Michael A. Fisher

Michael A. Fisher

Senior Fellow
Science and Technology Policy Science Communication Synthetic Biology

Dr. Michael A. Fisher is a Senior Fellow with the Federation of American Scientists, working on a range of issues across the science and technology policy landscape. He leads the Congressional Science Policy Initiative, coordinates the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force and is a member of its steering committee, and works on the Ask a Scientist and Coronavirus Project teams.

Prior to joining FAS, Mike served as Field Director with the Welle for Congress campaign (2018, New Jersey Congressional District 4). With scientific training at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, UC Berkeley, and Princeton, Mike has developed technical expertise in infectious disease research, biofuels, synthetic biology, protein engineering, and molecular biology.

Mike’s graduate work with Professor Hecht at Princeton University is credited by the University of Texas at Austin’s Fraser Professor of Biochemistry Andy Ellington as establishing the field of synthetic systems biology.

In 2012 Mike was a Fellow in the inaugural Synthetic Biology Leadership Accelerator Program cohort and was an IGCC Public Policy and Biological Threats Training Program Fellow in 2008.

Mike also has experience in:

  • Informal education as a STEM Educator with the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ.
  • Public-private partnership creation as a co-founder of the UC Berkeley Postdoc Industry Exploration Program in 2010.
  • Community organizing.

Mike earned his B.S. in Biology from The College of New Jersey and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.

Other Coverage

Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease, a debilitating and sometimes life-threatening condition for an estimated 20-30% of those infected. The T. cruzi parasite is migrating into the southern United States due in part to climate change.
Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African Sleeping Sickness, survives by regulating gene expression predominantly at the RNA, rather than DNA, level. The T. brucei parasite threatens millions of people in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
We used protein engineering to increase the tolerance of a laboratory strain of E. coli to candidate biofuels.
There is a disconnect between what graduate students and postdocs are trained for, and the careers they enter into. There should be opportunities for graduate students and postdocs to develop nonacademic skillsets.
We found that designed, synthetic proteins can provide life-sustaining functions for a laboratory strain of E. coli.
Using fundamental principles that have been discovered about protein structure and stability to inform protein design can lead to productive design efforts.