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2022 Predoctoral Researchers


Paxton Kostos

Paxton Kostos

University of Missouri

 For Paxton Kostos elementary school science class was a place where questions were encouraged; she was taught how to find the answers to her “whys” by herself. The encouragement and influence of her fifth-grade teacher led Kostos to seek out extra elective science classes in middle and high school and arranged her high school classes to accommodate an off-campus research course. 

For more than three years during her undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri, Kostos worked in a biochemistry lab where she investigated mutations in dynamin-related protein networks. She sought to understand their influence on constitutive activation of immune responses in Arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant widely used as a research organism in plant biology. While imaging callose fluorescence in seedlings and visualizing the striking differences in the mutant plants, Kostos realized just how much she loved the process of experimentation. Her work resulted in a publication in Plant Physiology, and an additional manuscript in development. 

After graduating in 2020 with degrees in biochemistry and philosophy, Kostos set her sights on returning to Kansas City, where she had grown up, and working for an organization that she had long been aware of – the Stowers Institute. The two years spent working as a research technician in labs at the Institute convinced Kostos that the Stowers Graduate School Ph.D. program would be a good fit for her because it “prioritizes cutting-edge technology and is uniquely poised to support innovative research.”