About Me

Michael W. Deem is an American engineer, scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur. Michael 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. Currently General Partner at SmartHealth Catalyzer and CEO of a startup. Previously an Entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures. Michael Deem was the John W. Cox Professor of Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy at Rice University from 2002-2020. He was an assistant and associate professor at UCLA from 1996-2002. Michael received his BS from the California Institute of Technology, his PhD from UC Berkeley, and did a postdoc at Harvard University.

After completing high school, Michael Deem went on to the California Institute of Technology. He finished his undergraduate degree in 1991 before enrolling in a PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley, through a Hertz Fellowship. He successfully defended his thesis, earned his PhD in 1994, and went on to a postdoctoral fellowship in physics at Harvard University through a National Science Foundation fellowship 1995-1996. He continued to push himself to learn more, do more, and discover more, and decided to continue his research in both academia and industry.

As a research scientist, Deem was named the Director of Drug Design at CuraGen Corporation. He was responsible for directing a wide variety of research projects, working to develop new drugs for a variety of injuries and illnesses. He would evaluate potential drug targets, work with a variety of other scientists to figure out what targets were viable, and orchestrate funding for various research projects to try to get new pharmaceutical products off the ground. This gave him a tremendous amount of experience in developing new drugs from start to finish.

In addition to his work as a research scientist, Michael Deem served as the faculty chair of the Bioengineering Department at Rice University. He was responsible for running an exceptionally large department. He had 20 tenure-track faculty, 5 non-tenure-track faculty, 200 undergraduate students, and 125 graduate students that he needed to manage. The department's annual budget was approximately $27 million.

A top priority was to facilitate high-quality research. He also made sure that all of the research was adequately funded. The faculty that he managed came from a wide variety of disciplines. A few examples include biomaterials, tissue engineering, machine learning, multimodal imaging, cancer research, and basic physics. Every member of the department wants to have his or her research project adequately funded, and it was the responsibility of Michael W. Deem to both fundraise for the department and distribute the resources that were available. The faculty members in the department published research papers in a variety of disciplines, pushing the boundaries of science and increasing the prestige of the university. During his time at Rice, the department flourished, consistently ranking as one of the top 10 programs in the country for biomedical engineering. Michael Deem was also named the John W. Cox Professor while he was at Rice University. This was a recognition of his research and ability to lead.

In addition to managing exceptionally large departments, such as the one at Rice University, Michael W. Deem has also worked with a variety of smaller companies in life science. For example, Deem recently finished a year as an Entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures. There, he was responsible for taking a look at new, up-and-coming companies and selecting the right portfolio for Khosla. He was also responsible for incubating new companies, from idea to existence. Once the companies were selected, he was responsible for mentoring the young entrepreneurs and start-up companies along the way. There, Michael was exposed to a wide variety of innovative new ideas for future technology, and he was able to build his skills as a business professional. By selecting the right companies, giving them the resources they needed, and mentoring the young professionals along the way, he was able to assist multiple companies from the ground up.

Even though Deem spends a tremendous amount of his time working, he also finds a way to give back to the local community. He has served as a mentor for countless graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdoctoral scholars to develop their careers. He helps students with their research projects, reviews research papers, and helps young faculty members get their information published. This human capital development was very satisfying. Deem has also served on a number of for-profit and non-profit boards, developing strategies with CEOs and building organizations.

Michael Deem believes in staying in shape. He believes that by protecting your physical health, you can protect your mental health as well. In his free time, he likes to do martial arts, including Taekwondo, and he likes to go rock climbing. He loves exploring nature, and rock climbing lets him do exactly that. Finally, he also spends a lot of time with his family members and friends, maintaining the relationships that have been so important to him over the years.

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