Michael Waterman has held the USC Associates Endowed Chair in Natural Sciences at the USC Dornsife College since 1991. His research specialties are computational biology and bioinformatics – specifically researching 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.
He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1995 and a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2001. His many other honors include an award from the French Académie des Sciences in 2005, the Gairdner Foundation International Award in 2002, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995-1996 and theUSC Associates Award For Creativity In Research And Scholarship in 1992.