ABOUT ROB SWANDA, PhD
Rob is an mRNA biochemist and science communicator who obtained his PhD from Cornell University in 2021. Culminating from 10 years of tertiary studies, Rob’s dissertation work focused on better understanding cellular signaling and how mRNA can be leveraged as a therapeutic in cancer and heart disease by altering amino acid regulation. Prior to the start of his PhD, Rob conducted undergraduate research on the metabolic changes of insulin regulation that occur with artificial light at night, and on predicting/manipulating enzymatic reaction conditions as a model for future global temperature changes. Rob completed his Bachelors of Science with Honors from Syracuse University where he was a 2016 University Scholar - the highest form of undergraduate academic recognition bestowed by the institution.
During his PhD, Rob secured fellowships and grant funding from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the completion of his projects. As an NIH fellow, Rob organized and hosted a Chemical Biology Interface Symposium to bring academic & industry leaders together, while also engaging students, post-docs, and research scientists.
With his research focusing on cellular metabolic reprogramming, Rob's interests include individualized targeted drug development, dissemination of research findings via public presentations, and collaborative projects that span disciplines. Rob has used his research skills in Cornell's student multidisciplinary applied research teams (SMART) program, where he has led projects in Colombia, Kenya, and Rwanda.
Rob is passionate about making science accessible to everyone through educational communication and public speaking. From his scholarly work and commitment to teaching beyond the laboratory, Rob was inducted into the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society in 2021.
Rob’s science communication efforts have been published in Business Insider, Mother Jones Magazine, Coda Story, and featured on TV across the USA discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and mRNA vaccines.
Rob's work has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Arabic and French and videos across his social media platforms have been watched more than 30 million times by people in 100+ countries. By providing opportunities for mutual learning and understanding, Rob was awarded the 2021 Cornell University Graduate Student Community Outreach Award.