Michael Lynch

Center Director & Professor
Biodesign ME
Graduate External Committee
Arizona State University
Biodesign Center Directors
Biodesign ME

Location: TEMPE

Contact Information


  • PhD Ecology, University of Minnesota
  • BS Biology, St. Bonaventure University


Michael Lynch is a professor in the School of Life Sciences and director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution. Professor Lynch has served as President of the Genetics Society of America, the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the American Genetic Association. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His research is focused on mechanisms of evolution at the gene, genomic, cellular, and phenotypic levels, with special attention being given to the roles of mutation, random genetic drift, and recombination. This work relies on the integration of theory development and computational analysis with empirical work on several model systems, including the microcrustacean Daphnia, the ciliate Paramecium, and numerous microbial species. The overarching mission of the new Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution is to understand the primary forces of evolution to empower all areas of the life sciences and solve key practical and urgent societal issues such as our understanding of mutation and disease.

Besides many highly acclaimed papers, especially in population genetics, he has written a two volume treatise on quantitative genetics with Bruce Walsh, the first volume (1998) focused on the genetics and analysis of quantitative traits, and the second (forthcoming) on the evolution of quantitative traits. He has been a major force in promoting neutral theories to explain variation in genomic and gene-structural architecture based on the effects of population sizes in different lineages; he presented this point of view comprehensively in his 2007 book "The Origins of Genome Architecture". He is currently extending these ideas to the cellular level in an emerging book on The Origins of Cellular Features.