MacArthur Fellows Program

Mimi R. Koehl

Marine Biologist | Class of 1990

Marine Biologist
Berkeley, California
42 at time of award
Published August 1, 1990

About Mimi's Work

Mimi Koehl is a scientist who studies the physics of biological structures in aquatic organisms.

She is one of the few scientists who applies the principles of engineering sciences, especially applied mechanics, to understanding basic biological processes.She utilizes this approach to investigate the various ways in which organisms withstand and utilize the movement of water or air around them. Using fluid and solid mechanics, Koehl studies a variety of problems ranging from how molecules are captured by olfactory antennae and how food particles are filtered from the water by aquatic animals, to the mechanisms by which bottom-dwelling marine organisms withstand waves and currents, and to the evolution of aerodynamic performance in insects and gliding vertebrates.


She held a postdoctoral research position (1976-1977) and was a visiting professor (1979, 1984) at Friday Harbor Laboratories at the University of Washington. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of York, England, (1977-1978) and taught in the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University (1978-1979). Since 1983, Koehl has been a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Koehl received a B.A. (1970) from Gettysburg College and a Ph.D. (1976) from Duke University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News Coverage of Mimi R. Koehl
September 17, 2014
"How Dyslexia Helped Me - Dr Mimi Koehl Biology MacArthur Genius"
Dyslexic Advantage
Mimi R. Koehl , 1990 MacArthur Fellow
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