SARANAC LAKE - Local resident Luke A. Neill, who completed his premedical studies at the University of Vermont in the fall of 2011, graduating with honors, is now a member of the Class of 2016 at UVM's College of Medicine. Prior to matriculating to medical school, Luke spent the last several months as a research assistant in the lab of Trudeau Institute faculty member Alexei Tumanov.
Luke first came to Trudeau in 2009 and 2010 as a summer research technician in the labs of Drs. David Woodland and Dawn Jelley-Gibbs and later was promoted to full-time research assistant in Dr. Tumanov's lab.
In May of this year Luke was named a recipient of a $2,500 Student Fellowship Research Award from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. The award for the "Role of Lymphotoxin in intestinal inflammation" funded his research at Trudeau under Dr. Tumanov's direction.
A prodigious young scholar, Luke graduated from Saranac Lake High School in 2008 after taking college coursework at North Country Community College, Paul Smith's College and St. Lawrence University. He also completed 100 hours as a North Area Health Education Center Summer Scholar in 2008 to become acclimated to the field of medicine.
While an undergraduate at UVM, Luke worked under the supervision of immunologist Dr. Mercedes Rincon of the university's College of Medicine and later defended the research he did under her supervisions for his honors thesis.
He also did an internship at Stanford University School of Medicine and has served more than 300 hours as a volunteer in the surgical intensive care unit at Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington.
"We're all so proud of Luke and delighted to have played a role in his preparation for future medical studies," said Amy Richardson, Trudeau's human resources manager. "Luke started here at Trudeau as a research intern the summer after his senior year in high school. His time here also helped him make an important connection with Dr. Rincon at UVM (a collaborator with Trudeau faculty member Laura Haynes) to do research in her lab as an undergraduate student."
While working under Dr. Woodland's supervision, Luke's investigations focused on the influenza virus and he was awarded two separate National Institutes of Health grants to carry out his research at Trudeau.
"The Trudeau Institute is committed to training and educating the next generation of scientists and health professionals," said Dr. Larry Johnson, the Institute's interim chief operating officer.
"Luke's success to date is an indication of an excellent match between a bright young student with a passion for medicine and research and some wonderful mentors who helped in his development. We couldn't be happier for Luke and are pleased to have played a part in his success."