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Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program

Our fellowship is a large, multidisciplinary program with several interdepartmental collaborations in clinical care as well as clinical and bench research, which take place at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. The goals of our Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program are to:

  • Train internists and pediatricians to become leaders in the field of Allergy and Immunology who are highly competent in diagnosing and managing patients with a broad spectrum of allergic and immunologic conditions
  • Educate patients, their families and healthcare professionals

In addition, the program encourages trainees to pursue careers in academic allergy and immunology. In the past five years, 70 percent of our fellows have pursued academic careers. Our pass rate in the ABAI examination has been 100 percent since 2002.

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Melanie C. Dispenza, MD, PhD, FAAAAI

Melanie C. Dispenza, MD, PhD, FAAAAI

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Years in the Fellowship Program: 2015-2018

“Northwestern’s Allergy/Immunology fellowship was incredibly supportive and provided me with the world-class training and research resources that I needed to launch my career as a translational physician scientist.”

Anjeni Keswani, MD MSCI

Anjeni Keswani, MD MSCI

Current Position: Associate Professor of Medicine and Director, Division of Allergy/Immunology, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Years in the Fellowship Program: 2011-2014

“The Northwestern Allergy/Immunology Fellowship trains outstanding clinicians, as the faculty dedicate time to discussing medical decision-making with fellows on a range of interesting and complex patients. The program trains fellows to think critically about Allergic/Immunology disease and seamlessly incorporates research skills throughout, allowing many talented physician-scientists to emerge amongst Northwestern's graduates.”

Jasn Kwah, MD, MSc

Jason Kwah, MD, MSc

Current Position: Medical Director at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; Adjunct Assistant Professor at Yale School of Medicine

Years in the Fellowship Program: 2017-2019

“Northwestern is truly a unique place where you can be challenged academically to be the best clinician/educator/researcher you can possibly be, while also having fun and developing lifelong friendships.”

Nrbek Mambesariev, MD, PhD

Nurbek Mambetsariev, MD, PhD

Current Position: Associate Medical Director, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Years in the Fellowship Program: 2020-2023

“I think what makes our program stand out is the co-fellows who support each other and foster a collaborative learning environment.”

Mahbbeh Mahdavinia, MD, PhD, FAAAAI

Mahboobeh Mahdavinia, MD, PhD, FAAAAI

Current Position: Professor and Director, Allergy and Immunology Division, John P. McGovern Chair in Internal Medicine; Vice Chair of Mentoring, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Years in the Fellowship Program: 2011-2014

“The Allergy and Immunology fellowship at Northwestern prepared me to purse my goals and dreams in science, medical practice, and education. I believe what I have learned from the exceptional faculty and mentors at Northwestern empowered me to carry on and advance in every step of academic medicine.”

Sergi Chiarella, MD

Sergio Chiarella, MD

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of Allergic Diseases, Mayo Clinic

Years in the Fellowship Program: 2014-2017

“The Fellowship Program helped me develop critical research skills to pursue an academic career.”



Our program follows the regulations of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and of our McGaw Medical Center Graduate Medical Education (GME) office.

We accept four new fellows annually for a two-year, ACGME-accredited program. Additional years of research training are encouraged for those pursuing academic careers.  

Following the ACGME requirements, our 2-year ACGME accredited program has 50% of clinical activities, 25% of research activities, and 25% of educational activities. These activities are supervised by our large faculty group, consisting of 17 Medicine and Pediatrics Allergist-Immunologists, and 7 PhD Allergy-Immunology researchers based in our own Division. In addition, we collaborate with several other faculty in other Divisions and at the Northwestern Hospitals.

Our faculty members conduct several courses for our fellows along the year. These include the Clinical Orientation Course (5 weeks), the Laboratory Techniques Course (5 weeks), and the Introductory Basic Immunology Course (15 weeks). In addition, along the year we have on a weekly basis the following conferences: Allergy-Immunology Topics Course (CME accredited), Journal Club, Board Review course, Divisional Research Talks (internal speakers), Allergy-Immunology Research (local, national and international speakers).

Fellows interested in obtaining further graduate education may take the Master in Science of Clinical Investigation (MSCI). Other masters programs available at Northwestern include Master in Public Health (MPH), Master in Science in Biostatistics (MSB), and Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety (MSHQPS), and Master of Science in Health Services & Outcomes Research (MSHSOR).

Our fellows attend the national meetings of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), and the Allergy-Immunology Board Review Course; as well as the local meetings of the Illinois Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ISAAI). Our program provides travel support to attend these meetings beyond the society travel grants.

Finally, our program purchases the following allergy-immunology books for fellows based on reaching performance milestones: Abbas, Lichtman, Pillai (eds) Basic Immunology. Grammer, Greenberger (eds), Patterson’s Allergic Diseases. Burks, O'Hehir, Broide, Holgate, Bacharier, Hershey, Peebles (eds) Middelton's Allergy Principles and Practice.


Several disease-oriented multidisciplinary research groups interact to investigate the causes, pathogenesis and treatments of allergic diseases and immunodeficiencies. During the first two years, fellows spend 25 percent of effort in research to fulfill ACGME requirements. Thereafter, the fellow’s research effort increases to 90 percent. Our program also features a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-funded T32 training grant: the Northwestern University Allergy-Immunology Research Program (NUAIR) with additional opportunities for translational research.

The research activities of our faculty have greatly expanded since 2004. Our faculty members conduct molecular, cellular, genetic, epidemiological and translational research as well as clinical trials and comparative effectiveness research. We have been funded by numerous grants from the NIH (R, U, T and F mechanisms), foundations, society, and industry; as well as by private gifts. The research interests of our faculty members are detailed in our profiles in the Department of Medicine and Department of Pediatrics.

Our program has 5,675 square feet of bench laboratory space equipped with cutting edge instruments for molecular and cellular research. In addition, Northwestern University supports numerous research cores that provide basic and clinical research services. We conduct bench, translational and clinical research in asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis, food allergy, eosinophilic esophagitis, drug allergy, urticaria and primary immunodeficiencies. Our molecular research programs include projects on mechanism of action of glucocorticoids, mast cell biology, leukocyte migration and eosinophil biology.

The research interests of our faculty members are detailed in their profiles in the Department of Medicine and Department of Pediatrics.  Fellows usually submit two or more publications (papers, reviews, book chapters). Our faculty members publish about 60 papers per year.

Research Rankings:

  • Northwestern University: # 22 in NIH funding.     
  • Northwestern University Medical School: #16 in NIH funding.
  • Department of Medicine: #18 in NIH funding.

 Clinical Experience

Clinical training takes place at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Prentice Women’s Hospital (NMH, 908 beds) and at the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (LCHC, 270 beds).  In 2023, the US News & World Report America's Best Hospitals "Honor Roll" report listed NMH as #1 in Illinois and #6 in the nation; and LCHC #1 in Illinois and #8 in the nation.  Our fellows attend the busiest adult and pediatric academic allergy-immunology practices in Chicagoland. Our adult and pediatric allergy-immunology services account for over 20,000 outpatient visits and 1,400 inpatient visits per year. We care for patients of all ages, all ethnic and racial backgrounds, and with large variety of allergic and immunological conditions and the entire range of disease severity.

The extensive outpatient and inpatient clinical training of our program is well recognized nationwide. Our fellows are sought after by recruiting practices and academic centers, and often become local leaders, providing advice on management of patients to other allergists and immunologists in the community.

We have our own CLIA-certified Allergy-Immunology Laboratory where we perform tests for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and occupational immunological lung diseases.

At the Lurie Children’s Hospital, we care for hundreds of children with primary immunodeficiency and perform bone marrow transplantation for the most severe deficiencies in collaboration with the Hematology-Oncology service.  Click here for more details about the pediatric fellowship activities. Both in Medicine and Pediatrics, we work collaboratively with other specialties both in clinical care and research, including ENT, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, and Dermatology.

 Diversity and Inclusion

The Department of Medicine at Northwestern University seeks to attract inquisitive, motivated residents and fellows and is committed to providing them with every opportunity for success. The greatest challenges facing the medical field are complex, and addressing them will require a diverse body of physicians and researchers who can work collaboratively. Northwestern offers unparalleled training and research opportunities and encourages fellowship applications from those who seek to become future leaders in the subspecialties of medicine.  We are committed to and inspired by a diverse and inclusive work environment that allows each trainee to achieve their personal goals.

For more information on Northwestern’s commitment to diversity please see the following resources:

 Requirements and Eligibility

Fellowship applicants will have to complete an ACGME-approved residency in Medicine, Pediatrics, or Med-Peds before entering our program. Applications are reviewed in ERAS and acceptance via NRMP.

 Application Process

We receive applications through the Electronic Residency Application Service for fellowships (ACGME ID#0201631016) every year From July 1 to September 15. Application consists of: the ERAS application form, curriculum vitae, three or more letters of reference with one being from the residency program director, personal statement, medical school performance evaluation or transcript, USMLE transcript, photograph, and ECFMG status report (if applicable). 

After interviews (Septembers through November), we accept applicants via the National Resident Matching Program site. Our Medicine track code is 2247020F0, and our Pediatric track code is 2247020F1. Match results are published in early December.

 Why Northwestern?

Housestaff training through McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University provides diverse and challenging clinical experiences and world-class education located in the heart of the beautiful city of Chicago. Learn more via the links to the McGaw website below.

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More Information

Further program details, including our housestaff manual and a sample training contract, are available on our McGaw Medical Center Graduate Education site.

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Carol Saltoun, MD

Carol Saltoun, MD

Program Director

Allergy and Immunology

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Physician-Scientist Training & Resources

We offer a wide range of resources, mentorship opportunities and formal training programs to help our residents and fellows excel as physician-scientists. Explore all of the resources and hear from housestaff who are making research a major part of their career development plans.

Visit the Starzl Academy Site