Dr. Christa Hestekin’s research lies in two primary areas: 1) investigation of early stage protein aggregation using microchannel electrophoresis and 2) evaluation of algal properties for biofuel production. Early stage protein aggregation has been implicated in a variety of diseases in including Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. The Hestekin lab has previously explored the use of microchannel electrophoresis to investigate the effects of solution conditions and sample preparation on the oligomeric, pre-beta sheet aggregates. The lab is currently focused on investigating the conditions for physiological detection of protein aggregates using fluorescent labels as well as the separation and identification of individual oligomeric species. In addition, the Hestekin lab is interested in how growth, processing and storage conditions of algae affect the amount of biofuel (bioethanol, biobutanol, or biodiesel) that can be produced.
Dr. Hestekin is a recipient of the University of Arkansas Honors College Distinguished Faculty Award (2012) and attended the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering and Frontiers of Engineering Education symposia. She currently serves as President of the AES Electrophoresis Society and co-faculty advisor for Alpha Chi Sigma.