Michael Harvey Briggs was born on 20 August 1935. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School before going on to Liverpool University. From there he went to Cornell University where he worked as a Teaching Assistant (1956-59) while working towards his PhD. From 1959 to 1962 he was a Lecturer at the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand where he was awarded a DSc. In 1962 he became a Senior Fellow at the California Institute of Technology followed by work as Director of Research at Analytical Labs Ltd. in Corsham in England. From 1966 to 1970 he worked for Schering Chemicals in England while working as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sussex. In 1970 he was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Zambia.
However, in 1973 Michael Briggs moved to Australia and took up a position as Director of Biochemistry at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. In 1975 he was appointed Head of the School of Applied Sciences at the Gordon Institute of Technology in Geelong. In 1976 he was appointed Planning Dean of Sciences and Professor of Human Biology at Deakin University.
Michael Briggs resigned his professorship at Deakin University in September 1985 whilst under a cloud of suspicion about his research work. He died in Spain in December of 1986 leaving a wife, Maxine (nee Staniford), and two children from his first marriage.