Starting in immunology by way of immunopathology

Annu Rev Pathol. 2011;6:1-18. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-011110-130300.


This article comments on my trajectory first from Havana as a medical student, to Pittsburgh as a pathology intern, then to La Jolla. It reviews my initial experience in immunology research at the Scripps Research Institute in the early 1960s. Under Frank Dixon, my work examined how antibodies to the glomerular basement membrane (GBM) cause disease. I present these studies in the broader context of immunological renal injury. The early studies by Dixon and his group examining the models of acute or chronic serum sickness were major for our understanding of renal and vascular pathology. I review them because of their historical importance in immunopathology and also cover facets of Dixon's overall contributions to immunology. The studies in serum sickness and anti-GBM nephritis led to an understanding of autoimmune glomerulonephritides, the first proven autoantibody-induced diseases.

Publication types

  • Autobiography
  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Allergy and Immunology / history*
  • Cuba
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Pathology, Clinical / history*
  • United States

Personal name as subject

  • Emil R Unanue