Michael Savageau, a distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering, recently extended his long list of accolades in May 2011, when he received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Lleida, in Spain.

His many other honors include being a Guggenheim Fellow and Fulbright Senior Research Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, in Göttingen, Germany; and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques Award from Bures-sur-Yvette, France. Savageau also is an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, and a member of the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine.

Michael SavageauDuring a long and fruitful career, Savageau became a pioneer in systems biology: His work has had a major impact on the core definition of this field, which combines computer science, mathematics and engineering with molecular biology, synthetic biology and the study of evolution. His book, Biochemical Systems Analysis: A Study of Function and Design in Molecular Biology, is considered a classic and forerunner to the field of functional genomics.

Savageau earned his degrees from the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa and Stanford University; he became a postdoctoral fellow at both Stanford and UCLA before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan. He chaired the latter’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology from 1992 to ’02, capping that tenure by being named the Nicolas Rashevsky Distinguished University Professor in 2002.

Savageau joined the UC Davis faculty in 2003, and chaired the Department of Biomedical Engineering from 2005 to 2007.

This busy academic career was accompanied by equally ambitious outreach efforts; he was editor-in-chief of the journal Mathematical Biosciences for a decade, concluding in 2005. He also serves on advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Keck Foundation and the National Academies of Science.

For more information on the College of Engineering’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, please email Oliver Ramsey.