Ronald Joseph Harbeck, PhD

Ronald Joseph Harbeck
Ronald Joseph Harbeck, PhD, is a researcher at National Jewish Health. Dr. Harbeck is in the Division of Pathology and Department of Medicine.
Director, Core and Microbiology Laboratories, ADx
Director of Immunology & Beryllium Laboratories
Department of Medicine
Division of Pathology
Research AreasResearch Areas
  • Autoimmunity/Rheumatology
  • Pulmonary Disease Research, Other
  • Allergy
  • Asthma

Additional Information

Ron Harbeck, Ph.D., is Medical Director for the Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories at National Jewish Health. He also oversees operations for the Microbiology and Core Laboratories. His career at National Jewish Health started in 1971, when he was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship in immunology. More than 40 years later, Dr. Harbeck is still excited about being able to collaborate daily with the institution’s basic scientists and physicians, and is amazed to see the evolutionary development in the Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories’ capabilities and reputation.

Dr. Harbeck is actively involved in research and test development. What is fun, he says, is when he starts with something he knows nothing about and over time turns it into a test that ends up helping hundreds of patients. Chronic urticaria is one example.

Together with colleagues Drs. Karen Andrews and Donald MacGlashan, Jr., Dr. Harbeck created an immunological test for chronic urticaria, recurrent itchy hives that last for six weeks or longer. Forty percent of chronic urticaria cases have an autoimmune basis, and patients with this form of the condition do not respond to lifestyle modifications often recommended to control the disease.

Dr. Harbeck and colleagues invented a method for identifying whether or not autoimmunity is involved with chronic urticaria by detecting the expression of the protein CD203c on cells in the presence of a certain antibody found in chronic urticaria patients. When patients know they have the autoimmune form of chronic urticaria, they can relax their fruitless efforts to change their environment and focus on more beneficial forms of treatment.

Dr. Harbeck says that advances in immunology go hand-in-hand with personalized medicine, an exciting paradigm shift in which physicians will increasingly be able to customize treatment based on knowledge of a patient’s genetic profile. As genomic researchers discover mutations, immunological techniques are used to correlate the mutations with abnormalities in cell functioning.


University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD), PhD, Microbiology
University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD), BA, Chemistry
National Jewish Health, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Immunology

Awards & Recognition

2004: Faculty Good Citizen Award, National Jewish Health
1997: Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
1988: Fellow, Assoc. of Medical Laboratory Immunologists
1971-1973: NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Jewish Health
1966-1971: NIH Predoctoral Fellowship, Dept of Microbiology, University of South Dakota

Board Certification

1979: Board Certification: Diplomate, American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology, American Academy of Microbiology. Recertification: 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.
1990: New York State Department of Health, Certificate as Laboratory Director
1996: New York State Department of Health, Certificate of Qualification in Cellular and Diagnostic Immunology

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
American Society for Microbiology
American Association of Immunologists
Clinical Immunology Society
Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists (Charter Member)
American Association for Clinical Chemistry
International Immunocompromised Host Society
American Academy of Microbiology


Yasnowsky KM, Dreskin SC, Efaw B, Schoen D, Vedanthan PK, Alam R,  Harbeck RJ. Chronic Urticaria Sera Increase Basophil CD203c Expression• J Allergy Clin Immunol, 117(6):1430-4, 2006.

Armstrong   M,  Liu  AH,  Harbeck  R,  Reisdorph   R,   Rabinovitch   N,  Reisdorph   N. Leukotriene-E4 in human urine:  Comparison of on-line purification and liquid chromatography-tandem  mass spectrometry  to affinity  purification followed  by enzyme immunoassay.  Journal   of  Chromatography   B  Analyt   Technol   Biomed   Life   Sci.
877(27):3160-74, 2009.

Accetta D, Syverson G, Bonacci B, Reddy S, Bengtson C, Surfus J, Harbeck R, Huttenlocher A, Grossman W, Routes J,  Verbsky J. Human phagocyte defect due to Rac2 mutation detected by neonatal screening for T cell lymphopenia.  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;127(2):535-538.

Milgrom H, Kesler K, Byron M, Harbeck R, Holliday R, Leung DY.
Response to cutaneous immunization with low-molecular-weight  subunit keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH).  Int Arch Allergy and Immunol.  157(3):269-274, 2011.

Van Dyke MV, Martyny JM, Marola J, Ramamoorthy P, Ridder A, Harbeck RJ, Rose, CS. Efficacy of Occupant-Collected  Dust Samples in the Evaluation of Residential Allergen and Fungal Levels.  J. Occup Environ Hyg, 9(1):14-24, 2012.

Academic Affiliations

Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, University of Colorado Denver
Professor, Integrated Dpartment of Immunology, University of Colorado Denver

Website Information

Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories

Conflicts of Interest

National Jewish Health physicians and scientists may collaborate with pharmaceutical or other industries to develop medical and scientific breakthroughs or to provide education on trends in quality medical practice and outcomes to physicians and health professionals around the country. National Jewish Health maintains a strict conflict of interest policy to ensure that all potential conflicts are clearly visible and that management plans are put in place in order to further innovation and education while ensuring the protection of our patients and the integrity of our research. National Jewish Health publicly discloses any payment to our physicians or scientists. View this faculty member’s industry relationships and collaborations.

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