E&H Research Experience Was Perfect Prep

Posted by Monica Hoel
Kaitlynn Stowers is doing research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Kaitlynn Stowers (E&H ’18) is a Research Assistant II, in the Developmental Biology department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “I specifically work in the Potter Lab; where I work under Steven Potter, PhD, and currently, we are working on two major projects: 1) We are determining the specific functions of Hox genes, in relation to kidney development; and, 2) we have developed a variety of peptide chains and are determining which ones, if any, have the ability to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells within the body.”

Kaitlynn says they’ve already gleaned a lot of information. “So far we have learned that these Hox genes are important in proper differentiation of various cells within the kidney and without certain Hox genes, cells become confused and develop mixed identities. Now, we are focusing on determining the specific effects complete loss of certain Hox genes, in regards to the developing kidney.  The peptide chains we are working with are designed to hopefully kill cancer that is induced by the RAS gene; which accounts for roughly 1 in every 3 human tumors.”

Seeing Kaitlynn immersed and productive in her field so quickly isn’t a big surprise. Her senior year the community came together at the Ampersand Day showcase to listen to the Biology major’s presentation entitled: The Effects of Nicotine on the Expression of CHRNA3 in Correlation to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It seemed clear that she was aiming to do serious research after graduation.

Shortly after finishing at Emory & Henry, she went to work for Ballad healthcare as a Patient Access Representative in the ER at Abingdon’s Johnston Memorial Hospital. She says that position was a great way to transition from student to adult, but “it did not align with what I wanted to do, and it did not allow me to utilize my degree.”

She says her work on the nicotine research project gave her experiences and honed skills that would prove invaluable in the work she is doing today. “That project provided me with additional lab training that I did not receive in the classroom setting and provided me with a better grasp/understanding of everything I learned in the classroom. Techniques such as such as cell culturing–which I use currently with our cancer research project – and genotyping/gene expression analysis–which I use currently with our Hox gene project – are both techniques that I only learned how to do because of my undergrad research, and both have benefited me greatly in this current position. That project taught me how to search and understand the literature, at a much greater depth than we learned in class, and it taught me how to talk about research to a broad audience, ranging from the general public (like the Ampersand Day audience) to a full scientific audience (like the Association of Southeastern Biologists/TriBeta National Honor Society annual meeting where I also presented). Without having conducted that undergrad research project at Emory & Henry, I feel I would not be as prepared for a more advanced lab job. The additional training and experience as greatly benefited me.”

  • Kaitlynn Stowers, E&H Class of 2018
    Kaitlynn Stowers, E&H Class of 2018
“Without having conducted that undergrad research project at Emory & Henry, I feel I would not be as prepared for a more advanced lab job.”
Kaitlynn Stowers
E&H Class of 2018

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