Amber Howerton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Ph.D. Biochemistry & Organic Chemistry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
B.S. Biology, University of Central Oklahoma

: LAS Building, Office 268
: (702) 992-2642

Dr. Howerton is actively involved in undergraduate research both as independent studies during the school year and as a mentor in summer programs such as NSF-EPSCoR, NIH-INBRE, and NASA Space Grant. Her research involves studying the germination of sporulating bacteria such as Clostridium difficile and Bacillus anthracis.  This includes synthesis of novel compounds and studying the structure-activity relationship in vitro. Other interests include studying the connections between C. difficile and the intestinal biome and inflammation responses induced by bacterial spores. She is a co-inventor on a patent for a group of compounds with potential anti-germination effects for C. difficile spores and has published in journals such as Journal of Infectious Diseases, Journal of Bacteriology, and PLoS ONE.

Dr. Howerton loves animals and currently has four dogs, several tree frogs and salamanders, and a husband. Since she grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma, getting out of the city and spending some time in nature is her therapy. She loves to go camping, hiking, and exploring the desert when it's not scorching outside, is an avid reader of every genre, and loves experimenting with recipes in the kitchen (must be the chemist in her)!

courses taught
  • BIOL 209: Cell Processes
  • BIOL 405: Molecular Biology
  • CHEM 112: Introduction to Chemistry
  • CHEM/BIOL 205: Introduction to Scientific Ethics
  • CHEM 212: Introduction of Chemical Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • CHEM 380: Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHEM 472: Biochemistry Lab
  • CHEM 474: Biochemistry I
  • CHEM 475: Biochemistry II
selected publications
  • Howerton, A., Patra, M. and Abel-Santos, E. 2013. Fate of ingested C. difficile spores in mice. PLoSOne 8(8):e72620.
  • Howerton, A., Patra, M. and Abel-Santos, E. 2013. A new strategy for the prevention of Clostridium difficile infection. J Infect Dis 207(10):1498-1504.
    • This article was chosen for editorial commentary: Armstrong, G.D. et al. 2013. A potential new tool for managing C. difficile infection. J Infect Dis 207(10):1484-1486.
    • This article was chosen for F1000Prime, Oct. 2013.
  • Howerton, A., Ramirez, N. and Abel-Santos, E. 2011. Mapping interactions between germinants and Clostridium difficile spores. J. Bacteriology. 193(1):274:282.
  • Dodatko, T., Akoachere, M., Muehlbauer, S.M., Helfrich, F., Howerton, A., Ross, C., Wysocki, V., Brojatsch, J. and Abel-Santos, E. 2009. Bacillus cereus spores release alanine that synergizes with inosine to promote germination. PLoSOne 4(7):e6398.
  • Batista, J., Howerton, A. and Jensen, P. 2007. Bioregeneration of perchlorate/nitrate-contaminated ion-exchange resins. Battelle Press – 9th International In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium 2. 1358-1364.
  • Fuller, B., Smith, D., Howerton, A. and Kern, D. 2006. Anti-inflammatory effects of CoQ10 and colorless carotenoids. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 5(1):30-38.