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Dr. John P. Driver

Associate Professor — Immunologist

Dr. John Driver completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He subsequently earned his Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition from the University of Georgia, specializing in Poultry Nutrition under the mentorship of Dr. Gene Pesti. Following his Ph.D. he was awarded a Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and then Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the genetics of Type-1 diabetes at The Jackson Laboratory under the mentorship of David Serreze. As an associate professor at University of Florida, his research program focused on swine immunology, infectious disease, and vaccinology. A significant part of his program is devoted to mouse immunology and genetics focused on using mouse models to study autoimmune diseases.


  • Research

    Research: Area of Speciality; Swine Immunology, Infectious Disease, and Vaccinology

    Dr. Driver specializes in the areas of swine immunology, infectious disease, and vaccinology. He is also an expert in mouse immunology and genetics focused on using mouse models to study autoimmune diseases. His program is divided into two main research areas. The first involves harnessing an important immune cell population called natural killer T (NKT) cells for treating and preventing infectious diseases in swine with a view to improving the health of both pigs as well as people. Dr Driver's other area of research is in the field of autoimmune type-1 diabetes (T1D), focused on blocking the effector function of pathogenic immune cells that destroy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and cause disease. For this project his lab employs a wide range of genetically modified mouse strains to perform studies to identify genes and therapeutic targets involved in this process.

  • Teaching

    Teaching: Area of Speciality; Growth and Development of Farm Animals and Immunology

    Undergraduate Course:

    ANS 3043:  Dr. Driver is a co-instructor for this 3-credit course titled: Growth and Development of Farm Animals (G&D). His portion of the course teaches the anatomy and physiology of important tissue types, hormonal regulation of growth, growth curves, and environmental and genetic factors that modulate growth and development.

    Graduate Courses:

    ANS 6775: (previously designated ANS 6932): This 1-credit course entitled Essentials of Livestock Immunology is taught during the Spring semester. This course is designed to provide immunology neophytes a working knowledge of how different components of the mammalian immune system come together to coordinate immune responses. The course objective is to provide graduate students with the necessary background to apply and understand immunology principles in their research. ANS 6775 is a lecture style course that loosely follows subject matter in the leading immunology textbooks combined with my own experiences in genetics and immunology research.

    ANS 6939: Dr. Driver also a co-instructs a 1-credit livestock immunology journal club within the Animal Molecular and Cellular Biology (AMCB) graduate program. This class meets once a week in both Spring and Fall semesters and provides students the opportunity to present and critique research articles from leading immunology journals.  

    ANS 6939: He coordinates the AMCB seminar series every Spring and Fall semester. This series exposes graduate students and faculty within ANS and AMCB to the best up-and-coming and established biological scientists from across campus. AMCB seminar also provides a platform for graduate students to present their own research for critical evaluation by faculty and peers.
    Courses Taught



PO Box 110910
Gainesville, FL 32611
352-392-1981 Ext. 244

2250 Shealy Dr.
Gainesville, FL 32611

  • Education

    Education and Training:

    • Bachelor of Science in Animal Science 1995 - 1998
      The University of Pretoria, South Africa
    • Master of Science (cum laude) in Animal Nutrition 1999 - 2001
      The University of Pretoria, South Africa
      Thesis Title: Cultivating thermophilic fungi for the production of thermostable phytases and the comparison of the thermostability and efficacy of phytases produced under liquid culture or solid culture conditions. 
    • Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition 2001 - 2004
      The University of Georgia, Athens GA
      Thesis Title:  Determining the influence of dietary calcium and phosphorus levels on phytate phosphorus availability, the efficacy of phytase and requirements for vitamin D, vitamin D derivatives and maternal vitamin D.
    • Postdoctorate 2005-2010
      The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
      (Laboratory of Dr. David Serreze)
      “Utilization of mouse models to probe the genetic basis for type 1 diabetes development”
    • Associate Research Scientist (non-tenure track) 2010-2011
      The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
  • Publications
  • Professional Service and Awards

    Professional Memberships

    • Southern Poultry Science Society
    • Poultry Science Association
    • World Poultry Science Association
    • American Diabetes Association


    • 1997-1998, Scholastic Achievement Scholarship for undergraduate studies, University of Pretoria
    • 1999, Professor C. Maree Scholarship for Master of Science
    • 1998-1999, Carl Duisberg Society Internship for International Study
    • 1999,  University of Pretoria International Study Award for Masters Research
    • 2001,  A. B. Bosman medal for "Best Graduate Student in Animal Science for 2001"
    • 2001, Academic Honors, The University of Pretoria
    • 2004, Student Certificate of Excellence at the Poultry Science Association's 93rd Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO