Nathan Howell is a visitor to Kenyon, where he studies the process of tRNA modification.  His research uses biochemical assays and yeast genetic models to investigate how modification enzymes select correct targets out of a pool of similarly-structured tRNA molecules. He teaches courses on cell biology and the science of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Areas of Expertise

tRNA modification, RNA biochemistry, enzymology


2019 — Doctor of Philosophy from The Ohio State University

2013 — Bachelor of Science from Baldwin-Wallace College

Courses Recently Taught

This is the first laboratory course a student takes and is a prerequisite for all upper-division laboratory courses. Students are introduced to the processes of investigative biology and scientific writing. It is not designed to accompany any particular core lecture course. Laboratories cover topics presented in the core lecture courses, BIOL 115 and 116, and introduce a variety of techniques and topics, including field sampling, microscopy, PCR, gel electrophoresis, enzyme biochemistry, physiology, evolution and population biology. The course emphasizes the development of inquiry skills through active involvement in experimental design, data collection and management, statistical analysis, integration of results with information reported in the literature, and writing in a format appropriate for publication. The year culminates in six-week student-designed investigations that reinforce the research skills developed during the year. Evaluation is based on laboratory notebooks, lab performance, and scientific papers, as well as oral and written presentations summarizing the independent project. Enrollment is limited to 16 students in each section. Students enrolled in this course will be automatically added to BIOL 110Y for the spring semester. Prerequisite: completion or concurrent enrollment in BIOL 115 or equivalent. Required for the major.

This laboratory course is designed to complement BIOL 266. The topics covered in the laboratory will expose the student to some of the standard techniques used in modern cell biology. The laboratories also will illustrate some of the fundamental ideas of the field. Instead of covering a wide variety of techniques and preparations superficially, we will concentrate on a select few, covering them in greater depth. Some topics that will be covered are protein separation, cell permeability and cell motility. Prerequisite: BIOL 109Y-110Y. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 266. Generally offered every other year. This counts toward the upper-level laboratory requirement.