With a curiosity rivaled only by her childhood heroine (Lois Lane), Sarah Chobot Hokanson has a love for discovery, whether it be uncovering the answer to a scientific question or getting to the end of a good book. Graduating with B.A. degrees in English and Chemistry (with distinction) from Boston University in 2005 and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2010, Sarah has since made a happy home in Ithaca, NY at Cornell University, where she is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
As an undergraduate, Sarah received the Riemen Prize for Undergraduate Research, a summer research fellowship given to the best research proposal in Chemistry or Biology. She also visited Berlin, Germany in spring 2005, where she took home the top presentation honors at a meeting of the young chemists of the German Chemical Society. As a graduate student, she was a 2006 recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship, and more recently was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health to fund a post-doctoral fellow position at Cornell University. Sarah has also co-authored several research publications.
When she is not studying biological electron transfer by nitric oxide synthase, a protein responsible for the production of nitric oxide in the cell (which can act as a signaling molecule for a large assortment of physiological pathways), Sarah is busy solving other really important research questions such as, “Does cake flour make fluffier cupcakes, or does all-purpose flour?” (She has found that cake flour makes a big difference.) Sarah enjoys baking desserts of all varieties and reads several good books a week while they are in the oven. She shares both her desserts and her feelings about the books with her monthly book club at St. Catherine of Siena Parish. She also helps to organize events for the Boston University Alumni Club.
Sarah is hoping that her posts on Science Cheerleader about citizen science will encourage scientific discovery in households across the country…because science is everywhere (even in cupcakes).