Chris Fistonich was born in Los Angeles, California, and is the proud son of two Croatian immigrants. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2012 he began his graduate work at Yale University, earning a Ph.D. in Immunobiology for his work, which helped answer a number of longstanding questions in immunology, with implications for cancers such as certain types of leukemias. Chris is an educator, teaching microbiology at Rowan University and immunology at Caldwell University. He has seen first-hand the struggles our students face during this pandemic.
For over a decade, Chris has worked for the cybersecurity company Malwarebytes, analyzing and developing countermeasures against cyber threats. It is no secret that municipalities, utilities, and hospitals nationwide have been the victim of "ransomware" and other cyber attacks, resulting in ransom payments of millions of dollars due to ill-preparedness. How we protect our online infrastructure as a state is critical.
Chris is also a baritone singer. He sings both opera and musical theatre. He has performed both domestically and abroad, and is passionate about the arts. In addition to performing as a soloist, Chris is an avid choral singer and has composed several choral works.
With his wife Stephanie and two cats, Chris settled down in Princeton and immediately began working at the local level. He has worked on three successful campaigns for town council, and has fervently supported Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. He is currently an Executive Board member of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, and is an elected Princeton Democratic Municipal Committeemember. Chris served for one year on Princeton's Citizen's Finance Advisory Committee, analyzing municipal and county budgets.
Chris co-leads VoteDEM, an online organization dedicated to electing Democratic candidates at the local, state, and federal level. VoteDEM to date has raised almost $2 million for candidates nationwide, and regularly updates a volunteer opportunities sheet, helping connect people with campaigns across the country.
Like so many, the 2016 U.S. Presidential election catalyzed Chris' desire to become deeply involved in politics. The New Jersey Assembly needs more technical experts among its ranks, and Chris is dedicated to delivering a bold vision of progress to the state of New Jersey.