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Microbiome staff member Frank Oliaro stands in front of Shedd's Caribbean Reef exhibit.

Frank Oliaro

Laboratory Manager, Shedd Aquarium Microbiome Project

Frank Oliaro oversees analysis, protocols and training for Shedd’s Microbiome Project laboratory.


M.S., conservation biology, San Francisco State University
B.S., biology, University of New Mexico,

An expert in marine and molecular biology, Frank Oliaro performs core molecular biology responsibilities, including DNA extraction and sequencing, for Shedd’s new Microbiome Project. In addition, he oversees the training of other department staff members in molecular laboratory skills and safety, and the expansion of the in-house diagnostic capability of the aquarium’s A. Watson Armour III Center for Animal Health to include molecular and DNA-based technology. Oliaro also ensures that Shedd’s Microbiome Project laboratory is in excellent working condition by performing quality control, troubleshooting and routine maintenance.

Oliaro began his career at Shedd in 2013 as a laboratory medical technologist, utilizing his skills to support the veterinary and technical staff in all facets of their clinical diagnostic work, including necropsy, clinical pathology and microbiology.

Oliaro’s extensive field and laboratory research portfolio includes his original research on the identification of Pacific harbor porpoise prey species using polymerase chain reaction-based molecular techniques.

Oliaro earned his master’s degree in conservation biology at San Francisco State University, where his focus included molecular biology, marine ecology, ichthyology and phylogenetics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of New Mexico, where he studied mammalogy, evolution and zoology.

Drivers of Microbial Community Dynamics in a Managed Artificial Seawater System.

Christian F. Edwardson, Frank Oliaro, Allen La Pointe, William Van Bonn, Angela Kent. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Annual Conference 2018, abstract accepted 2017.