Michael Baker has been a professor of public health at the University of Otago in Wellington since 2013 and is director of the Health Environment Infection Research Unit. He is co-director of the university's He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme and the Public Health Summer School. He has a range of public health research interests, with a particular focus on infectious diseases, environmental health and housing and has published widely in these areas.
As a member of the Ministry of Health's Covid-19 technical advisory group, he strongly advocated for eliminating the virus and keeping it out of the country. His commentary helped inform the government's decision for a national lockdown.
Michael has been made a member of the Order of Merit in the 2021 New Year Honours for his services to public health science. He also received the HRC Liley Medal in 2013 and the Prime Minister's Science Prize in 2014.