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Rick Welch

Dean of Arts and Science Emeritus


Postdoctorate (Theoretical Biophysics), Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, 1975
Ph.D. (Biochemistry), University of Tennessee – Oak Ridge Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 1975
B.S. (Physics), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1970

Professional Interests

My research interests focus on theoretical biophysical chemistry and on the history of science. Over the years, I have published extensively in areas of theoretical biochemistry and biophysics, concerned with the organization of cell metabolism. My work has gradually shifted to historical studies, lying at the interface between the physical and biological sciences and dealing with a number of emergent ideas and historical personages. My research endeavors have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, and (at present) the Wellcome Trust. I was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1995, with citation for “the theory of biochemistry and the history of science.” Amongst my professional activities, I am co-founder (and a member of the organizing committee) of a biennial Gordon Research Conference, established in 1987 with the title “Organization of Metabolic Sequences.” The conference title has morphed over the years, first to “Macromolecular Organization and Cell Function,” and now to “Cellular Systems Biology.” I served as Dean of Arts and Sciences at UMBC during the period 1996-2005, and I was professor of Biological Sciences for the duration 1996-2010. I held affiliate appointments in the Department of Education, the Department of History, and the Program in Human Context of Science and Technology at UMBC. I am now Dean of Arts and Sciences Emeritus. I now reside in Cambridge, UK. I am an Affiliated Research Scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall.


Welch, G. R. (2016). Physiology: The Language of Life and Nature. Peter Lang International Academic Publisher, Bern, Switzerland. [Volume 13 in the book series on “Nature, Science, and the Arts”]

Welch, G. R. (2015) Cell Theory. In Discoveries in Modern Science: Exploration, Invention, Technology, Vol. 1 (J Trefil, ed), pp. 158-161, Macmillan, Farmington Hills, MI. [Invited encyclopedia entry]

Welch, G. R. and Clegg, J. S. (2012). Cell versus protoplasm: Revisionist history. Cell Biol. Int. 36: 643-647.

Welch, G. R. (2012). “Fuzziness” in the cellular interactome: A historical perspective. In Fuzziness: Structural Disorder in Protein Complexes (Fuxreiter, M., and Tompa, P., editors), Springer Science/Landes Bioscience, Austin, Texas, pp. 184-190.

Talasek, J. D., Welch, R., and Finneran, K. (editors) (2011). Visual Culture and Evolution, U. S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. [Proceedings of an online symposium held 5-14 April 2010, sponsored by the U. S. National Academy of Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, and UMBC].

Welch, G. R. and Clegg, J. S. (2010). Reply to Letter to the Editor: “Systemic cell theory, protoplasmic theory, and their logic of explanation.” Amer. J. Physiol. – Cell Physiol. 299: C537.

Welch, G. R. and Clegg, J. S. (2010). From protoplasmic theory to cellular systems biology: A 150-year reflection. Amer. J. Physiol. – Cell Physiol. 298: C1280–C1290 [The inaugural article in the journal’s new “Historical Perspective” section].

Welch, G. R. (2009). Physiology, physiomics, and biophysics: A matter of words. Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. 100: 4-17.

Welch, G. R. (2009). The “fuzzy” interactome. Trends Biochem. Sci. 34: 1-2.

Welch, G. R. (2008). In retrospect: Fernel’s “Physiologia.” Nature 456: 446-447.


American Association for the Advancement of Science
Visiting Fellow
Clare Hall, Cambridge, U.K.