A Declaration of War

Maggio’s lab work is linked to an antibiotics project at a major Jersey pharmaceutical firm.

Former wrestler Christian Maggio plans on taking down pathogens.

By Mary Jo Patterson

By the end of his senior year in high school, Christian Maggio had been offered two wrestling scholarships. Then a serious injury sank that plan. “My biceps tendon tore,” he says. “I had surgery and would have had to wait a year or two before I could wrestle. I decided to focus on academics and came to Drew.” Maggio, a junior biology major from the Jersey Shore who plans to go to graduate school in microbiology, never looked back. The intense focus he brought to wrestling is now directed at drug discovery research he is doing with Vincent Gullo, a retired organic chemist for Merck and Schering-Plough and a fellow at Drew’s Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti. When Maggio talks about finding ways to wipe out virulent microorganisms that make people dangerously ill, he sounds like someone trying to take out an opponent. “I like challenges. I like finding out the pathways of viruses, how they elude medicine,” says Maggio, who admits that the quest is more like a hunt or a chase than work. “The processes behind disease—how pathogenic bacteria and fungi work to cause illness—are so interesting.”

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