Voices of UF/IFAS – Dr. Joseph Larkin
Name: Joseph Larkin III, PhD
Position: Associate Professor, Microbiology and Cell Science
Current city: Gainesville Florida
Hometown: Savannah GA
Years at UF/IFAS:
Well…I attended the University of Florida on a National merit scholarship from 1992-1996 where I earned a BS in Microbiology and Cell Science, obtained my Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Florida from 1996-2000, and have been tenure-track/Tenured faculty from 2008-present.
Describe your role at UF/IFAS:
My role at UF/IFAS contains components of teaching and research, which sometimes overlap. I teach immunology to both undergraduate and graduate students both synchronously and asynchronously. This semester I am engaging in hyflex which means that my synchronous teaching involves both brick and mortar students and Zoom! I am also very active in undergraduate and graduate student research education. To date, I have mentored 26 undergraduate students in my lab, many of which are now practicing physicians or biomedical researchers. I have also successfully chaired 6 Ph.D. defenses. I am very pleased to say that 5 of my Ph.D. students were underrepresented minority females. I have also served on an additional 25 Ph.D. committees throughout the University of Florida. I am also responsible for securing funding to drive my research interest, which is understanding how autoimmunity occurs.
How did your background and experiences shape your interest in your current field?
Many autoimmune diseases (diseases where our own immune systems turn against us-and destroy our own bodies) disproportionately afflict people of color. My personal family has been affected by diabetes and thyroiditis, which drives my passion. Additionally, I realized the importance of research around the age of nine while watching a St Jude telethon. The combination of these two things helped to shape my interest.
Who do you admire?
As a scientist, and a dad, I am reminded almost daily that although I do not have all the answers I cannot give up. I admire, and find inspiration, from individuals that look beyond their own problems to help others. I find strength in individuals that remain hopeful, even while facing tremendous obstacles.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
It is good that we have time to reflect on a few of the many achievements of African Americans.
Would you like us to link to any of your work?
- Th17 Cells in Immunity and Autoimmunity (hindawi.com)
- Frontiers | Therapeutic Implication of SOCS1 Modulation in the Treatment of Autoimmunity and Cancer | Pharmacology (frontiersin.org)
- Role of TCR specificity in CD4+CD25+ regulatory T‐cell selection – Picca – 2006 – Immunological Reviews – Wiley Online Library
What are your hobbies?
My hobby is being a full-time dad.