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Infection and Immunity


The Immunology department helps to diagnose patients with allergies, defective immune systems and autoimmune diseases. This includes testing for thyroid disease, coeliac disease and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Immunology also performs tests which detect hidden tuberculosis (TB) infection, and there are numerous research programmes underway, looking at allergy, HIV infection, immune deficiency, vaccine responses and immune function.

The department provides a molecular service and is working with suppliers to develop an extensive sequencing service to assist in disease monitoring and response to therapies.

The Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics laboratory performs tissue typing and crossmatching for kidney and bone marrow transplant patients and donors. We test the blood of potential transplant recipients for antibodies and compare them with those of potential donors to avoid rejection of the organ. We also perform the HLA-B27 test to confirm a suspected diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis or reactive arthritis.

This is a regional service, including out-of-hours donor typing, and we work closely with laboratories in other trusts to ensure the on-going support for transplant patients across the region. This extensive programme includes pre-and post-transplant testing, and monitoring of patients.

The clinical staff responsible for clinical advice, diagnostic and interpretative services are:

Immunology Lead: Dr Peter Kelleher B.A. M.B. B.Ch. B.A.O: University of Dublin. M.R.C.P. (Ireland) Ph.D. Pathology: Imperial College University of London FRCPath

Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics Director: Arthi Anand


Microbiology provides a full range of testing for bacterial and fungal culture, as well as the antibiotic sensitivity of pathogenic (infectious) organisms. This includes those that can cause urinary, respiratory, gastrointestinal, wound or skin infections, and meningitis.

We screen for a number of organisms that can cause cross-infection problems for hospitals, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). We also perform intestinal parasite identification, testing for tuberculosis and screening for genitourinary infections, including chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

The department uses state-of-the-art molecular technology, enabling real-time, random access for diagnosis of C. diff, TB, chlamydia/gonorrhoea and other infections within 70 minutes of samples being placed onto the analyser.

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing

The laboratory employs the following methods for antimicrobial susceptibility testing:

  • Disc diffusion
  • MIC strip
  • Phoenix broth dilution (awaiting UKAS accreditation)

Virology and Serology

The Virology and Microbial Serology department tests serum to detect antibodies and antigens in the blood, which can indicate the presence of a range of viruses and other organisms, including HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis. The department provides a full diagnostic service, which includes supporting the management of infections during pregnancy, in infants, throughout the community, and in outbreak situations.

We can also check the level of immune protection against hepatitis B and rubella (German measles), and use advanced molecular techniques to detect the viruses that cause flu, herpes and other respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system infections.

The clinical staff responsible for clinical advice, diagnostic and interpretative services are:

Virology clinical lead: Dr David Muir MBChB, MSc, PhD, FRCPath (GMC 3327601)