David Schneider

David is the lab director and mentor of the excellent team of scientists listed below. David received his BS in Microbiology and Genetics from the University of Georgia in 1998. He completed his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin in 2003, and postdoctoral training in Biomolecular Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine in 2007. Since then he has served as a member of the faculty in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at UAB. In addition to pursuit of knowledge in the lab, David is passionate about science education and mentorship. He teaches several courses, he mentors students and junior faculty, and he serves as director and Associate Dean of the Graduation Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Training Program.

Collin Ainslie

Position: Graduate Student
Email: ainsliec@uab.edu
Phone: (615) 457-0341

Collin as a masters student in the Multidisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Masters program. Collins project focuses on defining the molecular consequences of mutations in RNA polymerase I that are frequently detected in some cancers. 

Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a predoctoral student in the Pathobiology, Pharmacology, and Physiology Theme of the GBS program. Stephanie entered the GBS program in 2019 after earning a Master’s degree in Biological Sciences from Northern Illinois University. She joined the Schneider lab in early 2020. Her research utilizes in vitro transcription assays to study RNA synthesis by eukaryotic and viral polymerases. 

Kaila Fuller

Kaila Fuller is a predoctoral student in the Department of Chemistry who is co-mentored by both Dr. Aaron Lucius and Dr. David Schneider. She aims to elucidate the elementary kinetic mechanism of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA Dependent RNA Polymerase. After graduate school, she plans to pursue a postdoc and a career in academia.

Rylie Hightower

Rylie is a predoctoral student from the Neuroscience Theme in the GBS program. Rylie graduated with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from New Mexico State University in 2015. She started the GBS program in the fall of 2015. Rylie is co-mentored by Dr. Matt Alexander (Department of Pediatrics) and Dr. Schneider. Rylie studies how microRNA expression influences disease progression in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Zach Ingram

Zach Ingram is a predoctoral student in the Department of Chemistry who is co-mentored by both Dr. Aaron Lucius and Dr. David Schneider. In 2015 Zach received two undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Chemistry. His work is a meld of these two backgrounds and has focused on deciphering the kinetic rate constants governing transcription catalyzed by RNA Polymerase I. Additionally, he has developed novel kinetic time course analysis strategies applicable to a variety of molecular motors.

Ruthie Jacobs

Ruthie is a predoctoral student from the Biochemistry and Structural Biology Theme in the GBS program. Ruthie received her undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2017. She joined the GBS program in 2018 after working as a lab technician for a year. Her work in the Schneider lab focuses on defining the divergent enzymatic properties of the three eukaryotic RNA polymerases.

Abby McConahay

Abby is a predoctoral student from the Microbiology Theme in the GBS program. Abby graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She entered the GBS program at UAB in 2017, and joined the Schneider lab in February 2018. Her research is focused on using a genomics technique, Native Elongating Transcript Sequencing (NET-seq), to investigate regulatory mechanisms that govern transcription by RNA polymerase I.

Shiyen Sinclair

She is a predoctoral student the Department of Chemistry at UAB. Shiyen earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and in classics in 2018 at Colorado College. Shiyen is co-mentored by Dr. Aaron Lucius (Department of Chemistry) and Dr. Schneider. Currently, her work focuses on producing a kinetic model to describe the effects of sequence alteration during nucleotide addition catalyzed by RNA polymerase I.

Guy Twa

Guy is a masters student in the Multidisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Masters program. His research in the Schneider Lab utilizes bioinformatics techniques to characterize shifts in RNA polymerase activity in RNA sequencing datasets.

Jinger Yang

Jinger is a staff research scientist in the Schneider lab. Jinger joined the Schneider lab in 2017 and her work is primarily focused on drug development and characterization in human cancer cell models and preparation of NET-seq samples using yeast.


The Schneider lab has benefited from many exceptional collaborations over the years. An attempt to list all of these colleagues would be futile. However, three collaborations have become particularly close and symbiotic:

Dr. Aaron Lucius, UAB Department of Chemistry: Aaron and David are scientifically married through their mutual interests in biophysical and biochemical characterization of RNA polymerases. They share several research grants and co-mentor multiple students.

Dr. Marikki Laiho, Johns Hopkins Department of Radiation Oncology: Marikki is an expert in drug discovery and cancer cell biology. Marikki and David have worked together for several years defining the cellular “checkpoint” that monitors the integrity of transcription by RNA polymerase I.

Dr. Corinne Augelli-Szfran, Southern Research: Corinne is a medicinal chemist who leads the collaboration between the Schneider lab and many people at SR. Together, this group has discovered two new series of compounds that are being developed to control cancer cell growth and proliferation.