Nahed Ismail, MD, PhD, D(ABMM), D(ABMLI)
Professor of Pathology

Dr. Ismail is a member of the Division of Clinical Microbiology at UPMC and serves as Medical Director of the Clinical Microbiology Lab at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. She is board-certified by the American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) and American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI). She serves as Chair-Elect for Division V (Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology) of the American Society of Microbiology.

Office Location:
Department of Pathology
S739 Scaife Hall
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-648-8436
Lab Telephone: 412-648-8067
Fax: 412-648-9564


  • MD - Tanta University, Egypt, 1989
  • MSc - University of Toronto, 1996
  • PhD - University of Saskatchewan, 2000

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Ismail's expertise in the Division of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Magee-Womens Hospital is focused on providing laboratory tests to assist in detection of sexual transmitted diseases including molecular detection of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoea, Trichomonas vaginalis, Human papilloma virus (HPV), Herpes simplex virus (HSV); diagnosis of group B streptococcus colonization in women of childbearing age, and serological diagnosis of HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses, and syphilis.

Research Interests

Molecular Basis of Pathogen Recognition

Dr. Ismail's research has focused on the analysis of receptors involved in innate immune recognition (Pattern Recognition Receptors) and signaling pathways activated by these receptors during infections with intracellular bacteria. Of particular interest is the role of the toll like receptors and cytosolic PRRs including the NOD-like receptor family, which plays a major role in innate immunity to bacterial infections. Type-1 interferon and its role in regulation of immunity during bacterial infections. Our research in this area has focused on the interplay between PRR receptors, downstream signaling mechanisms, and type-1 IFN, and how these interactions influence the host defense against bacteria.

Innate and Acquired Immunity to Tick-borne Bacterial Pathogen (e.g. Ehrlichia and Rickettsia)

Rickettsia and Ehrlichia infections are among the most prevalent tick-borne infectious diseases in North America and worldwide. Little is known about the molecular and cellular basis for inflammation during these infections. Studies are underway to explore the role of initial target cells (macrophages, hepatocytes, and dendritic cells), cytosolic sensors, natural killer cells, natural killer T cells, B and T lymphocytes in the inflammation and pathology induced in Ehrlichia and Rickettsia-infected patients.

Mechanisms of Infection-induced Immunopathology

Inflammation and production of anti-bacterial cytokines are normal host responses to infection. However, excessive production of these mediators, may contribute to the development of immunopathology including excessive host cell death. Our lab is studying how dysregulation of innate immune pathways may contribute to inflammation, host cell death, and multi-organ failure during infection-induced toxic shock. We are exploring the molecular basis for counter regulation of detrimental innate signaling pathways in an effort to understand the mechanism that prevents systemic inflammation and organ failure in toxic or septic shock. Genomic analysis of multi-drug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumanii and Staphylococcus aureus using next gen sequencing. We are exploring the molecular mechanisms of acquiring multi-drug resistant genotype in different geographic regions. The goal is to develop a rapid molecular test for accurate detection of genotypes of MDR bacteria in different regions worldwide.


  • American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM)
  • American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI)

Awards and Honors

  • Nominated for 2014 -Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award for Pathology Residents, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh
  • Chair: Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology Session: Should I still be ordering serology for that? Annual 114th General meeting of the American Society of Microbiology


Comparative Genomics of Multi-Drug Resistant Acinetobacter baumanii in Different Geographic Locations, 6/1/2015 - 7/30/2017, U.S.-Egypt Joint Science and Technology Grants, PI

Selected Publications

View Dr. Ismail's publications on PubMed

  • Chandrasekhar Thota, Archana Laknaur, Takeisha Farmer, Ayman Al-Hendy, and Nahed Ismail. Vitamin D Reverses THP1 Monocyte induced contractile Profile in Human Uterine Smooth Muscle Cells, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, S0002-9378(13)02039-5. 2013.
  • Qin Yang, Heather L. Stevenson Melanie J. Scott, Nahed Ismail. Type-1 IFN contributes to non-canonical inflammasome activation, mediates immunopathology, and impairs protective immunity during fatal infection with LPS-negative Ehrlichia. A. J. Pathology. 185(2):446-61. 2015.
  • Regis P. Kowalski, Lisa M. Karenchak, Leela V. Raju, and Nahed Ismail. The Validation of Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAAT) (Gen-Probe® Aptima® Assay) for Chlamydia trachomatis from Ocular Samples. Ophthalmology, 122(2):244-7. 2015.


Ismail, N. (2011). Pathogenesis of Ehrlichia and Anaplasma Infection and Disease. In Critical needs and gaps in understanding: prevention, amelioration, and resolution of lyme and other tick-borne diseases: The short-term and long-term outcomes. Workshop report, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science press, 114-118, 2011.

Stevenson, H. L., and N. Ismail. (2011). Innate Immune Response and Inflammation: Roles in Pathogenesis and Protection against Anaplasmataceae. ASM Text on Rickettsiales.

Ismail, N., K. C. Bloch, and J. W. McBride. (2010). Human Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. The Clinics in Laboratory Medicine, 30: 261-292.

McBride, J. W., J. Olano, and N. Ismail. (2010). Molecular diagnosis of Ehrlichia infection. Taylor & Francis Group (CRC Press), Molecular Detection of Human Bacterial Pathogens, Dongyou Liu.