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2015 Predoctoral Researchers


Nicole Nuckolls

Rockhurst University
Zanders Lab
Evolution and mechanisms of meiotic drive in fission yeast

Nicole Nuckolls was set on becoming a speech pathologist until she took her first freshman biology class at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. Immediately hooked on biology—she admits to reading her textbook for fun—Nuckolls changed her major and chose the school’s pre-med track in biology.

While she enjoyed both shadowing physicians and completing research as a pre-med student, Nuckolls discovered an unparalleled sense of joy and excitement from being in the lab. She tweaked her career path once more, switched to her major’s graduate school track, and graduated with a BS in biology in May 2015.

Nuckolls boosted her research experience at the Stowers Institute at the urging of her advisor. She worked in the laboratory of Scott Hawley, PhD, where she identified female meiotic mutants in Drosophila melanogaster, providing insight into human meiotic defects such as Turner syndrome and Down syndrome.

Nuckolls thrived in the Institute’s smaller, collaborative research environment. Her mentors in the Hawley lab encouraged her to learn by trial and error, which increased her confidence as a scientist. Eager to follow in their footsteps, Nuckolls applied to Institute’s predoctoral research program and was accepted.

She is happy to continue her research where she feels at home. Nuckolls plans to use the knowledge she gains to investigate the world around her in a career devoted to science.