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Violet B

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Duke University


biochemistry, analytical chemistry, microbiome, genetics, biology


My name is Violet Beaty and I am a current PhD Student at Duke University. The focus of my research is to better understand the impacts of the human microbiome on host longevity. I utilize a variety of techniques to investigate the impacts of microbially produced metabolites on host aging and longevity including biochemical assays, mass spectrometry, model organisms, microscopy, bioinformatics, and many others. I am passionate about research and look forward to continuing my career in this field as a researcher and mentor. Outside of the lab I enjoy spending time with friends, family, and my adoring dog. I love to hike and spend time outside whenever I can. Also, I am an avid foodie and can usually be found exploring new restaurants on weekends. A fun fact about me is that I played a small role in a Sci-Fi film that came out in 2017 and even won a few awards at film festivals.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Looking inside your gut: understanding the structure of human gut microbial enzymes

In this project you will learn the basics you need to do structural biology and bioinformatics. You will investigate an enzyme of your choice that is known to exist in the human gut. Once you pick an enzyme that interests you, you will model this real life enzyme in 3D using structural biology and bioinformatics techniques. You will then investigate and model the compounds known to bind in the active site of this enzyme. This project will help you gain skills in structural biology, bioinformatics, enzymology, modeling of biomolecules, and making figures for publication.

You are what you eat: a review of how diet impacts your gut microbiome

What is your favorite food? Have you considered how that food impacts your gut microbiome? Through this project you will investigate the currently available information on how your favorite food might impact your gut microbiome through a literature search. You will compile information using a collection of available published data to date. As you complete this project you will build your skills in: searching for relevant scientific literature, reading and interpreting scientific literature, biochemical concepts, biosynthetic pathways, host-microbiome interactions, and scientific writing.

Teaching experience

I have previously mentored and tutored students. As an undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill I was a teaching assistant for intro biology lab for three semesters after having been a peer mentor for that course for two semesters. Additionally, I was a peer mentor for biochemistry and analytical chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill for a total of three semesters. I also participated in the peer tutoring program at UNC where I participated in pedagogy courses and held tutoring sessions for students taking a variety of university courses. In addition to this I have enrolled in the Certificate in College Teaching program at Duke University which I hope to complete in the next two years. I have also worked with over 15 students during my time as a private tutor.


Work experience

UNC Chapel Hill: Redinbo Laboratory (2021 - 2022)
Laboratory Manager/Research Technician


University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
BS Bachelor of Science
Duke University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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