In August, Roland Hilgarth, Ph.D., joined the Vector Core as a Research Lab Specialist Lead. While growing up in St. Louis, MO, he often found himself in his parent’s garden, studying bugs and determining which could help, and which could harm, the plants’ growth. This fascination carried with him and, after receiving his bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University, he went on to receive a master’s degree in Entomology from Kansas State University.
“I was not a classical entomologist,” Hilgarth explained. “I was always more interested in the interactions and physiological aspects behind the insects. I always questioned ‘How?’” In an effort to learn more about the underlying interactions of entomology, Hilgarth attended the University of Kentucky, where he studied the genome of polydnaviruses. There, he obtained his Ph.D. in entomology with an emphasis in molecular virology.
Prior to coming to work for the Vector Core, Hilgarth was a research investigator in the Department of Experimental Pathology in the labs of Dr. Asma Nusrat and Dr. Charles Parkos. During this time, he introduced new techniques to the laboratory and contributed to studies on wound healing in the intestine.
“Roland has a lot of experience doing molecular biology and subcloning at start-ups and academics, giving him wide expertise in the field,” Vector Core Director, Tom Lanigan, Ph.D., explained. “We’re thrilled to have his expertise in the Core.”
One of Hilgarth’s main roles at the Vector Core will be to help with the launch of new Subcloning services. Subcloning involves moving a particular sequence from a parent vector, to a destination vector. “With these new services, you can come with a gene and subclone it into a different vector or site-directed mutagenesis,” Hilgarth explains. “I am very interested in this because it will provide researchers with tools to do research more efficiently and allow them to focus on their experiments.”
We are so pleased to have him join the BRCF and become part of our team of experts, allowing us to expand our range of services for the U-M research community. Welcome, Roland!