Michael is a Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). He is co-director of HIVE, an environmentally focused synthetic biology institute at HMS, and an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Michael received his BS in Chemistry and BS in Biology from Stanford University, and was awarded his Ph.D. for doctoral studies in the field of cell biology at the University of California, San Francisco. His work has been funded by grants from the NIH, NSF, DARPA, and IARPA. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael developed a novel sample collection technology in collaboration with Wyss Institute researchers, and co-founded the startup company Rhinostics to commercialize this technology. He designed a high-throughput COVID-19-testing lab, obtained EUA approval for the diagnostic technology, and spearheaded the establishment of the first CLIA-certified lab at Harvard. In its first year of operation, the lab ran over 2.2 million COVID-19 tests. For his work in the response to COVID-19, Michael was recently awarded the George Ledlie Prize.
Michael is now focusing his research in two areas: the development of new diagnostics, and microbial engineering for sustainable production. On the diagnostic side, this includes developing new sample collection devices to empower home collection of samples (e.g. microneedles for melanoma screening), streamlining the workflow in clinical labs to decrease costs and increase throughput, and increasing the accessibility of diagnostics while decreasing their cost to consumers. On the sustainability side, his work aims to advance bioweathering to increase carbon dioxide removal, local food and commodity production from renewable energy sources, and biomining.