Friday, 19th April 2019


Immunology is the branch of biomedical science based around the study of the immune system, its functions and the defects which can affect it, both in the long- and short-term. Immunology also focuses on the diseases which arise in patients due to malfunctions of the immune system.

The sorts of disorders a clinical immunologist would frequently come across include:

  • Autoimmune diseases – which occur due to something already present in the body
  • Immunodeficiency – instances where the immune system cannot protect the body from foreign infection
  • Transplant rejections
  • Certain types of cancer and leukaemia
  • Allergies

Immunologists might choose to work exclusively in clinical settings, i.e. hospitals and clinics. Some might divide work between patient diagnostic work and clinical research, the findings from which will be used in a number of ways, including for the development of treatments and cures for a wide variety of health conditions. Research could be carried out on a very small scale or at industrial level, in biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Some immunologists also go on to work in higher education institutions to lecture, conduct research and complete further qualifications, such as PhDs and Doctorates.

Immunologists will not commonly work directly with patients, although they may do under certain circumstances, such as in outpatient clinics. They work predominantly with other biomedical scientists and doctors, including pathologists. Pathology and immunology are very closely related, although working in pathology requires extensive medical training.