Division of Neuro-Immunology

Basic Science Research

The basic science laboratories of the Division of Neuro-Immunology is comprised of the Igor Koralnik Laboratory and the Sabrina Tan Laboratory at BIDMC, and the Omar Siddiqi Laboratory at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. The focus of this basic science research in the Koralnik Laboratory is to understand the immunopathogenesis of JC virus in Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). An integrated virological, immunological, clinical and radiological approach is applied to study the viral and host factors associated with disease induction, pathogenesis and clinical outcome.

Additionally, studies are being conducted into determinants of JC virus latency and spread, as well as components of the immune response that are instrumental in containing JC virus in immunocompetent individuals. PCR-based technology allows investigation of molecular biology underlying the pathogenic attributes of JC virus and its subsequent reactivation. Characterization of surrogate immunological markers of survival in PML has been performed, and currently, knowledge is being harnessed for translational development of immunotherapies for this disease.

Finally, novel clinical entities, distinct from PML, and caused by JC virus deletion-mutants with selective tropism for neuronal populations have been characterized. The laboratory includes a dynamic group of Harvard Medical School faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, research assistants and clinical coordinators. If you are interested to know more about open positions at the basic science laboratory of the Division of Neuro-Immunology, please email Dr. Igor Koralnik, Chief of Division.

Clinical Research

Clinical research studies are performed at the Multiple Sclerosis Center at BIDMC, and at our Global Neurology Center at the University teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.

The HIV/Neurology Center at BIDMC offers comprehensive care for acute and chronic neurological problems in people with HIV infection or AIDS. In conjunction with the basic research laboratory of the Division of Neuro-Immunology, clinical studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are conducted. Their goal is to characterize the immunological, virological and radiological prognostic factors of disease evolution. HIV-positive or HIV-negative immunosuppressed individuals will qualify for these studies if they have neurological symptoms and brain lesions suggestive of PML, or if they have a positive brain biopsy or detectable JCV DNA in their cerebrospinal fluid.

The Multiple Sclerosis Center at BIDMC offers comprehensive care for patients with Multiple Sclerosis and a variety of other auto-immune diseases of the nervous system. Studies sponsored by the NIH, the National MS Society or Pharmacological companies are conducted. These include MRI and advanced neuroimaging studies, disease pathogenesis and treatment studies. Visit the Clinical Trials and Research page to learn more about clinical research at the Multiple Sclerosis Center.

The Global Neurology Center at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, Zambia provides comprehensive neurological care for Zambian patients. Studies sponsored by the NIH and private foundations are conducted. These include studies of the pathogenesis of Tuberculous Meningitis, molecular diagnostic of opportunistic infections o the nervous system, and new onset seizures in Zambian patients. Visit the Global Neurology Center page to learn more about clinical research.

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  • Multiple Sclerosis Clinic