Michael McKeown, 63, died December 21 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was a professor of medical science in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry. Dr. McKeown earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford and his doctoral degree at the University of California, San Diego, where he was a National Science Foundation fellow. As a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow, he began his study of sex differentiation using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model system.
In 1985, Dr. McKeown joined the faculty of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he was a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences. He came to Brown in 2000. His laboratory studied the genetic and neural underpinnings of sexual behavior, using the genetically tractable Drosophila system. He taught and developed both graduate and undergraduate courses in genetics, and he served as the director of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education grant award to Brown University. He also served as the director of Graduate Studies for the MCB Graduate Program from 2001 to 2009. In 2010, he received the Elizabeth H. Leduc Award for Teaching Excellence in the Life Sciences at Brown.
He is survived by his wife, Erica, and his three children. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.