Kerry McGowen (G6, Rubin Lab)

Where are you from and what do you enjoy most about your hometown?

I am from Temecula, CA. My favorite thing about my hometown is seeing my family and childhood friends.

What is your research focused on?

My research is focused on figuring out the mechanism of action of a recently FDA-approved antitubercular, pretomanid, to treat Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections. My work has shown that pretomanid likely targets Mtb DNA and specifically, the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway is responsible for attempting to repair this damage. Interestingly, the NER pathway is only required for Mtb to survive pretomanid treatment in vivo (macrophages and mice) or in vitro under macrophage-specific stresses like exogenous nitric oxide.

What is your favorite part of your research?

My favorite part of my research is having the opportunity to work on a scientific question about a pathogen that has direct public health importance. Additionally, Mtb is specifically exciting to study because it is one of the world’s leading infectious disease killers and has plagued humankind throughout history.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

I like playing video games – my current favorite game is Stardew Valley. I am also an avid reader. I read mainly fiction and my favorite genres include contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and magical realism. Of important note, typically playing video games or reading also involves cuddling with my two cats, Winston and Stevie.

Tell us about an activity outside of lab you’re involved in and why it’s important to you

Since starting grad school, I have been involved in an HMS science outreach program called the Health Professions Recruitment & Exposure program (HPREP). HPREP is a graduate student-run program for local high school students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds to gain exposure and mentorship to science, medicine, and public health career paths. I’ve had the opportunity to mentor several students and serve in leadership positions as a program management director and as one of the executive directors.