Our Staff: The Atkinson Lab Team
Our laboratory focus is on the immunopathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. Aspects of this work include refining prediction of disease onset/progression through the use of genetic markers and autoantibody assessment. The mechanism of disease is explored on the cellular and molecular level in order to better understand the pathogenesis of this disease and thereby lead to the goal of our program which is to prevent type 1 diabetes in those at risk. The induction of immune tolerance to the insulin secreting endocrine pancreas is the current strategy being pursued for both primary intervention of disease and to improve islet transplantation without the need for immunosuppression in those individuals that already have type 1 diabetes.
Kieran McGrail has been part of the Atkinson lab since 2003. He began work as an undergraduate assistant and now keeps the lab running smoothly as Lab Manager. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day activity, he is responsible for the processing, storage, and data collection of blood samples for two clinical trials. His contagious enthusiasm and penchant for people pleasing make him a valued asset to the lab group.
Sean spent the first ten years of his career in the professional service industry. A job offer as a technician the Atkinson Lab was a welcome change of pace for him to a self-motivated work environment. Sean also assists the research staff as necessary. He is constantly amazed by his colleague’s dedication to curing type 1 diabetes, and will continue to try and make their jobs easier until the cure is found.
Ms. Theresa Sumrall joined the Atkinson Research Lab as part of the UF Diabetes Center of Excellence in 2004 as an undergraduate laboratory assistant. Her duties in the lab now range from processing blood samples for clinical trials to general lab and database maintenance. She finds it very fulfilling to work with scientists who are committed to searching for ways to prevent diabetes and improve the lives of the people it affects.
Catherine Ramsey Grace
Young Mee-Yoon, Ph.D.
Young Mee earned her Master of Science degree in microbiology from Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea. She was admitted to the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences at University of Florida in 2008 and joined the Atkinson lab in 2009. Her predominantly studies tolerogenic vaccine formulations by using nanoparticle delivery system in type 1 diabetes.
Amanda graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and cell science as well as a B.S. in food science and human nutrition from the University of Florida. In 2010, she was admitted to the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Florida College of Medicine and awarded the Alumni Graduate Fellowship and Grinter Fellowship. In 2011, she joined the Atkinson lab and where she studied oral tolerance, the intestinal microbiome, and combination therapies for the prevention and reversal of type 1 diabetes. She earned her Ph.D. in December 2014 and is now the medical writer for the Atkinson lab and UF Diabetes Institute.
Kimberly C. Young has worked within the University of Florida Diabetes team for over 10 years, and has been employed by the university for over 25; she is currently the Diabetes Research Studies Coordinator in the Atkinson lab. Ms. Young serves as the chief financial officer and is also responsible for collecting, organizing, and disseminating information/data related to the performance of the Atkinson Lab. Along with these tasks, Ms. Young oversees the collection and filing of annual progress reports for all funded studies, as well as aides the investigators with subject recruitment and demographic data collection for each human subject. Throughout her years working within the lab, Ms. Young has enjoyed working with the group of researchers, and become an advocate for those affected by Type 1 diabetes.