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Ludwig Princeton’s first faculty hire

Michael Skinnider, Ludwig Princeton
Michael Skinnider

Computational biologist Michael Skinnider joined Ludwig Princeton in September—the first faculty hire of the Branch. Mike joins the Branch as an assistant member. He has also been named assistant professor at Princeton University and holds a joint appointment with the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. Mike, who completed his MD-PhD at the University of British Columbia just this year, will use machine learning and other computational methods to explore the biology and chemistry of the countless small molecules found in the body that are generated by metabolic processes or introduced from the environment. He is particularly interested in developing methods to identify every one of these molecules—known as the “dark matter of the metabolome”—and studying how they’re linked to the genetic background and the microbiome in ways that influence cancer risk, initiation and progression. These interests are an excellent fit for the Ludwig Princeton Branch, which focuses on cancer metabolism and its manipulation for cancer therapy. Mike received the International Birnstiel Award in 2022, the same year he was named to the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list for his development of algorithms that uncovered a novel antibiotic and, separately, others now used by police to identify “designer drugs”. Both awards, of course, recognize young researchers of exceptional promise.

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