MCB Faculty

Michael Waterman

University Professor, USC Associates Chair in Natural Sciences, and Professor of Biological Sciences, Computer Science and Mathematics

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-2408
Office: RRI 403E

Personal Website


  • M.S. , Michigan State University
  • Ph.D. , Michigan State University
  • B.S. , Oregon State University
  • M.S. , Oregon State University

  • Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    Professor Waterman studies molecular sequence data using computational approaches. His work concentrates on the creation and application of mathematics, statistics and computer science to molecular biology, particularly to DNA, RNA, and protein sequence data. Professor Waterman is the co-developer of the Smith-Waterman algorithm for sequence comparison and of the Lander-Waterman formulas for physical mapping and sequencing.
    Research Keywords
    sequence comparison, Smith-Waterman algorithm, alignment statistics, Lander-Waterman formulas, De Bruijn DNA sequence assembly, RNA secondary structure, alignment-free sequence analysis
    Research Specialties
    Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Probability and Statistics, Combinatorics

    Honors and Awards

    • Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Southern Denmark University, 2013-  
    • Foreign Member - Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2013-  
    • National Academy Member, Member, National Academy of Engineering (NAE), 2/9/2012-  
    • Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Tel Aviv University, 2011-  
    • Foreign Member, French Academy of Sciences, 2005-  
    • USC University Professor, 1998-  
    • American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, 1995-  
    • USC Endowed Chair, USC Associates Chair in Natural Sciences, 10/1991-  
    • Dan David Prize, The Future, 2015-2016   
    • People‚Äôs Republic of China Friendship Award, 2013  
    • USC Presidential Medallion, 2008  
    • Gairdner Foundation International Award, 2002  
    • National Academy Member, National Academy of Sciences, 2001  
    • Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, 1995-1996  

    Service to the Profession

    Professional Memberships
    • Member, French Academy of Sciences, 2005-  
    • Member, National Academy of Sciences, 2001-  
    • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995-  

  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371