Vijaya Knight, MD, PhD, D(ABMLI)

Vijaya Knight
Director, Immunology & Beryllium Laboratories
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine
Division of Pathology
Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories
Vijaya Knight, MD, is an immunologist at National Jewish Health. Dr. Knight serves as Director of the Immunology & Beryllium Laboratories.

Research AreasResearch Areas
  • Cell-based diagnostic approaches to allergy
  • Functional assays for immunodeficiency
  • Immunogenicity (monitoring inappropriate responses to therapeutics)
  • Immunology of mycobacterial disease

Special Interests

Clinical Interests

As an immunologist with 15+ years combined academic, health care and industry experience my clinical interests encompass the application of immunological techniques to the development of diagnostic and prognostic immune assays, particularly in areas of infectious, autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders. In addition, my laboratory is involved in co-development efforts with biotech/pharma particularly in the area of biomarkers for efficacy or immunogenicity, and provides support for the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics.


Research Interests

My research interests include analysis of the immune system in chronic nontuberculous mycobacterial disease. We have indentified anti-interferon gamma antibodies (a newly identified cause of secondary immune deficiency) in a cohort of these patients and are continuing to explore other immunological causes in these patients that might contribute to the treatment-refractory nature of the infection.

Additional Information

Dr. Vijaya Knight's (formerly Nagabhushanam), PhD, ABMLI, career as an immunologist spans three continents. As a practicing physician in India, she worked with patients with mycobacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, a condition that many students in American medical schools encounter only in textbooks. Her interest in infectious diseases led her to a PhD program at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where she transitioned from providing hands-on patient care to performing vaccine studies on mice.

In the course of her graduate studies, Dr. Knight read an intriguing paper from the University of California at San Francisco about the cytokine signaling pathways that inhibit the immune response in mycobacterial disease. She wrote to the lead investigator and asked to do her post-doctorate work in his laboratory –coincidentally, the same university in which her father had done his post-doctoral work in biochemistry 40 years earlier.

After five years at UCSF, and two years as research scientist at Medimmune Vaccines, Dr. Knight was eager to get back into medicine, with its immediate impact upon patients. She joined National Jewish Health in 2008 as a laboratory director for Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories at National Jewish Health.

Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories offers a comprehensive panel of assays for testing immune disorders. New tests are constantly in development, including new assays for identifying food allergies in children and for metal sensitivity in joint replacement candidates. The laboratory also enters into partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to analyze the immune response to various drugs.

According to Dr. Knight, the value of Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories goes far beyond the assays it provides. She notes that clients are keenly interested in the opinions of its staff, some of the top diagnostic immunologists in the country.

Dr. Knight is passionate about education. Education in immunology is well-covered in medical schools, but she believes that advances in immunology need to be better integrated into primary care. She hopes to use the laboratory to promote more awareness of the burgeoning number of valuable diagnostic tools - and of the often-unrecognized role that immune response- plays in disease.


Melbourne University, Australia, PhD, Immunology, Department of Medicine
Mysore Medical College, Mysore University, India, MB, BS (MD Equivalent)
Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, Bangalore, India, Intern
National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India, Resident, Dept. of Neuro-Microbiology and Immunology
University of California, San Francisco, CA, Postdoctoral Scholar, Dept. of Infectious Disease
University of California, San Francisco, CA, JDRF Fellow, Dept. of Immunology

Awards & Recognition

2003: Juvenile Diabetes Foundation fellowship award
2000: Melbourne University Travel Award
1996: Australian National Postgraduate Award

Board Certification

2012: Diplomate, American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology, American Academy of Microbiology

Professional Memberships

The Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists (AMLI)
Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies (FOCIS)
Clinical Immunology Society (CIS)


A pilot study to assess inflammatory biomarker changes when raltegravir is added to a virologically suppressive haart regimen in HIV-1-infected patients with limited immunologic responses. Lichtenstein KA, Armon C, Nagabhushanam V, Efaw BJ, Frazer-Abel A, Hiserote ME, Alam R. Antivir Ther. 2012 Sep 5. doi: 10.3851/IMP2350. [Epub ahead of print]

Case report of a young child with disseminated histoplasmosis and review of hyper immunoglobulin e syndrome (HIES) Wilson S Robinson1,2†, Sandra R Arnold1,2†, Christie F Michael1,2, John D Vickery1, Robert A Schoumacher2, Eniko K Pivnick2, Jewell C Ward2, Vijaya Nagabhushanam3 and Dukhee B Lew1,2* Clinical and Molecular Allergy, 9:14 doi:10.1186/1476-7961-9-14. 2011

Alpha-1 antitrypsin-which test when? Vijaya Nagabhushanam, Ronald J. Harbeck and Robert A. Sandhaus. Clinical Chemistry No. CC 10-2 (CC-384). American Society for Clinical Pathology. 2008

Disease-Specific Gene Expression Profiling in Multiple Models of Lung Disease Christina C. Lewis, Jean Yee Hwa Yang, Xiaozhu Huang, Suman K. Banerjee, Michael R. Blackburn, Peter Baluk, Donald M. McDonald, Timothy S. Blackwell, Vijaya Nagabhushanam, Wendy Peters, David Voehringer and David J. Erle. Am J of Resp and crit care med. 2007 Feb; 177(4):376-87

Lohr J, Knoechel B, Nagabhushanam V, Abbas AK. T-cell tolerance and autoimmunity to systemic and tissue-restricted self-antigens. Immunol Rev. 2005 Apr; 204:116-27 5. Abbas AK, Lohr J, Knoechel B, Nagabhushanam V. T cell tolerance and autoimmunity. Autoimmun Rev. 2004 Nov;3(7-8):471-5

Teaching & Professional Positions

2012: Planning committee, AMLI annual meeting
2012: Chair, AMLI/AACC flow cytometry course
2008: Research Scientist, Translational Biology, Medimmune, CA

Website Information

Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories

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