Overview

Beginning Monday, May 11 2020, the Clinical Studies Core will be operating in Expanded Research Mode. Please find more info here: Clinical Core Expanded Research Mode Guidelines

Clinical research volunteers are crucial partners in the quest for knowledge that will improve the health of future generations. As a non-profit research organization, we rely on our entire community to help us gain a better understanding of the immune system by contributing to groundbreaking research.

Active Studies

Allergies result from your immune system overreacting to foreign substances, referred to as allergens. Reactions typically include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. T cells, a type of immune cell, play a central role in the human immune response to allergens. Detailed knowledge regarding specific allergen triggers that are recognized by T cells is currently limited.

The purpose of this study is to find out more about how these immune cells circulating in the blood and in the nose react to allergens in the air and in certain foods we eat. The information may be used to improve therapies for allergy sufferers. Individuals who have a history of allergy as well as non-allergic control subjects will be studied. Participants will be compensated for time and effort.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • History of allergy.

Alopecia is a common autoimmune disease where a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and other parts of the body. For most people, alopecia involves the loss of hair in small round patches all over the body. It occurs in both males and females of all ages, but most often begins during childhood.

The purpose of this study is to identify autoimmune triggers (T cell epitopes) present in alopecia. The information learned from this study may provide valuable insight for future alopecia therapies. Participants will be compensated for time and effort.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • Diagnosed by a physician with alopecia

Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that commonly causes cold- and flu-like symptoms. It is present throughout the world, though outbreaks of new strains have occurred in the recent past. Since late 2019, a new strain has been identified as part of an outbreak in Hubei Province, China (“2019-novel coronavirus” or “SARS-CoV-2”).

As more and more people become infected with this new strain of the virus, it is important to understand as much as we can about how this strain of the virus affects the human immune system. We plan to look at the T and B cell immune response in patients with symptoms and history of COVID-19 disease as well as in healthy controls.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • You are a generally healthy male or female, over 18 years of age.
  • You have been told you have COVID-19 or have had a positive test for COVID-19.

Mouse allergies are a common health problem around people who are frequently exposed to rodents, whether at home or work. Studies show that between 11-44% of all laboratory animal workers report work-related allergic symptoms. Symptoms can include sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and skin rash. Up to 10% of workers may develop severe asthma from continuous mouse allergen exposure.

The purpose of this study is to find out more about how immune cells react with allergens from mice. Understanding these basic mechanisms of interaction will lead to better therapies for allergy sufferers and improve specific immunotherapy treatments (SIT). Participants will be compensated for time and effort..

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • History of exposure or planned exposure to mice through work environments.

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement and motor control. It is estimated that nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease, with more than 100,000 people diagnosed in southern California. Unfortunately, the cause of Parkinson’s disease is not entirely clear yet and many treatments only offer symptomatic relief.

The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a link between the immune system and Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, the study of DNA may show how genes influence the development of Parkinson’s disease. Understanding these basic mechanisms of interaction may help to lead to better treatments and diagnostic tools for Parkinson’s disease. Participants will be compensated for time and effort.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 50-70 years of age.
  • Diagnosed by a physician with Parkinson’s disease -OR- older relatives, caregivers, or other persons (aged 50-70) interested in helping advance Parkinson’s research.

Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox, and effects almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States in their lifetime. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body until it reactivates years later, causing shingles.

Given the widespread prevalence of this disease and the mystery surrounding why and how reactivation occurs, it is critical to further investigate the immune responses and biological mechanism related to Shingles.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • Controls – healthy individuals that have never had an active Shingles infection (chickenpox okay), and have not been vaccinated with a Shingles vaccine.
  • Natural Infection – healthy individuals who were previously infected with Shingles but are now recovered. No specific timeline requirement is defined in terms of how long ago the infection occurred.
  • Vaccination – healthy individuals who have received a Shingles vaccination (Zostavax or Shingrix) for their own medical reasons.

Tuberculosis is the worldwide leading cause of death from infectious diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tuberculosis is responsible for 2 to 3 million deaths annually and 9 million new infections are reported each year. The majority of infected individuals control the pathogen through an immune response, leading to either regained health or a suppression of active, symptomatic disease (latent TB).

Since individuals with latent TB still carry the bacteria but are able to control infection, it is essential to study their immune systems’ response against tuberculosis. The purpose of this study is to identify, characterize, and validate the specific components of tuberculosis that induce immune responses. Participants will be compensated for time and effort.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • Diagnosed by a physician of latent, treated, or resolved tuberculosis -OR- medical record of BCG vaccination.

Vaccines function by promoting immune responses to infectious agents and thereby prevent illness associated with natural infection. An effective vaccine boosts your natural immune system (generating B and T memory cells), which in most cases provides life-long immunity to infection. The necessity to understand the function and interaction of these immune cell types is central to understanding how to improve vaccines and make them more effective.

The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of effective vaccine responses by studying the immune cells in individuals who receive vaccinations against a variety of infectious agents at various time points. Volunteers who have previous history of exposure to various infections may also be enrolled as controls. Participants will be compensated for time and effort.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • Medical record of vaccination and/or previously diagnosed infection.

The La Jolla Institute for Immunology’s in-house Normal Blood Donor Program (NBDP) is a valuable resource of human blood for use in various research projects. Often, healthy donors are needed for comparison purposes in many studies that focus on disease processes.

The purpose of the NBDP at La Jolla Institute is to provide researchers with a consistent supply of healthy control donors to compare to their disease models. Participants for the NBDP will be alerted when the opportunity to donated blood is available each week and given the option to sign-up for specific blood donations. Participants will be compensated for time and effort.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • No history of Autoimmune disease, cancer, HIV or hepatitis B or C.

Sign Up

If you are interested in donating blood to one of our research studies, please sign up below and our clinical coordinator will contact you to determine whether you are eligible to participate.