Manolito Torralba studied biology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences. He started his scientific career in clinical microbiology and expanded his research interests working as a Research Associate II (RAII) at the J. Craig Venter Institute. His contributions to JCVI include optimizing various approaches in extracting nucleic acids from unique environmental and clinical sample types. Several standardized protocols have resulted from this work and are used in various laboratories worldwide.
With encouragement from his mentor, Dr. Karen Nelson, along with his own interests in genomics research, he decided to pursue a doctoral degree at Catholic University while continuing to work as an RAII. Through the years of his doctoral program, he moved into a leadership role at JCVI and is currently the Laboratory Research and Development Manager for the Department of Genomic Medicine. Currently, Mr. Manolito is on track to successfully defend his research on identifying novel virulence factors of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In addition to his work on MRSA, his broad range of research interests include genomics approaches to studying microbial ecology in unique and previously unexplored environments as well as in host-pathogen interactions as associated with autoimmune diseases.
Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens
- Identifying novel virulence factors in antibiotic resistant pathogens using genomics approaches
- Long term goals include predicting mobility of gene elements that can spread resistance
Host Pathogen Interactions
- Characterizing microbial shifts in the human microbiome as it is associated with health and disease
- Using genomics approaches to identify variations in gene expression as associated with health or disease
Microbial Ecology in Unique Environments
- Characterizing the microbial populations in unique and previously unexplored environments
- Identifying metabolic processes that allow microbial communities to survive in poor conditions
Leonardo da Vinci DNA Project
This project utilizes genomics approaches to confirm the identity of the remains purported to be that of Leonardo da Vinci as well as to characterize the microbial population on aging artwork.