Andrew Onderdonk, PhD

Dr. Onderdonk is a Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Clinical Microbiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His current responsibilities include teaching residents, medical students and fellows in the areas of microbiology and infectious diseases, pursuing my independent research interests and directing the operations of the clinical microbiology laboratory.  Dr. Onderdonk’s research encompasses several areas related to human microbial flora and its role in health and disease. These interests include the pathogenesis of obligately anaerobic microorganisms, the in vivo and in vitro modeling of both normal microflora and pathogenic microorganisms, and the evaluation and development of new therapeutic agents, including antibiotics and immunomodulators. Dr. Onderdonk was responsible in large part for establishing the etiology of antibiotic associated colitis and for identifying specific organisms associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease. He recently stepped down as Chairman of the Biosafety Committee at Harvard Medical School but continues to actively participate in the committee determining the safety of research with any biologic agent or microorganism.

For the last 10 years, Dr. Onderdonk has been a Principal Investigator for the BSL-3 Biodefense Laboratory at Harvard Medical School and has recently been involved in the NIH metagenomics project, working in collaboration with the Broad Institute’s high throughput sequencing laboratory. He has published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals and authored many book chapters, reviews and other media publications.  From 1999 to 2009, Dr. Onderdonk served as the Editor in Chief for the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, the most widely read and respected clinical microbiology journal in the world. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has also been an active consultant to industry over the last thirty years, consulting for over twenty different companies ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to biotechnology startup companies.  He is the President of the Society of Microbial Ecology and Disease and has served as the International Society of Anaerobic Bacteria. Dr. Onderdonk has pioneered work on establishing culture techniques and quantitative models of the vaginal microbiota in healthy women and in women with preterm delivery for decades.