Microbiotics and music
As a senior
biomedical science major, Sara Maltinsky has been working in Paul Keim’s
laboratory since her sophomore year at the university. When she’s not studying
cancer cells or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Maltinsky’s following her
passion and recording music—just this year, she released Moltensky, her new album filled with a variety of music that she
Regent’s Chair, regularly brings undergraduates—including first-year students—into
his groundbreaking Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen) on campus
to work with him and his staff. Keim is one of the world leaders in the science
of tracing the origin points of disease through genetic research, and Maltinsky
has had the opportunity to personally perform hands-on research and make
project, which I started on as a sophomore, was examining pancreatic cancer cells
and finding the break between normal cell growth to abnormal cell growth,”
Maltinsky says. “Now, I'm working with antibiotic-resistant pneumonia from Africa.
We've even received samples in Arizona that I'm working on.”
that she is grateful for the extraordinary opportunity to start her research
career in such a prestigious and professional environment.
students have opportunities to be published, which I don't think many
undergrads do,” Maltinsky says. “Working for MGGen is such a blessing, and I
still can't believe I have a job here sometimes."
Hitting the right notes
While she had always been interested in writing and
performing music, one of Maltinsky’s lab partners encouraged her to record a
professional studio album. She says the album – which contains laid-back, easy
listening folk music – has been a hit in the Flagstaff community.
Maltinsky has also been performing at local venues, including
Bookman’s, Fire Creek, Stage Left Deli, Higher Grounds Coffee, and Hops on
Birch. Her music features many different instruments performed by her friend,
while Maltinsky plays the acoustic guitar, saxophone, and sings.
Balancing being a musician with being a scientist can be
difficult, and Maltinsky says that finding the time in the day to get
everything done can be challenging. However, she explains her experiences at
Northern Arizona University have been nothing but positive, and has found that
her professors and the community are supportive of her goals and ambitions.
“I think the attitude in Flagstaff in general is just so
welcoming and nurturing,” Maltinsky says.