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Frank Roberto


Energy and Environment Department
Idaho National Laboratory
P.O. Box 1625
Idaho Falls, ID 83415-2203
USA
Phone: (208) 526-1096
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Current Projects


  • Development of rapid nucleic acid assays and genotyping methods for the Category B select agent and zoonotic pathogen, Brucella (co-investigator with D. Newby, Idaho National Laboratory [INL])

  • Development of a transformation system to perform metabolic engineering with the moderately acidophilic bacterium, Alicyclobacillus acidocaldarius (co-investigator with B. Lee, INL)

  • Genomic sequencing and analysis of thermoacidophilic crenarchaeota and their viruses in Yellowstone National Park (co-investigator with M. Young, Montana State University)

  • Metagenomic analysis of acidic thermal environments in Yellowstone National Park [part of the Yellowstone Metagenome Project to be sequenced by the Joint Genome Institute] (B. Inskeep, Montana State University, lead investigator)

  • Metagenomic analysis of viral populations associated with acidic thermal environments in Yellowstone National Park [Joint Genome Institute Laboratory Science Program project] (co-investigator with M. Young, Montana State University).

  • Research Interests


  • Brucella genomics and brucellosis in wildlife

  • Physiology, genetics, and genomics of acidophilic and thermoacidophilic microbes

  • Metagenomic analysis of thermoacidophilic microbial communities and their viruses

  • Biosafety.

  • Education


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1984-1988, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis

  • Ph.D., Biochemistry (Plant Physiology minor), 1985, University of California, Riverside

  • B.S., Biochemistry, 1980, University of California, Davis.

  • Patents


  • U.S. Patent No. 6,051,420 - Method for the decontamination of soil containing solid organic explosives therein

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,576,449 B2 - Microbial Production of Epoxides

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,987,170 B1 - Cloning and Expression of Recombinant Adhesive Protein Mefp-1 of the Blue Mussel Mytilus edulis

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,995,012 B1 - Cloning and Expression of Recombinant Adhesive Protein Mefp-2 of the Blue Mussel Mytilus edulis. 

  • Selected Publications


  • Snyder, J.C., B.Wiedenheft, M. Lavin, F.F. Roberto, J. Spuhler, A.C. Ortmann, T. Douglas, and M. Young, "Virus movement maintains local virus population diversity," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 104,19102-19107 (2007)

  • Silverman, H.G. and F.F.Roberto, "Understanding mussel adhesion," Marine Biotechnol, 9, 661-681 (2007)

  • Viamajala, S., W.A. Smith, R.K. Sam, W.A. Apel, J.N. Petersen, A.L. Neal, F.F. Roberto, D.T. Newby, and B.M. Peyton, "Isolation and characterization of Cr(VI) reducing Cellulomonas spp from subsurface soils:Implications for long-term chromate reduction," Bioresource Technol., 98, 612-622 (2007)

  • Quatrini, R., C. Appia-Ayme, Y. Denis, J. Ratouchniak, F. Veloso, J. Valdes, C. Lefimil, S. Silver, F. Roberto, O. Orellana, F. Denizot, E. Jedlicki, D. Holmes, and V. Bonnefoy, "Global analysis of the ferrous iron and sulphur energetic metabolism of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans by microarray transcriptome profiling," Hydrometallurgy, 83, 263-272 (2006)

  • Young, M., B. Wiedenheft, J. Snyder, J. Spuhler, F. Roberto, and T. Douglas, "Archaeal viruses from Yellowstone's high temperature environments. In:Geothermal biology and geochemistry in Yellowstone National Park," W.P. Inskeep and T.R. McDermott (Editors), Montana State University Publications, Bozeman, MT, p. 289-304 (2005)

  • Wiedenheft, B., K. Stedman, F. Roberto, D. Willits, A.-K. Gleske, L. Zoeller, J. Snyder, T. Douglas, and M. Young, "Comparative genomic analysis of hyperthermophilic archaeal fuselloviridae viruses," J. Virol., 78, 1954-1961 (2004)

  • Rice, G., L.Tang, K. Stedman, F. Roberto, J. Spuhler, E. Gillitzer, J. E. Johnson, T. Douglas, and M. Young, "The structure of a thermophilic archaeal virus shows a dsDNA viral capsid type that spans all domains of life," Proc. Nat'l Acad. Sci. USA, 101, 7716-7720 (2004)

  • Snyder, J .C., J. Spuhler, B. Wiedenheft, F. F. Roberto, and M. J. Young, "Effects of culturing on the population structure of a hyperthermophilic virus from Yellowstone National Park," Microbial Ecol., 48,561-566 (2004)

  • Newby, D.T., D. W. Reed, L .M. Petzke, A. L. Igoe, M. E. Delwiche, F. F. Roberto, J. P. McKinley, M. J. Whiticar, and F. S. Colwell, "Diversity of methanotroph communities in a basalt aquifer proximal to a TCE plume," FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., 48, 333-344 (2004)

  • Johnson, D.B., N. Okibe, and F.F. Roberto, "Novel thermo-acidophilic bacteria isolated from geothermal sites in Yellowstone National Park: physiological and phylogenetic characteristics," Arch. Microbiol., 180, 60-68 (2003)

  • Newby, D.T., T. L. Hadfield, and F.F. Roberto, "Real-time PCR Detection of Brucella abortus: a Comparative Study of SYBR Green I, 5'-exonuclease, and Hybridization Probe Assays," Appl. Environ. Microbiol, 69, 4753-4759 (2003)

  • Marchbank, A.R., E. Kirby, and F.F. Roberto, "The application of biologically mediated leaching methods - A comprehensive review," CIM Bulletin, 96, 143-147 (2003)

  • Roberto, F.F., J.M. Barnes, and D.F. Bruhn, "Evaluation of a GFP reporter gene construct for environmental arsenic detection," Talanta, 58, 181-188 (2002)

  • Radtke, C.W., D.M. Smith, G. S. Owen, and F.F. Roberto, "Field demonstration of acetone pretreatment and composting of particulate-TNT-contaminated soil," Bioremediation J., 6, 191-204 (2002)

  • Roberto, F.F., "Bioleaching of Minerals. In:The Encyclopedia of Environmental Microbiology," G. Bitton and R.S. Burlage (Editors), J. Wiley and Sons, Inc. , New York, p. 641-650 (2002).

  • Additional Material


  • Affiliate Faculty Member, Idaho State University, University of Idaho, Texas Tech University

  • Certified Biological Safety Professional and Specialist Microbiologist, Biological Safety

  • Chair, INL Institutional Biosafety Committee and External Member, Idaho State University Institutional Biosafety Committee 

  • Co-Chair, Biosafety Working Group, Department of Energy Subcommittee on Consequence Assessment and Protective Actions (SCAPA)

  • Yellowstone research and the Research Coordination Network.
  • Page Contact Information:

    Department of energy

    DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
    DOE-Idaho Office
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