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Micheal M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Tufts University


Biology, Chemistry, Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology, Cardiovascular Biology, and Cellular Agriculture,


My expertise is centered around mammalian genetics and cardiovascular biology. I completed my Ph.D. research in 2021 as part of The Jackson Laboratory and Tufts University. My thesis was focused on a simple question, "what is the heart made of?" I used cutting-edge technology like single-cell RNA sequencing to research cardiac tissue composition, how heart cells respond to stress and how biological sex can contribute to these effects. Prior to this, I earned a double-BA in 2012 from Assumption College in Chemistry and Biology. I have been tutoring and mentoring students since 2010 and I appreciate individuals who express a curiosity for science. On a personal note, I enjoy music (my current favorite band is Khruangbin), video games (still playing Fallout 4) and cooking. Maine is probably my favorite state, if you have never visited Acadia National Park, you should.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

COVID-19 and the heart

Although breathing difficulty is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been shown to utilize the ACE2 receptor for cell infiltration which is highly expressed by certain cardiovascular cell types. Clinically, there has been an increase in cardiac complications due to COVID-19, although the exact mechanism contributing to disease is unknown. Further, myocarditis has been reported as a potential side-effect of vaccination. These topics can be highly controversial, but much of the debate by the general public exhibits poor scientific literacy. This project aims to develop a scientific presentation to present the facts about COVID-19, the technology of mRNA vaccinations, and the heart in an easy to understand format, focusing on relevant remaining scientific questions.

Genetics 101 - for the general public

Tools like 23andme and Ancestry are useful to learn about DNA and health risks, but did you know that once submitted these companies own that information? What does it means to have your DNA sequenced and how can that be useful? Will CRISPR really make designer babies? This project aims to teach general genetics concepts in an approachable manner to people who may be curious about genetics but unsure where to start. (image credit u/Errikkian on reddit)

Designer babies using CRISPR

A genetic engineering tool called CRISPR has been in the media recently, most controversially concerning the generation of humans with custom genes. But what exactly does custom genes refer to, and how does CRISPR do this? As part of this project, we would develop content that discusses the science of CRISPR, and how the media may portray gene therapies in a negative light due to either misinformation, hyperbole, or outright misunderstanding the technology. This could be considered an opinion piece which would discuss the possibility of a future such as the one depicted in the movie Gattaca and would function as a useful resource for anyone interested in learning more about genetics. (image by Kurzgesagt)

The Human Genome Project and Diversity

The human genome project remains one of the most worldwide collaborative efforts ever. Currently, the draft sequence for the human genome is on build 38, and considerable efforts have been made to sequence a diverse sample of individual genomes for a true representation of human genomics. The first draft build was generated mainly from anonymous individuals in Buffalo, New York due to technical limitations, but it could be argued that this first draft was not representative of all human genomes. Worldwide sequencing efforts have shown an abundance of variation across genomes, and much of this data is publicly available. Recently, a pangenome draft was published build from 47 individuals across the planet. However, many are unaware of how to access or use this data. This project would teach the student about the human genome project from both historical and practical perspectives, as well as allow the student to explore potential future directions of human genome sequencing. (image by Pangenome project)

Coding skills


Teaching experience

I have mentored numerous students during my academic career. The majority have been either high school or college age students while they were working as part of a scientific research lab. These mentorships have focused on teaching the student and usually helping them develop a presentation/project to share at the end of their internship. I have also functioned as a teaching assistant for various genetics courses focused on teaching basic genetic concepts, as well as functioned as a private tutor for biology and chemistry.


Work experience

Boston University (2021 - Current)
Postdoctoral Associate
The Jackson Laboratory, Tufts University (2015 - 2021)
Ph.D. Candidate
Massachusetts General Hospital (2012 - 2015)
Research Technician
J. Craig Venter Institute (2012 - 2013)
Research Associate


Assumption College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2012)
Chemistry; Biology
Tufts University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Mammalian Genetics

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