Michael Laub, Ph.D.

MIT H. Hughes Med Institute Cambridge, MA

Candidate for Board of Directors
Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Cambridge, MA

  • 1997, B.S. Molecular Biology, University of California at San Diego
  • 2002, Ph.D. Developmental Biology, Stanford University
Professional Experience:
  • 2002-2006 Bauer Fellow, FAS Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University
  • 2006-2011 Assistant Professor, Biology Department, MIT
  • 2009-2015 Early Career Scientist, HHMI
  • 2011-2012 Associate Professor, Biology Department, MIT
  • 2012-present Professor, Biology Department, MIT
  • 2015-present Investigator, HHMI
Relevant Service:
  • 2007-present Graduate Committee Member, Microbiology Graduate Program
  • 2008-present Graduate Committee Member, Department of Biology
  • 2012-2015 Director, Microbiology Graduate Program
  • 2014-present Associate Head, Department of Biology
  • 2014-present NIH Study Section Member, Prokaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology
  • 2019-present Diversity Council Member, School of Science, MIT
  • 2018-present Gender Equity Committee Co-Chair, School of Science, MIT
ASM Activities:
  • 2001-present ASM Member
  • 2010 ASM General Meeting Program Committee Member
  • 2010 ASM Colloquium Advisory Committee Member
  • 2011 ASM General Meeting Plenary Session and Symposium Organizer
  • 2015 Co-organizer, ASM Conference on Prokaryotic Cell Biology & Development
  • 2016-present Editorial Board Member, mBio
  • 2019 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
  1. McClune, C.J, Alvarez-Buylla, A., Voigt, C.A., Laub, M.T. (2019) "Engineering orthogonal signalling pathways reveals the sparse occupancy of sequence space" Nature, in press.
  2. Wang, B., Dai, P., Ding, D., Del Rosario, A., Grant, R.A., Pentelute, B.L., Laub, M.T. (2019) "Affinity-based capture and identification of protein effectors of the growth regulator ppGpp" Nature Chemical Biology, 15:141-50.
  3. Guo, M.S., Haakonsen, D.L., Zeng, W., Schumacher, M.A., Laub, M.T. (2018) "A bacterial chromosome structuring protein binds overtwisted DNA to stimulate type II topoisomerases and enable DNA replication" Cell, 175:583-97.
  4. Culviner, P.H., Laub, M.T. (2018) "Global analysis of the E.coli toxin MazF reveals widespread cleavage of mRNA and the inhibition of rRNA maturation and ribosome biogenesis" Molecular Cell, 70:868-880.
  5. Aakre, C.D., Herrou, J., Phung, T.N., Perchuk, B.S., Crosson, S., Laub, M.T. (2015) "Evolving new protein-protein interaction specificity through promiscuous intermediates” Cell, 163:594-606.
  6. Podgornaia, A.I., Laub, M.T. (2015) "Protein evolution. Pervasive degeneracy and epistasis in a protein-protein interface” Science, 347: 673-7.
Full List at: orcid.org/0000-0002-8288-7607

Research Interests:
Using bacteria as model organisms, my lab aims to elucidate the detailed molecular mechanisms responsible for the remarkable information-processing capability of all cells, and to understand the selective pressures and mechanisms that drive the evolution of regulatory systems. Specific projects fall into four areas: (1) We examine how bacterial cells evolve new two-component signaling pathways through duplication/divergence and lateral transfer. These studies include experimental investigations of protein evolution both in vitro and in vivo, ancestral protein reconstruction, directed evolution studies, and the design of synthetic signaling circuits. (2) We investigate toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria, including their induction, mechanisms of action, specificity, and evolution. (3) We use chemical biology, structure, genetics, and biochemistry to understand how the nucleotides (p)ppGpp control bacterial growth. (4) We probe the origins and consequences of chromosome structure and organization in bacteria, using microscopy, Hi-C, genetics, and computational analyses.

I am running for a position on the ASM Board of Directors because I believe that professional societies like the ASM will play a critical role in both shaping and responding to the dramatic changes that are currently impacting the entire scientific enterprise. There are huge transformations happening in how we as a scientific community publish our work, communicate our findings to the public, and translate research into new clinical approaches and governmental policies. The ASM has helped lead, and should continue to lead, in all of these areas through its efforts in advocacy, policy development, outreach, funding, and conference organization. I have watched and benefited from the diverse activities sponsored by the ASM over the years and I would now welcome the opportunity to contribute to this organization.
I am also particularly keen to see the ASM embrace and further support changes in how students and postdocs are trained, and how they are supported during their training. I think the ASM can have tremendous impact at every level, helping to increase participation in microbiology (and other STEM areas) and supporting the careers and professional development of those of us already in the field, both in the US and internationally.
There have been huge advances in microbiology in recent years, with a growing and profoundly deeper appreciation for the role of microbes in shaping human health (and disease), the environment, and our climate. Basic research into microbes also continues to provide fascinating new insights into the fundamental mechanisms and principles that underpin all of life. The ASM has a long track-record of supporting and advancing all of this amazing science. I hope to help the ASM sustain and expand its mission, and I would be honored to represent all of its members by serving on the Board of Directors.

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