Michelle O'Malley

Michelle O'Malley

​Chemical Engineering
Vice Chair, Bioengineering 
Cliff R. Scholle Chair in Chemical Engineering

Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering


(805) 893-4769
3343 Engineering II

University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Fellow of: 

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)

Biotechnology Progress Award for Excellence in Biological Engineering Publication, Society for Biological Engineering Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE); Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications by a Young Member of the Institute, AIChE; Early Career Award, Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Division of AIChE;  Science News 10: Scientists to Watch; American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Award for Early Career Applied and Biotechnological Research; Lars G. Ljungdahl Lectureship, University of Georgia; ACS Biochemical Technology (BIOT) Young Investigator Award; Genewiz Award Recognizing Excellence in Genomics Research; National Academy of Engineering, US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Invited Attendee; ACS Women's Chemist Committee (WCC) Rising Star Award; Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award; ACS Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Young Investigator; Colburn Lecturer, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware; Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE); NSF CAREER Award; MIT Technology Review, 35 Innovators Under 35; Hellman Faculty Fellowship; Department of Energy Early Career Award; U.S. Department of Agriculture-NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant; Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship; Company of Biologists International Travel Fellowship; University of Delaware Department of Chemical Engineering Teaching Fellowship; Merck Award for Best Overall Poster, Biochemical Engineering XV; American Chemical Society Leadership Development Award; NASA-Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship; NSF-IGERT Predoctoral Fellowship in Biotechnology; Presidential Scholarship, Carnegie Mellon University


Bioengineering, Energy Efficiency & Sustainability

The O'Malley Lab works at the interface of engineering and biology to engineer microbes and consortia with novel functions. We are especially interested in deciphering how “unwieldy” microbes in the environment perform extraordinary tasks - many of these microbes have no available genomic sequence and are exceptionally difficult to manipulate. We seek a better understanding of how proteins are synthesized by cells, and how their three-dimensional structure informs their function would enhance our ability to engineer proteins (and cellular expression platforms) for diverse biomedical and biotechnology applications. To address these issues, our approach combines classical cell biology tools with cutting-edge technologies (genome sequencing, RNAseq, cellular reprogramming) that are rooted in the core biological sciences to interrogate and engineer molecular mechanisms that underlie protein production in eukaryotic cells. In addition, we rely on biophysical methods to elucidate protein-protein contacts, with the aim of controlling these interactions both in vivo and in vitro. Systems of interest to us have broad applicability to bioenergy and sustainability, as well as to drug development and detection.


PhD Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware
BS Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
BS Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University