering, physics, and chemical engineering. He developed the widely used tools DIFFAX and ZEFSA for materials science and created the widely-used database of predicted zeolite structures.  He invented the hierarchical approach to protein molecular evolution.  He developed the pEpitope method to characterize antigenic distance for influenza vaccination.  He developed the theory of modularity for biological evolution.  For these contributions, among others, Deem received numerous awards.

Michael received his BS with honor in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1991.  He received this PhD in chemical engineering through a Hertz Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1994.  He was a postdoctoral fellow in Physics at Harvard University, 1995-1996, through a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship.

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