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Who we are

ScienceLIVE Co-Founders, Staff, Trainees & Interns

  • Co-founders & Staff

    Co-founders & Staff

    RTI & MAPS, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Athma Pai

    Athma Pai, PhD

    Assistant Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute

    Dr. Pai is an RNA systems geneticist who uses functional genomics and computational approaches to address open questions in mammalian gene regulation. Athma received her Ph.D. from the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, working with Yoav Gilad and collaborating closely with Jonathan Pritchard’s group on human and comparative genomics analyses. She then moved on to postdoctoral research as a Jane Coffin Childs fellow at MIT working with Christopher Burge, focusing on understanding the changes in mRNA splicing after immune response and developing methods to measure the dynamics of such processes. Athma assumed her current position as an Assistant Professor in the RNA Therapeutics Institute at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in January 2018. Her lab works on developing and applying methods to study the kinetics of RNA processing and understanding how various steps in RNA maturation are coordinated through lifecycle of an RNA molecule.

  • Interns, Students & Postdocs

    Interns, Students & Postdocs

    UMass Chan Medical School
  • Christine Carbone

    Christine Carbone

    PhD Candidate, RTI, UMass Chan Medical School

    PhD Candidate in Andrei Korostelev's Lab, RTI, UMass Chan Medical School

  • Katarzyna Dubiel

    Katarzyna Dubiel

    Postdoctoral Fellow, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Maryam Fatouraei

    Maryam Fatouraei

    Graduate Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Erica Hildebrand

    Erica Hildebrand

    Postdoctoral Fellow, UMass Chan
  • Eleni Jaecklein

    Eleni Jaecklein

    Graduate Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Aylish Klepper

    Aylish Klepper

    Undergraduate Intern, Wellesley College
  • Timmy Le

    Timmy Le

    Graduate Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Joe Magrino

    Joe Magrino

    Graduate Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Evan Offord

    Evan Offord

    Medical Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Maya Spichal

    Maya Spichal

    Postdoctoral Fellow, RTI, UMass Chan
  • Ximena Zottig

    Ximena Zottig

    Postdoctoral Fellow, RTI, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Christina Baer

    Christina Baer, PhD

    Director, SCOPE, Assistant Professor, MAPS

    Dr. Baer completed her PhD in Biophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, CA.  Sher has been the director of the SCOPE since 2017. Her extensive experience with wide-field, confocal, and multi-photon imaging, plus skills in molecular tools development and quantitative image analysis provides essential scientific support to the University of Massachusetts Medical School research community. SCOPE has become a catalyst for optical experimentation at UMMS, serving as a site where engineers and biologists interact to develop innovative instruments and analysis methodologies that are readily accessible to the community.

  • Mary Pickering

    Mary Pickering, PhD

    Director, Public Engagement with Science, RTI

    Dr. Mary Pickering graduated from Providence College with Bachelor degrees in Chemistry and Biology. She completed her PhD and postdoctoral work at UMMS and returns to the university after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor at area colleges. Dr. Pickering is one of the co-founders of ScienceLIVE, a STEM educational outreach program for middle school students in the Worcester area. She joins the RTI to expand the impact of the experiential program by developing and implementing engaging content and provide opportunities for trainees to develop science communication skills. 

  • Nathan Bamidele

    Nathan Bamidele

    PhD Candidate, RTI, UMass Chan Medical
  • Shalaka Chitale

    Shalaka Chitale

    Postdoctoral Fellow, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Rachel Duong

    Rachel Duong

    Medical Student Class of 2022, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Aurian Garcia Gonzalez

    Aurian Garcia Gonzalez

    MD/PhD Class of 2021, UMass Chan
  • Sushmita Hoque

    Sushmita Hoque

    MD Student, Class of 2021, UMass Chan
  • Eraj Khokar

    Eraj Khokar

    Postdoctoral Fellow, RTI, UMass Chan
  • Melanie Kossuth

    Melanie Kossuth

    Nursing Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Silvia Lee

    Silvia Lee

    Graduate Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Michelle Narvaez Ramos

    Michelle Narvaez Ramos

    MD Candidate, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Charlotte Reames

    Charlotte Reames

    Lab Manager, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Lorissa Smulan

    Lorissa Smulan

    Postdoctoral Fellow, UMass Chan
  • Angela Messmer-Blust

    Angela Messmer-Blust, PhD

    Sr. Scientific Advisor, Associate Professor, RTI

    Dr. Angela Messmer-Blust studied cell motility during her graduate studies at the University of Toledo where she received her PhD (2009). She began her postdoctoral research at the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School under Jian Li, investigating transcriptional regulation in diabetes and obesity. Following her postdoctoral studies, she held editorial positions at the Journal of Visualized Experiments, and later joined Cell Press as the director of scientific conferences from 2012 - 2017. In 2017, Dr. Messmer-Blust joined the faculty of the RNA Therapeutics Institute as Assistant Professor and Senior Scientific Advisor where she develops and directs departmental initiatives including the annual RNA Therapeutics symposium and ScienceLIVE educational outreach in the Worcester area.

  • Stacey O'Neil

    Stacey O'Neil

    Project Manager, RTI

    Stacey has over 20 years of experience in executive administrative support as well as project & event management.  She joined the RTI in 2017 and has been with the University of Massachusetts for over 10 years, previously working in business operations at UMassOnline in the President's Office.  She manages several initiatives including the annual RNA Therapeutics Symposium, ScienceLive Educational Outreach Program, the RTI seminar series, website development and immigration for foreign nationals joining the department . Outside of work Stacey enjoys kayaking, flea markets and time with her family.

    Office Location: AS4-1046A
    Office Phone: 774-455-4682
    Mobile: 508-380-6077
    LinkedIn Profile

  • Michelle Bellerose

    Michelle Bellerose

    Scientist, Moderna, UMass Chan Medical Alum
  • Ishani Dasgupta

    Ishani Dasgupta

    Postdoctoral Fellow, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Pooja Dutta

    Pooja Dutta

    Medical Student, Class of 2024, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Sarah Hansen

    Sarah Hansen

    MD Student, Class of 2024, UMass Chan
  • Nicholas Jacques

    Nicholas Jacques

    Graduate Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Erin Kim

    Erin Kim

    Undergraduate Intern, Wellesley College

    Erin Kim authored and illustrated the Emma RNA Saves the Day coloring book as an intern from Wellesley College in 2021, led by co-founder, Dr. Angela Messmer-Blust. For more on the coloring book

  • Carolyn Kraus

    Carolyn Kraus

    Graduate Student, RTI, UMass Chan
  • Michael Lero

    Michael Lero

    Graduate Student, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Ify Nwolah

    Ify Nwolah

    Undergraduate Intern, Wellesley College
  • Heleen van't Spijker

    Heleen van't Spijker

    Postdoctoral Fellow, UMass Chan
  • Alejandro Vasquez Rifo

    Alejandro Vasquez Rifo

    Postdoctoral Fellow, UMass Chan