Alyssa Stasse '21G, PhD Student

Grad student Alyssa Stasse

Alyssa Stasse, a graduate student in integrative and organismal biology, is working as a lab technician at UNH's COVID-19 lab. The lab has not only made it possible for UNH to screen at least 4,000 samples a day and provide test results in under 48 hours, it's also created a unique opportunity for both students and alumni to gain hands-on experience in a  state-of-the-art diagnostic lab right here on campus and be an integral part of the university's efforts to mitigate virus outbreaks within the community. 

COLSA: What is your role in UNH’s COVID-19 testing lab?

Alyssa Stasse: I am working as a lab technician. I extract RNA from specimen samples and use the RNA to perform PCR analysis. This amplifies the RNA and when the machine is finished, the results show abundance of different markers present in COVID-19 positive samples. We then use these results to determine if COVID-19 is detected in the sample. I'm using robotic instruments to control pipetting and mixing samples.

COLSA: Why do you want to be a part of UNH's COVID testing effort?

Alyssa: I want to be able to be on the frontline of this work and learn new material each day while working in the lab. As the pandemic progresses, new information is found each day. I love being able to be on the frontline of the information related to COVID-19.

COLSA: How has this experience been valuable for you?

Alyssa: So far, the COVID-19 lab at UNH has shown me new techniques that are cutting edge for research. I have been able to use robots for various steps in the lab that I would not be able to with regular lab experience. This will help me in the future with job experience as I will be able to do experiments by hand, as well as with technology.

COLSA: What is the most important thing you've learned?

Alyssa: I now thoroughly understand the general workflow in a lab, including optimal lab set ups to get the most efficient workflow and how to run samples through the lab from start to finish. This will help me in the future with my lab work.

COLSA: Is there anything about being tested and/or UNH's testing program that you'd like the UNH community to know?

Alyssa: Make sure to follow the instructions about drop off and specimen sample collecting closely to ensure  accurate results for your test!

Research Focus: Genetic assessment of eastern oysters and their pathogens
Email address:

Advisor: Dr. Bonnie Brown; advisor's website

Eastern oyster populations are dramatically declining due to various factors, such as lack of suitable substrates, global climate change, and disease. My dissertation work focuses on using genetic techniques, such as genome and transcriptome sequencing, to determine differences between populations of eastern oysters. In addition, my research uses these techniques to determine how these populations deal with pathogens on a transcription level.