Division of Clinical Immunopathology

Clinical Activities

The Division of Clinical Immunopathology is responsible for the oversight of the immunopathology and serology component of the Section of Laboratory Medicine.  The Division of Clinical Immunopathology provides laboratory tests to assist in the detection and management of allergic, autoimmune, autoinflammatory, and immunodeficiency diseases, to detect protein pattern abnormalities and monoclonal proteins in serum, urine and spinal fluid, and to conduct serologic diagnosis of infectious diseases, including HIV, HCV, HBV, COVID-19, CMV, VCA, Syphilis and others. The Division utilizes a number of modern automated and semiautomated technologies that produce results in a timely and reliable manner. In addition, the Division maintains an active consultation service to assist in the interpretation and application of clinical laboratory immunology tests, as well as participating in UPMC/UPCI clinical trials.

Research Activities

Dr. Shurin’s research program is focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in regulation of cell interactions in the tumor microenvironment. Specifically, he focuses on the immune cells in the tumor milieu (the tumor immunoenvironment) and their cross-talk with intratumoral neurons and neuroglial cells (the tumor neuroenvironment). Using different methodological approaches and both murine and human systems, Dr. Shurin studies how tumor-derived factors control antitumor immunity, immune and neuroglial cell polarization, and regulate immune cell-mediated cancer metastases and resistance to therapy. In collaboration with other Departments and Institutions, Dr. Shurin also investigates immunomodulatory and immunotoxic properties of different nanomaterials and works on development of novel nanodelivery strategies to target immune regulatory cells in the tumor microenvironment for therapeutic purposes. Finally, in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Shurin works on the development and testing of novel nanochip-based technologies for detection of specific analytes in different biological specimens.

The research program of Dr. Wheeler is centered around creating and improving clinical laboratory testing.  Currently, Dr. Wheeler is developing new testing for multiple myeloma that will overcome therapeutic interferences that cause false positive results leading to misdiagnosis and possible over treatment. Additionally, she is designing improved testing algorithms for the newest generation of HIV testing and developing improved testing in investigational transplant specimens.

Teaching/Training/Educational Activities

The Division is involved in teaching of basic/clinical immunology and immunological methods, immunodiagnostics, immunopathology, tumor immunology, and immunotherapy to medical students, residents, fellows, and graduate students as well as the postdoctoral training program and visiting scholars from different countries. Many 4th year medical students take a 4-week elective in the Division. In addition, the Division is actively involved in International teaching hosting medical students, postdoctoral fellows, residents, and graduate students from Germany, France, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Brazil, Kazakhstan and China, as well as organizing special tumor immunology and nanotoxicology courses for students and doctors in different countries. The Division is also involved in organization of various clinical and scientific conferences on immunodiagnostics and tumor immunology in the USA and Europe. Finally, Division faculty publish research and clinical results in peer-reviewed journals, prepare scientific reviews, case reports and book chapters, participate in manuscript and grant review boards, and serve as Editors for a number of biomedical journals.