• Alex Thompson, Stumpff Lab - "The Stumpff lab studies kinesin motors and the microtubule cytoskeleton in cell division. I'm particularly interested in how changes in kinesin structure and function at the single molecule level cause cellular-scale changes in mitosis, and the consequences of these changes on organism health and development. The structure of kinesin motors can be altered by post-translational modification, or mutations can alter motor structure and function in disease. I am also studying the roles proteins with known mitotic functions may play in interphase cells."

  • Huy Tu, Diehl Lab - Huy Tu, a CMB graduate student and trainee on the Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases (VCIID) Training Grant has recently provided new insights into the human immune response to dengue infection in a new paper published online March 8th in the Lancet’s open access journal EBioMedicine.

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  • Leslie Sepaniac, Stumpff Lab - "In the Stumpff Lab, we study the molecular mechanisms of chromosome segregation and cell division. I am interested in understanding how micronuclei, chromosomes which are spatially separated from the main nucleus, may impact genomic stability. Micronuclei can arise as a result of errors in chromosome segregation, and are commonly associated with aggressive, chromosomally unstable cancers."
    Visit the Stumpff Lab Website

  • Eric Bolf, Carr Lab - "My work explores the relationship between thyroid cancer and breast cancer. Both cancers predominantly affect women and a link between the two diseases is emerging; women with breast cancer are at increased risk of developing thyroid cancer and vice versa. Thyroid hormone signaling plays a role in cancer risk and development, and may be an important contributing factor to the relationship between thyroid and breast cancer. My project focuses on thyroid hormone receptor beta, a tumor suppressor, and uncovering the molecular mechanism by which it blocks tumor development in both tissue types. I hope to reveal common features that will provide therapeutic targets for both diseases."

  • Dominique Lessard, Berger Lab - "In the Berger Lab we study axonal transport, a critical process in neurons required for the delivery of essential cellular cargo to the distal ends of the axon. Using single-molecule microscopy and biophysical techniques we are able to characterize the behavior of many proteins necessary for axonal transport, ranging from molecular motors to microtubule associated proteins (MAPs). Specifically, I am working to define the regulation of Tau, a MAP, on various kinesins, a super family of processive proteins needed for anterograde neuronal cargo transport. I am extremely pleased with the high caliber research I am exposed to every day at UVM and greatly enjoy being a part of the CMB community."

  • Alvee Hasan, Huston Lab - "We study two intestinal parasites in our lab, Entamoeba histolytica and Cryptosporidium. E. histolytica can invade the colonic tissue layers and cause invasive amebiasis. We try to understand this invasion mechanism using standard genetic and biochemical tools. For Cryptosporidium, our interest is in drug development, which is sorely needed.  In the absence of even a continuous in-vitro culture system for Cryptosporidium, we use high content imaging assays and animal challenge experiments with the goal of facilitating the identification and characterization of anti-cryptosporidium drugs or tool compounds."
    Visit the Huston Lab Website

  • Inessa Manuelyan, Botten Lab - "Viruses are intracellular obligate pathogens that rely on host cellular machinery to complete the steps of their life cycle. They enter cells, replicate their genomes, make new viral proteins, assemble new viral particles, and exit the infected cell to repeat the process with naïve cells. During this life cycle, viruses interact with host cellular proteins to correctly complete each step. These interactions between viral and host proteins are crucial for the virus to propagate and are the underlying causes of pathology in humans after viral infection. By comprehensively mapping viral proteomes, or the viral protein-host protein interactions, we gain knowledge about the types of cellular proteins that viruses utilize to complete steps of their life cycles, and we have the opportunity to discover new candidates for potential anti-viral therapies."


The Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences (CMB) Ph.D. program was founded in 1971 (originally called the Cell Biology program) to meet the growing need to train scientists in the latest research techniques in a multidisciplinary setting. The CMB faculty of the University of Vermont (UVM) are from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The College of Arts and Sciences, The College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and The College of Medicine. Graduate education at UVM is characterized by a collegial environment that stresses active mentorship and scientific excellence.

The central theme of the CMB program is to provide a rich experience at the forefront of modern biology focusing on collaborative research between students and investigators across the UVM campus. Currently the CMB program has 79 students and 83 faculty from 17 departments.

Our program is unique in its multi- and interdisciplinary nature that is not constricted by the boundaries of a typical size department–based program. The CMB curriculum is designed to provide flexibility. The number of required courses are kept to a minimum, yet still provide access to a diverse array of topics that can be tailored to the student according to his or her interests. In this way we provide the best possible training to prepare students to succeed in their future endeavors. We also encourage students to attend offsite training to broaden their academic and research knowledge.

Here are just some of the offsite training that our students have recently attended:

  • University of Illinois Center for the Physics of Living Cells (CPLC) summer course on single-molecule FIONA
  • University of Illinois Center for the Physics of Living Cells (CPLC) summer course on single-molecule FRET (smFRET)
  • Jackson Labs in Bar Harbor, Maine 54th/55th short course on Experimental and Mammalian Genetics
  • University of Washington, Seattle, course on Statistical Genetics
  • Rockefeller University, New York City, course on Advanced Gene Mapping

In 2016, UVM received the 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award.

Affiliated Departments

Our interdisciplinary program is comprised of highly dedicated research faculty in many departments across the UVM campus. This provides a rich learning environment that accommodates students with diverse scientific interests. Faculty members in the CMB program have primary appointments in the following UVM departments: