Building resistance

Our department's Division of Immunology is focused on helping children with immunological disorders through a combination of clinical work, teaching activities and a heavy emphasis on research.

Clinical activities

Drs. Beata Derfalvi, Alejandro Palma, and Thomas Issekutz provide clinical immunology care to children throughout the Maritimes through an inpatient attending and consultation service and a weekly immunology outpatient clinic. The services focus on patients with chronic immunological conditions involving primary and secondary immunodeficiencies and autoimmune processes.

We also care for numerous patients with disorders that require ongoing therapy and monitoring, and frequently require investigational drug therapy, including:

  • hypogammaglobulinemia
  • chronic granulomatous disease
  • rarer immunodeficiences
  • other immunohematological disorders

We follow between fifteen and twenty bone marrow transplant recipients to assess immunologic reconstitution, and we offer regular consultations for common problems such as recurrent infections, hypersensitivity and extreme atopic conditions.

We provide specialized diagnostic immunology testing, which isn’t available anywhere else in the Maritimes. However, patients with severe immune deficiencies requiring complex referral for bone marrow transplantation are generally transported to other Canadian or American centres.

Teaching activities

Members of our division not only teach Med 1 and 2 students through case-based learning (CBL) units, they also contribute to medical education by:

  • offering lectures, clinical clerkship teaching and seminars
  • performing case writing
  • acting as resource persons
  • teaching graduate and undergraduate courses

Our members also offer lectures and tutorials in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses, and we’re very active in the training of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research and clinical fellows.

Division members and their trainees are active participants in:

Research interests

We have a very productive research program focusing on mechanisms of inflammation in autoimmune and allergic diseases, and the immune and inflammatory response to infection and cancer.

Our research attracts over two million dollars worth of support every year through grants, awards and contracts—the majority of which comes from peer-reviewed external granting agencies.

The research program has grown steadily over the last few years through recruitment and expansion of the breadth of the program. This growth has allowed us to provide graduate and postdoctoral research training, and employment for over 50 highly skilled and talented personnel.

Our people

Contact info

Phone: 902-470-8491
Fax: 902-470-7812

IWK Health Centre
5850/5980 University Avenue
PO Box 9700
Halifax, NS  B3K 6R8