Message from the Chief

Patients come to the Mount Sinai Division of Clinical Immunology from throughout the New York metropolitan area and from across the country for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions stemming from immune system dysfunction. They come here because of our storied history as pioneers and because our faculty are among the most respected clinicians and researchers in the field.

As members of Mount Sinai’s Immunology Institute, our faculty collaborate with individuals across multiple disciplines to conduct research in basic immunology, food allergy, primary immunodeficiency, asthma, immune mediated inflammatory diseases, mucosal immunology and transplantation. The Institute, directed by Sergio Lira, MD, PhD, focuses on enhancing research collaborations, education, and clinical translation of basic research in immune-mediated diseases, and exploring and dissecting disease pathways, with the intention of developing novel therapeutic approaches.

From the clinical standpoint, our division faculty are international leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of many immune-mediated disorders, including primary immunodeficiency, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergy, and asthma/allergic diseases.

While the expression “we stand on the shoulders of giants” can be said for many specialties at Mount Sinai, it is especially fitting for our division. Mount Sinai has been involved in immunology since the 1920s, when immunology was in its infancy. Dr. Gregory Schwartzman, a Mount Sinai physician and researcher, first developed the concept of immune hypersensitivity, a condition that later became known as the “Schwartzman phenomenon.” Dr. Schwartzman's accomplishments set a high bar for future Mount Sinai immunologists.

In 1930, Dr. Joseph Harkavy and his colleagues at Mount Sinai identified a new chemical substance that is released during severe allergic reactions. The substance is what immunologists now call SRS-A, or slow-reacting substance of anaphylaxis. Dr. Harkavy was also the first to link cigarette and cigar smoking to allergies and cardiovascular disease.

In the 1950s, Dr. Kermit E. Osserman organized a Myasthenia Clinic. Dr. Osserman sensed the immunological implications of myasthenia long before it was appreciated, and wrote the first text on the subject.

Today’s faculty continue this legacy of leadership in the field, holding prestigious positions including Chair of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Chairman of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of theCrohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and former President of New York Allergy and Asthma Society.

Our faculty serve on the editorial boards of leading journals in the field and are the recipients of numerous prestigious honors, including membership in the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Scholar Award in Basic Research, American Cancer Society, and the Boyle Achievement Award from the Immune Deficiency Foundation.

The broad spectrum of research and clinical work in the Division and strong collaborative relationships with faculty across Icahn School of Medicine provide expansive opportunities for our trainees to explore their interests and grow in the career path of their choosing.

I invite you to review our division site, as we are making advancements every day. As a current or prospective faculty member, trainee, supporter or patient, you’ll discover the benefits of working with our faculty and the exceptional programs we can offer you.

Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles, MD
Acting Chief, Division of Clinical Immunology