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I am Rodolfo Antonio Salido Benítez, a lab automation enthusiast, digital sculptor, DIY maker, open source preacher, and aspiring para-disciplinary scientist and artist. 

I graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience and a minor in Visual Arts: Photography.

My academic interests surround the interface between humans and machines in well-being, productivity, rehabilitation, and augmentation, and I'm driven by the goal of creatively influencing shared prospections of humanity.


As an undergraduate, I held a lab automation internship at Calibr, a non-profit biomedical research institute, where I assisted a fully automated ultra High Throughput Screening system identifying potential drug candidates for neglected diseases.

I am currently a Research Associate working with robotic liquid handling devices in semi-automated workflows for high throughput analysis of microbiome samples as part of the Knight Lab at UCSD. I’ve been working with state-of-the-art high throughput systems for more than four years, cooperating with industrial robotic arms and liquid handling devices to conduct both fundamental and targeted research.

Research interests

  • Systems neurobiology

  • Brain machine interfaces 

  • Neural implants

  • Additive manufacturing

  • Open source hardware

  • Frugal innovation

  • Robotics / Automation

  • Prosthetics

  • Body augmentation

For leisure, I seek live music events, pleasant food destinations, visually aesthetic stimulation, and shared experiences with good company. I practice resistance training through weight lifting; my personal goal is joining the 1K pound club by lifting a thousand pounds with a combination of squat, dead lift, and bench press lifts. I like to develop my non verbal communication skills through photography and music; I enjoy portraiture, street, and conceptual photography, and I collect, catalogue, and mix songs with a growing music library of more than fifteen hundred songs. 


2012 - 2016

Bachelor of Science, Physiology & Neuroscience - University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA

2010 - 2012

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme - Preparatoria Federal Lazaro Cardenas, Tijuana BC, Mexico

2019 - Present

Doctor of Philosophy, Bioengineering - University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA



Bronze Medal National Biology Olympiad - Chihuahua, Mexico


Jeremiah J. Minich, Greg Humphrey, Rodolfo A. S. Benitez, Jon Sanders, Austin Swafford, Eric Allen, Rob Knight. "High-throughput miniaturized 16S rRNA amplicon library preparation reduces costs while preserving microbiome integrity" mSystems 2018, 3 (6) e00166-18.

Jon G. Sanders , Sergey Nurk , Rodolfo A. Salido , Jeremiah Minich , Zhenjiang Z. Xu , Qiyun Zhu ,

Cameron Martino , Marcus Fedarko , Timothy D. Arthur , Feng Chen , Brigid S. Boland , Greg C. Humphrey ,

Caitriona Brennan , Karenina Sanders , James Gaffney , Kristen Jepsen , Mahdieh Khosroheidari , Cliff Green ,

Marlon Liyanage , Jason W. Dang , Vanessa V. Phelan , Robert A. Quinn, Tariq M. Rana , Douglas J. Conrad , William J. Sandborn , Larry Smarr, Pavel A. Pevzner, and Rob Knight. "Optimizing sequencing protocols for leaderboard metagenomics by combining long and short reads."  Genome Biology 2019; 20: 226.

Colton J. Lloyd, Zachary A. King, Troy E. Sandberg, Ying Hefner, Connor A. Olson, Patrick V. Phaneuf, Edward J. O’Brien, Jon G. Sanders, Rodolfo A. Salido, Karenina Sanders, Caitriona Brennan, Gregory Humphrey, Rob Knight, Adam M. Feist. "The genetic basis for adaptation of model-designed syntrophic co-cultures"  PLoS Comput Biol 2019, 15(3): e1006213.

Liu Cao, Alexey Gurevich, Kelsey L. Alexander, C. Benjamin Naman, Tiago Leão, Evgenia Glukhov, Tal Luzzatto-Knaan, Fernando Vargas, Robby Quinn, Amina Bouslimani, Louis Felix Nothias, Nitin K. Singh, Jon G. Sanders, Rodolfo A.S. Benitez, Luke R. Thompson, Md-Nafiz Hamid, James T. Morton, Alla Mikheenko, Alexander Shlemov, Anton Korobeynikov, Iddo Friedberg, Rob Knight, Kasthuri Venkateswaran, William H. Gerwick, Lena Gerwick, Pieter C. Dorrestein, Pavel A. Pevzner, Hosein Mohimani. "MetaMiner: A Scalable Peptidogenomics Approach for Discovery of Ribosomal Peptide Natural Products with Blind Modifications from Microbial Communities." Cell Systems 2019, 9(6), 600-608.e4.

Professional Experience

Oct. 2016 - Sep. 2019

Knight Lab, UCSD Health Sciences

Staff Research Associate I

  • Introduced personal manufacturing technologies and practical custom lab ware applications.

  • Developed a high throughput pipeline for metagenomic shotgun sequencing. This involved miniaturizing the reaction volume of a commercially available shotgun sequencing kit by 10 fold, increasing sample throughput through parallelization by 4 fold, achieving a peak sample throughput of 768 samples per week per trained technician, and increasing sample processing cost efficiency by 800% at the library prep procedure alone.

  • Assisted in developing a high throughput bioinformatic sample management system.

  • Prospected, evaluated, and validated new liquid handling technologies for integration with the existing laboratory robotic infrastructure which led to a decrease in experimental procedural time from 2.5 hours to 45 min and a 4 fold reduction of consumable tips.

  • Designed, optimized, and implemented highly automated liquid handling protocols for high throughput sample processing with minimal consumable waste and maximized speed. 

  • Troubleshot robotic malfunctions and assisted in coordinated efforts for device upgrades with industry providers. 

Apr. 2014 - Aug. 2016

California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr)

Lab Automation Intern, ultra High Throughput Screening (uHTS)

  • Optimized automation protocols to maximize throughput and ease of screening for biochemical and cell based assays. 

  • Coordinated the use of automated liquid handling devices to effectively screen up to four different projects simultaneously, providing on the fly troubleshooting when necessary. 

  • Assisted scientists in miniaturizing their assays and optimizing them for high-throughput platforms.

  • Designed systematic procedures to obtain measurable accuracy and precision quality control data of liquid handling devices in order to guarantee institute standards. 

  • Led multiple personal manufacturing projects aimed towards upgrading the lab space and instrumentation. 

  • Trained and managed new interns to ensure proper working condition of the uHTS lab while maximizing their learning experience. 

Teaching Experience

Sep. 2015 - Dec. 2015

Division of Biological Sciences, UCSD

Teaching Assistant - Cellular Neurobiology with Professors Nicholas Spitzer and Chih-Ying Su  

  • Led weekly discussions and implemented creative approaches to teach complex material promoting deeper understanding of underlying biological mechanisms.

  • Participated in weekly meetings with Professors and other TA’s to discuss teaching strategies, review problem sets, and go over class logistics.

Mar. 2015 - Jun. 2015

Division of Biological Sciences, UCSD

Instructional Apprentice - The Cell with Professor Stephanie Mel

  • Led weekly discussions and experimented with varied teaching styles to help students grasp the introductory concepts of a class on The Cell. Participated in grading and other class logistics.

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