Meet the Pre-Clinical Team


Barry J. Byrne, M.D., Ph.D.


Barry J. Byrne, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, UF Powell Gene Therapy Center

Professor, Pediatrics and Molecular Genetics & Microbiology

Associate Chair, Pediatrics

Dr. Barry J. Byrne is a clinician scientist interested in a variety of rare diseases, with specific attention to developing therapies for inherited muscle disease. As a pediatric cardiologist, his focus is on conditions that lead to skeletal muscle weakness, cardiac dysfunction and respiratory dysfunction. His research team has made significant contributions to the understanding and treatment of Pompe disease, a type of muscular dystrophy resulting from abnormal glycogen accumulation in the muscle. His current research has focused on developing new therapies using the missing cellular protein or the corrective gene to restore muscle function in Pompe and other inherited myopathies.

Dr. Barry Byrne is the Associate Chair of Pediatrics and Director of the Powell Gene Therapy Center at the University of Florida. After obtaining a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Denison University, he pursued his medical education, as well as a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology, at the University of Illinois. He completed his pediatric residency, cardiology fellowship training and post-doctoral training in Biological Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. Joining the University of Florida in 1997, he has served in a variety of clinical, research and educational roles, and is now the Earl and Christy Powell University Chair in Genetics.


PGTC Byrne Lab


Denise Cloutier, B.S.

Denise Cloutier, B.S.

Lab Manager, Research Coordinator 3

Denise Cloutier has managed Dr. Byrne’s lab for the past 19 years. She coordinates all of the lab research projects as well as train all incoming lab personnel. Denise obtained her B.S. in Microbiology with a Minor Chemistry from the University of Florida. Her research focus is using Gene Replacement Therapy in  KO animal models as well as several pre-clinical studies for Pompe Disease.







Angela McCall, B.S., Ph.D. Candidate

Angela McCall, B.S., Ph.D. Candidate

Graduate Student

Angela McCall is a graduate student in Dr. Byrne’s lab. She has been in the lab for 3 years and is expected to graduate with her Ph. D.  next year. Her research is focused on developing vector related gene therapies for both Pompe and XL  MTM1 diseases.








Emmanuelle Lavassani

Emmanuelle Lavassani

Graduate Student

Emmanuelle Lavassani is a graduate student in Dr. Byrne’s lab. She has been in the lab for 2 years and is expected to graduate with her Master’s this year. Her research is focused on vector related gene therapy to better understand and treat the neural pathology of Pompe Disease.









Lochlin Cravey

Lochlin Cravey

Lab Technician, Undergraduate Student

Lochlin Cravey is a new Lab Tech and has been with the lab for 9 months. He graduates from UF with a BS in Biology May 2016 after which he will join our team full time.









Sylvia Stankov

Sylvia Stankov

Undergraduate Student










PGTC Vector Core Lab

Nathalie Clement

Nathalie Clement, PhD

Nathalie Clément, Ph.D.

Research and Development Director, PGTC Vector Core Laboratory

Dr. Clément as Associate Director is in charge of the overall supervision of the AAV Vector Core production facility, located in the Department of Pediatrics, Powell Gene Therapy Center. More particularly she is involved in Process & Development of new methods for large-scale AAV vector production and purification. These activities are performed in tight collaboration with the Human Application Laboratory to ensure efficient and swift transfer of these methodologies to GMP settings for clinical grade preparations.






Mark Potter, B.S.

Mark Potter, B.S.

Assistant Director Research Services, PGTC Vector Core










Additional Vector Core Lab staff:

  • Tina Caton
  • Glenn Philipsberg
  • Tina Philipsberg
  • Jenna Ross
  • Denna Sanders


PGTC Human Applications Lab

Brian D. Cleaver, Ph.D.

Brian D. Cleaver, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Human Applications Lab

Dr. Brian Cleaver obtained his B.S., M.S. and PhD degrees from the University of Florida. After spending six years in the biotech industry, he returned to the University of Florida in 2002 and is now the Associate Director of Operations in the Powell Gene Therapy Center.

Dr. Cleaver was one of the original members that developed the Quality Assurance Unit in the Powell Gene Therapy Center. He managed all preclinical GLP Quality Assurance from 2002 to 2004. In 2004 he took over as the Operations Director in the Human Applications Laboratory and has directed GMP Operations since that time. He has over twenty years of experience in the development of biopharmaceuticals from the research and development, to preclinical toxicology testing, GMP clinical manufacturing and testing, and clinical trial development and execution. This includes extensive experience with Local, State, Federal and International Regulatory Agencies.

PGTC Toxicology Core Lab 

Thomas Conlon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor,COM, Pediatrics

Thomas Conlon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, COM, Pediatrics

Thomas J. Conlon, Ph.D.

Associate Director of PGTC Toxicology Core, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Conlon is a native Texan with roots in Dallas.  Having received his BS in Genetics from the Texas A&M University under the tutelage of James R. Wild, PhD, Thomas moved to Gainesville in order to begin his graduate education in the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences (IDP) with a concentration in genetics.  His thesis entitled Hepatocyte Transduction by Recombinant Adeno-associated Virus as an Appraoch to Gene Therapy for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders was earned under the direction of Dr. Terry Flotte in 2004. 

Following graduation, he took the position of Director of the Powell Gene Therapy Center Toxicology core where he has served since as well as being a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Conlon was a 2014 recipient of the “See the Lights” award from the The Mathew Forbes Romer Foundation for excellence in the fight against children’s genetic diseases. Dr. Conlon currently has over 48 peer reviewed publications, reviews and book chapters.



Kirsten Coleman, MBA

Kirsten Coleman, MBA

Research Programs Coordinator

Kirsten Coleman has been with the PGTC Toxicology Core since 2004.  Kirsten received her B.S. in microbiology and an MBA from the University of Florida.  As the Director of Project and Internal Quality Management, she is responsible for coordinating multiple aspects of preclinical and clinical testing as well as overseeing that the laboratory adheres to Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) 21 CFR Part 58 regulations.  Her research focuses on the testing of AAV vectors in GLP preclinical and clinical settings to determine the biodistribution, pathology and efficacy of these vectors for the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including muscular dystrophies, metabolic and neurological disorders.





Falk Research Lab


Darin Falk, Ph.D.

Darin Falk, Ph.D.

Lab Manager, Assistant Professor

Dr. Falk received his PhD training under Scott K. Powers, PhD, EdD, in the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida (UF). He continued his training at UF as a NIH postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics with Barry J. Byrne, MD, PhD. He has authored over 30 original articles, chapters, and editorials and recently was awarded a Development Grant by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Dr. Falk also serves as a co-investigator on grants from the NIH and Department of Defense.







A. Garry Todd, Ph.D.

A. Garry Todd, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow











Lauren Vaught, B.S.

Lauren Vaught, B.S.












Additional Falk Lab staff:

  • Bhuvna Mahajan