Bio

Anne A. Madden, Ph.D., (wikipedia page) is a polymath who works across disciplines. She is a microbiologist, inventor, entrepreneur, and science communicator. As an award-winning scientist she has built successful microbial discovery pipelines across industries and is a world-renowned public speaker.

Dr. Madden is technology co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at the food & beverage technology company Lachancea LLC and adjunct associate professor in the department of applied ecology at North Carolina State University. She consults for companies across scales to help with science communication, innovative product development, and strategic alliances. These groups have included everything from small companies to fortune 500 companies and academic universities such as MIT.

Dr. Madden is committed to educating the public about the microbial world in creative ways. She is founder of the Microbe Hat Project, an education initiative to blend science and fashion to create new science communication tools. She has teamed up with designers to create art and science installations that have been showcased at leading galleries. She was featured on the award-winning science documentary film “The Kingdom, how fungi made our world.” She is a public speaker who has presented on the TED main stage as well as at four TEDx/TED adjacent events, DefCon, and at corporations, museums, and universities across the globe. Her topics range from microbial science and discovery to pipeline development and alternative careers in science and science communication.


Dr. Madden received her Ph.D. in biology from Tufts University, and her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College. After which she completed postdoctoral fellowships with Noah Fierer (University of Colorado) and Rob Dunn (North Carolina State University). She has held many prestigious fellowships including an Alfred P. Sloan Microbiology of the Built Environment Postdoctoral Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Tufts Institute of the Environment Fellowship, and an American Philosophical Society Lewis and Clark Fellowship. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi (the international research society), and the Helena Group Foundation.

MADDEN_TED1_BretHartman
TED (2017) TED/Bret Hartman

Dr. Madden’s research and communications focus on understanding microbial communities–in the diverse habitats of food, insects, plants, animal guts, and built environments–and deciphering the human applications of these microbes. She develops microbial pipelines that have delivered key understandings and global commercial products for biotechnology, agriculture technology and food and beverage technology industries. Her work has led to the discovery of a new fungal species, novel antibiotics, patented brewing technology, commercially produced beer, new DNA based methods for detecting arthropod communities, licensed technology for the manufacturing of improved breads, and a greater understanding of the microbial life around us. She has published more than a dozen peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Her research and projects are frequently highlighted by media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, National Geographic, PBS News Hour, Newsweek, Forbes, and Scientific American.

PBSNewsHour6
PBS NewsHour

When not wrangling microorganisms, or communicating the utility of the microorganisms around us, she can be found motorcycling through the streets of Boston, SCUBA diving in Florida, traveling, or wearing inappropriately tall stilettos in labs. Arguably, she has some of the most famous hair in science. Her hair is currently in the collections of museums on two continents.