Message from the Division Chief
Welcome to the Web site of Allergy-Immunology (A-I). The A-I Division has a long history of excellence in the three major areas of pursuit in academic medicine: patient care, teaching and research. Both the A-I Division and the Feinberg School of Medicine thrived under the outstanding leadership of the late Dr. Roy Patterson, who was Division Chief from 1967 to 2002 and Chairman of Medicine from 1973 to 1990. Dr. Patterson’s legacy includes an A-I Division that attracts patients and students alike from around the country. Clinical services in the A-I Division are offered by a talented professional group of faculty, fellows, residents, nurses and A-I staff under the direction of Dr. Leslie C. Grammer. The Allergy-Immunology Fellowship training program, which typically offers highly prized A-I training opportunities for two to four fellows per year, is directed by Dr. Pedro C. Avila . We have a T32 training grant from the NIH that supports fellows, both MD and PhD, as they pursue faculty development. The research enterprise is thriving in our division, and we now have considerable funding from the NIH, private foundations and generous benefactors.
The A-I division originated over 75 years ago when voluntary faculty cared for economically deprived patients under the leadership of the late Leon Unger, MD and subsequently Samuel M. Feinberg, MD. Since the early years, primary objectives of the Division of Allergy-Immunology have been high-quality patient care and education of patients, students, residents, and fellows. We are pleased to have recently arranged for the formation of a Samuel M. Feinberg Chair of Medicine within our division and this chair will soon be held by Dr. Bruce Bochner, who has recently joined our faculty. In recent decades under the leadership of Dr. Patterson, a vigorous research program was added to the core of programmatic goals of the division.
Clinically, the A-I division faculty, practicing through Northwestern Memorial Hospital, contribute to a referral center of local, regional, and national stature. Areas of clinical excellence include asthma, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, idiopathic anaphylaxis, drug allergy, occupational immunologic lung disease, and allergen immunotherapy. The A-I Division maintains a federally licensed CLIA laboratory which provides diagnostic testing for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and occupational immunologic lung disease, and testing for other markers of disease is available upon request.
This is an exciting time for those who pursue a career in medicine and medical research. Transforming the fruits of genomic and proteomic research into information and medicines that have a positive impact on humans in health and disease will be highly gratifying. As our appreciation of the impact of the immune system on disease continues to expand, the field of allergy-immunology will expand in relevance to the practice of medicine and the understanding of disease.
The A-I Division has had an active and successful allergy fellowship training program and graduates of the A-I Fellowship program now exceed 150. Many are academic leaders in the field of allergy-immunology both in the U.S. and around the world. The success of the A-I Fellowship program at Northwestern results from the devoted efforts of the faculty to Fellowship training, reflected in part by the publication of the Primer in Allergy which is used by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. In addition, the 6th edition of a major textbook, Patterson's Allergic Diseases 6th edition, was published in 2002.
Over 20 faculty work in the Division of Allergy-Immunology. Research interests of faculty in the A-I Division are broad and research in the division has led to over 1000 publications. Major research areas include the following: drug allergy, occupational immunologic lung disease, improved allergen immunotherapy, and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. A new disease, idiopathic anaphylaxis, was discovered and classified, and successful clinical therapies have been designed. Asthma has always been a primary focus of teaching, patient care, and research. A new method of reducing IgE mediated allergy has been discovered and is being investigated. In the last decade we have dramatically expanded the number of laboratory- based faculty to further expand a research program that emphasizes excellence in research in allergy-immunology. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, viral triggers of asthma, food allergy mechanisms, immune tolerance, B cell and plasma cell biology. Toll-like receptor expression and signaling, expression and function of innate immune effectors, microbial defense, mechanisms of lymphocyte costimulation and antigen presentation, dendritic cell biology, mast cell biology, eosinophil biology, mouse models of asthma and mechanisms of inflammation. Diseases of interest include asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, hypereosinophilic disorders, food allergy, and occupational immunologic lung disease. As a result of this initiative, expanded opportunities for training will be available for both MD and PhD A-I fellows, graduates and research technical scientists.
Robert P. Schleimer, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Allergy-Immunology
Allergy-Immunology Ranked Number One by Residents
Every year, the internal medicine residents are asked to evaluate the faculty on each of their rotations through the thirteen medicine subspecialties. Thanks to our attendings, PAs, nurses and fellows, NUNMH residents rated our division number one in the categories of Availability, Medical Knowledge, Practice Based Learning, Systems-Based Practice and number two and three in patient care and teaching, respectively.
We were rated #1 overall compared to the other divisions. This is an exceptional recognition of divisional achievements and efforts since the votes come from young internal medicine residents with varied interests as well as potential allergistsin-training. Congratulations to all the division and keep up the good work!