Dr. Michael F. Summers received his A.A. degree in Chemistry from St. Petersburg Junior College (1978), B.S. in Chemistry from the University of West Florida (1980), Ph.D. in Bioinorganic Chemistry from Emory University (1984), and was a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH (1984-1987) before joining the faculty at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (1987-present). In 1994 he was appointed as an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and in 2016 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Summers’ research focuses on NMR studies of proteins, RNA, and macromolecular interactions associated with HIV-1 genome packaging and virus assembly. He has led efforts to develop programs for retaining minority students in the sciences. Dr. Summers is a recipient of the Ruth Kirstein Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Carl Branden award of the Protein Society, the Emily M. Gray Mentoring Award of the Biophysical Society, the ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education, the Mentor Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Microbiology Hinton Award for Mentoring, and the White House Presidential Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Research Interests

Dr. Summers' research focuses on the application of NMR and biophysical methods to understand the structural determinants and mechanisms of retroviral genome packaging and virus assembly. His lab has developed tools that enable NMR-based structural studies of relatively large RNAs and protein-RNA complexes, including the intact 5'-leader and RNA packaging signal of the HIV-1 genome. He is currently focusing on the interactions and structure of the ribonucleoprotein complex that nucleates HIV-1 particle assembly.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 29: Biophysics and Computational Biology

Secondary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry