As a mentor one of the greatest accomplishments is seeing students get so excited about their projects and really “owning” it. For example, I had 2 students working through a complicated experiment and they felt like they were only generating negative data. Out of the blue one parameter worked and their first thought was that they did something wrong. They repeated the experiment and sure enough that data was positive. As we sat down and discussed how the negative + positive data actually affected the hypothesis, it all clicked. That was an amazing moment for all of us! Finally, I would like to say that as a biochemist it is great to show students how chemistry and biology meet in every aspect of their research.
Dr. Howerton is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Nevada State College. Dr. Howerton is actively involved in undergraduate research both as independent studies during the school year and as a mentor in summer NSF-INBRE. Her research centers around sporulating bacteria (Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, Clostridium difficile). Her students have studied germination kinetics to identify activation and inhibition compounds, synthesized potential spore germination inhibitors and studied the inflammation response initiated by these bacterial toxins and spore proteins. Also, as a researcher of C. diff, she is interested in the microbiome of the intestine before and after antibiotic use. Her students have studied bile salt hydrolases and their expression before and after rodents are treated with antibiotics. It is possible these enzymes play some role in the observable different susceptibility of rodents to C.diff. She is always up for new adventures if students present me with a workable research proposal!