Behind the Science: Rudy Nazitto

Meet the people behind the scenes at CID Research and learn about the many ways our team members contribute to scientific research.

Rudy NazittoName and Title:

Rudy Nazitto, Graduate Student, Aderem Lab

What's your impact at CID Research? What do you work on?

As a PhD student the idea is that you're here to develop yourself as a scientist and as a person, but also contribute to your lab and the greater scientific community, and that would hopefully translate to a greater clinical therapy.

My area of research is innate immunity utilizing the HIV virus as an infectious model. I look at what goes wrong during the very beginning stages of infection with HIV and try to tease out how host proteins in innate immune cells support or impede the immune response, and ultimately shape future therapies by exploiting certain mechanisms for a vaccine or drug. Right now I've finished classes and I'm focusing on my thesis work, and going to conferences to present my work in front of larger audiences.

I also enjoy helping out with BioQuest and doing tours for middle school and high school students or talking about science at their events.

How did you get into this field?

I've always been interested in microbiology and immunology, so when I was at UW I looked at many options for labs. I found what I wanted in the Aderem Lab with the environment, mentorship and the projects I could work on. After majoring in microbiology at Cornell, doing some immunology internships in industry, and working in a government vaccine lab with the U.S.D.A/D.H.S, I knew I wanted to work on something at the interface between the bug and human immune system, so infectious disease immunology was what I was looking for. The immune system is like this big puzzle, it's all interconnected, if you manipulate one thing, five other things change. When you add in a pathogen it adds another layer of complexity.

In high school I was interested in two things: aviation and science. I'm still obsessed about aviation, but I thought about what I could do for my future and decided on science.

What would you wait in line for?

I'm a geek so I'd wait for the latest computer thing. For the last iPhone I was ready for the e-line with both my cell phone and laptop to order it.

What's on your bucket list?

Passing my general exam was on my bucket list, but now that's over with! I’ve never had (but always wanted) a dog so hopefully that will happen soon.