Research in the Catalano lab focuses on three projects; (i) mechanistic interrogation of viral genome maturation and DNA packaging by the viral terminase motor complexes, (ii) molecular mechanisms of viral capsid assembly and (iii) engineering “designer nanoparticles” for theranostic applications. My graduate work in metalloprotein catalytic mechanisms (University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Paul Ortiz de Montellano) and my post-doctoral studies on the enzymology of DNA polymerase enzymes (the Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Steve Benkovic) provided me with the background necessary to study complex biological systems in a rigorous manner. As a faculty researcher at the Universities of Washington and Colorado, I have studied virus assembly mechanisms for over 34 years. My lab has developed integrated kinetic, biochemical, biophysical and structural tools that allow us to dissect motor function in great detail. More recently, we have co-opted phage capsids as a tunable platform for “theranostic” applications. In addition to generating over 70 peer-reviewed publications, the vast majority of which I was the corresponding author, this work has served to train and mentor young scientists including undergraduate, professional pharmacy, graduate and post-doctoral students. Within this context, I have a long-standing interest and commitment to diversification of the American scientific workforce and the recruitment and training of minority scientists is an important component of my research program.