Gustavo Ontiveros completed his MS in CMB in 2019 under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Wilusz, researching Zika Virus noncoding sfRNA sequestration of viral restriction factors involved in RNA splicing and nucleic acid editing.
Can you say a little bit about your current job/research?
I’m currently Research Scientist I at Bristol Myers Squibb generating CRISPR cell lines for in-house R&D projects at our Redwood City, California location. Our group produces knock-ins/outs (among other mutations) for a variety of human and mouse cell lines. In my spare time I am a consultant for a startup based around autologous dendritic cell therapy. I design and optimize dendritic cell manufacturing processes to align with FDA and CRO requirements.
What attracted you to the CMB Program at CSU?
The opportunity to interact with peers and mentors outside of my field of research, which exposed me to vastly different areas of science allowing for growth as a researcher. Admittance into CMB also allowed me to continue to perform research on sub-genomic flavivirus RNA.
How have you used the training you received through CMB?
I use my training everyday! The majority of experiments I perform and documents I write are almost analogous to my training in molecular biology. Although some work is now outsourced and/or automated (casting gels, making solutions, etc.), cell culture, ddPCR and other molecular biology techniques I learned in the lab I still use daily. Even when I’m not on the bench, reading through all those lab protocols prepared me to write and optimize some of my own experiments for other projects.
Do you have any favorite memories from your time at CSU?
I have many. I always had fun interacting and getting to know my cohort through poster sessions and presentations, bonding with my labmates and grabbing coffee before class. Oddly enough, I also miss taking care of my cells at 9 pm on the weekend only to see my friends doing the same thing.
What advice do you have for a new CMB graduate student?
Network and do not settle! Not only does it help narrow what you want to do after graduation, but also opens the door to forming new relationships which could result in amazing opportunities.
What do you miss most about CSU and Fort Collins?
I miss my group of friends (majority of which were scientists) and the ability to longboard all over campus. Most streets in the Bay area are a little too steep for my current longboard abilities.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
I plan on focusing on my health, income and research capabilities.