Michael J.  Barratt, PhD

Michael J. Barratt, PhD

Associate Professor, Pathology and Immunology
Executive Director, Center for Gut Microbiome and Nutrition Research


  • Laboratory & Genomic Medicine

Additional Titles

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

Related Links


  • 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)


  • International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) – Recognition for relentless efforts to alleviate malnutrition through gut microbiome research (2022)
  • The Clinical Research Forum: Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Award – Integrating Global Health with the Microbiome (2021)
  • 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.

Selected Publications

Barratt MJ, Ahmed T and Gordon JI (2022). Gut microbiome development and undernutrition. Cell Host & Microbe. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2022.04.002.
Barratt MJ, Nuzhat S, Ahsan K, Frese S, Arzamasov A, Sarker SA, Islam MM, Palit P, Islam MR, Hibberd MC, Nakshatri S, Cowardin CA, Guruge JL, Byrne AE, Venkatesh S, Sundaresan V, Henrick B, Duar RM, Mitchell RD, Casaburi G, Flannery R, Mahfuz M, Rodionov DA, Osterman AL, Kyle D, Ahmed T, and Gordon JI (2022). Characterizing Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis strains in undernourished Bangladeshi infants and gnotobiotic mice. Science Translational Medicine 14, abk1107.
Chen RY, Mostafa I, Hibberd MC, Das S, Mahfuz M, Naila NN, Islam MM, Huq S, Alam MA, Zaman MU, Raman AS, Webber D, Zhou C, Sundaresan V, Ahsan K, Meier MF, Barratt MJ, Ahmed T, and Gordon JI (2021). A Microbiota-Directed Food Intervention for Undernourished Children New Engl. J. Med. 384, 1517-1528
Delannoy-Bruno O, Desai C, Raman AS, Chen RY, Hibberd MC, Cheng J, Han N, Castillo JJ, Couture G, Lebrilla CB, Barve RA, Lombard V, Henrissat B, Leyn SA, Rodionov DA, Osterman AL, Hayashi DK, Meynier A, Vinoy S, Kirbach K, Wilmot T, Heath AC, Klein S, Barratt MJ, and Gordon JI (2021). Characterizing microbiome-directed fibre snacks in gnotobiotic mice and humans. Nature s41586-021-03671-4 (2021).
Chen RY, Kung VL, Das S, Hossain MS, Hibberd MC, Guruge J, Mahfuz M, Begum SMKN, Rahman MM, Fahim SM, Gazi MA, Haque R, Sarker SA, Mazumder RN, Di Luccia B, Ahsan K, Kennedy E, Santiago-Borges J, Rodionov DA, Leyn SA, Osterman AL, Barratt MJ, Ahmed T, Gordon JI. Linking the duodenal microbiota to stunting in a cohort of undernourished Bangladeshi children with enteropathy New Engl. J. Med. 283: 321-333 (2020). PMCID: PMC7289524

Stephanie Amen