We have a fun, productive team with local, national, and international collaborators.

Dr. Adams

Andrew Adams, MD/PhD

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Dr. Adams joined the University of Minnesota after working at Emory following his Emory transplant surgery fellowship. An alumnus of Emory's MD/PhD program, he completed his graduate work in immunology under the direction of Dr. Chris Larsen and Dr. Tom Pearson, moved on to Massachusetts General Hospital to complete his general surgery training, then returned to Emory for his transplant fellowship. During fellowship he re-integrated into the Emory Transplant Center's research laboratory and focused on basic immunology as well as translational models at Yerkes National Primate Center. His clinical time is divided between the liver and kidney services, while his clinical research efforts focus on resource utilization following solid organ transplantation. Dr. Adams has active research projects in murine, primate, and clinical contexts.


Neal Iwakoshi, PhD

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Research Staff

Allison Stephenson, BS

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Research Focus: Flow Cytometry, Molecular Biology, Murine Immunology, Xenotransplantation, Human Immunology, Transplant Outcomes. Allison has broad expertise in murine, non-human primate, and human immunology. Her work is focused on development of novel transgenic mice to allow tracking of polyclonal alloreactive T cells. Allison also works on human and non-human primate samples, performs flow cytometry, and manages a growing repository of frozen tissue for future analysis.

Michael Simeon

 Michael Simeon, BS

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Michael is a researcher in Dr. Adams' lab. He previously was a Research Technologist in the Vascular and Interventional Radiology Translational Lab at Mayo Clinic for 3 years where he specialized in rodent microvascular surgery.  His current work involves establishing a murine heterotopic heart transplant model. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's of Science in Biochemistry from the University of St. Thomas in 2017. He currently lives in Buffalo, MN with his wife Carrie and his dog Rose. He can't wait to welcome a new baby boy to the family in late October. In his free time, he enjoys watching baseball, going on hikes, and spending quality time with friends.

Mobeen Abdrabbo

 Mobeen Abdrabbo, BS

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Mobeen graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2021 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. In his undergraduate years he worked in a computational chemistry lab using molecular dynamic simulations to analyze binding interactions between SARS-CoV-2 variants and human cellular components. Currently, he works on a number of different projects with a chief focus on mouse work. He investigates graft survival using a murine skin transplant model, maintains the lab mouse colony, and is working to get a new graft rejection model up and running. He also analyzes nonhuman primate flow data and works to optimize new staining procedures. He is new to Minneapolis and in his free time loves meeting new people and exploring what the city has to offer.

Emma Swanson

Emma Swanson, BS

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Emma graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry. In her free time she enjoys crocheting, baking, and reading mystery or fantasy books. She likes spending time with her family, friends, and going on walks with her yellow lab, Sunny. 


Taylor Deane, BS

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Research Professional 2: Taylor coordinates the day-to-day lab operations, our adherence to protocols, monitors finances and spending. Taylor is the best point of contact for any questions or inquiry about our lab. If you'd like to join us for a lab meeting, or get more information about the lab, or lab personnel, please reach out to Taylor!


Nico Cunderlik Headshot

Nico Cunderlik, BS

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Nico recently joined the Adams lab. He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in May 2023 after completing courses in pre-medicine & psychology. He has a broad interest in immunology and has yet to find research that the Department of Surgery is engaged in that does not fascinate him. 




Habib Headshot

Jakob Habib, PhD Candidate

Research Focus: Costimulation Independent Rejection, Interferon Signaling, Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells. Jakob is a PhD student in Emory’s IMP program. Jakob is investigating the role that early inflammatory signals have on graft rejection in the context of costimulation blockade. This involves exploring how interferon produced by plasmacytoid dendritic cells contributes to graft tolerance in both murine and primate models of transplantation.




David A. Faber, MD (2019-2021)

Research Focus: Xenotransplantation Ex Vivo Perfusion Costimulation Blockade. Dr. Faber is a 4th-year General Surgery resident at Emory University.. During his research sabbatical in the Adams Lab, his projects focused on understanding the immunologic underpinnings of xenotransplant rejection, as well as the use of ex vivo perfusion to precondition organs prior to eventual transplantation.




Abraham Matar, MD (2018-2020)

Research Focus: Xenotransplantation Cellular Therapies Costimulation Blockade. Dr. Matar is in his final year as a resident in Emory's General Surgery Program, where he recently completed his 2-year research sabbatical in the Adams Lab. He will further his training in Abdominal Transplant Surgery at the University of Minnesota.  His research focused on murine and primate models of xenotransplantation and allotransplantation and revolved around using cellular therapies and novel therapeutics to prolong allograft survival and induce immunological tolerance.




Brendan Lovasik, MD (2018-2020)

Research Focus: Xenotransplantation Humoral Antibody Mediation Costimulation Blockade. Dr. Lovasik is in his final year as a resident in Emory's General Surgery Program, and recently completed his 2-year research fellowship in the Adams Lab. He will further his training in Abdominal Transplant Surgery at Washington University, St. Louis. His research focused on primate models of xenotransplantation and allotransplantation, and involved exploring novel molecular targets and developing translational therapies.



Steven Kim, MD (2015-2017)

Research Focus: Xenotransplantation Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy Costimulation Blockade. Dr. Kim completed Emory's General Surgery Residency Program and his Abdominal Transplant Surgery at the University of Wisconsin. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Emory University. During his research sabbatical in the Adams Lab, Dr. Kim’s projects focused on primate models of xenotransplantation and allotransplantation involving the use of mesenchymal stem cells as a source of adoptive cellular therapy.




Dave Mathews, MD, PhD (2014-2017)

Research Focus: Costimulation Independent Rejection IL2/IL15 Signaling Non-invasive Detection of Rejection. Dr. Mathews is an MD/PhD graduate of the Emory School of Medicine, and a current 4th-year resident in Emory’s General Surgery Residency Program. His research focuses on early detection and diagnosis of rejection, non-invasive techniques for intravital imaging of rejection, and costimulation independent rejection.




Laura Higginbotham, MD, MPH (2014-2016)

Dr. Higginbotham joined the Adams Lab in 2014 during her research sabbatical as a resident in Emory’s General Surgery Residency program. After completing her research fellowship, Dr. Higginbotham completed her residency in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and currently works as a physician at the Food and Drug administration.




Walter C. Wakwe, MD (2012-2014)

Dr. Wakwe was the first fellow in the Adams Lab - after which he completed his general surgery training through Emory's General Surgery Residency Program, and then further training as a Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellow at Emory. He is a Thoracic Surgeon at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Phoenix, Arizona