Biography of Michael Lieber [Back]
Dr. Michael Lieber comes from a
distinguished family of musicians, scientists, intellectuals, and
religious leaders. On his mother's side of the family, there were
generations of rabbis, and the composer, Gustav
Mahler, was a family member.
Dr. Lieber’s father, Paul, was a distinguished scientist who made
significant contributions to aeronautical engineering, hydrodynamics,
and geophysics, with important implications for earthquake prediction,
and who had among his friends, Hans
Albert Einstein, the son of Albert
With this stimulating background, Michael became interested in science
at an early age. At the age of 14, he developed, with the encouragement
of his father, a cosmology which turned out to be similar to that of the
esteemed paleontologist, Teilhard
de Chardin. This cosmology of the young Michael became the
inspiration for and guiding spirit of his later research in science.
Having majored in science and mathematics in secondary school, he
proceeded to the University
of California at Berkeley. His formal studies concentrated on
biology, social science and philosophy, while studying physics on his
own. He graduated with a B.A. in anthropology.
During his senior year at Berkeley, he wrote an original thesis on human
evolution. It was very well received by the physical anthropologist, W.
Howells. Through the writing of this thesis, he decided to pursue a
research career in genetics. To be trained in such, he became a graduate
student at the Institute of Animal Genetics, University
of Edinburgh in Scotland. This Institute was under the direction of
the world-renowned geneticist and embryologist, C.
H. Waddington. During his stimulating studies there, Michael wrote a
thesis on mutation, development, and evolution. Professor Waddington,
referring to the thesis, said it represented very imaginative
Michael completed his studies in Edinburgh, having received the
postgraduate Diploma in Animal genetics, comparable to the American
Masters’ degree. Michael then proceeded to the University
of Sheffield in England where he studied for his Ph.D. under the
direction of J. A. Roper, one of the pioneers of fungal genetics. His
research on the genetic control of mutation in a fungus led to results
very similar to those of the Nobel Laureate, Barbara
McClintock. She had studied mutators in corn and was the discoverer
of genetic control systems of mutation in corn, involving the so-called
genes”, as coined by the press.
His thesis was accepted and Michael was awarded a Ph.D. in genetics.
Articles based on his thesis were later published. Moreover, a paper
based on his research was delivered before the International Congress of
Genetics, held in Pisa, Italy, in 1969. In response, attendees at the
Conference said of the described research that it represented the most
important work done in mutation during the last ten years. Dr.
McClintock, referring to Dr. Lieber’s published work said, in a
personal letter, that she “recognized its importance.”
After leaving Sheffield, he obtained a research position in the
laboratory of Max
Delbruck, a Nobel Laureate at the California Institute of Technology
in Pasadena. In Professor Delbruck’s lab, Michael continued his
research on mutation in fungi. Leaving Caltech, he obtained a position
in microbiology at the Stritch
School of Medicine, Loyola University, in Chicago.
There, he investigated the mutagenic effects of the bacteriophage P1 on
a bacteria genome, which led to some revolutionary discoveries, and
which opened up a whole new sub-discipline of mutation research. In so
doing, he also demonstrated that molecular explanations of certain
phenomena pertaining to genetic change or genomic instability are very
In this regard, Salvador
Luria---a former collaborator of Delbruck’s---who also worked with
P1, was the Ph.D. advisor of the person who directed the lab in which
these new discoveries were made, and which demonstrated the limitation
of the molecular or reductionist approach to our understanding of genetic
mutation. Such an approach was the focus of Delbruck’s and Luria’s research
in molecular and statistical genetics. By the way, James
Watson, who predicted the correct structure of DNA, and who also
obtained his Ph.D. under Luria, corresponded extensively with Delbruck
on DNA’s structure. So, there is a bit of historical irony here in the
history of science.
Completing his research in Chicago, Dr. Lieber returned to the
University of California at Berkeley as a Research Associate in the
laboratory of Alan
Wilson, the distinguished evolutionist. In that position, Dr. Lieber
continued to make important contributions, showing the significance of
certain types of genetic mutators in karyotypic and morphological
evolution, the later being based on karyotypic evolution.
Since his early youth, Michael was always interested in horticulture and
had acquired a great deal of expertise in the subject. Consequently, he
wanted to enter plant-genetics research using plant-tissue techniques.
He did so in the Department
of Botany at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. There, he
made important breakthroughs, overcoming recalcitrant organogenesis in
the tissue culture of pine, an important step towards creating
transgenic pine via tissue-culture methods.
Returning to the University of California, he was a Research Geneticist
in the Department of Plant Pathology. Again, he made significant
contributions, among which, overcoming recalcitrant organogenesis in the
green bean via bean callus, a neoplastic tissue. This approach was based
on the application of a method stemming from a revolutionary
cosmological theory described in some of his publications. Related to
this, he was involved in the creation of important transgenic plants.
He retired from a “hands-on-research” career, “at the bench”,
but is still involved in various ways with research, exploring and
writing extensively on various scientific subjects. He has a significant
number of important publications to his credit, including two recent
In subsequent years, Dr. Lieber worked at the Center for Independent
Living in Berkeley, an organization which helps disabled people become
independent. Among his functions there, he assisted a homeless man
in his lawsuit for malpractice against a county hospital. In the course
of which, Dr. Lieber wrote in behalf of this man several motions for the
court and wrote---with very little
assistance---and submitted, two briefs to the California Court of
Appeals, also in behalf of that man. One lawyer on the staff, referring
to one of these briefs, said it was excellent.
In preparing such legal materials, Dr. Lieber has acquired a great deal
of legal experience and has demonstrated a facility for legal practice,
essentially all self-taught. At this stage in life, he is even
considering law school.
In more recent
years, he assisted at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He was
involved in a program that assisted Native Americans to maintain
high-quality, drinking-water standards. In that capacity, he monitored
and entered data using a complex database, edited documents, and made
constructive recommendations that were appreciated.
Throughout his life, Dr. Lieber has worked and corresponded with, and
has been appreciated by, several distinguished scientists. One of these,
for example, Dr. Albert Szent Gorgyi, a Nobel Laureate and the
discoverer of ascorbic acid, has shown appreciation for Dr. Lieber’s
contribution. In a letter to Dr. Lieber, a neurobiologist, Professor
Kurt Heininger, wrote, “Your work has been a persistent inspiration to
In a letter of recommendation for Dr. Lieber, Emeritus
Professor Richard Strohman of the University of California,
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology wrote of Dr. Lieber:
“At this stage in his career, I see Michael as creatively guiding and
inspiring the research efforts of others, bringing to bear his depth of
scientific experience and insight, as well as his empathy and integrity.
“Michael has a mind that should not be wasted and future scientific
progress would benefit greatly from the application of such a mind.
“Thus, I highly recommend Michael for any scientific endeavor he
chooses pertaining to genetics and developmental biology.”
Professor Nickolas Panopoulos,
a plant pathologist, formally of the University of California, wrote:
Dr. Lieber has had a broad and diversified career. Through such, he has
come to appreciate the value and significance of his contributions to
science, and thus to humanity. This has given him an inner stability and
peace of mind, and a deep sense of his value, from which others have and
Michael M. Lieber, Ph.D. can be
contacted at Genadyne Consulting:
Phone: (510) 526-4224
ARTICLES and REPORTS by MICHAEL LIEBER
and the Dynamic of Completion
Einstein's Son's Dog: A Retrospection
Research: Its Deeper
Significance for Science
Man in Potential: Human
Evolution As Viewed from a New Perspective
on Plant Tissue Culture
A Dimensionless Biological Constant
within the Physical Constants
and Lieber, M. A Report on the Beneficial Effects of Low Levels of
Ionizing Radiation on Drosophila Adaptation to Insecticidal
Stress. 1974. University of California, Berkeley.
M. The Location of Pyro12 in Aspergillus nidulans. Aspergillus
News Letter, no. 12 (1975a).
M. The Generation of Genetic Changes in Diploids of Aspergillus
nidulans with a Chromosome Segement in Triplicate. Science of
Biology Journal, vol 1 (1975b)
no. 3, 67-70.
Environmental and Genetic Factors Affecting Chromosomal Instability at
Mitosis in Aspergillus nidulans and the Importance of Chromosomal
Instability in the Evolution of Developmental Systems. Evolutionary
Theory, vol. 1 (1975c),
M. Observations on Forced Heterokaryons in Phycomyces. Caltech.
Ann. Rev. of Biology (1975d),
Effects of Temperature on Genetic Instability in Aspergillis nidulans.
Mutation Research, vol. 34 (1976a),
Genetic and Mutagenetic Interaction of Chromosomal Duplications Present
Together in Haploid Strains of Aspergillus nidulans. Mutation
Research, vol. 37 (1976b),
Lieber, M. and Wilson, A. Phylogenetic Analysis of Chromosomal Evolution
in Vertebrates. A Report submitted to the Proceedings of The National
Academy of Sciences USA (1978).
The Culturing of Callus Derived from Pinus taeda: Environmental
and Genetic Parameters. Faculty Activity Report (1980a), Department of
Botany, North Carolina State University.
New Developments on the Generation of Mutations in Escherichia coli.
Abstract, Proceedings of the Genetic and Environmental Toxicology
Association of Northern California (1980b).
P., and Lieber, M. The Dynamical Interrelationships
of the Universe. Monographs (1981-1982).
and Lieber, M. Hierarchies of Biological Evolution. Speculations in
Science and Technology, vol. 6 (1983a),
no. 1, 37-39.
Persidok, T. Mutability in Escherichia coli K12 Enhanced by a
P1-Plasmid and by Generalized Transduction. Rivista di Biologia/Biology
Forum, vol. 76 (1983b),
no. 3, 493-499.
Vitro Propagation of Various Plant Species Using Tissue Culture
Techniques: A Survey with Theoretical Considerations. Technical Report
for the National Council on Gene Resources, (1985).
Developments on the Generation of Mutations in Escherichia coli
Lysogens. Acta Microbiologica Hungarica, vol. 36 (1989), 377-413.
M. Mutagenesis as Viewed from Another Perspective. Rivista di
Biologia/Biology Forum, vol. 83-4 (1990), 513-522.
M. Adaptive Mutations and Biological Evolution. Frontier Perspectives,
vol. 2 (summer 1991), no. 1, 23-26.
E. Hatziloukkas and
With technical support by Michael Lieber. Origin, Structure, and
Regulation of ArgK, Encoding the Phaseolotoxin- Resistant Ornithine
Carbamoyltransferase in Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaselicoia, and
Functional Expression of ArgK in Transgenic Tobacco. Journal of
Bacteriology, vol. 174 (1992), No. 18, 5805-5909.
Role of Cohesive Forces in Generating Bud/Plantlet Development from
Plant Neoplasms. Frontier Perspectives, vol. 4 (spring 1995), no.
Force, Development, and Neoplasia: Development from Another Perspective
as Illustrated Through a Study of In Vitro Plant Development from
Neoplasm. Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, vol. 89 (1996), no.
Abstract PDF [Back]
M. The Living Spiral. A Dimensionless Biological Constant Gives a New
Perspective to Physics. Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, vol 91
no. 1, 91-118.
Abstract PDF [Back]
Hypermutation as a Means to Globally Re-Stabilize the Genome Following
Environmental Stress. Mutation Research, Fundamental and Molecular
Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, vol. 421 (1998b), no.
Environmentally Responsive Mutator Systems: Toward a Unifying
Perspective. Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, vol. 91 (1998c), no.
M. Diabetes Mellitus and Cancer. Frontier Perspectives, Vol. 8
(winter 1999), no. 2, 6.
Adaptively Responsive Hypermutation and Its Configurational-Based
Regulation Due to Global Position Effect. Mutation Research,
Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, vol. 449
(2000), nos. 1 & 2, 57-60.
Temporal Control of Environmentally Responsive Hypermutation Involving
Cryptic Genes. Mutation Research, Fundamental & Molecular
Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, vol. 473 (2001a), 255-257.
M. Force and Genomic Change. Frontier Perspectives, Vol. 10
(spring 2001b), no. 1, 25-27.
M. M. (2005). Introduction of foreign genetic material into a genome can
lead to localized and non-localized mutation: Practical Ramifications. Frontier
Perspectives, No. 2., 6-7. [Back]
Lieber, M. M. (2006). Towards an understanding of the role of forces in
carcinogenesis: A perspective with therapeutic implications. Rivista
di Biologia/Biology Forum, No. 1, 131-160
Lieber, M. M. (2006). Bacteriophage Research: Its Deeper Significance for Science. Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, No. 2, 224-226.
M.M. (2008), Modern Man in Potential: Human Evolution as Viewed
from a New Perspective. Frontier Perspectives Vol. 16, No. 2:
Lieber, M.M. (2010), A Fungus, Anastomosis, Diploids and Quantum Mechanics. Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, No. 2-3, 181-186.
M.M. (2011), The Problem of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. The
Important Role of Environmentally Responsive Mutagenesis, Its Relevance
to a New Paradigm That May Allow a Solution. Theoretical Biology Forum Vol. 104,
No. 1, 91-102.
M.M. (2013), New Practical and Theoretical Approaches to the Induction
of Morphogenesis from Plant Tumors In Vitro Using New Types of Plant
Growth Regulators: Towards Constructive Paradigms in Agriculture and
Medicine. Theoretical Biology Forum Vol. 106, Nos
M.M. (2016), The Golden Ratio (1.62) As a Dimensionless Biological
Constant. South African Journal of Science Vol. 112, Numbers 9
and 10, p. 2 (Published on-line.)
M. M. (2016). Toward a New Paradigm for the Evolution of Developmental
and Growth-Pattern Systems in Plants and Animals, Plant Growth,
Professor Everlon Rigobelo (Editor). IntechOpen. DOI: 10.5772/64785
Lieber, M. M. (2019). The Induction and Maintenance of In Vitro
Plant Morphogenesis as Viewed from a New Perspective, with Theoretical and Constructive
Implications. BioSystems. 184: 1-7.
Genomics & Developmental Biology Consultant / Expert
Offering Creative Paradigms for Scientific Advancement in
Agriculture and Medicine, with Emphasis on Plant Genetics /
Genetic Engineering and Developmental Biology, e.g.,
Organogenesis. Michael M. Lieber, Ph.D.
Berkeley, CA (510)
Michael M. Lieber, Genadyne Consulting
Michael M. Lieber,