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Road to Research: Q&A with Kaity Petentler, Associate Scientist II in Sequencing and Discovery Genomics

"I then made it my goal to be a part of the Stowers Institute one day!"

16 November 2023

What brought you to the Stowers Institute?

I have been interested in being a part of the Institute since my undergraduate genomics course at the University of Central Missouri. During a long incubation in the lab, a discussion broke out about the best local biomedical research facilities, and the Stowers Institute was mentioned as one of the best institutes in the Midwest. After class, I went on a deep dive into learning more about the Institute. Between the fascinating research being done and the overall mission, I knew this was the place where I wanted to start my career. I then made it my goal to be a part of the Stowers Institute one day!

Why are you interested in your field of research?

I knew I wanted to work at the lab bench as I have always enjoyed the hands-on work and detail-oriented nature that comes with following an experimental protocol. But I was also fascinated with the role that genetics play in how we evolve, our overall health, and how subtle changes in the genome could make a lasting impact on an organism. I found that being a part of a Technology Center allows me to learn more about the genetics of different species while spending the majority of my time at the bench performing specific protocols. So, I get the best of both worlds!

Kaity Petentler working at the lab bench.

What inspires you to keep working in your field?

I am inspired by the new technologies being introduced to the genomics field. It’s amazing to see how far the field has come in such a short period of time, and I am always excited to try new technologies or protocols for single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics studies I am doing in our lab. I can’t wait to see what comes our way next!

What have you found most rewarding about your work?

Getting to know the researchers while helping them answer their biological questions has been very rewarding. Everyone at the Institute is ambitious and passionate about their work. Seeing the evolution of an idea to a completed project, and hearing our researchers give talks and present the data we have helped produce is truly satisfying.

What impact do you hope your research will have?

By being in a Technology Center, we are able to take part in a variety of projects with many different goals. I hope that my work provides single-cell RNA and spatial transcriptomics data to researchers to help them better understand their biological questions, create new hypotheses, and advance in their careers. It would also be very rewarding if some of this research could help lead to medical advances.

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