Robert Palazzo was born in Abruzzi, Italy. When Palazzo was five his family came to the United States and settled in Dearborn, Michigan. Palazzo earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a doctorate in biological sciences at Wayne State University. Palazzo has been an active contributor to the field of biotechnology. While at the University of Kansas Palazzo developed in vitro assays that can be used to identify and purify molecules that regulate specific aspects of centrosome function. Palazzo has been affiliated with numerous organizations throughout his career, including the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the National Cancer Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Prior to joining Rensselaer, Palazzo spent a year as a visiting professor at Harvard University Medical School and ten years in a variety of roles with the University of Kansas. While at Renssealer Palazzo was instrumental in elevating the prestige of Rensselaer’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies to a status on par with many of the world’s most advanced research facilities focused on the application of engineering and the physical and information sciences to the life sciences.