Eric Skaar & Catherine Leasure - VI4 Scientists Doing Things

Dr. Eric Skaar and graduate student Catherine Leasure showcase their artistic talents with Perler bead kits while we asked them some questions about their research!




Video Transcript

Eric Skaar (E): This is like the most fun I've had at work in a long time. Like it's so relaxing.

Catherine Leasure (C): You see, art therapy.

VI4 Scientists Doing Things

(C): My name is Catherine Leasure. I am a senior graduate in Eric's lab.

(E): My name's Eric Skaar. I'm Catherine's mentor and our lab studies a number of different bacterial pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus.


[Did you always want to work with bacteria?]

(E): I'm curious to hear the answer to this question.

(C): I originally wanted to do like plant genetics.

(E): Catherine's actually a big plant person.

(C): Yes

(E): I don’t know if you know this, she loves plants and she knows a lot about them. I think you've turned me into a pretty good green thumb. This is a two-way mentor, mentee relationship.


[Can you explain your thesis in one sentence?]

(C): Yeah, I study the molecule heme and it's one of the things that bacteria steal from us when they cause infections. I study how staph is able to make heme steal, heme from the host and how it decides when to make versus steal. Heme is related to everything.

(E): Yeah. It's the best molecule in the world.


[If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?]

(E): I would like to be the head of the grounds crew for an arboretum, it's true. Right? I’ve said this before.

(C): Yeah, yeah. I would also really enjoy being either a farmer or doing some sort of horticultural tissue culture work.

(E): We can work together.

(C): Yeah, there we go!

(E): You can work in my arboretum. Starting to sound like a good idea.


[What is your favorite thing about researching at Vanderbilt?]

(E): What I think the neat thing is, is the geography. So, like we're sitting right now in the middle of the medical center and we're only a few 100 yards from engineering, physics, chemistry, divinity, music, law. And it happens to be an arboretum. Did I say I like arboretums? And so that provides an amazing opportunity to interact with people that are from really diverse fields.


[What is your favorite experiment to run?]

(C): I really like stuff that's color metric. So, like things that turn colors.

(E): You come up with some pretty cool plate-based screens that are based on changes and colors that are really neat.


[What is one lab rule you never break?]

(E): I don't go in the lab very often.

(C): That’s the rule.

(E): So that's the rule I don't break because I just stay out of the lab.