Michelle O'Malley

Michelle O'Malley

Associate Professor
​Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering


(805) 893-4769
3343 Engineering II

University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Assistant Contact Info: 

Melissa Walker
(805) 893-8692
walker@engineering.ucsb.edu(link sends e-mail)
Engineering II, Room 3350

Fellow of: 

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)


Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE); Early CAREER Development Award, National Science Foundation (NSF); 2015 MIT Technology Review, 35 Innovators Under 35; Hellman faculty Fellowship; US Department of Energy Early Career Award; American Chemical Society Young Investigator Award in Polymeric Materials; American Chemical Society Young Investigator Award in Biochemical Technology; Genewiz Award Recognizing Excellence in Genomics Research 


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