In 1916, a hundred years ago, the first formal Department of Immunology in the USA 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.
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 Ame' Maters, who brings more than 28 years of dedicated managerial experience to her position, Annie Cho the Immunology Supervisor and a staff of 16 highly skilled medical laboratory professionals.
In 1999, Dr. Barbara Detrick joined the Pathology Department to direct the clinical diagnostic immunology laboratory. 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. Three faculty join Dr. Detrick including Dr. Patrizio Caturegli, Dr. Timothy Amukele and Dr. Richard Humphrey. In addition to the faculty's service in the Immunology Laboratory, each has diverse research interests, ranging from the very basic to clinical and translational.
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 serology. A recent 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 chemiluminescence (CIA), followed by the traditional RPR test and confirmed with fluorescent treponemal antibody 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. Moreover, the Laboratory participates in a variety of other academic activities. For example, the Laboratory offers an Immunology clerkship for 3rd and 4th year medical students and a medical elective which provides an in depth and comprehensive Immunology Laboratory rotation. Furthermore, the Laboratory provides research opportunities for selected students in the summer internship program.
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