The Doctoral Program in Microbiology provides advanced training and education for students with the desire and ability to thrive in a stimulating, research-oriented graduate program leading to careers in science in the academic, governmental, or private sectors.
Frank Santoriello, PhD Student, Pukatzki Lab
Frank’s work focuses on the type 6 secretion system of Vibrio cholerae – a bacterial harpoon gun that fires toxic proteins into neighboring cells, killing them and allowing the attacking cell to expand within a niche. Frank investigates how pandemic V. cholerae acquired its unique set of T6SS toxins. His goal is to answer evolutionary questions related to the origin of T6SS toxins, how these toxins support V. cholera in the environment, and what are the costs/benefits of exchanging their weaponry if that puts them in direct conflict with their sister cells.
Frank has presented at national and international meetings including ASM Vibrio, ASM Microbe, US-Japan Conference on Cholera and Other Enteric Bacterial Infections, and T6Sympozoom. He has received speaking and travel awards from the Rocky Mountain ASM and ASM Vibrio. Frank received a mentoring award from Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado and his art work was recently featured at the 2020 Harvard MSI Symposium.
Outside of the lab, Frank enjoys spending time with his pup, playing board games, going to hardcore/metal/emo shows, pen and ink illustration, and making fermented foods. His single best piece of advice for an incoming graduate student is to know and use your mental health resources before you need them. Big things are going to happen during your PhD, so you need to make sure you are ready to take care of yourself when they do.