Michael J. Barratt, PhD

Assistant Professor, Pathology and Immunology

Additional Titles

  • Executive Director, Center for Gut Microbiome and Nutrition Research, Washington University in St. Louis


  • BA (Hons): Exeter College, Oxford University, UK (1990)
  • MA, Biochemistry: Exeter College, Oxford University, UK (1992)
  • PhD, Cell Biology/Molecular Sciences: Kings College London, UK (1994)


  • Tadion-Rideal Prize for Molecular Science, Kings College London UK
  • BDH Prize for Biochemistry, Oxford University
  • Quarrel Read Prize, Oxford University

Research Interests

Michael Barratt is Executive Director of the Center for Gut Microbiome and Nutrition Research and a member the laboratory of Jeffrey Gordon where he serves as co-director of the Breast Milk Gut Microbiome and Immunity (BMMI) and the Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED) Projects, which are supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This translational research program is focused on understanding the role of the gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of childhood undernutrition and the associated condition, EED. Working closely with collaborators at multiple clinical sites in South Asia, Africa and South America, a key goal of this work is to leverage mechanistic insight and structured activity relationships between dietary components and key gut bacterial strains obtained using gnotobiotic animal models in order to design and clinically validate microbiota-directed interventions [prebiotics, probiotics or the combination (synbiotics) to treat malnutrition and its associated consequences on host physiology, growth and metabolism.

Michael brings to this role a background in pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare R&D, having spent 17 years in a variety of scientific leadership roles at Unilever and Pfizer in preclinical and early clinical research and development spanning multiple therapeutic areas including dermatology, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience, antibacterials and inflammation/immunology. He has led a variety of discovery teams, contributed to bringing more than 15 drug candidates into clinical development, and led multiple external alliances and collaborations with biotech companies and academic groups.

Among other positions, he was Head of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at Pfizer in Ann Arbor where he served on the Discovery Site and Biology Leadership teams. Prior to joining Washington University, he was a founder member and External Alliance Lead for Pfizer’s Global Indications Discovery Unit, a multi-disciplinary team focused on identifying and testing new uses for NCEs and NBEs from Pfizer’s extensive clinical compound collection. Michael is also co-editor of the first book to be written on drug repurposing: ‘Drug Repositioning: Bringing New Life to Shelved Assets and Existing drugs (Wiley). He received his PhD in Cell Biology from King’s College, London and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biochemistry from Oxford University.


The Gut Microbiota, Food Science, and Human Nutrition: A Timely Marriage. Barratt MJ, Lebrilla C, Shapiro HY, Gordon JI. Cell Host Microbe. 2017 Aug 9;22(2):134-141. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.07.006. PMID: 28799899
Food and microbiota in the FDA regulatory framework. Green JM, Barratt MJ, Kinch M, Gordon JI. Science. 2017 Jul 7;357(6346):39-40. doi: 10.1126/science.aan0836
The effects of micronutrient deficiencies on bacterial species from the human gut microbiota. Hibberd MC, Wu M, Rodionov DA, Li X, Cheng J, Griffin NW, Barratt MJ, Giannone RJ, Hettich RL, Osterman AL, Gordon JI. Sci Transl Med. 2017 May 17;9(390). pii: eaal4069. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal4069. PMID: 28515336
Childhood undernutrition, the gut microbiota, and microbiota-directed therapeutics. Blanton LV, Barratt MJ, Charbonneau MR, Ahmed T, Gordon JI. Science. 2016 Jun 24;352(6293):1533. doi: 10.1126/science.aad9359. PMID: 27339978
Gut bacteria that prevent growth impairments transmitted by microbiota from malnourished children. Blanton LV, Charbonneau MR, Salih T, Barratt MJ, Venkatesh S, Ilkaveya O, Subramanian S, Manary MJ, Trehan I, Jorgensen JM, Fan YM, Henrissat B, Leyn SA, Rodionov DA, Osterman AL, Maleta KM, Newgard CB, Ashorn P, Dewey KG, Gordon JI. Science. 2016 Feb 19;351(6275). pii: aad3311. doi: 10.1126/science.aad3311. PMID: 26912898
Persistent gut microbiota immaturity in malnourished Bangladeshi children. Subramanian S, Huq S, Yatsunenko T, Haque R, Mahfuz M, Alam MA, Benezra A, DeStefano J, Meier MF, Muegge BD, Barratt MJ, VanArendonk LG, Zhang Q, Province MA, Petri WA Jr, Ahmed T, Gordon JI. Nature. 2014 Jun 19;510(7505):417-21. doi: 10.1038/nature13421. Epub 2014 Jun 4. PMID: 24896187

Stephanie Amen

Lab phone: 314-747-6010
Office Location: 4515 McKinley Ave, Room 4213