Anita J Zaitouna attended Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan), where she received a B. S. in Chemistry and Biology. She participated in undergraduate research in David E. Benson’s lab under the tutelage of Marla Swain. Zaitouna’s focus was on site directed mutagenesis of a lead binding protein.
For graduate school, Zaitouna joined Dr. Rebecca Y. Lai‘s research lab in 2010 at UNL. Since joining UNL, she has focused on electrochemical self-assembled monolayer based-biosensors. Through collaborations, Zaitouna has had the opportunity to branch out and learn about mass spectrometry, spectroscopic ellipsometry, quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation, graphene and titania substrates for biosensors, and cell-based biosensors.
Since 2010, she has published seven papers, filed one patent, presented six lectures and seven posters, mentored eleven people, attended many workshops and participated in Phi Lambda Upsilon – Rho Chapter (2011/2012 vice president and co-creator of the 2012 Newsletter), Electrochemical Society, Nebraska Academy of Science, and American Chemical Society. Zaitouna has also participated in a large number of outreach activities that have been designed to reach a broad audience through either Harry Potter or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nanoscience. She has also made several Youtube videos of the DNA activities. Additionally, Zaitouna has taught general chemistry lab and recitation, as well as instrumental analysis lab.
She has been one (of five in the Chemistry department) awarded the NSF Department of Education Graduate Assistant in Area of National Need (GAANN). Zaitouna has won best poster at the 2nd International Biosensors and Bioelectronics Conference. She has been awarded a Department of Chemistry Travel Fellowship and has recently been acknowledged by the chemistry department with the 2013-2014 Gordon A. Gallup Award as well as by the biochemistry department with the 2015 Milton E. Mohr Award.
Upon graduation, Zaitouna is focused on taking her Husker experience and further developing her scientific base as a post-doctoral researcher. Eventually, she plans to teach at a primarily undergraduate institution and coordinate science communication with the public.