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T32 PIRE Directors

Program Director – Stephen Tomlinson, Ph.D.

Dr. Tomlinson is Professor and Vice Chair for Research and Faculty Development in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He earned his doctorate at Cambridge University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida. In 1991, he was appointed to the faculty of New York University School of Medicine, and he moved to MUSC in 2000. Dr. Tomlinson has an outstanding record of funding from federal sources and foundations, and has been continuously funded by the NIH since he became an independent investigator. In 2011, he was appointed as a PI/Research Health Scientist with the Veteran’s Administration.

Dr. Tomlinson has authored more than 140 publications and is a highly interactive and collaborative scientist, as evidenced by numerous joint publications with other MUSC faculty. He is also a recognized educator at MUSC and has trained 8 Ph.D. students and M.D./Ph.D. students, numerous summer/rotation and medical students, and more than 20 postdoctoral fellows. A total of 10 of his students/postdocs have received individual extramural fellowship funding (not from training programs). His primary departmental responsibility as vice chair is mentorship, and as such he developed, instituted and directs a new program to develop the research careers of junior faculty.

Dr. Tomlinson also has entrepreneurial experience; his work in the area of complement regulation has been the foundation for 25 invention disclosures and 132 patent applications in more than 50 countries, with 53 patents issued. He was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2015.

Program Co-Director – Carl Atkinson, Ph.D.

Carl Atkinson, PhD. Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Director, Lee Patterson Allen Transplant Immunobiology Laboratory. Dr. Atkinson is primarily interested in the interplay of the complement system with adaptive immunity in the pathophysiology of inflammation, organ transplantation and development of chronic diseases. His major interests include organ/tissue transplantation and respiratory diseases. With regard to respiratory disease, an emphasis is on the impact of cigarette smoke exposure on modification of the immune response and disease development in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic rhinosinusitis. With regard to organ transplantation, Dr Atkinson co-Directs the Lee Patterson Allen Transplant Immunobiology Laboratory and is the Director of Transplant Translational Research. This research focuses on mechanisms responsible for inflammatory changes and the subsequent adaptive immune responses that impact the life of the graft through such injuries as donor brain death, organ cold storage, machine perfusion, through to post transplant ischemia reperfusion injury, allorecognition, acute and chronic rejection. In studying these different stages of the transplant process his laboratory has established several novel and difficult murine models of transplantation, including lung, liver, heart and vascularized composite allograft (heterotopic and orthotopic) transplantation. Additionally, the laboratory has developed large animal porcine models of kidney organ perfusion, transplantation, and developed ex-vivo perfusion systems to investigate pre-transplant drug delivery systems. Through collaboration with the Department of Surgery his laboratory is involved in clinical translational studies and human subject research. In 2014, Dr. Atkinson co-founded ToleRaM Nanotech, LLC, a company based on technology developed in his laboratory at MUSC for the targeted delivery of immunosuppression therapeutics to organ transplant recipients. ToleRaM Nanotech, LLC has won a number of prestigious awards and recognition, including the 2014 BioProcess International “Emerging Company” Award, keynote abstract at the Techconnect World and National Innovation Summit, acceptance into the South Carolina Launch business development network, and recently a fundable score for an NIH STTR Phase I grant. Dr. Atkinson has filed 16 invention disclosures, with 36 US and international patent applications, 5 of which have been issued.

Dr. Atkinson has published extensively on the topics of transplantation, lung injury, and chronic respiratory disease in journals such as JCI, Circulation, J Immunol, Mucosal Immunology and Am J Transplantation. Dr. Atkinson is actively involved in education, he is the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and has served as thesis director and committee member for 24 graduate students (Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. and MS students) and has trained 10 postdoctoral fellows.