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Transplant Immunologist

Work to prevent rejections of donor organs after a surgery.

What does a Transplant Immunologist do?

The human body is an incredible thing. It’s got the ability to grow from a few cells to a six-foot tall person, to repair broken bones, and to take the rough abuse dished out by the occasional too wild Friday night.

Though the body might seem like a perfect machine, its tough standards and militant protection can actually be a negative thing sometimes. This is especially true in the case of organ transplant. When a new organ is placed in the body, the immune system immediately recognizes it as an intruder and goes to work rejecting it.

A Transplant Immunologist is tasked with making sure this rejection doesn’t happen. Like any Immunologist, a Transplant Immunologist looks at the way the immune system works, and figures out what combination of drugs will trick it into believing that the new organ is an original member of the body.

Technically, “Transplant Immunologist” isn’t a real job title. Instead, you work under a more specific title in the transplant immunology or immunology department of a hospital or research lab. So rather than looking for this title, look for something like Research Director, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, or Laboratory Assistant.

Transplant immunology is concerned with every part of the organ transplant process. This means you might do pre-surgery testing, like looking at the patient and donor blood type and tissue type. Or, you might do general testing for any other possible complications. Once the transplant is complete, you help the medical team as it continues to do tests to see how the body is taking the new organ or if there are any potential complications that might crop up.

You typically spend your days in a lab, collecting samples, running tests, and keeping detailed reports of the information you have. You need a sharp eye for detail, as making even the smallest mistake can mean the difference between life and death.