Howie Seay, MSc, CCy, LATg: Laboratory & Flow Cytometry Core Manager

Howie, his wife, Danielle, and his children, Crasher and Lorelei.

Howie joined the UF Diabetes Institute as part of the Brusko Laboratory in 2011 after trying to give back to society as a high school science teacher. His responsibilities include bioinformatic analysis of lymphocyte receptor sequences, human immunophenotyping with flow cytometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, external website and collaborative intranet design and maintenance, lab safety officer, and the other various support duties of a research laboratory manager. Howie was recently given the title of Core Research Facility Manager for his duties involving the Center for Immunology and Transplantation Flow Cytometry Core Facility.

Howie’s curiosity is focused on how T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire affects the pathology of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and how increasing the diversity of the TCR repertoire in T1D patients could lead to a cure. In a recent publication, we describe how this can be done using a patient’s own umbilical cord blood. This currently involves isolating naïve regulatory T cells (Treg) from cryogenically-preserved umbilical cord blood units for expansion and potential re-infusion of autologous immune cells into children suffering from T1D who have had their umbilical cord blood stored after birth. The hypothesis is that this therapy can be used to repopulate the immune system with Treg that can suppress autoimmunity and can help begin to reverse the loss of insulin-producing ß-cells of the pancreas.

Howie is also working with rare human specimens through the nPOD program. The project focus is to identify the adaptive immune repertoire of T1D (which includes autoreactive and regulatory T- and B-cells), as well as DNA methylation signatures in pancreatic-draining lymph nodes in nPOD donors. These methylation patterns can signify whether genes are turned on or off in a cell, and early evidence shows that cytotoxic T-lymphocytes in T1D patients are different at the epigenetic level when compared to healthy donor samples. The next step is determining why those differences happen and how those differences make the cells function in a unique way to aid in diabetes pathogenesis.


Contact Info

Mobile Phone: (352) 514-8839

Lab Phone: (352) 273-9300

E-mail: hrseay@ufl.edu


Education

  • Johns Hopkins University/Coursera, Specialization Certificate, Data Science, 2016

  • Nova Southeastern University, M.S., Biomedical Informatics, 2015

  • University of Florida, B.S. Zoology, 2005


Professional Certification & Training

  • 2016 Certified Cytometrist (CCy), International Cytometry Certification Examination (ICCE)

  • 2012 – AAI Introductory Immunology Course, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • 2011  FACSAria™ III Operator Course, BD Biosciences, San Jose, California

  • 2007 – Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATg), The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)


Honors


Memberships & Activities


 Publications