Immunology Laboratory


In 1916, the first formal Department of Immunology in the United States of America was founded at Johns Hopkins University. This rich heritage of Immunology was initiated by Dr. William Henry Welch who launched his vision of an Immunology department with an emphasis on research and teaching that soon spread to a variety of diverse programs at Johns Hopkins. Today, these programs have expanded into centers focusing on basic immunology, translational research and direct applications to patient management.

Immunology Laboratory

The Immunology Laboratory is the clinical component of the Immunology Division. The laboratory performs and offers expert interpretation on a broad array of laboratory tests and comprehensive consultation in clinical and diagnostic immunology. In addition, the laboratory is involved in research and the development of diagnostic tests for a wide range of immune-based disorders. Approximately 300,000 tests are performed each year for the evaluation of autoantibodies, protein abnormalities and antibody responses to selected microbial agents. The Laboratory is managed by Annie Kuh and a staff of 16 highly skilled medical laboratory professionals.

In 2016, Dr. Patrizio (Mario) Caturegli became the director of the Immunology Laboratory taking over from Dr. Barbara Detrick who led the laboratory from 1999-2016. Today, the Immunology Laboratory continues to grow and provide a wide variety of services in immunologic testing. The evaluation of monoclonal proteins is a basic component of the laboratory analysis for multiple myeloma and other plasma cell dyscrasias. Consultation is provided by an expert group of faculty.

Another component of the laboratory is autoimmune disease testing. This section monitors autoantibodies that are generated in a variety of diseases such as, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, myositis and celiac disease. The laboratory is also dedicated to infectious disease serology. A broad spectrum of infectious disease serology is offered, ranging from Lyme disease to syphilis. A change was initiated in syphilis testing with the advent of the reverse sequence algorithm, approved by the CDC for syphilis testing. Initial screening is performed by chemiluminenscence (CIA), followed by the traditional RPR test, and confirmed with the Treponemal pallidum particle agglutination assay.

In addition, the Immunology Laboratory is dedicated to the academic development of fellows, residents, medical students, graduate students, and medical technologists. Pathology residents rotate for two months through all areas of the Immunology Laboratory.