Bob is originally from Florida where he attended the University of South Florida and received his B.S. in Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences and his M.S. in Microbiology under Valerie J. Harwood Ph.D. His research focused on the development of an evanescence-wave biosensor assay to detect the pathogenic bacteria Vibrio vulnificus in natural, marine, and estuarine waters around Tampa Bay. After completing his M.S., Bob worked as a research technician for Dr. Harwood developing and optimizing various molecular-based microbial source tracking (MST) methods. He then worked as a research technician at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USF in the lab of Audrey Levine Ph.D., P.E. His worked there focused on developing a guidance document for use by municipal wastewater treatment plant personnel to help standardize how statistics are used when analyzing monitoring data relating to indicator organisms and human pathogens throughout wastewater treatment processes. He also worked on developing and constructing mock landfill models (lysimeters) to analyze how microorganisms and mineral deposits found in municipal solid waste contribute to the clogging of leachate recirculation systems in landfills.
Since joining the Marine microbiology lab, he has worked to improve methods for the detection and quantification of Kerenia brevis, the red-tide forming dinoflagellate in the Gulf of Mexico, by optimizing nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) assays. These assays are the basis of both remote and hand-held sensor applications for the early detection and quantification of red-tide forming dinoflagellates. Bob is also studying the role certain genes found in K. brevis play in the formation of brevetoxins, which are responsible for massive fish and marine mammal kills during red-tide blooms.