An immunologist is an expert in immunology, which is a branch of biomedical science that deals with the immune system. An immunologist may be involved with the immune system of humans or other vertebrates, and may be concerned with the immune system in healthy or diseased states.
Some disorders an immunologist may treat include autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency and transplant rejection. Immunologists study and treat the physical, chemical and physiological characteristics of the individual components of the immune system in vitro, in situ and in vivo. Diseases that affect natural immunity such as allergies, sinus inflations, pneumonia and abscesses are the particular concerns of an immunologist.
The field is composed of physicians, research scientists who work in a laboratory environment or physician-scientists who conduct research and care for patients. Immunologists who work in the research arena seek treatments for persistent illnesses and may work with cells or genes. Strong understanding of biology, chemistry and mathematics are necessary to be an immunologist. A PhD or MD is a required degree, and the requirements for certification to the American Board of Allergy and Immunology include several years of post-graduate training and the passage of an exam. Many immunologists also teach at the university or graduate level. They may work in children’s hospitals, community hospitals, private practices or university medical centers.
The immune system protects living organisms from infection.
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