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Our Staff: The Atkinson Lab Team

Lab Director

Clive Wasserfall, MS

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.

 Technical Staff

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Kieran McGrail

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.

 

 

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Sean McGrail

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.

 

 

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Theresa Sumrall

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.

 

 

Research Staff

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Dustin Blanton

Dustin has been a graduate student at the University of Florida since August of 2008 and has been working in that capacity with the Atkinson lab group since January of 2009.  Dustin’s study concentrations include Genetics and Genomics and Clinical and Translational Science. Presently, he is investigating the connection between tissue and gene expression and disease state in Type 1 Diabetes.

 

 

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Maigan Hulme, PhD

Maigan is a graduate of the University of Florida, and joined the Atkinson lab in 2006. She is involved in the analysis of human immune cell function in people with and without Type 1 Diabetes. As a PhD candidate, her research focus is the study of regulatory cell behavior and immune tolerance. She enjoys working with the others in Dr. Atkinson’s lab on finding a cure for diabetes.

 

 

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Young Mee-Yoon

Young Mee earned her Master of science degree in microbiology from Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea. She admitted in Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Scineces at University of Florida in 2008 and joined the Atkinson lab in 2009 for pursuing her doctoral degree. Her major goal of study is the investigation of tolerogenic vaccine formulations by using nanoparticle delivery system in type 1 diabetes.

 

 

Amanda Posgai

Amanda graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and cell science from the University of Florida, and is currently enrolled in the Immunology and Microbiology program for advanced study in biomedical sciences in the College of Medicine. She joined the Atkinson lab in 2010 and is a 2010 Alumni Graduate Fellowship and Grinter Fellowship recipient.

 

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Patrick Rowe, PhD

Dr. Rowe is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Atkinson.  He is involved in analysis of pancreas samples from organ donors with type 1 diabetes that are received here at the University of Florida as part of the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD). With his research he hopes to gain a better understanding of the ‘dialogue’ between insulin-producing beta cells and immune cells that takes place during the early stages of type 1 diabetes development.

Administrative Staff

Kim Young

Kimberly C. Young has worked within the University of Florida Diabetes team for over 9 years, and has been employed by the university for over 23; she is currently the Diabetes Research Studies Coordinator. 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.