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Michael W Deem: US Scientist and Climber

Updated: Aug 25, 2023


Michael W Deem
Michael W Deem - US Scientist at Rice University, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Mentor, who revolutionized the Influenza Vaccine Delivery System, continues to create headlines with numerous patents to combat contagious diseases to make the world safer and healthier.

Dr. Michael W Deem is an award winning and world-renowned scientist. He is currently a venture capitalist and CEO. He was formerly an Entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures. From 2002 to 2020 he was a professor at Rice University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1991 from Caltech. From the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Deem obtained his Ph.D. in 1994 in chemical engineering. He held a postdoctoral position at Harvard University in the field of Physics. He joined the faculty at UCLA in 1996 as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. In 2002, Dr. Deem joined Rice University as the John W Cox professor of Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy.


The respect Michael W Deem has garnered over the years has been the result of his contributions to the scientific and business communities. Among his most notable accomplishments, Michael Deem would help to revolutionize the influenza vaccine during his time at Rice University. A respected entrepreneur, Michael W Deem has been the CEO of several companies, such as Certus LLC, focusing on advancing medical breakthroughs. During his career, Michael W Deem has acted as a mentor, for students, CEOs, and businesses alike. Much as in his academic endeavors, Michael W Deem has found success in his professional businesses.


Over the course of his career, Deem has made numerous groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of theoretical and computational biology, statistical physics, and materials science. His research has ranged from studying the structure and function of proteins to developing new materials for energy storage and conversion. As such, he has been the recipient of many honors, like the UCLA Northrop Grumman Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award (1997); Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam (1999); A Top 100 Young Innovator, MIT’s Technology Review (November 1999) (Profile); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000); Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2002); John W. Cox Professor, Rice University (2002-2020); Allan P. Colburn Award (2004); Editorial Board Member, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection (2005-2018); Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2005); Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (2005-2008); Fellow, American Physical Society (2006); Member, Rice University Faculty Senate (2006-2009); Vaughan Lectureship, California Institute of Technology (2007); Member, Nominating Committee, Division of Biological Physics, American Physical Society (2007); Member, Board of Governors, Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (2007-2016); Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (2009); BMES Representative on the FASEB Publications & Communications Committee (2009-2012); Professional Progress Award (2010); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010); External Scientific Advisor, Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (2010-present); Associate Editor, Physical Biology (2011-2018); Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award, The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (2012); Founding Director, Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology (2012-2014, raised $0.5M seed funding); Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar (2012-2013); Chair, Department of Bioengineering (2014-2017, raised $12M in external startup funding for new faculty); Editorial Advisory Board, Bioengineering and Translational Medicine, 2016-2018; and Donald W. Breck Award for zeolite science, 2019, NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Directorship Certification, 2020. Entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures, 2021-2022, General Partner with Smart Health Catalyzer, 2023 to present.


One of Deem's most notable contributions to science has been his work on the "Fitness Landscape" model of evolution, which he co-developed with his colleague Claus Wilke. This model provides a way to study the complex interplay between genetic mutations, selection pressures, and the resulting evolutionary outcomes. The Fitness Landscape model has since become a widely used tool for studying the evolution of both biological and artificial systems.


Michael W Deem
Michael W Deem - US Scientist at Rice University, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, and Mentor, who revolutionized the Influenza Vaccine Delivery System, continues to create headlines with numerous patents to combat contagious diseases to make the world safer and healthier.

In addition to his research, Deem is also a highly respected teacher and mentor. He has advised over 50 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in academia and industry.


Outside of his professional life, Deem is an avid rock climber who has climbed some of the world's most challenging peaks, including Ding Dong and Taco Sauce. He is also an advocate for the sport, and has written and spoken extensively about the physical and mental benefits of rock climbing.


Deem's passion for climbing began when he was a graduate student at the University, of California, Berkeley. Since then, he has traveled the world in search of new and exciting challenges, climbing some of the most challenging peaks in Texas.


Despite the physical and mental demands of rock climbing, Deem sees it as a valuable complement to his work in science. In an interview with Rice University's Rice News, he explained that climbing requires many of the same skills as scientific research, including problem-solving, risk assessment, and persistence in the face of failure.

Deem's dedication to both science and rock climbing has earned him widespread respect and admiration from his colleagues and peers.


Michael W Deem
Michael W Deem - US Scientist at Rice University, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Mentor, who revolutionized the Influenza Vaccine Delivery System, continues to create headlines with numerous patents to combat contagious diseases to make the world safer and healthier.

In conclusion, Dr. Michael W Deem is a US scientist who was previously associated with Rice University who has made significant contributions to the fields of physics, biology, and engineering. Despite his many professional achievements, Deem is also an accomplished rock climber who sees climbing as a valuable complement to his work in science. Through his research, teaching, and climbing, Deem continues to inspire and educate others, both within and outside of the scientific community.



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Michael W Deem
Michael W Deem - US Scientist at Rice University, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Mentor, who revolutionized the Influenza Vaccine Delivery System, continues to create headlines with numerous patents to combat contagious diseases to make the world safer and healthier.

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