University of Vermont

Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences

  • Drew Barber, Hondal Lab
    I am a fifth year graduate student working in the Hondal lab where I study the rare amino acid selenocystiene. My primary focus is on thioredoxin reductase, a very important enzyme involved in redox homeostasis. Outside of research I enjoy living in Burlington. It is a nice place live.

  • Eric Bolf, Carr Lab
    I graduated from Metropolitan State University in 2012. After working in formulation chemistry I decided to further my education as well as shift my focus back towards the biological sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of the CMB program appealed to me and I've been able to bring the skills I learned from industrial chemistry to my work on the biology underlying thyroid cancer. My research so far has focused on the regulation and function of a tumor suppressor protein.

  • Jessica Sheehe, Dostmann Lab
    I graduated from Metropolitan State University in 2012. After working in formulation chemistry I decided to further my education as well as shift my focus back towards the biological sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of the CMB program appealed to me and I've been able to bring the skills I learned from industrial chemistry to my work on the biology underlying thyroid cancer. My research so far has focused on the regulation and function of a tumor suppressor protein.

  • Brittany Carroll, Doublie Lab
    In 2012 I graduated from UVM with my B.S. in Biochemistry. That summer I started working as a technician in the Doublie lab. During this time I realized that I wanted to persue a graduate degree in structural biology and I wasn't ready to leave Vermont. Outside of lab I enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors with my dog.

  • Nick Chamberlain, Anathy Lab

  • Devin Champagne, Rincon Lab
    After earning a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.S. in Biology from Southeastern Louisiana University, I joined the Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences program here at UVM to pursue a Ph.D. in Immunology. In the Rincon lab, I am studying the effects of the mitochondrial protein MCJ on T cell function.

  • Wyatt Chia, Janssen-Heininger Lab
    Protein glutathionylation in the context of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

  • Vicki DeVault, Boyson Lab
    The Boyson lab has identified a genetic locus that regulates Natural Killer T cell function. My specific project is to determine the role of SLAMf6, a gene located within this locus, on NKT cells. I chose UVM CMB because of its location near Lake Champlain, the caliber of research being performed on campus, and how happy everyone is. One of my favorite things to do is grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the lake.

  • Chris Dustin, van der Vliet Lab
    I am originally from Canterbury, New Hampshire and completed my B.S. in Biochemistry at St. Michael's College in 2012. Following my graduation, I worked for two years as a Laboratory Technician at the University of Vermont prior to my enrollment as a graduate student. I currently study structure/function effects upon oxidation of Src in the context of the airway epithelium.

  • Mark Fitzgerald, Stein Lab
    My fascination with stem cells led me to the Stein/Lian lab where I began working with human embryonic stem cells and looking at epigenetic regulation in the pluripotent cell cycle.  I’ve since transitioned to breast cancer research, and my thesis work is focused on breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs).  I’m interested in elucidating epigenetic mechanisms that govern stemness in the BCSC population.  When I’m not in lab I enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, snowshoeing, and snowboarding.

  • Blas Guigni, Toth Lab
    I am member of the Toth Lab and predominantly focus on skeletal muscle pathologies. The “Bench to Bedside” approach in our lab requires that we translate basic (bench) research into functional clinical outcomes (bed). I also simultaneously serve in the Army Reserves, traveling around the world in a medical capacity, which augments the training I receive in the CMB program. Living in Vermont, I spend my copious spare time (sarcasm) outdoors, usually skiing and running.

  • Md Mahmudul Hasan, Huston Lab
    I am originally from Bangladesh where I did my BSc and MS in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Dhaka. I joined the CMB program for its interdisciplinary structure which allowed me to get exposed to different aspects of life sciences. Currently, I am working in the Huston lab on a newly developed microscopic technique called expansion microscopy which can be helpful for analyzing cellular functions dependent on close contact of cellular components.

  • Lauren Hinkel, Wargo Lab
    Originally from Bucks County, PA, I received my BS in Biology from Lafayette College in Easton.  After college I decided it was time to move out of Pennsylvania and head north.  I chose the CMB program because of it's affiliations with the medical center and the broad range of interdisciplinary research occurring at UVM.  Additionally Burlington is a city that has something for everyone!

  • Rajiv Satish Jumani, Huston Lab
    I earned my bachelor of engineering degree from India in 2009. I worked on anti-mycobacterium vaccine development and phage therapy for MRSA before joining the CMB program in 2012. In the Huston lab, I work on developing drugs against the neglected parasitic disease, cryptosporidiosis. I value the professional but friendly atmosphere with a personal attention provided to students at UVM. I enjoy the scenic beauty of Vermont and the ability to explore the various different outdoor activities it has to offer. 

  • Haein Kim, Stumpff Lab
    Normal attachment between chromosomes and microtubules within the mitotic spindle are integral in proper chromosome alignment and segregation. Defects in this process have been implicated in certain cancers and trisomy syndromes. I want to understand how certain kinesin motors control chromosome movement by regulating the physical linkage between kinetochores and microtubules. Outside of lab, I specialize in knowing random trivia, finding new beers/breweries to try, and snowboarding poorly.

  • Filiz Korkmaz, Kerr Lab
    My research focuses on the innate immune response of the dairy cow to E. coli mastitis. Outside the lab, I like to travel and hike. I am also an avid runner with the goal of completing my first marathon before the end of my graduate career. I chose to study at UVM because of the variety of high quality research and Burlington is the perfect mixture of a diverse, cultural city with easy access to the quiet countryside.

  • Andrew Little, van der Vliet Lab
    I graduated from Hillsdale College in 2010 with a degree in Biochemistry. Later that year I worked for Gary Fisher at the University of Michigan Dermatology research group before joining CMB in 2012. I’m currently a VLC T32 trainee and Ph.D. candidate in the van der Vliet lab in Pathology. In my free time I enjoy fishing, boating, wood working, golfing, disc golfing, grilling and enjoying Vermont’s great craft beer selection! 

  • Sharath Madasu, Morielli Lab
    I completed my Bachelors in Pharmacy from Vaagdevi College of Pharmacy in 2009 and Masters in Pharmacology from Northeastern University in 2011. I joined the CMB Program with a specific interest in Pharmacology Fall 2012. I chose CMB for its interdisciplinary program in Biomedical Sciences which provides a unique opportunity for collaborative projects and training. My research interests include signal transduction, genetics and proteomics. Outside of the lab, I love cooking and cycling.

  • Phill Munson, Shukla Lab
    Cancer research has fascinated me since I was a child. I received my B.S in Biochemistry and Minor in Studio Art from the University of New Hampshire in 2013. I am currently doing research with Arti Shukla, Ph.D. in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, whose lab focuses on malignant mesothelioma and fiber induced disease states. My project is to characterize and assess the role of exosomes, the physiological nano-sized molecular messengers, in the development and progression of malignant mesothelioma. This includes potentially identifying novel circulating exosomal biomarkers that indicate asbestos exposure and mesothelioma carcinogenesis, as a means of early diagnosis and prospective therapeutic targets. My other interests include oil painting, surfing back home in NH, astronomy, and homebrewing.

  • Hannah Naughton, Howe Lab
    I earned a BS in Biology from St. Michael’s College in 2008, and then went on to get a MS in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven. Before joining the CMB program, I worked as a research technician at Albany Medical College, and then spent a few years with Regeneron, a biotech company in NY. Outside of school, I enjoy traveling, snowboarding, and Muay Thai.

  • Luther Pollard, Lord Lab
    I earned my Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Vermont in 2010 and then joined the CMB program at UVM the same year. Currently, my PhD project utilizes techniques spanning single molecule biophysics to live cell imaging to uncover the mechanisms by which actomyosin regulates cytokinesis and polar growth in the model system S. pombe (fission yeast). Outside the lab, my hobbies include running/hiking, cooking, and video games.

  • Abbas Raza, Teuscher Lab
    I grew up in the old city of Lahore, Pakistan. My BS is in Biochemistry and MS in Virology & Immunology. I worked for a year as Research Assistant with Dr. Sohail Qureshi at LUMS, Pakistan studying gene regulation in Sulfolobus. My research work with Dr. Cory Teuscher broadly revolves around understanding the genetic factors that contribute to autoimmunity in central nervous diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS). To that end, I am exploring the role of SLAMF2 as a potential GWAS candidate gene in susceptibility to MS disease.

  • Michael Secinaro, Budd Lab
    Originally from Attleboro, Massachusetts, I entered the CMB program in the fall of 2012 and am doing my dissertation work with Dr. Ralph Budd.  The goal of my project is to understand how metabolism influences the survival of T cells and how that survival impacts the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.  Outside of the lab, you will find me with my camera, exploring and photographing everything Vermont has to offer.

  • Jamie Stern, Berger Lab
    The neuronal microtubule associated protein, Tau plays an important role in the transport of cargo through the axon. While Tau is extensively studied in the development of neurodegenerative disease, my research is focused on Tau’s normal activity and how phosphorylation controls Tau’s behavior, structure and function on the microtubule surface. Outside of lab I enjoy reading, cooking and exploring the outdoors. Vermont is a great place to find new books, fresh ingredients and beautiful places.

  • Arvis Sulovari, Li Lab
    I am working in the laboratory of human genetics and genomics, headed by Dr. Dawei Li. My work involves the discovery and functional characterization of complex disease-gene associations, with a focus on psychiatric disorders. In my (limited) spare time I like to visit new places in Vermont, be outdoors, or work in a café downtown. I have found the CMB community to be an academically nurturing environment comprised of bright, hard-working and supportive individuals.

  • Joyce Thompson, Shukla Lab
    In the Shukla lab, we study signaling pathways involved in malignant mesothelioma tumorigenesis/progression and how these can be exploited for the development of new chemotherapeutics and co-therapies. My work focuses on the regulation of the inflammasome in response to asbestos and the role such regulation plays in MM tumorigenesis and progression. I like to explore the natural beauty in the Lake Champlain area and the rest of Vermont in my free time.

  • Phyu Thwe, Amiel Lab
    I grew up in Burma and sought my higher education in the United States. I completed my B.Sc in Clinical Laboratory Science major from Marquette University. After college, I joined the CMB program in 2013 and am currently working on my dissertation project in Dr. Eyal Amiel's lab. My project is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of glycogen metabolism in dendritic cells that influence the immune responses in these cells.

  • Huy Tu, Diehl Lab
    From Southern California, I joined the CMB program in 2014 after working several years in the biotechnology industry. The CMB journey has been intellectually stimulating, filled with innovative ideas and collaborative experience. My research projects aim to understand the cellular and humoral responses to vaccination with live-attenuated formulations of Dengue virus. Outside of school, I enjoy the beautiful nature and the eclectic culture of Vermont, along with the tasty menu Burlington is proud to offer.

  • Graham Willsey, Wargo Lab
    I graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2009 with a BS in Molecular & Cellular Biology and spent several years working as a research technician before joining the CMB program in 2012. In the Wargo lab, we utilize genetic approaches to understand how Gram negative bacteria recognize and respond to eukaryote-derived compounds. I'm focusing on understanding how Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia recognize and exploit host derived compounds during colonization of the lung.

  • Chris Ziegler, Botten Lab
    Chris hails from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and came to Vermont as an undergraduate student in 2005.  After completing a Chemistry degree and four years on the UVM Catamounts Ski team, he decided to stay in beautiful Vermont and started the CMB program in 2010 where he studies arenavirus biology in the Botten Lab.  Outside of the lab Chris is a very active endurance athlete and competes in regional, national, and international events in cross country skiing and mountain biking.

Prospective Students

Brief Program Overview

The CMB program trains students to:
  • Become scholars in their field
  • Conduct hypothesis-based research in an ethically responsible manner
  • Think independently, creatively, and critically
  • Effectively communicate as teachers, researchers, and scholars
The curriculum of the Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program is designed to give students fundamental and applied skills to prepare them for future positions in scientific research and related fields. The core curriculum includes coursework in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, ethics, data analysis and presentation. Students also enhance their writing skills through a grant-writing course and improve their presentation skills through participation in the CMB Seminar Program and teaching opportunities.During the first year, CMB students conduct three research rotations with potential advisors, while taking the required core course work in Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Students complete their core course requirements and comprehensive exam in year two. In addition to the core courses, students have the opportunity to study advanced topics in the following areas in order to fulfill their course credit requirements:
  • Biochemistry, Structural Biology & Biophysics
  • Genetics, Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology & Immunology
  • Molecular Physiology & Pharmacology


A $28,000 stipend and health insurance coverage are guaranteed for all CMB students in good standing with the program for the duration of their dissertation studies. During the first two years, CMB Students are funded on a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Each student assists with teaching an undergraduate course or lab for two semesters during this time period. In the third year and beyond, students are guaranteed funding provided that they are making satisfactory progress towards their degree. This funding is provided by the advisor and/or department, typically through a research grant or fellowship.

Application Review Process

Our application process begins with submission of a completed application to the Graduate College which includes three letters of recommendation, all higher education transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (if not a native English speaker) and the associated application fee. The CMB Recruitment and Admissions Committee will review completed applications for appropriate qualifications, skills, knowledge and motivation. Decisions will be based on a variety of criteria, including: undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, letters of reference, statement of purpose, educational background as demonstrated on all transcripts and an interview (Skype, phone, or on-campus).Competitive international applicants will be interviewed by telephone or Skype.

Competitive domestic applicants will be invited to visit campus for interviews on one of the following dates in 2017: January 13th-14th and January 27th-28th. This weekend stay provides ample opportunities for potential students to interact with faculty and current students, as well as learn about Burlington and the surrounding area.

For more information regarding the official application process see our Graduate Admissions page.

Last modified February 09 2017 10:32 AM