Michelle O'Malley


Professor Michelle O’Malley began her science career at Carnegie Mellon University where she received her BS in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. She then went on to graduate school at the University of Delaware where she earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Before coming to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where O’Malley works as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, she worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The O’Malley lab consists of around 18 graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates and focuses their research on the biotech potential of microbes which has applications in renewable energy, advanced bioproduction, and natural product discovery. O’Malley’s lab at UCSB specializes in the behavior of natural and engineered anaerobic microbial communities. Her groundbreaking research has led her to be named a 2016 recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on early stage investigators.

Research Areas: 

Biochemical and molecular engineering, cellular engineering, biofuels, drug discovery, biophysics, and metagenomics.

Available Technologies Developed by Professor O’Malley:


  • 2016 Colburn Lecturer, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware

  • 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

  • 2016 NSF CAREER Award

  • 2015 MIT Technology Review, 35 Innovators Under 35

  • 2014 Hellman Faculty Fellowship

  • 2013 Department of Energy Early Career Award

  • 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture – NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant

  • 2011 Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship

  • 2010 Company of Biologists International Travel Fellowship

  • 2007 University of Delaware Department of Chemical Engineering Teaching Fellowship

  • 2007 Merck Award for Best Overall Poster, Biochemical Engineering XV

  • 2007 American Chemical Society Leadership Development Award

  • 2006 NASA-Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship

  • 2004 NSF-IGERT Predoctoral Fellowship in Biotechnology

  • 2000 Presidential Scholarship, Carnegie Mellon University

For more information on Professor O’Malley’s accomplishments and research click here

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