WHO I AM
My love for science was sparked during a tenth-grade biology lecture about vaccines. Since then, my passion to do medical research has only grown. My passion has led me to Auburn University, where I am now a doctoral candidate within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. As a student in the Goodwin laboratory, I study the unique chemical mechanisms of an enzyme that plays a key role at the interface between a pathogen and an infected organism. My graduate research has increased my interest in pathogens and the response of the immune system during infection. I plan to pursue a career investigating these types of interactions. With passion for communicating science to those around me, a love for problem solving, and a passion to help others, I believe I have the mindset and skill to be a valuable team member.
Education & Experience
WHERE I'VE STUDIED
Ph.D. candidate - anticipated graduation May 2021
Auburn University - Chemistry & Biochemistry Department (Aug. 2015 to present)
Preliminary proposal accepted: "Investigation of the unique catalase mechanism of catalase-peroxidase (KatG)"
under the guidance of Doug Goodwin, Ph.D.
B.S. Chemistry with Honors, minors in Math and Molecular Biology
Wayland Baptist University - School of Math and Science (Aug. 2011 - May 2015)
Honors thesis: "Binding affinity of RecA to mutation sites known for drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis with a homemade DSLR documentation system" under the guidance of Robert Moore, Ph.D.
Welch Foundation Research Fellow
Spring 2016 - Fall 2015
My experience as a Welch research fellow at WBU instilled in me a love for learning and teamwork in the lab. Also, being involved in the start of a new research project taught me to persevere through the repetition that goes with a new project.
Chemistry Student Workstudy
Fall 2011 - Spring 2015
Four years working in the chemistry department taught me invaluable skills as a chemist, such as preparing solutions, teaching pre-lab lectures, grading student assessment, proper chemical management and safety protocols.
Fall 2014 - Spring 2015
As a representative of the student body to the president and board of trustees of my university. In this role, I learned the importance and skill of appealing for funding. I was able to advocate for our science department by sharing my research experiences.
Graduate Assistant for
Mass Spectrometry Core Facility
Summer 2019 - present
As an assistant in a university core facility, I am not only gaining new skills in the wide application and analysis of mass spectrometry, but also learning about the policies and operation of a core facility.
Graduate Research Assistant
Fall 2016- Summer 2019
As I focused mainly on research in the lab and opportunities to mentor and train new members in the lab, I learned the value of time management, clear communication, and the lab culture.
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Fall 2015 - Summer 2016
During this time I assisted with the honors general chemistry, general chemistry, and biochemistry courses, including office hours, grading, and monitoring lab activities.
Skills & Techniques
WHAT I BRING TO THE BENCH
I have had the privilege of being mentored by great investigators who trained me to identify problems and troubleshoot their solutions.
During a time of growth for the Goodwin lab, I have been able to practice training and clear communication within the lab.
Throughout my scientific career, I have aimed to seek out and hone new and unfamiliar skills in order to reach new heights.
From working on projects with others to planning events that will benefit the chemistry grad students, I enjoy and seek out ways to help my colleagues.
Leadership & Outreach
HOW I GIVE BACK
"How to Navigate the Real World After Graduate School" Career Panel
Career Panel 2017
The 2017 and 2019 career panels brought together professionals of various backgrounds to share their experiences and answer questions about the range of careers in the field of chemistry.
Professional Development Chair of the Younger Chemists Committee at Auburn University
Outreach as a Science Ambassador
Publications & Awards
WORK INTO WORDS
Njuma, O.J., Davis, I., Ndontsa, E.N., Krewall, J.R., Liu, A., Goodwin, D.C. 2017. Mutual synergy between catalase and peroxidase activities for the bifunctional enzyme KatG is facilitated by electron hole-hopping within the enzyme. J. Biol. Chem., 292, 18408-18421.
Krewall, J.R., Minton, L.E., Goodwin, D.C. KatG Structure and Mechanism: Using Protein-based Oxidation to Confront the Threats of Reactive Oxygen Species. American Chemical Society Books. Recently accepted.
WWC/Eli Lilly Travel Award (2019)
I was honored to receive this award from the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) and Eli Lilly. This award made it possible for me to attend the Enzymes, Coenzymes, and Metabolic Pathways Gordon Research Conference and Symposium in Waterville Valley, NH in July 2019. This conference was a wonderful opportunity to network and search for potential employers.
SHARING SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS
POSTER PRESENTATIONS AT SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCES
These many opportunities to practice formal research presentation skills to a range of audiences from enzymologists, or spectroscopists, and even fellow graduate students has been a formative part of my career. Since college as an undergraduate research fellow preparing I've learned the value of organization and clear communication by many posters and presentations for conferences. Though I have always loved the opportunity to discuss my research with anyone who is willing to listen, it has taken many years of practice to strengthen this skill. I enjoy the challenge of creating a new poster or presentation for each presentation according to the research that I will be presenting and the composition of my audience. It is while preparing presentations for others to understand one's research that creative pressure gives birth to scientific works of art.
ORAL PRESENTATION BY INVITATION TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
It was an honor to represent my university and chemistry department as I presented my undergraduate research project and its significance to members of the community and local donors/philanthropists. These experiences were instrumental in teaching me how to cater my presentation to my audience, and how to communicate the significance of scientific research to a general audience. My passion for scientific communication to the community has only grown since these opportunities, and I am seeking ways to improve these skills. As such, I have just completed a course offered by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on The Art of Science Communication.