University of Vermont

Office of Undergraduate Research

Highlighted Faculty Profiles

The following show only a few of the faculty who sponsor undergraduate research. For a more comprehensive list of those willing to provide research experience, please visit OUR at 50 U-Heights North, Room 017B.

Faculty Name Department(s) Research Interests
Julia Smith Animal Science, UVM Extension Biosecurity and preventive animal health management. Interdisciplinary project to better prepare farms and communities to implement biosecurity plans in the face of a highly contagious disease emergency.
John Crock Anthropology, Consulting Archaeology Program Engages in activities that help preserve, protect and explain Vermont's cultural heritage related to Native American and Euroamerican culture history. Major research themes include human interaction with the natural environment, technology, and regional trade and exchange.
Jeanne Shea Anthropology Cultural and generational differences in experiences of the lifecycle, human development, and aging, in the types of health concerns and social issues that mark lifecourse transitions, and in the influences of gender, class, ethnicity, culture, and generation on experiences of health, illness, healing, and the health care system (China and North America).
Scott Morrical Biochemistry; Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Structure, function, and regulation of protein-DNA complexes required for the error-free repair of DNA double-strand breaks and related lesions in normal vs. cancer cells and in model organisms such as budding yeast, bacteria, and viruses.
Paula Tracy Biochemistry Our major focus is to define the mechanisms by which platelets regulate the generation of the blood clotting enzyme thrombin at their membrane surfaces.
Bryan Ballif Biology Molecular mechanisms of signal transduction; genetically-defined signaling pathways regulating mammalian brain development; and core signaling pathways regulating cell proliferation, growth, and survival. Biochemical and cell biological approaches, mass spectrometry-based proteomics.
Gene Delay Biology We are examining taste transduction mechanisms of mice using behavioral and immunocytochemical methods. We are starting to examine the effects of chemotherapy drugs on taste in mice.
Rona Delay Biology, Neurological Sciences I am working on how hormones and other chemicals modulate odor responses in olfactory or vomeronasal neurons.
Ken Helms Biology Main current focus is on the evolution of cooperation, conflict, and cooperative breeding among queens in a desert ant.
C. William Kilpatrick Biology Use of molecular techniques to address evolutionary and ecological questions ofter concerning conservation issues of vertebrates
Judith Van Houten Biology Cilia structure and function using fluorescence microscopy, molecular biology, RNAinterference, genetics, behavior of Paramecium
Jim Vigoreaux Biology; Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Evolution and functional properties of muscle proteins. Structural and mechanical properties of muscle thick filaments.
Daniel Baker CDAE Emergency preparedness in mobile home parks; Hispanic Labor on Vermont Dairy Farms; Rural Development in Honduras; Water systems and watershed conservation in Honduras; appropriate technology transfer
David Pratt Chemistry Experimental studies of the structures of small molecules in the gas phase, especially those of biological interest.
Rory Waterman Chemistry Our largest focus is on the discovery and application of new bond-forming catalysis. We are also interested in methods to convert carbon dioxide to a useful chemical synthon.
Josh Bongard Computer Science In my group we create computer programs that design robots for us automatically, rather than trying to build robots by hand.
Carmen Petrick Smith Education (Secondary) Mathematics in education: working with children, video games, board games, computer science/programming, and embodied cognition.
Dryver Huston Engineering (Mechanical), and Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation Structural sensing, human and structural health monitoring, electromechanical systems, robots
Rachael Oldinski Engineering, and Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation Biomaterials science and biotechnology addressing inflammatory diseases and orthopedic tissue engineering. Combine polymer chemistry, tissue engineering, applied biomechanics and mechanical design, and novel polymer systems for drug delivery.
Rodger Kessler Family Medicine 6 active projects. National surveys, multisite electronic record based process improvement and outcome measures
Karen Richardson-Nassif Family Medicine Outcomes based education; some faculty research projects and program building projects.
Andrea Lini Geology Climate reconstruction using lake sediments and tree ring records
Meghan Cope Geography Teens and transportation in Chittenden Co., Youth engagement in planning decisions, Mobility and access to public space, Narratives of places that are 'losing young people' thru out-migration
Steve Zdatny History I am writing a book on the history of hygiene in France since the middle of the 19th century.
Chris Danforth Mathematics and Statistics Improving predictions made by mathematical models of the atmosphere and other phenomena. Working with massive socio-technical data (e.g. from social networks) to understand the how, where, and why of happiness.
Eyal Amiel Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences Basic molecular mechanisms regulating cellular immune activation with the long-term goal of discovering new therapeutic approaches to manipulate immune responses to better meet the needs of immune-related clinical challenges.
Paula Deming Medical Laboratory and Radiation Science Our research is focused on elucidating the signaling between the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A and growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases during normal and pathological conditions.
Mary Cushman Medicine The epidemiology of coagulation, inflammation, and fibrinolysis phenotypes and genotypes in the population, and their relationships to etiology and pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and venous thrombosis.
Matthew Poynter Medicine Environmental causes of allergic asthma
Benjamin Suratt Medicine Innate immune system in lung inflammation and the influence of genetic polymorphisms and comorbid conditions such as obesity. Effects of obesity on acute inflammation -infections are poorly controlled, yet exuberant inappropriate inflammatory states (critical illness, acute lung injury/ARDS) are ameliorated.
Daniel Weiss Medicine Stem cell, cell therapy, and bioengineering approaches to lung diseases
Jeffrey L. Spees Medicine, and Neurological Sciences We identify cell types (like stem cells) that respond to injury and study the biochemistry of paracrine factors and secreted Proteins. We are interested in developing combinatorial drugs by learning from reparative cells.
Michael Toth Medicine, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Why skeletal muscle size and function is diminished with aging, chronic disease and muscle disuse. Study these phenomena at the molecular, cellular, tissue and whole body level; utility of interventions designed to improve muscle function, such as resistance exercise.
Benjamin Littenberg Medicine, Nursing Automatic systems to increase patient engagement and improve quality
Gil Allen Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Examining the interactions between acid and endotoxin in the pathogenesis of aspiration-induced lung injury.
Oliver Dienz Medicine (Immunobiology Program) T cell response to infections. Exploring the gene regulation of important cytokine genes in memory T cells and how that influences their function. How elevated free acid levels (e. g. in obesity) affect the activation and function of T helper cells during an infection.
Douglas Johnson Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Pathogenic yeast, Candida albicans, and its ability to form biofilms in the human host. We are analyzing small molecule inhibitors of biofilm formation with the goal of isolating new anti-fungal drugs and biofilm inhibitors.
Sylvie Doublie Microbiology & Molecular Genetics DNA replication and repair; structural biology and protein function
Matthew Lord Molecular Physiology & Biophysics How myosin motor proteins are temporally and spatially regulated in the cell. Combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches; fission yeast as model system; classical and molecular genetics and live cell imaging (of fluorescently-labeled proteins).
Mark Miller Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Examining human skeletal muscle function and structure at the molecular, cellular, tissue and whole body levels to understand the effects of aging on skeletal muscle (including disuse, disease, and exercise).
Brad Palmer Molecular Physiology & Biophysics We are interested in the molecular basis of cardiac muscle contraction and relaxation.
Jason Stumpff Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Quantitative cell biology, biochemistry and biophysics to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the assembly and function of the mitotic spindle and determine how spindle dysfunction contributes to human disease.
David Feurzeig Music and Dance Composition, orchestration, and theory.
Wayne Schneider Music and Dance Transcription of American music: George Gershwin, Mary O'Hara, cowboy music.
D. Thomas Toner Music and Dance Percussion; conducting; performance.
Matthew Rand Neurological Sciences The effects of mercury toxicity in the developing nervous system to understand human exposure, especially in the fetus. Conduct studies of embryo development and molecular biology using the fruit fly (Drosophila) model.
George Osol Ob/Gyn, Physiology, and Pharmacology How do the blood vessels of the uterus grow and remodel during pregnancy? What are the impacts of hypertension and preeclampsia on this process?
Maria Roemhildt Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation Animal models of osteoarthritis; mechanical properties of articular cartilage; orthopaedic biomaterials
Margaret Doyle Pathology Looking at soluble forms of cellular receptors that are commonly found circulating in plasma to determine their origin, do they differences among individuals, and if different forms indicate disease states.
Nancy Jenny Pathology Associations of inflammation and immune biomarkers with aging-related diseases
Alan Howe Pharmacology, Vermont Cancer Center The mechanisms through which the extracellular microenvironment regulates cell shape, movement, and behavior, with a specific interest in how this regulation contributes to the invasion and spread of metastatic tumors.
Yolanda Chen Plant & Soil Science Understanding the origin of insect pests in agriculture; how to use an understanding of ecology to control insect pests in agriculture (ecologically-based pest management practices). Lab examines the ecological and evolutionary origin of insect pests in agriculture.
Scott Costa Plant & Soil Science Fungi for suppression of forest pests
Deborah Neher Plant & Soil Science Compost management of soil born plant disease; Soybean cyst nematode; laboratory observable characters that may explain spatial niche partitioning in soils.
Don Ross Plant & Soil Science, Environmental Sciences Measuring carbon pools in Vermont forest soils; measuring soil phosphorus forms along Lake Champlain stream corridors; hydropedology--examining the relationship between water pathways, soil development and stream water chemistry in a forested catchment
Dave Barrington Plant Biology Patterns of diversity and evolution of ferns in tropical America and eastern Asia; distribution of genetic variation in the fiddlehead fern with respect to changes in distribution since the ice age. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences combined with plant morphology.
Jill Preston Plant Biology Uncovering the genetic basis for why plants look and function differently. Identifying the interacting genes/proteins that control flowering time and flower form, and deciphering how evolution of these gene/protein networks have affected diversification of plant reproductive traits.
Mary Tierney Plant Biology My lab studies the role of cell wall structure in plant development. These studies include genetic analysis of the function of cell wall components and the role of vesicle trafficking in cell function.
Abby van den Berg Plant Biology - Proctor Maple Research Center Proctor Maple Research Center: plant physiological ecology and maple syrup chemistry
Caroline Beer Political Science I writing a book comparing gender equality policies (gay marriage, abortion, gender quotas, violence against women laws) across all the states of Mexico.
Anthony Gierzynski Political Science Working on a projects examining the effect of entertainment media on public opinion and conducting research for the Vermont State Legislature (the Vermont Legislative Research Service (
Martha Thomas Political Science My current project uses empirical analysis based on an original dataset to evaluate the factors within European Union member-states which contribute to problems with implementation of EU laws.
Robert Althoff Psychiatry, Psychology, and Pediatrics By better characterizing children with profound problems with attention, mood swings, and aggression, we strive to identify modifiable genetic and environmental factors to reduce depression, personality disorders and substance use in adolescence and adulthood.
Julie Dumas Psychiatry The neurobiology underlying cognitive aging utilizing psychopharmacology, hormone treatment, and functional neuroimaging as tools.
Magdalena Naylor Psychiatry As a founding member of the UVM Functional Brain Imaging Program, I study ways of coping with chronic pain utilizing fMRI.
Gail Rose Psychiatry We are conducting a randomized controlled trial comparing an automated alcohol brief intervention vs. usual care in a primay care setting.
John Green Psychology What role does the cerebellum play in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder? What are the effects of voluntary exercise on cerebellum-dependent and striatum-dependent learning? What is the role of the cerebellar cortex in eyeblink classical conditioning?
Dianna Murray-Close Psychology Examining relational forms of aggression (e.g., gossip, social exclusion) in addition to more traditional studies forms of aggression such as physical aggression. Peer group functioning, including interactions with friends and romantic partners.
Elizabeth Pinel Psychology We ask how shared subjective experience fosters helping, perspective taking, and ability to resolve conflict, among other things.
Matthew Price Psychology Examines ways to improve mental health care for those who have anxiety disorders and have who have been exposed to a traumatic event. Primarily involves the use of technology in mental health care.
Alessandra Rellini Psychology Sexual function and sexual responses based on factors including: cardiovascular disease, infertility treatment, female sexual arousal disorder, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, childhood maltreatment. Predictors of high risk sexual activities; modulating effects of hormones and environment.
Alice Schermerhorn Psychology Association between stress and child adjustment, are some children at a greater risk of adjustment problems because of their temperament characteristics? Using neuroscience techniques (EEG, fMRI) and looking at cortisol reactivity in response to marital conflict.
Maeve Eberhardt Romance Languages & Linguistics Understanding how the ethnolinguistic identities of second generation Americans develop in the particular locale of Vermont.
Julie Roberts Romance Languages & Linguistics Studying the ongoing change in the Vermont dialect and its social, regional, cultural, and historical influences.
Guillermo Rodriguez Romance Languages & Linguistics The role of individual cognitive differences (working memory, attention capacity) during the processing (comprehension) of a second language; studies of translation, in order to see how relevant extensive reading might be in the learning of second language structures.
William "Breck" Bowden Rubenstein School Interactions between hydrological and biogeochemical processes, especially as these processes are influenced by land use practices and land cover characteristics at catchment scales. Uptake/Use of science knowledge by resource managers, policy makers, and community stakeholders.
Jennifer Pontius Rubenstein School Remote sensing to investigate trends in forest health over the past 25 years; remote sensing of red spruce decline; susceptibility modeling of Hemlock to hemlock woolly adelgid; Forest Growth rates (past/present) using long term inventory data (field and data analysis)
Jason Stockwell Rubenstein School; Ecosystems Science Lab Research assesses the distribution and population demographics of the macro-invertebrate, Mysis (aka the opossum shrimp) in Lake Champlain. (field collections, lab processing, culturing in aquaria, and running lab experiments)
Dale Jaffe Sociology Qualitative methodology, aging, Alzheimer's, health care and policy, social psychology
Jonathan Boyson Surgery, Cell and Molecular Biology Program Examine the function of NKT cells (unusual white blood cells), which modulate immune responses and are implicated in a variety of diseases. Mouse models. (flow cytometry, gene expression analysis by microarray, ELISA, recombinant protein production, quantitative RT-PCR)
Kalev Freeman Surgery, Pharmacology Effects of traumatic brain injury on blood vessel function
Adam Shafritz Surgery research interests include the study of upper extremity injuries occurring in skiers and snowboarders, outcomes after surgical treatment of fractures of the proximal humerus, and the function of the clavicle on shoulder girdle mechanics.

Last modified November 08 2013 10:24 AM