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Stovall, Gwen

Gwendolyn M Stovall

Assistant Professor of Practice
College of Natural Sciences

Gwen Stovall leads the FRI Aptamer Stream, where students use biochemistry and molecular biology to develop tools made of RNA and DNA.


Phone: 512-232-9358

Office Location

Postal Address
103 W 24TH ST
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin (2011)

B.S.Chem., The University of Georgia (1999)

B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Georgia (1999)

Research Interests: A part of the UT Freshman Research Initiative, the Aptamer Stream uses oligonucleotide chemistry, in vitro selection methodology, and biochemistry to develop novel therapeutics, diagnostics, and molecular sensors.  Based on the technology developed by Andrew D. Ellington, our tool of choice for the development of these applications is an "aptamer," an oligonucleotide binding species.  We use the methods of in vitro selection methodology to identify aptamers against a variety of targets.

Principal Investigator and Director (2016-present) of the UT High School Research Initiative. The $1.3 million NIH Science Education Partnership Award supported program is an inquiry training resource center, providing dual-enrollment research courses, teacher training, and inquiry resources.

Faculty Council member representing tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, (August 2019 – August 2021). The Faculty Council is one of the two legislative bodies here at the University. It serves as the faculty’s voice and advises the administration on matters regarding undergraduate educational policy, including requirements for degrees, admissions, and honors, as well as recommendations from special and standing University committees.

CNS Outreach Committee (Co-Chair), (April 2019-present, Co-chair 2021-present). This group strengthens the relationships within the CNS Outreach community, develops an interconnected outreach ecosystem, and helps NTTF faculty plug into service opportunities.

Provost’s Teaching Fellow, (2021-present). As a small cohort, Fellows are committed to improving teaching practice and campus culture at UT-Austin. Collectively, Fellows spearhead events that benefit the entire campus, including the monthly New Faculty Symposium, monthly Think Tanks where faculty discuss thorny issues in a safe and collaborative environment, and Eyes on Teaching. My PTF project, “Peer Mentor Leadership project,” guides undergraduate mentors into developing their vision of their leadership styles, building constructive leadership practices, and assessing the effectiveness of the practices.

CNS NTT Faculty Committee, (2020-2023). The goal of the CNS NTTF Committee is to strengthen and stabilize the non-tenure track faculty and acknowledge the important role they play in the college’s learning community.

CNS Mentorship Sub-Committee (Chair), (2020-2023, Chair 2021-22). The goal of the CNS NTTF Mentor Sub-Committee is to formalize a faculty mentorship program, provide professional education and best practices for mentorship, assess the mentoring landscape of the CNS NTTF, as well as several items related to creating a healthy and sustainable environment for faculty mentorship.

A part of the University of Texas Freshman Research Initiative, the Aptamer Stream uses oligonucleotide chemistry, in vitro selection methodology, and biochemistry to develop novel therapeutics, diagnostics, and molecular sensors.  Based on the technology developed by Andrew D. Ellington, our tool of choice for the development of these applications is an "aptamer," an oligonucleotide binding species.  We use the methods of in vitro selection methodology to identify aptamers against a variety of targets.

  1. Rangappa GT, Ferrell HC, Gucer D, and Stovall GM: Developing aptamers and 21st century skills through innovative course-based aptamer research. Atlas of Science, 2021. https://atlasofscience.org/developing-aptamers-and-21st-century-skills-through-innovative-course-based-aptamer-research/ (Summary of Stovall, et al 2019 paper.)
  2. Rao A, Assadourian J, Miller A, Nnadi N, Stovall GM. Aptamers. In: Offermanns S., Rosenthal W. (eds) Encyclopedia of Molecular Pharmacology 2020. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21573-6_5182-1.
  3. Stovall GM, Huynh V, Engelman S, Ellington AD: Aptamers in Education: Undergraduates Make Aptamers and Acquire 21st Century Skills Along the Way. Sensors 2019, 19 (15) 3270. doi: 10.3390/s19153270.
  4. Clark G, Russell J, Enyeart P, Garcia, B, Wessel A, Jarmoskaite I, Polioudakis, D, Stuart Y, Gonzalez T, MacKrell A, Rodenbusch S, Stovall GM, Beckham J, Montgomery M, Tasneem T, Jones J, Simmons S, Roux S: Science Educational Outreach Programs That Benefit Students and Scientists.* PLoS Biology 2016, 14 (2):e1002368. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002368. *A 2016 top 50 most downloaded article (PLOS Biology, May 2017).
  5. Beckham JT, Simmons SL, Stovall GM, Farre J. “Chapter 10: The Freshman Research Initiative as a Model for Addressing Shortages and Disparities in STEM Engagement.” Directions for Mathematics Research Experience for Undergraduates. E-book. Ed. Mark A. Peterson, Ed. Yanir A Rubinstein. World Scientific, 2015. 181-212. doi: 10.1142/9789814630320_0010.
  6. Stovall GM, Bedenbaugh R, Singh S, Meyer AJ, Hatala PJ, Ellington AD, Hall B: In Vitro Selection Using Modified or Unnatural Nucleotides.  Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry 2014, 9.6.1–9.6.33.  doi: 10.1002/0471142700.nc0906s56.
  7. Ledbetter MP, Hwang, TW, Stovall GM, Ellington AD: Continuous in vitro Evolution of a Ribozyme Ligase: A Model Experiment for The Evolution of a Biomolecule. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 2013, 41(6):433-42.  doi: 10.1002/bmb.20742.
  8. Stovall GM: Evaluation of Protein Aggregation and Organismal Fitness.  PhD Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, May 2011. 
  9. Narayanaswamy R, Levy M, Tsechansky M, Stovall GM, O’Connell J, Mirrielees J, Ellington AD, Marcotte EM: Widespread reorganization of metabolic enzymes into reversible assemblies upon nutrient starvation.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2009, 106(25):10147-52. doi:10.1073/pnas.0812771106.
  10. Li N, Ebright JN, Stovall GM, Chen X, Nguyen H, Signh A, Syrett A, Ellington AD: Technical and Biological Issues Relevant to Cell Typing by Aptamers.  Journal of Proteome Research 2009, 8(5):2438-48. doi:10.1021/pr801048z.
  11. Lee JF, Stovall GM, Ellington AD: Aptamer therapeutics advance. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 2006, 10:282-289. doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2006.03.015.
  12. Stovall GM, Cox JC, Ellington AD: Automated optimization of aptamer selection buffer conditions. Journal of the Association for Laboratory Automation 2004, 9:117-22. doi:10.1016/j.jala.2004.04.010.

Teaching Excellence Award in Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas College of Natural Sciences (2014).

"The Clock Award," recognized by Services for Students with Disabilities for creating “an inclusion environment for all students at The University” (UT-Austin, 2016).

Transformational Online Instruction Contributions (TONIC) Award, The University of Texas (2021).