Rob Citorik completed the Flagship Pioneering Fellows program and subsequently joined Flagship as an associate in 2018. In this position, he works with other entrepreneurial scientists to explore new areas of biology for creating novel biotechnology. This process involves participating in many aspects of new company generation and growth, from designing experimental plans and research directions, to assembling intellectual property and business strategies.
Prior to joining Flagship, Rob began his career as a microbiologist in the infectious disease department at Massachusetts General Hospital before completing his Ph.D. in microbiology at MIT. Working in the synthetic biology group under Professor Timothy Lu, he co-invented CRISPR-based antimicrobials as designer smart drugs for targeting drug-resistant bacteria. This foundational technology is currently being pursued by multiple companies for clinical translation. Rob also devoted significant effort toward engineering bacteriophages, the viruses that infect bacteria, as tools for tuning and engineering the microbiome.
As a result of his work at MIT, Rob is an inventor on multiple patents for various technological advancements in synthetic viruses, antimicrobials, and microbiome manipulation. He was awarded a Biotechnology Training Program Fellowship and completed an internship at a synthetic biology company developing rapid diagnostic testing for bacterial contamination. Beyond his own path, he has also helped enable multiple startups by providing key expertise through microbiology consulting.
Rob received his B.S. in microbiology from the University of New Hampshire in Durham. During his undergraduate work, he explored the influence of nutritional factors that enhance the virulence of E. coli O157:H7, a potentially life-threatening foodborne pathogen.