Fife Lab

The Fife Lab

Graduate Students and Post Doctoral Fellows in the lab are working on research that is focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that regulate T lymphocytes during autoimmune disease such as Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

View publications here.

Graduate Students

Christopher Tucker, Ph.D.

Christopher TuckerProgram: MICaB
Defense Year: 2020
Advisor: Brian Fife
Dissertation Title: "The Divergent Role of Co-receptors and Cytokines in the Immune Response to Cancer and Self"

Current PositionMedical student, University of Minnesota Medical School 
Contact Info:


Tijana Martinov, PhD

tijana 2019Program: MICaB
Defense Year:2018
Advisor: Brian Fife
Dissertation Title: "Programmed death-1 restrains islet-specific lymphocytes in type 1 diabetes."

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Phil Greenberg lab), Seattle, WA
Contact Info:


Kristen Pauken, Ph.D.


Program: MICaB
Defense Year:2013
Advisor: Brian Fife
Dissertation Title: "The Inhibitory Receptor PD-1 Differentially Regulates Effector and Anergic Autoreactive CD4+ T Cells During Type 1 Diabetes."

Current PositionPostdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School (Arlene Sharpe lab), Boston, MA
Contact Info:

Caitlin Heiderscheidt, M.S.

caitlinProgram: MICaB
Defense Year:2013
Advisor: Brian Fife
Dissertation Title: "Exploiting Antigen Specific Approaches to Induce Tolerance in Type 1 Diabetes."

Current Position: Science Instructor at LEARN Charter School Network, Evanston, Illinois
Contact Info: 

Post Doctoral Fellows

Adam Burrack, PhD

Adam Burrack

Fellowship dates: 2014-2017
Research Emphasis:  Determine the ability of pancreatic beta cells to act in their own defense.

Current Position: Research Associate, Ingunn Stromnes Lab, University of Minnesota Medical School
Contact Info: 


Justin Spanier, Ph.D.

Justin SpanierFellowship dates: 2012-17
Research Emphasis: Began building molecular tools, called peptide:MHCII tetramers, to understand antigen specific responses in both people and mice with autoimmune diabetes.

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School
Contact Info:


You-Jeong Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

you jeong leeFellowship dates: 2016
Research Emphasis: Helped to develop a comprehensive CyTOF panel to evaluate antigen specific T cells in autoimmune type 1 diabetes.

Current Position: Principal Investigator, Academy of Immunology and Microbiology, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, Republic of Korea
Contact Info:

Post-Baccalaureate Research Alumni

Linnea Swanson, M.D.

Linnea SwansonTraining dates: 2016-2017
Research Emphasis: Linnea was a research scientist during her third year of medical school at the University of Minnesota. She also trained in the lab during the summer as a recipient of the T35 Training grant for medical students research program in infection and immunity. 
List of all

Jenna Ruggiero, B.S.

Jenna RuggieroTraining dates: 2013-2015
Research EmphasisJenna is the recipient of the College of Biological Sciences 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 Monica Tsang and James Weatherbee Merit Scholarship.  Jenna was also the 2014 Summer Lupus Fellow recipient to work on autoimmunity in the lab. Check out her video for this project.
List of all publications