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Current Lab Members

  • Read Pukkila-Worley

    Read Pukkila-Worley, MD, FIDSA

    Read is an infectious diseases physician and PI of the lab. He received his MD from the UNC- Chapel Hill and completed his clincial training at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Read was a postdoc with Fred Ausubel, PhD at MGH before joining the UMass faculty in 2015. He is an avid cyclist, runner and hiker, and he plays the cello. He spends most of his spare time though chasing his two kids, Eli and Vivian, with his wife, Anya.

  • Sarah Anderson

    Sarah Anderson

    Sarah is a Ph.D. candidate who joined the lab in fall of 2017. She graduated from Keene State College in New Hampshire with a B.S. in biology and worked in industry for three years before coming to graduate school. Sarah loves dogs and doing anything outdoors, especially hiking and skiing in her home state of New Hampshire.

  • Hilary Cheesman

    Hilary Cheesman, M.S.

    Hilary, our lab manager, was the first person to join the lab. She helped Read unpack boxes and has since become an excellent C. elegans geneticist. Hilary has a masters in plant pathology from Penn St and previously also lived in Vermont.  She is originally from central Massachusetts and lives in Worcester with her husband, Dan and their adorable puppy Aesop.

  • Nick Peterson

    Nick Peterson

    Nick is an M.D., Ph.D. candidate who has joined the lab for his thesis research. Nick graduated from St. John's University in Minnesota, where he ran track at the Division III level. He is a 2:40 marathoner (that's wicked fast), a former TB microbiologist and loves all things related to Minnesota.

  • Claire Tocheny

    Claire Tocheny

    Claire is an M.D./Ph.D. student who joined the lab for her thesis research in 2020. She graduated from William and Mary and enjoys biking, making pottery and her cat, named Ellie.

  • Samantha Tse

    Samantha Tse

    Sammy is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate who joined the lab in 2019. She is a proud Massachusetts native and graduate of Boston College. She loves roller coasters, rock climbing, snowboarding, adventurous foods, and anything related to intestinal immunity.


  • Richa Chhaya

    Richa Chhaya

    Richa is an alumna of the lab.  She worked with us for three summers while an undergrad at UConn. She is now a UMASS medical student. 

  • Kyle Foster, Ph.D.

    Kyle Foster, Ph.D.

    Kyle did his thesis research in the Pukkila-Worley lab. He successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis in September 2020. He is now working as a Scientific Consultant for Recruitomics Consulting in Boston, MA.

  • Elizabeth Salisbury

    Elizabeth Salisbury

    Elizabeth is an alumna of the lab. She worked with us for one year as a reserach technician and is now a medical student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.