Cara Sullivan


  • B.A. Psychology, East Asian Studies, College of the Holy Cross, 2007
  • M.S. Neuroscience, University of Hartford, 2015


Cara Sullivan is currently studying pain and dry eye disease in the Meng Lab at the University of New England (Biddeford, ME). Currently a PhD candidate at the University of Maine in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, graduated with a B.A in Psychology and East Asian studies from the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA). After spending 6 years holding direct care and administrative positions in nonprofit mental health centers, she decided to pursue a career aligning her interests in neuroscience and medicine. She became a certified EMT-B, a first aid/CPR/AED instructor for first responders and graduated with an M.S. in Neuroscience at the University of Hartford (West Hartford, CT).

Research Interests

While currently researching trigeminal sensory processing in pain and dry eye disease, in the Meng lab I am also working on projects that combine my interests in neuroscience, technology and medicine.

Meng Lab Rotation During my rotation in the Meng Lab, I examined the role of enhanced and inhibited nerve regeneration in dry eye disease.  This project required the development of skills in behavior testing, surgical techniques, qPCR and genetic analysis.

Elias Lab Rotation During my rotation with Dr. Merill Elias, I spent my time working with the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal study database containing nearly 40 years of patient medical records and psychological evaluations.  This project helped enhance skills with working with large datasets and statistic analysis.

Duarte Lab Rotation During my rotation in the Duarte Lab, I used data from The Cancer Genome Atlas to investigate pathway associations in metastatic prostate cancer.  This project strengthened programming skills using R and developed a variety of data analysis and computational modeling techniques.

Selected Services

  • GSBSE Student Meeting Coordinator, (Fall 2017-Fall 2018)

Selected Publications

  • Dearborn, P.J., Elias, M.F., Sullivan, K.J., Sullivan, C.S., & Robbins, M.A. (2018) Lower Visual Acuity is Associated with Lower Cognitive Performance across Multiple Cognitive Domains: The Maine Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Accepted for publication: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Dissertation Mentor

Ian Meng