Michelle A. O’Malley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2009. O’Malley was a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at MIT, where she developed new strategies for cellulosic biofuel production. At UCSB, her research group engineers protein synthesis within anaerobes and consortia for sustainable chemical production, bioremediation, and natural product discovery. O’Malley’s research has been featured on NPR’s Science Friday, the BBC Newshour, the LA Times, and several other media outlets. She was named one of the 35 Top Innovators Under 35 in the world by MIT Technology Review in 2015, one of the 10 “Scientists to Watch” by Science News in 2019 and is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) – the highest honor bestowed on early career scientists by the US government.
The O'Malley Lab develops new technologies to genetically engineer non-model microbes and anaerobic consortia for sustainable chemical production, remediation, and natural product discovery. Our approach combines classical microbiology with cutting-edge tools (genome sequencing, RNA-Seq) to engineer the processes that underlie protein and enzyme production. Current efforts include discovery of novel enzymes from anaerobic gut fungi, metabolic engineering for enhanced anaerobic cooperation, engineering of synthetic enzyme complexes for consolidated bioprocessing, and deciphering the structure-function relationship of membrane proteins.
S. P. Gilmore, S. Lillington, C. H. Haitjema, R. de Groot, M. A. O’Malley, “Designing chimeric enzymes for synthetic fungal cellulosomes,” Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology, 5: 23-32 (2020). http://dx.doi.org/doi.org/10.1016/j.synbio.2020.01.003
J. I. Yoo, P. S. Daugherty, M. A. O’Malley, “Bridging non-overlapping reads illuminates high-order epistasis between distal protein sites in a GPCR,” Nature Communications, 11, 690 (2020). http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14495-7
S. E. Wilken, S. Seppälä, T. S. Lankiewicz, M. Saxena, J. K. Henske, A. A. Salamov, I. V. Grigoriev, M. A. O’Malley, “Genomic and proteomic biases inform metabolic engineering strategies for anaerobic fungi,” Metabolic Engineering Communications, 10, e00107 (2020). (Invited submission) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mec.2019.e00107
S. P. Gilmoreǂ, T. Lankiewiczǂ, S. E. Wilken, J. L. Brown, J. A. Sexton, J. K. Henske, M. K. Theodorou, D. L. Valentine, M. A. O’Malley, “Top-down enrichment guides in formation of synthetic microbial consortia for biomass degradation,” ACS Synthetic Biology, 8: 2174-2185 (2019). ǂ equal author contributions http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssynbio.9b00271
J. I. Yoo, M. A. O’Malley, “Tuning vector stability and integration frequency elevates functional GPCR production and homogeneity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.” ACS Synthetic Biology, 7(7): 1763-1772 (2018). http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssynbio.8b00036
J. K. Henske, S. E. Wilken, K. V. Solomon, C. E. Smallwood, V. Shutthanandan, J. E. Evans, M. K. Theodorou, M. A. O’Malley, “Metabolic characterization of anaerobic fungi provides a path forward for bioprocessing of crude lignocellulose,” Biotechnology & Bioengineering, 115(4): 874-884 (2018). http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bit.26515
C. H. Haitjemaǂ, S. P. Gilmoreǂ, J. K. Henske, K. V. Solomon, R. deGroot, A. Kuo, S. Mondo, A. Kuo, S. J. Mondo, A. A. Salamov, K. LaButti, Z. Zhao, J. Chiniquy, K. Barry, H. M. Brewer, S. O. Purvine, A. T. Wright, M. Hainaut, B. Boxma, T. van Alen, J. H. P. Hackstein, B. Henrissat, S. E. Baker, I. V. Grigoriev, M. A. O’Malley, “A parts list for fungal cellulosomes revealed by comparative genomics,” Nature Microbiology, 2(8): 17087 (2017). ǂ equal author contributions http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmicrobiol.2017.87
J. Niu, D. J. Lunn, A. Pusuluri, J. I. Yoo, M. A. O'Malley, S. Mitragotri, H. T. Soh, C. J. Hawker, "Engineering live cell surfaces with functional polymers via cytocompatible controlled radical polymerization," Nature Chemistry, 9: 537-545 (2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2713
K. V. Solomon, E. Ovadia, F. Yu, W. Mizunashi, M. A. O’Malley, “Mitochondrial targeting increases specific activity of a heterologous valine assimilation pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae,” Metabolic Engineering Communications, 3: 68-75 (2016). (Most Accessed Article) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meteno.2016.03.004
K. V. Solomon, C. H. Haitjema, J. K. Henske, S. P. Gilmore, D. Borges-Rivera, A. Lipzen, H. M. Brewer, S. O. Purvine, A. T. Wright, M. K. Theodorou, I. Grigoriev, A. Regev, D. A. Thompson, M. A. O’Malley, “Early-branching gut fungi possess a large, comprehensive array of biomass-degrading enzymes,” Science, 351: 1192-1195 (2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aad1431