Lab Members

Dr. Brian Cunniff

Brian Cunniff, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Brian completed his PhD in Dr. Nicholas Heintz’s Laboratory at the University of Vermont in 2014. He did a short postdoc with Dr. Janet Shaw at the University of Utah and completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Tom Kirchhausen at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Brian returned to UVM in 2017 as a Faculty Scientist and was appointed to Assistant Professor (Tenure track) in 2019. 


Terri Messier

Terri Messier

Research Analyst and Lab Manager

I am a research analyst with biomedical research experience in both the academic and biotechnology sectors, including projects in several laboratories at the University of Vermont and as a group leader at Acadia Pharmaceuticals in San Diego, CA. My research interests include development of improved detection and treatment modalities in cancer by studying both genetic and epigenetic changes that result in transcriptional re-programing of cancer cells.


Stephanie Milczarek

Stephanie Milczarek

Research Technician

Stephanie is a graduate of Clarkson University (2015 Biomolecular Science, B.S.), and native to Round Lake, NY. Since graduating, she has gained breadth and depth in a variety of scientific settings;  Previously a Research Associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, she primarily worked on expanding genome-scale libraries of RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 reagents and later developing, performing, and optimizing pull-down assays to investigate genes related to myocardial infarction.  She hopes to continue building her experience with the great team at UVM and combine her passions for science, health, and lifelong learning throughout her professional life.  Outside of the lab, she loves being outdoors (hiking, mountain biking, or learning to sail) as well as experimenting in the kitchen.


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Nathaniel Shannon

CMB Graduate Student

I recently graduated from Saint Anselm College, Manchester NH, in 2019 with a degree in Biochemistry. My previous work was focused on cell cycle regulation in yeast cells as a way of better understanding cancer progression. In the Fall of 2019, I moved to Vermont for graduate school where I am currently in the Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences (CMB) program. I am excited to be part of the Cunniff lab where my interests include the role of mitochondrial positioning regulating gene expression patterns in normal and tumor cells as well as focal adhesion dynamics during cell migration. When I am not in lab I am out exploring Vermont by hiking, running, or even fishing.


Meara Heininger

Meara Heininger

Undergraduate Researcher
Biochemistry Major
2019 SURF Awardee
 

Lab Alumni

Stacie Beuschel

Stacie Beuschel

Research Technician/Animal Specialist

I moved home to Vermont in 2002 to raise my daughter and landed in the Office of Animal Care.  In 2004 I moved into research and have studied malignant mesothelioma for the majority of those years.  In my time here I have had great fortune to work with some amazing mentors who have supported my career path and allowed me to participate in numerous continuing education opportunities with both the Jackson Laboratories, Charles River Laboratories as well as our local AALAS branch.  In our Northern Mountain Branch of AALAS I have held several officer positions, my favorite of which is the time I spent as the Branch Representative, which allowed me to bring quality, relevant programming to our branch as well as giving me the opportunity for public outreach which is a real passion of mine. For a short time I ran the Inhalation facility here at UVM and I am now working in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Cunniff and am continuing research on some promising therapies for mesothelioma.   My daughter is now going into her senior year of high school and we are looking forward to her graduation and what our future holds, both personally and professionally.  


Alexis Saamen

Alexis Saamen

Research Technician

Western Blotting aficionado who ventured into research after spending about 5 years working in clinical medicine in the Emergency Department, Women's Health and Oncology. I am originally from Wisconsin, attended College and Graduate School in Illinois and moved to Vermont in 2016. My favorite past times are hiking, skiing, kayaking and enjoying the beautiful outdoors of Vermont.


Haya Alshaabi

Haya Alshaabi

Research Technician
*Haya completed her undergraduate Honors College Thesis in the lab
2018 SURF Awardee

I was born and raised in Damascus, Syria.  In 2017, I joined the research laboratory of Dr. Brian Cunniff where I studied the influence of mitochondrial positioning on subcellular activities and wrote my undergraduate thesis. After graduating from UVM (class of 2019), I started working as a research technician in Dr. Cunniff’s lab and preparing to apply for medical schools. Beside my class and lab work, I am a licensed EMT and I have interned with the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of Vermont. I was also a professional swimmer in Damascus’s swimming team and I enjoy playing the piano, cooking, drawing and writing journals.