Michael is a professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate and the director of the Biotechnology Institute. His research focuses on symbiotic interaction between certain plants and soil bacteria that enables them to capture nitrogen, the use of microorganisms for biodegradation and bioremediation, molecular methods to detect and assess environmental bacteria, and microbial metagenomics.
Michael heads up the Minnesota Mississippi Metagenome Project (M3P), an effort to identify and characterize microbes at the headwaters of the Mississippi and to evaluate the human impact on the microbial community downstream. As an HHMI postdoc, Brian Gibbens joined Sadowsky in his lab to work on M3P. He used this research to create the Metagenomics Modules, which were introduced into the lab of BIOL 1009 General Biology. These modules allowed students to use many of the same basic procedures used by M3P researchers.
Michael also conducts research on the metagenome of the human gut. He is currently working on a proposal to also incorporate this research into the HHMI science education program.