Research Cow from Iowa State

A Holstein cow from the herd at Iowa State

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Position Opening!

The Testroet Laboratory at the University of Vermont is seeking a Masters or Ph.D. student to work on several projects:

  1. A project that will be utilizing synthetic RNA as a preventative for fatty liver disease in dairy cattle.  Our goal is to develop a practical and economical on-farm intervention for fatty liver in transition dairy cattle by utilizing small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to silence a protein that regulates mitochondrial function.  This is a phase one SBIR project, so we anticipate continuing to phase two for an expanded study.
  2. A project investigating transfer of colostrum-derived antibodies to newborn calves.   As a first step we will compare the rate and quantity of absorption of IgG.  Subsequent studies will be developed based on the findings of this study. 
  3. Investigating the role of enzymes of interest in dairy cattle in vitro with our model of bovine fatty liver disease.  This position will involve using knockout methods and overexpression methods. 

There are more projects in development, but the above listed are likely sufficient to give a overview of our research program. 


With this position, you will be expected to serve as a teaching assistant in exchange for tuition, stipend, and full benefits for three years. 

Overview and how to apply

Our laboratory is focused on a “one-health” approach to fatty liver disease, and hopes to learn about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).  Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in animal science, molecular biology, biochemistry, nutrition, or other related fields.  The Animal Science department requires GRE scores to be submitted.  We are looking for a student to join us and help grow our lab starting in the Fall semester of 2020 (although starting in the summer may be possible).  For more information, please contact Dr. Eric Testroet at 515-230-8137  or

Michelle LaCasse

Michelle at a conference

Masters Graduate Student

Michelle LaCasse was born and raised in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. She graduated from Winona State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a double major in Ecology. Her undergraduate research consisted of a human nutrition study that focused on satiety and the effects of pre-meal snack choices.
During her time in southern Minnesota, Michelle completed two internships with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Her work included trout management in over 600 miles of streams at a fisheries office in the Driftless region.
Michelle is pursuing a Master’s degree in Animal Science in Dr. Testroet’s Lab with research focusing on Fatty Liver Disease in periparturient dairy cows.

Eric at Mt. Elmore fire tower

Join The Testroet Lab

Interested in being a graduate student in the Testroet lab?

Please see Position diescription in the PDF above

If you find your research interests align with our research goals, send Dr. Testroet an e-mail including:

  • A statement of your interests (including why you feel my lab is a good fit for you)
  • Your curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
  • Any pertinent scores such as your GPA, GRE and TOEFFL scores
  • Instructions outlining how to apply to the University of Vermont graduate program are on the UVM Graduate College website: UVM Graduate College


  • Postdoctoral Training Washington State University 2017-present Growth biology and basic bioscience        
  • Ph..D. Iowa State University  2017  Nutritional Sciences with specialization in  cellular and molecular nutrition
  • Chemistry TA Training Iowa State University  2016  Pedagogy and diversity training (seven-day short course)
  • B.A. Iowa State University  2000-2008 Chemistry, minor biology

Professional Membership

  • NCCC210 Multistate Experimental Group Co-Chair – 2018-2019
  • Washington State University Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Judge - 2018
  • ASN Abstract reviewer- 2018
  • American Physiological Society: 2017-present
  • Judge for the Iowa Science competition - 2017
  • American Association for the Advancement of Sciences: 2016-present.
  • Iowa State University Food Science and Human Nutrition Computer Allocation Committee: 2016-2017.
  • American Dairy Science Association Professional Development Committee: 2015-2016.
  • American Dairy Science Association Graduate Student Division Education Committee: 2015-2016.
  • Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society: 2015-present.
  • Sigma Xi Research Honor Society: 2015-present.
  • American Dairy Science Association Graduate Student Division Dairy Foods Director: 2014-2015.
  • American Dairy Science Association Graduate Student Division Treasurer: 2013-2014.
  • Iowa State University Food Product Development Club Treasurer (founding member): 2012-2014.
  • American Dairy Science Association Member: 2011-present.
  • American Society of Nutrition Member: 2011-present.
  • American Dairy Science Association Graduate Student Division Education Committee: 2011-2013.

Work Address

213 Terrill Building
570 Main Street
Burlington VT 05405
office: 802-656-2113
Lab Address:
205 Terrill Building