Michael Waterman
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Michael Waterman
Michael Waterman
Michael Waterman.jpg
Michael Waterman in 2004
Michael Spencer Waterman

June 28, 1942 (1942-06-28) (age 79)[1]
Alma materOregon State University
Michigan State University (PhD)
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisSome Ergodic Properties of Multi-Dimensional F-Expansions (1969)
Doctoral advisorJohn Rankin Kinney[5]
Notable studentsPavel Pevzner (postdoc)
InfluencesTemple F. Smith

Michael Spencer Waterman (born June 28, 1942) is a Professor of Biology, Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Southern California (USC),[2][6] where he holds an Endowed Associates Chair in Biological Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science. He previously[when?] held positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Idaho State University.

Education and early life

Waterman grew up near Bandon, Oregon,[7] and earned a bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Oregon State University, followed by a PhD in statistics and probability from Michigan State University in 1969.[5][8]

Research and career

Waterman is one of the founders and current leaders in the area of computational biology. He focuses on applying mathematics, statistics, and computer science techniques to various problems in molecular biology. His work has contributed to some of the most widely used tools in the field. In particular, the Smith-Waterman algorithm (developed with Temple F. Smith) is the basis for many sequence alignment programs.[9] In 1988, Waterman and Eric Lander published a landmark paper describing a mathematical model for fingerprint mapping.[10] This work formed one of the theoretical cornerstones for many of the later DNA mapping and sequencing projects, especially the Human Genome Project. A 1995 paper by Idury and Waterman introduced Eulerian-De Bruijn sequence assembly which is widely used in next-generation sequencing projects. [11]

With Pavel A. Pevzner, (a former postdoctoral researcher in his lab) he began the international conference Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB),[12] and he is a founding editor of the Journal of Computational Biology. Waterman also authored one of the earliest textbooks in the field: Introduction to Computational Biology.[13]

Awards and honors

With Cyrus Chothia and David Haussler, Waterman was awarded the 2015 Dan David Prize for his contributions to the field of bioinformatics.[4] He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University in 2011,[] and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern Denmark in 2013.[]

Waterman has been a member of the US American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1995,[] a member of the US National Academy of Engineering since 2012,[] a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2013,[] and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences since 2001.[] He has been an academician of the French Academy of Sciences since 2005.[]

Waterman was elected an ISCB Fellow in 2009 by the International Society for Computational Biology[3] and was awarded their ISCB Senior Scientist Award in 2009.[6]

Personal life

Waterman has written a memoir, Getting Outside,[7] of a childhood spent on an isolated livestock ranch on the southern coast of Oregon in the mid-twentieth century.


  1. ^ American Men and Women of Science, Thomson Gale 2005[ISBN missing]
  2. ^ a b c Anon (2017). "Michael S. Waterman: Professor of Biological Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science, University of Southern California". dornsife.usc.edu/labs/msw. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02.
  3. ^ a b Anon (2017). "ISCB Fellows". iscb.org. International Society for Computational Biology. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20.
  4. ^ a b Anon (2015). "Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales among 2015 Dan David Prize winners". eurekalert.org. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ a b Michael Waterman at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  6. ^ a b Maisel, M. (2006). "ISCB Honors Michael S. Waterman and Mathieu Blanchette". PLOS Computational Biology. 2 (8): e105. Bibcode:2006PLSCB...2..105M. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020105. PMC 1526462.
  7. ^ a b Waterman, Michael (2016). Getting Outside: A Far-Western Childhood. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1530929344.
  8. ^ Waterman, Michael Smith (1969). Some Ergodic Properties of Multi-Dimensional F-Expansions (PhD thesis). Michigan State University. OCLC 25799203. ProQuest 302449931. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Smith, T.; Waterman, M. S. (1981). "Identification of common molecular subsequences". Journal of Molecular Biology. 147 (1): 195-197. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/0022-2836(81)90087-5. PMID 7265238.
  10. ^ Lander, E. S.; Waterman, M. S. (1988). "Genomic mapping by fingerprinting random clones: A mathematical analysis". Genomics. 2 (3): 231-239. doi:10.1016/0888-7543(88)90007-9. PMID 3294162.
  11. ^ Idury, Ramana M.; Waterman, Michael S. (1995). "A New Algorithm for DNA Sequence Assembly" (PDF). Journal of Computational Biology. 2 (2): 291-306. CiteSeerX doi:10.1089/cmb.1995.2.291. ISSN 1066-5277. PMID 7497130.
  12. ^ Anon (2017). "The RECOMB conference series". recomb.org.
  13. ^ Waterman, Michael R.; Waterman, M. S. (1995). Introduction to computational biology: maps, sequences and genomes. London: Chapman & Hall. ISBN 978-0-412-99391-6.

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