Michael Fischbach

2011 Fellow

Current Institution: Stanford University

Engineering - Chemical or Biological

Visit Lab Website

About Michael Fischbach's Work

Small molecules from microbes are used widely in the clinic as antibiotics, anticancer agents, immunosuppressants, and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Our lab focuses on three emerging principles that are changing our understanding of which microbes make natural products, what roles they play in the biology of their producers, and how best to discover them: 1. Small molecules from the human microbiota – we have recently found that bacteria from a surprisingly underexplored niche — the human body — are prolific producers of drug-like small molecules 2. Computational tools for small molecule discovery – we have developed a computational algorithm that identifies small-molecule-producing genes in bacterial genomes, our tools have begun to provide the first global view of the small molecules produced by bacteria. 3. Using synthetic ecology to control microbiome metabolism – we are engineering gut and skin bacterial species to produce new molecules, and constructing synthetic communities whose molecular output is completely specified.

Awards and Achievements

NIH Director's New Innovator Award

Medical Research Award from the W.M. Keck Foundation

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award

NIH Director's Pioneer Award

HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholars Award

In the News

Mining for Antibiotics, Right Under Our Noses
The New York Times

Humanity’s bacterial companions are a good place to look for new drugs
The Economist