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Mike was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, which may explain his gastronomic proclivities. He received a B.A. from Rice University in 1969 working with Richard Turner on polyolefinic cyclization to diterpenes of the kaurene type. As an NSF Predoctoral Fellow, he worked under the direction of Gilbert Stork at Columbia University on the use of vinyl silanes as annulation reagents, receiving his Ph.D. in 1973. In 1974, after a one-year NATO postdoctoral stint with Albert Eschenmoser at the ETH in Zürich, he joined the faculty at UCLA where he is currently a full professor. 

Click on photo for shot of boss at play.