OpenBiome Names Julie Barrett O’Brien as Executive Director

Press Release


CAMBRIDGE, MA—OpenBiome’s Board of Directors has named Julie Barrett O’Brien as the new Executive Director.

O’Brien will lead the organization’s expanded mission to catalyze research and increase global access to the vast potential of the human microbiome and fecal transplants. This focus builds upon OpenBiome’s pioneering work in providing safe access to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) to patients with C. difficile—a gap OpenBiome will continue to bridge until a microbiome-based therapeutic gains FDA approval.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Julie’s caliber and expertise lead OpenBiome through this transformative moment,” said Lisa Serwin, Chair of the Board of Directors, commenting on O’Brien’s proven experience leading private, public, and non-profit health initiatives across five continents. “I cannot wait to see the impact that Julie and OpenBiome have, both on the patients we are serving today and those who are waiting for new microbiome-based approaches for global health issues.”

O’Brien will succeed Carolyn Edelstein, who cofounded OpenBiome and has served as Executive Director since 2017. Edelstein oversaw the organization’s growth into the largest public stool bank in the world, providing fecal microbiota transplantation preparations to more than 1,300 hospitals and 60,000 patients with recurrent C. difficile as well as 30 clinical trials investigating the therapeutic potential of FMT for a wide range of other indications.

O’Brien has previously served on the Executive Leadership Team of two global health organizations, Management Sciences for Health and Grassroot Soccer, which specialize in health systems and adolescent health, respectively. A skilled entrepreneur, she led the $400 million growth of Dunkin Brand’s $1.2 billion coffee business and, most recently, served as the founding Executive Director of LookUp.Live, a nonprofit incubator dedicated to youth mental health and ethical technology.

“We could not have selected a more fitting Executive Director, said Eric Alm, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at MIT and a member of OpenBiome’s Board of Directors. “Her global perspective and passion for impact will ensure communities from around the world have the opportunity to equitably participate in and benefit from the advancements in FMT and microbiome-based science.”

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About OpenBiome
OpenBiome is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded to catalyze research on the microbiome’s role in human health and expand safe access to fecal transplantation for patients with recurrent C. difficile infections. As the first public stool bank, OpenBiome provides clinicians with rigorously screened, ready-to-use preparations and supports researchers with a suite of tools to discover how gut bacteria might treat diseases beyond C. difficile. Since 2013, OpenBiome has partnered with over 1,300 healthcare institutions across all 50 states to deliver more than 60,000 treatments for recurrent C. difficile. For more information, visit

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