2023 Alumni Achievement Award
Michael Schatz’s quest to understand the structure and function of genomes, particularly of medical and agriculture significance, utilizes the latest methodologies and applications of computer science, biology and biotechnology. As the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Biology at Johns Hopkins University, Michael and his research lab have developed several pioneering algorithms and computational systems for comparative genomics, human genetics and personalized medicine.
Michael demonstrated an interest and aptitude for computer science as a young boy in upstate New York. He enrolled in the computer science program at Carnegie Mellon University, earning a bachelor of science in 2000, where he focused his interests on data structures, algorithmics and artificial intelligence. After a brief stint in computer security, Michael transitioned to developing new software tools to study the genomes of plant, animal and microbial species. In 2005, he entered the computer science Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland, College Park, researching software and computing systems for large-scale DNA analysis. He started at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2010.
After joining the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2016, Michael began collaborating with colleagues and students across the Schools of Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Medicine and Public Health. Today, he serves as co-leader of the Epigenome Sciences cluster that aims to understand the foundation of genome and epigenome biology through cutting-edge computational and experimental tools. Acting as program director for the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Analysis, Visualization and Informatics Lab-space (AnVIL), his goal is to advance the understanding of human genetics through advanced machine learning and data science tools. AnVIL currently stores the genomic data from nearly 1 million donors and empowers major analyses into the genetic basis of several major diseases as well as a deeper understanding of human genetic diversity.
For his work, he has received numerous accolades including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and an NSF CAREER award. Michael, along with colleagues Adam Phillippy, Karen Miga and Evan Eichler, was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2022 by Time magazine for his work identifying the first telomere-to-telomere (T2T) human genome. Michael is widely recognized as a passionate educator and relationship builder who leads several efforts to grow and diversify the genomics data science community.