Center for AIDS Research

Immunology and Pathology Core

Berman, Sunhee

The overall goal of the Einstein-Montefiore CFAR Immunology and Pathology Core is to enable CFAR investigators to perform functional and anatomical analyses of immunological and pathological cells and tissues infected with HIV and other pathogens, and provide translational investigators with a wide array of immunological assays and consultations to further their research studying HIV, its clinical manifestations, and comorbidities.


Core Mission 

  • To provide investigators with the research infrastructure and optimized technologies and protocols to perform state-of-the art immunologic and biochemical assays.
  • To provide investigators with an appropriate biohazard containment facility that is capable of examining the effects of infection with HIV and AIDS-associated pathogens on tissues by characterizing morphological, molecular and phenotypical changes using histological, immunohistochemical, in situ hybridization analyses and live cell imaging. 
  • To provide for investigators with support for the isolation and culture of primary human and rodent cells including endothelial cells, astrocytes, microglia and neurons for research studies.  
  • To train investigators in the performance of techniques that are extant in the Core and to assist investigators in the development of new immunological assays and pathological techniques that are required for the accomplishment of their research goals.  

Core Facilities 

  • Fluorescent AxioImager D1 Semi-motorized microscope for video capture during biocontained live cell imaging of the motility and interactions by HIV-1 infected and uninfected cells.
  • Cryostat and vibratome for cutting samples infected with HIV-1 and other pathogens.
  • Single cell microinjector (Axoporator) to electroporate individual cells.
  • ELISA reader and a multiplex Luminex reader for measurement of a wide-range of cytokines and chemokines.
  • MSD SECTOR Imager 2400 plate reader for highly sensitive and multiplex measurement of cytokines and chemokines.

Core Services 

  • Quantification of cytokines, chemokines and other mediators in serum, CSF, cervical-vaginal lavage or other body fluids by ELISA, Luminex or flow cytometry. 
  • Laser-capture microdissection of infected cells (in linkage with the Histopathology Core).
  • Assistance in purification, characterization and differentiation of cultured cells particularly CNS-derived cells. 
  • Extraction and analysis of RNA from uninfected and infected tissues or cells for subsequent analysis.
  • In situ hybridization analyses of tissues for microscopic evaluation of cell type-specific expression of cytokines, chemokines and other mediators.
  • Tissue processing and preparation for histopathology analysis of HIV-1 or opportunistic pathogen-infected human clinical samples and animal tissues. 
  • Immunocytochemistry for HIV-1 antigens or nucleic acids, other pathogen-specific antigens, leukocyte surface markers, cell-specific markers and mediators such as cytokines and chemokines. 
  • Interpretation and photographic documentation of the histopathology and immunocytochemistry findings.

Core Training Programs 

  • Performance of pathology, immunocytochemistry, photography, and quantitative image analysis.
  • Techniques for performing a wide range of cell trafficking and live imaging studies. 
  • Use of ELISA, Luminex or flow cytometry to quantify production of cytokines, chemokines and other mediators. 
  • Techniques for primary cellular isolation and culture from primary human or animal tissue.


To access Core services please contact Dr. Berman or Dr. Lee.

Charge-back fees 

RNA extraction and Q-RT-PCR, $50/sample for analysis of up to 5 primer pairs. 

ELISA:  if paired antibodies are available, $7/sample/assay; if paired antibodies are not available, the user will purchase the appropriate ELISA kits, and will pay $6/sample. 

Immunocytochemistry, immunofluorescence, histopathology and consultation: $100/antibody, including controls, for up to 5 slides.  Bulk immunohistochemistry: $10/slide per antibody. 

In Situ Hybridization and consultation: $50/slide per probe including controls. 

Tissue culture and cell isolation: Processing fee of $100/preparation.   

Live cell imaging: $50 per hour.  

Recent Core Publications

1. Eugenin EA, Greco JM, Frases S, Nosanchuk JD, Martinez LR. Methamphetamine alters blood brain barrier protein expression in mice, facilitating central nervous system infection by neurotropic Cryptococcus neoformans. J Infect Dis. 2013;208(4):699-704. Epub 2013/03/28. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit117. PubMed PMID: 23532099; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3719895.

2. Gaskill PJ, Calderon TM, Coley JS, Berman JW. Drug Induced Increases in CNS Dopamine Alter Monocyte, Macrophage and T Cell Functions: Implications for HAND. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013;8(3):621-42. Epub 2013/03/05. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9443-y. PubMed PMID: 23456305.

3. Herold BC, Keller MJ, Shi Q, Hoover DR, Carpenter CA, Huber A, Parikh UM, Agnew KJ, Minkoff H, Colie C, Nowicki MJ, D'Souza G, Watts DH, Anastos K. Plasma and mucosal HIV viral loads are associated with genital tract inflammation in HIV-infected women. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013;63(4):485-93. Epub 2013/04/18. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182961cfc. PubMed PMID: 23591635; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3706034.

4. Kozakiewicz L, Chen Y, Xu J, Wang Y, Dunussi-Joannopoulos K, Ou Q, Flynn JL, Porcelli SA, Jacobs WR, Jr., Chan J. B cells regulate neutrophilia during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and BCG vaccination by modulating the interleukin-17 response. PLoS Pathog. 2013;9(7):e1003472. Epub 2013/07/16. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003472. PubMed PMID: 23853593; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3708864.

5. Megra B, Eugenin E, Roberts T, Morgello S, Berman JW. Protease Resistant Protein Cellular Isoform (PrP) as a Biomarker: Clues into the Pathogenesis of HAND. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013. Epub 2013/04/26. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9458-4. PubMed PMID: 23616272.

6. Nixon B, Fakioglu E, Stefanidou M, Wang Y, Dutta M, Goldstein H, Herold BC. Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection in Humanized HIV-Transgenic Mice Triggers HIV Shedding and Is Associated With Greater Neurological Disease. J Infect Dis. 2013. Epub 2013/08/31. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit472. PubMed PMID: 23990571.

7. Nixon B, Stefanidou M, Mesquita PM, Fakioglu E, Segarra T, Rohan L, Halford W, Palmer KE, Herold BC. Griffithsin protects mice from genital herpes by preventing cell-to-cell spread. J Virol. 2013;87(11):6257-69. Epub 2013/03/29. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00012-13. PubMed PMID: 23536670; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3648100.

8. Suh HS, Gelman BB, Lee SC. Potential Roles of Microglial Cell Progranulin in HIV-Associated CNS Pathologies and Neurocognitive Impairment. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013. Epub 2013/08/21. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9495-z. PubMed PMID: 23959579.

9. Suh HS, Zhao ML, Derico L, Choi N, Lee SC. Insulin-like growth factor 1 and 2 (IGF1, IGF2) expression in human microglia: differential regulation by inflammatory mediators. J Neuroinflammation. 2013;10:37. Epub 2013/03/19. doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-10-37. PubMed PMID: 23497056; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3607995.

10. Williams DW, Calderon TM, Lopez L, Carvallo-Torres L, Gaskill PJ, Eugenin EA, Morgello S, Berman JW. Mechanisms of HIV entry into the CNS: increased sensitivity of HIV infected CD14+CD16+ monocytes to CCL2 and key roles of CCR2, JAM-A, and ALCAM in diapedesis. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(7):e69270. Epub 2013/08/08. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069270. PubMed PMID: 23922698; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3724935.



Core Leadership
Joan Berman, PhD
Tel: 718-430-2587 

Sunhee Lee, MD
Tel: 718-430-2666 

immunology 2 
Click here to log in