Skip to main content

The UNC Clinical Immunofluorescence Lab focuses on providing accurate diagnoses of complex immune mediated disorders through comprehensive testing using direct and indirect immunofluorescence.

Services We Provide:

Original Diagnosis/Wet Tissue: We review skin biopsies taken by health care providers and submitted in formalin bottles to our laboratory. We routinely process and complete cases within 48 hours of receiving the specimen. We know what it feels like to wait on the pathology results, and we do everything we can to minimize that wait.
Regional Courier Service: We provide daily, complimentary regional courier service who will pick up the specimens at your office. We provide you with shipping containers, pre-filled specimen bottles, specimen bags, and requisition forms. Daily regional courier service provided by Dash Courier Service: 919-839-0527.
Diagnostic Reporting:    Reports can be faxed to your office or securely emailed to you and your staff. Electronic ordering and reporting are available through UNC’s CareLink and Epic.
Slide Consultation/Second Opinion: We provide expert second opinion and consultative review for referring pathologists, clinicians, and patients on previously prepared slides that were originally diagnosed elsewhere. Sometimes, this requires integrating results from other departments, including Molecular Pathology, Surgical Pathology, Genetics, and Dermatology, which we can coordinate and summarize in one concise report. We also review material prepared elsewhere for patients who are referred for treatment at UNC. When we are finished, we will send a report to the referring health care provider and to the pathologist who originally reported the case.
Clinicopathologic Correlation: We are always available and welcome the opportunity to discuss cases with you. In addition, UNC has excellent clinical faculty with expertise in difficult melanocytic lesions, challenging eruptions, and blistering diseases that can be utilized in complex cases as well. Challenging cases can also be presented and discussed in the Department of Dermatology weekly Grand Rounds and monthly UNC-Duke Conference.
Special/Immunohistochemical Stains: In collaboration with the Department of Pathology, we provide a wide variety of common and esoteric/cutting-edge immunohistochemical and special stains. In situ hybridization is available for kappa and lambda light chains, EBV (EBER), CMV, HPV-low risk, and HPV-high risk.
Immunofluorescence:  Direct and indirect immunofluorescence testing, along with specialized ELISA testing when necessary, are available 7 days per week to help diagnose immunologic disorders such as blistering diseases, connective tissue disease, and vasculitis. Dr. Donna Culton is a world expert in immunobullous diseases. She is available for clinical consultation as well as providing diagnostic expertise with immunofluorescence testing. Specimens for direct immunofluorescence should be transported in bottles containing Michel’s transport media (which we provide for you).
Molecular/Ancillary Testing: In collaboration with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, we provide access to an array of specialized testing including:

  • PCR Analysis of B-cell (IGH) and T-cell receptor gene rearrangement to assess clonality in lymphoid lesions.
  • DNA sequencing to detect KIT gene mutations associated with responsiveness to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor drug imatinib (Gleevec) in patients with melanomas occurring in mucosal, acral, or sun-damaged sites.
  • Flow cytometry for hematolymphoid lesions
  • Electron microscopy
 Educational Activities:   We are responsible for teaching dermatopathology to the UNC Dermatology, Pathology, and Family Medicine residents, medical student, and visiting residents and medical students. Teaching is performed in many different ways including PowerPoint lectures, “unknowns” slide sessions, slide study sets for independent study, and daily sign-out around a multi-head microscope. In addition, dermatopathology is an integral part of the weekly Grand Rounds and monthly UNC-Duke conferences.

For Providers:

EPIC Immunofluorescence Tip Sheet