Sheryl Hemkin joined the Kenyon faculty in 2003 after working at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She is a physical chemist with research interests in oscillatory chemical systems. Her teaching interests include introductory and physical chemistry courses.
Hemkin and her students have two major projects in the lab. The first involves gaining insight and understanding of the chemical role of Ca2+ oscillations in astrocytes, a cell within the central nervous system. Aside from being an interesting chemical question, she believes this is important since neurodegenerative diseases, while being marked by deterioration of neurons, seem to be affected by the health of the neighboring astrocytes and microglia.
The second project involves gaining insight on the how cellular oscillators, like neurons and astrocytes, interact. Instead of using models specific to these cells, we are using more basic models (ex. FitzHugh-Nagumo) to understand how individual oscillators can influence one another to synchronize (ex. how neurons synchronize during epileptiform activity) or break an established order (ex. ventricular arrhythmia in the heart).
1999 — Doctor of Philosophy from Purdue Univ West Lafayette
1992 — Master of Science from Univ Illinois Chicago
1990 — Bachelor of Arts from Univ Chicago