Katherine Sortino

Katherine Sortino, a doctoral student in microbiology and immunology, appreciates the varied research opportunities available at the Jacobs School.

What is your educational background?

I’m from Rochester, just an hour down the road. I went to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva for my undergraduate degree in biochemistry. After I graduated from Hobart I got a lab technician position at the University of Rochester for a year working in a virology lab. That was my first real taste of research, which led me to apply to a PhD program.

What was it about the Jacobs School that stood out for you, as opposed to other schools?

First of all, the facility is just beautiful. The building and all the labs are state-of-the-art. The core facilities and the access we have to them are awesome. I originally was interested in infectious diseases and it ended up being the lab I joined. What stood out to me with the Jacobs School was the diversity of research going on and all the opportunities I’d have. I’ve only had positive experiences. Everything about the school has met my expectations. 

Do you enjoy the collaborative atmosphere?

I love the collaboration and how the labs are set up. They’re open, and having multiple labs in one lab space is really nice too. You can literally walk over to the next bench and talk to another lab member in a different lab and get their feedback on experiments they’re working on. The classes I’ve taken in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology have helped me develop skills to become a better scientist. The program has given me opportunities to help me succeed.

You are in the laboratory of Laurie K. Read, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology. What has that been like?

Working in Dr. Read’s lab has been great. I’ve learned so many techniques that can be applied to other labs down the road in my career. She’s extremely encouraging and is definitely preparing me to be the best scientist I can be, which is very important for a mentor. I’ve been able to analyze and interpret data as well as being able to communicate my findings to the scientific community.

What is your long-term goal as a researcher?

I’m thinking about going into industry, working for a pharmaceutical company. I love bench work.

How do you like living in Buffalo?

I love Buffalo. I live right downtown in Allentown, a five-minute walk from the Jacobs School building. There is so much to do in Buffalo. There are an amazing amount of festivals in the summer. I love the atmosphere, the food. This is a city, but literally with a 20-minute drive you can go to a hiking trail or you can go to Niagara Falls. It’s not just city all the time — we have these other great places we can go.