Meet The Team
Elise Courtois is a molecular biologist, director of Single Cell Biology laboratory and senior research scientist at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), and co-director of the endoRISE program, the first public and multi-institution Endometriosis Tissue & Data Repository. Her research program at JAX focuses on women's health and reproductive biology, with a strong emphasis on endometriosis. Endometriosis' etiology, pathobiology and disease recurrence mechanisms remain meaningly unknown, and Courtois is using advanced molecular technologies such as single cell, spatial ‘omics and 3D cellular models to better understand the key components of the endometriosis microenvironment leading to lesion growth, diversity in presentation, recurrence and impact at the systemic level. Courtois is also a leading advocate for increasing awareness and funding for endometriosis, and she works with the state of Connecticut legislators to promote endometriosis research & education.

Elise Courtois, Ph.D., Co-Director
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship trained Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon at UConn Health. Director of the Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery and the Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at UConn Health. She specializes in diagnosis, treatment, and surgery for complex gynecologic conditions like endometriosis. She is a strong advocate for her patients, and teaches students, residents, and other health care providers about endometriosis. In addition, she is actively involved in research on endometriosis and collaborates with her colleagues at The Jackson Laboratory.

Danielle Luciano, M.D., Co-Director
Jasmina Kuljancic, Program Manager
Jasmina possesses an academic foundation in biology and joined the Jackson Laboratory in 2017. Her dedication to excellence in clinical and translational research is driven by a firm belief in the transformative power of laboratory findings to enhance patient health outcomes. Jasmina helped launch expedited COVID-19 testing services at the Jackson Lab in 2020, ensuring quality lab operations to combat the unfolding pandemic effectively. Now, as the Program Manager for EndoRISE, she is motivated by the discoveries the EndoRISE program will contribute to understanding endometriosis, developing new non-invasive diagnostics, treatment of disease and educational awareness for clinicians, patients and families.

Jasmina Kuljancic, Program Manager
Kayceety Mullaj, Research Coordinator
Kayceety is a Clinical Research Assistant at UConn Health, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Connecticut. She has been passionate about health from a young age, which has led her to immerse herself in the world of research. From neuroscience to psychiatry and now to OBGYN research, she loves contributing to the betterment of others' lives. Outside of work Kayceety likes to read, paint, spend time with her family, stay active and travel.

Kayceety Mullaj, Research Coordinator
Lisa Roy
Lisa Roy is director of Government and Community Relations at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. Active in legislative affairs and public policymaking at the state and local level for over 20 years, she brings with her an in-depth knowledge of Connecticut legislative processes and players, and a rich history of community engagement, relationship building and strategic partnership development. Personally passionate about mentorship and community outreach, in addition to the EndoRISE initiative, she is driving several new efforts at JAX around employee engagement, bioscience pipeline and workforce development, and promoting JAX's educational resources and commitment to DEI in STEM.

Lisa Roy
In June of 2023 the Connecticut General Assembly passed House Bill 6672, “An Act Concerning Endometriosis,” creating a first-of-its-kind endometriosis data and biorepository program to bring greater awareness, action and care options to those suffering from endometriosis.

The effort was initiated through a recommendation by the CT Endometriosis Workgroup, spearheaded by State Representative Jillian Gilchrest, which was established a year prior to increase awareness of endometriosis and expand access to care.

Deemed EndoRISE, the program is operated through a partnership between UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory, with focus in three main areas: public awareness, clinical education, and the establishment of an endometriosis biorepository.
Creating the nation's first public, multi-institution biorepository
The CT Endometriosis Biorepository is the first public, multi-institution biorepository of its kind in the nation.

The ultimate goal? To improve awareness of and health outcomes for this highly invasive, underdiagnosed and under researched condition in Connecticut, while driving research breakthroughs for individuals impacted by endometriosis across the nation and beyond. Read more about the Biorepository plan development here.

How will it work? At the core of the program is the CT Endometriosis Biorepository which will enable the collection and combination of surgical, clinical and biological information from endometriosis patients statewide, along with fostering basic research and clinical collaborations designed to help understand the disease and catalyze the advancement of new diagnostics, treatments and cures for patients.

EndoRISE Biorepository offers various specimen types from endometriosis and endometrium tissue collections.
  • Whole blood
  • Serum
  • Peritoneal fluid
  • Urine
  • PBMCs
  • Peritoneal cells
  • Endometrium & endometriosis tissues
    • FFPE
    • Fresh frozen
To request samples from the biorepository, please complete the sample request form or email [email protected]