2017 Faculty Service Achievement Award

This award is presented to an ASU faculty member whose innovative efforts and service to ASU and/or the community have made an impact and enhanced the world.

Dr. Manfred D. Laubichler
Distinguished Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
President's Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Director, ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems
Director, ASU-Leuphana Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation

Director, Global Biosocial Complexity Initiative, associate director, Origins Project
Professor, Santa Fe Institute

Dr. Manfred Laubichler, a theoretical biologist and historian of science, is being honored for his service to Arizona State University and to his profession. Dr. Laubichler's multi-faceted research involves tracing the role of gene regulatory networks in development and evolution, as well as studying the conceptual structure of modern and historical biology. He also studies the theory of Complex Adaptive Systems, focusing on complexity as a unifying principle in the social and life sciences, including applications in biomedicine, sustainability and the study of innovations. He is recognized as a positive “disrupter” in his work, identifying scientific and intellectual trends years before others do and working with others in a transdisciplinary manner to translate these insights into use-inspired solutions and collaborations.

One of Dr. Laubichler’s most significant contributions was his role in the launch of the ASU-Santa Fe Institute (SFI) Center for Biosocial Complex Systems in 2015. The center aids scientists and policymakers in gaining a better theoretical understanding of the interconnections between complex biological and social systems, and in applying that knowledge to questions such as what happens to institutions, healthcare and human behavior as cities grow into mega-cities.

Another project that Dr. Laubichler was instrumental in orchestrating was the ASU-Leuphana Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation, in conjunction with Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany. The new center, created in 2015 and built on several years of joint projects, expands a shared focus at both universities on global sustainability, transdisciplinary research and education, including the creation of the first dual master’s degree in global sustainability sciences. Students attend and receive degrees from both universities.

At ASU, he has acted as a thesis advisor for many graduate students from a number of different disciplines as well as a select group of undergraduate students in Barrett, the Honors College at ASU. He also has served the university by participating in the Biology & Society Program steering committee and the School of Life Sciences Graduate Programs committee and its strategic planning committee.

Dr. Laubichler’s undergraduate training was in zoology, philosophy and mathematics at the University of Vienna (Austria) and his graduate training was in biology at Yale University and in the history of science at Princeton University. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.