Michael did his undergraduate study at the University of Chicago and got his PhD in chemistry from Rutgers University in 2014. At Rutgers, he worked on breaking carbon-hydrogen and carbon-oxygen bonds using transition metal catalysts under Prof. Alan S. Goldman. This included the discovery of a greener method for the synthesis of alcohols from an unreactive type of molecule found in biomass. At Caltech, Michael worked on improving the catalytic dehydrogenation process. Catalytic dehydrogenation is a green chemical reaction that can transform an otherwise useless chemical using only non-toxic and abundant materials such as natural gas. His research explores ways to use this method to make chemicals that are relevant to human health.