Notes from the Lab: Meet ARAC's Newest Team Member!

We can’t help it, we love people and we’re super busy in the lab, so we’ve added another new team member!

Caitlin Flouton, Graduate Research Assistant

Caitlin Flouton is a graduate research assistant at ARAC, with the role of laboratory coordination and management. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University. Caitlin graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science: Medical Laboratory Science. During her undergraduate education, she participated in a medical brigade to Honduras with a team of students and doctors, where they created a clinic in a rural village. This experience lead to Caitlin’s passion for public health and reducing the global burden of infectious diseases.

What exactly will you be doing as our new lab coordinator and manager?

As lab coordinator and manager I will be focusing initially on helping the team get organized. This means I will be trained to order/receive packages, keep an inventory of equipment and supplies, and create an updated system to keep track of grant funds and expenses. Once everything seems to be aligned, I hope to also be an assistant to the many incredible projects that are going on in the lab.

What's your favorite lab tool and why?

That’s easy - a fluorescent microscope! During an internship one summer I did most of my work with fluorescent microscopes in a dark room. The bugs I was detecting with this tool were glowing various shades of green, yellow, and red. The pretty colors made work more fun!

If you were a bacterium, which would you be?

This is a tough question because there are interesting mechanisms each organism does that I think are really cool. However, I found a BuzzFeed quiz that determined I’m Salmonella enterica. Interesting choice considering that’s a common food poisoning bacteria and I like to think I don’t have that effect on people. If I were to choose without the help of a social media classification, I would choose any spirochete because they seem to be a fun swirly group of bacteria!

Who is your microbiology hero?

Dr. Timothy Montminy, a professor I had for 2 classes at the University of New Hampshire, is my microbio hero. He was an amazing and brilliant instructor, but also a great mentor. My invested interest in microbiology was inspired by the knowledge Dr. Montminy instilled in his students. I was honored to be his student and also participate in a large human microbiome research project he has been pouring time and effort into over the past few years. This study is incorporated into a senior level course at the university which allows a small group of students to participate in each year to gain valuable lab experience.

(And be sure to check out our previous stories on ARAC's research staff (20172018) and our summer interns, who had such a great time, they decided to stay on for the school year!)