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Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics

Goals and Objectives

By the end of the rotation, the Resident will demonstrate the following skills:

Patient Care

  • Understand modern techniques for determining class I and class II Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) alleles, which is referred to as HLA typing, and detecting antibodies to HLA antigens for the care of patients with solid organ and hematopoietic cell (blood or bone marrow) transplants.
  • To understand the relevance of focused HLA typing for assisting physicians in diagnosing autoimmune and other disorders exhibiting significant associations with particular HLA alleles.
  • To appreciate the value of targeted HLA typing for preventing serious drug hypersensitivity reactions associated with particular HLA alleles.

Medical Knowledge

  • Understand basic principles of immunology and histocompatibility.
  • Perform each of the tests offered by the histocompatibility laboratory.
  • Understand the technical basis for histocompatibility testing.
  • Understand the value of HLA typing and HLA antibody detection in selecting donor-recipient pairs for organ or hematopoietic cell transplantation and for managing transplant patients.
  • Understand the genetics of transplantation.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

  • Interpret histocompatibility testing results in principle.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  • Demonstrate skills in interacting with the technical staff.
  • Provide important information about histocompatibility testing to clinicians.
  • Read and present one paper from the current literature for laboratory staff.

Systems-Based Practice

  • Understand the clinical utility of histocompatibility testing as applied to organ and tissue transplantation and hematopoietic cell transplantation.


Training in histocompatibility and immunogenetics is one week.

Duties and Responsibilities of Residents

  • Because Resident training in this rotation is taught at one point in time, there is no incremental responsibility in different years of training. During the rotation each Resident is expected to perform the following activities:
  • Read one original paper in the field of histocompatibility testing and prepare a brief presentation of the paper for the histocompatibility laboratory staff.
  • Review histocompatibility laboratory procedures.
  • Review results of histocompatibility testing with the attending pathologist or laboratory manager.
  • Perform HLA typing on a sample of the resident's own peripheral blood leukocytes.
  • In addition, whenever scheduling permits, residents will be expected to attend histocompatibility-related teleconferences (offered by the Georgetown University Histocompatibility Laboratory on a continuing basis) in which the laboratory staff participate.

Teaching Staff

  • Neil Greenspan, MD, PhD – Director of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory
  • David Wald, MD, PhD – Associate Director of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory
  • Colleen Pohlmeyer – Technical Coordinator of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory

Supervision and Evaluation

  • Residents meet on a regular basis with the lead technologists for supervision.
  • Residents are evaluated at the end of the rotation with regard to attainment of the Core -Competencies specified in this Program Statement. Evaluations are forwarded to the Residency Program Director, where they are available for review.