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Research Associates

  • Meghan Blackwood

    Meghan Blackwood

    Research Associate II

    Joined the Mueller Lab in 2016

    "There is something incredible about working in a translational research lab in which you get to see patients benefit from the therapy that was created by you and your colleagues. It inspires you to do better, work harder, and think more openly to develop new strategies for these patients."

    Research interests
    Translation research, Immunology, CNS Diseases

    Description of project
    Currently I am working on monitoring the immune response in our compassionate use trials in patients as well as our large animal models to the AAV capsid after delivery of AAV mediated miR treatment to silence a gene, and/or gene replacement therapy for ALS, A1AT, and Huntington Diseases.

  • Nicholas Fordman

    Nicholas Fordman

    Research Associate

    Joined the Mueller Lab in 2019

    "Neurodegenerative disease is a subject matter that is particularly close to my heart. I entered this field of research to have the opportunity to work on diseases like ALS. I find that gene therapy, in particular, is an incredibly exciting approach to treating disease. It’s invigorating to get to work with techniques that are so flexible, creative, and tangibly applicable to disease."

    Background training
    Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – University of Massachusetts-Amherst

    Research interests
    CRISPR-Cas9, AAV-mediated gene transfer, gene silencing, gene editing; RNAi therapeutics; Central nervous system and cardiac diseases.

    Description of project
    I am working alongside Karin Meijboom on gene therapy for diseases of the central nervous system. Our main project is on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The project is specifically focused on a hexanucleotide repeat mutation found in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) that is toxic and causes ALS pathology. We use different strategies to eliminate or silence this toxic repeat, such as gene editing or the use of microRNAs. Our other project is on Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2), a disease that is caused by mutations in the NF2 gene that result in the growth of multiple tumors throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. For this, we are designing a viral vector that can deliver a functioning copy of the gene.

  • Cynthia Greer

    Cynthia Greer

    Research Associate since 2011

    "I have always had a love for animals and medicine and I hope my contributions may help others in finding cures for many diseases and I support the ongoing research working towards that goal."  

    Education
    1984 Associate's degree of Animal Technician, Newbury Junior College, Boston, MA. I worked at Shrewsbury Animal Hospital after graduation as a Lab Technician, but assisted in many areas. During that time I took a part time job at the Worcester Foundation For Experimental Biology where I cared for research chickens and performed basic procedures. After that I worked at Cambridge Bioscience which later became Aquilla, a small research company, for 12 years, in Worcester working with mice. From there I came to this institution beginning in the department of Animal Medicine then moving to Cell Biology's transgenic department and now in Gene Therapy. 

    Project
    With 30+ years of experience as an animal technician, Cindy has been taking great care of our mouse colonies. She is in charge of the daily management including breeding, genotyping, bleeding, training of new personnel and assisting surgeries. She shares her time between our lab and the lab of Terry Flotte.

  • Payam Khoshkenar

    Payam Khoshkenar

    Research Associate II

    Joined the Mueller Lab in 2019

  • Rachel Stock

    Rachel Stock

    Research Associate since 2015

    “If we do our jobs to the best of our ability every day, we will make a difference in the lives of patients and contribute a positive impact on scientific knowledge."

    Education
    2002 MSc in Biotechnology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
    1999 
    Histotechnologist, ASCP Board of Certification    
    1992 BSc in Biology, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA

    Project
    Rachel is specialized in histology and is supporting the lab members in this role. In addition she manages the lab (orders, etc).