Hazelwood Alumnus Turned DNA Researcher

Michael Lieber, Hazelwood graduate class of 1973, is making his way into the biomedical field. Lieber is currently a Professor of Pathology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC).


Lieber teaches at USC and manages a biomedical research lab. The central focus of Lieber’s research is Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage and repair.


“Currently, I am researching human DNA repair as this relates to cancer, aging, and the immune system,” said Lieber.  “We are using our discoveries to identify drugs that are more specific for treating cancer with fewer side effects.”


Lieber received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry/Biology from the University of Missouri - Columbia in 1977. He then received his doctorate in Biochemistry in 1981, and his medical degree in 1983, from the University of Chicago.


After receiving his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and M.D., Lieber, completed his residency in Pathology in 1986, and his post-doctoral training in Biochemistry in 1989, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.


“If I could say anything to the current students of the Hazelwood School District, I would simply say that the first priority in life is to be a good person, and once you have a goal, don’t give up on it,” says Lieber.


“I also want to thank Gary Vogt, Michael Potter, and Joseph Rigdon for everything they did. These three former Hazelwood teachers did a wonderful job of making learning interesting, and I am very grateful to them for this, and for their dedication to their students,” he said.