Beyond the Lab: Discovering the Adventurous Side of U.S. Scientist Michael W Deem at Rice University
Updated: Aug 28
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.
When you think of a scientist, you might picture someone who spends their days cooped up in a laboratory. However, Michael Deem, a professor of bioengineering at Rice University, shatters that stereotype with his love for adventure. Not only is he a brilliant researcher, but he’s also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys driving his Porsche, skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping, and traveling the world. Let’s take a closer look at the exciting life of Michael Deem Rice University professor.
Michael Deem has had several prestigious honors attributed to his name, with the most notable of these being 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); Member, Board of Directors, 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.
As an avid fan of sports cars, Michael Deem loves nothing more than driving his Porsche. He finds joy in the intricate engineering behind high-performance cars, and it’s a testament to his appreciation for precision and innovation, qualities that undoubtedly carry over into his research. He’s been spotted driving his Porsche both on and off the racetrack, relishing the thrill of speed and the rush of adrenaline that comes with it.
But driving fast cars is just the beginning of Michael Deem’s thirst for adventure. He’s an experienced skydiver who has completed multiple jumps, with no plans of stopping anytime soon. Skydiving provides Michael Deem with an unparalleled rush of adrenaline and a sense of freedom as he soars through the sky. He enjoys the discipline and focus required to control his movements and land safely, something that carries over into his work as a scientist.
Michael Deem’s love for adventure doesn’t end with skydiving. He’s also an experienced scuba diver, having explored some of the world’s most stunning reefs and underwater landscapes. Scuba diving offers Michael Deem a unique perspective on the world, allowing him to observe marine life up close and in its natural habitat. It requires a level of skill and preparation, as divers must be able to regulate their breathing and navigate underwater environments safely.
In addition to skydiving and scuba diving, Michael Deem has also tried his hand at bungee jumping. This extreme sport involves jumping from a high platform with an elastic cord attached to your ankles, providing a brief moment of freefall before the cord snaps you back up. It’s not for the faint of heart, but Michael Deem Rice University Professor enjoys the adrenaline rush that comes with it.
Traveling is another one of Michael Deem’s passions. He’s visited more than 60 countries across the globe, immersing himself in different cultures and experiences. He’s trekked through the Amazon rainforest, hiked through the Himalayas, and explored the bustling streets of Tokyo. Michael Deem believes that traveling is not just a way to escape from the daily routine, but also a way to broaden one’s horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the world.
All in all, Michael Deem is not your average scientist. He’s an adventurous, high-energy individual with a passion for speed, thrills, and exploration. His hobbies offer him a unique perspective on the world and undoubtedly inform his innovative approach to scientific research. Michael Deem Rice University Professor is a reminder that science and adventure are not mutually exclusive – with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to take risks, you can have a fulfilling career and a life full of excitement.