A man in a suit smiles against a brick wall.

C. Brandon Ogbunu named MLK Visiting Professor

Categories: Faculty

Ogbunu will join the Department of Chemistry this Fall.

C. Brandon Ogbunu, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, will join the MIT Department of Chemistry as a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor this fall.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor Program was established to enhance and recognize the contributions of outstanding scholars, and honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by increasing the presence of minority scholars at MIT. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professors and Scholars enhance their scholarship through intellectual interactions with MIT peers and enrich the intellectual life of the Institute with their participation in MIT research and academic programs.

A computational biologist whose research investigates complex problems in protein evolution, Ogbunu will spend his time at MIT working with Professor Matt Shoulders on applying cutting edge methods from chemical biology, bioengineering, and computer science to explore the evolution of proteins involved in diseases. This work may help to solve fundamental questions about how protein structure and function evolves, which may contribute towards new therapeutic approaches for viruses and other infectious diseases.

Along with his formal position in the Department of Chemistry, Ogbunu will benefit from collaborative connections to Professor Tami Lieberman in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Biological Engineering, and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Ogbunu received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Howard University, and his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Yale University. Following a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, he joined the faculty at the University of Vermont as an Assistant Professor in 2016. In 2018, he joined the faculty at Brown University, where he spent two years before accepting his current position at Yale in 2020.

In addition to his faculty appointments, Ogbunu is a Contributing Editor to WNYC’s Radiolab, and he has written several popular essays for Wired (where he is a regular contributor). He serves on the Board of Reviewing Editors of eLife, is an Associate Editor at Evolution, and is a Director / member of the Board of Directors for the Genetics Society of America (GSA).