Lab Members

Abraham Brass Lab Picture

  • Abraham Brass MD.

    Abraham Brass MD.

    Assistant Professor

    Abe Brass is an Assistant Professor in the Microbiology and Physiological Systems Dept. and the Gastroenterology Division, Dept. of Medicine, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester MA. Dr. Brass' group studies viral-host interactions and the host's intrinsic immune system. Dr. Brass obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. After a short-track residency in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston Mass., Dr. Brass completed his clinical training in Gastroenterology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, while working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Genetics Dept. of the Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Brass grew up in Newton Mass and graduated from Newton South High School. 

  • William M. McDougall Ph. D.

    William M. McDougall Ph. D.

    Post-Doctoral Associate

    Will is a Buffalo, New York native whose research career started at Buffalo State College with a small independent project studying the differential regulation of the C. Elegans genes, grp170aand grp170b under stress.  After graduating with a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry, he then went on to study the HIV host-defense factor APOBEC3G at the University of Rochester where he earned a Ph. D. in Biochemistry. In 2014, Will joined the Brass lab to study the CD225 family member PRRT2 and has recently started to create new reagents for CRISPR/Cas9 studies. In his free time, Will enjoys playing golf and hiking on the many nearby trails.  Pictured with Will is Hank the caterpillar whose research interests include baculovirus induced zombie-like insect behavior, silk production, and increasing the overall well-being of those around him.  Hank hopes to develop his research interests so he can metamorphose into Hank Butterfly Ph. D.


  • George Savidis

    George Savidis

    Research Associate

    As a Worcester, MA native, George is a proud alumnus of the College of the Holy Cross, where graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Biology and Biochemistry in the pre-medical program. He completed his biochemistry thesis investigating hedgehog protein auto-processing and protein splicing. Upon graduating in 2012, George joined the Brass lab as a research associate to examine host-viral interactions including HIV, influenza, dengue virus, and rhinovirus. He hopes to attend medical school in the near future. During his free time, George enjoys playing a variety of instruments, playing pick-up soccer and making pizza.

  • Jill Perreira

    Jill Perreira

    Research Associate

    A native of Lancaster in central Mass., Jill completed her undergraduate studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Jill’s major qualifying project for graduation was done at the UMass Medical School with Dr. Rogaev, looking at the functional role of the IMPAS family of proteins and the potential association with Alzheimer’s disease. Upon graduation in 2012, with a B.S. in Biology and Biotechnology and a minor in English, she joined the Brass lab and has developed a real skill and passion for all things science, with her favorite being microscopy. Jill has been a leader in developing cutting edge imaging techniques that can detect viruses, including HIV-1 and influenza A virus, at different parts of their lifecycles. Jill’s work has lead to multiple discoveries and publications that have provided us with a much deeper understanding of these viruses and the host factors they depend upon. As a former high school and collegiate track and field captain, Jill continues her pastime of training and running various road races. She also loves animals and enjoys spending time with her Australian cattle dog, Bandit.

  • Jocelyn Portmann

    Jocelyn Portmann

    Research Associate

    Jocelyn grew up in Corinth, ME and then came a bit further south to complete her undergraduate studies at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, graduating in 2014 with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Psychology. At Mount Holyoke College Jocelyn was a member of the woman's basketball team for four years, and a captain for one year. She is interested in virology and better understanding the virus-host interaction at a cellular level.  Jocelyn’s work focuses on using genetics, molecular biology, and microscopy to understand how viruses enter cells and make use of their resources. She is interested in a career in science and is using this time to explore the many options of academia to guide her future path.

  • Paul Meraner

    Paul Meraner

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    My work in the Brass lab has two major directions: studying virus-host interactions with exciting novel CRISPR screening technology; and elucidating the mechanism of action of antiviral IFITM proteins. Before coming to the U.S., I completed a residency in dermatology in Vienna, Austria. I also experienced lab life during that time, and ultimately decided that I wanted to pursue science full time. Outside the lab, I enjoy cooking (paying special tribute to my home country, Italy) and tinkering of all sorts.

  • Gaia Trincucci

    Gaia Trincucci

    Post-Doctoral Associate

    Native of Como, in Northern Italy, Gaia started her research career at National Cancer Institute in Milan, where she investigated the genetics of lung cancer in murine models. After obtaining a B. S. in Biotechnology, she moved to Switzerland where she earned a Ph. D.  in Molecular Biology at the University of Basel. There, she studied the role of type III interferons in chronic HCV infection. Her interest in viral hepatitis prompted her to move first to the University of Geneva, where she carried out a project on HBV infection and lipid metabolism, and then to join the Brass lab to elucidate the actions of HBV host factors. In her free time she enjoys reading, biking and cooking. She also loves to promote the cultural and natural beauties of Italy among her colleagues, hoping to host them all at the beautiful Como Lake.  

  • Hank Caterpillar

    Hank Caterpillar

    Will McDougall's imaginary friend

    Hank the caterpillar whose research interests include baculovirus induced zombie-like insect behavior, silk production, and increasing the overall well-being of those around him.  Hank hopes to develop his research interests so he can metamorphose into Hank Butterfly Ph. D.

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