Owen received his undergraduate degree from Cornell and his M.D. from Stanford University. He completed postdoctoral research at MIT, then joined the faculty at UCLA where he was appointed a University Professor by the University of California Board of Regents, an honor reserved for scholars of the highest international distinction. Owen is also a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, the UCLA David Saxon Presidential Chair in Developmental Immunology. He is the Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.