Allergy, Clinical and Laboratory Immunology

Allergy, Clinical and Laboratory Immunology (ACLI) is both a clinical and laboratory-based speciality which consists of a 5 year training programme. This commences with entry at ST3 level after Core Medical Training is completed and having achieved MRCP or equivalent.

There are two posts in ACLI within the NHSE Thames Valley programme.

The first 3 months of training usually takes place in the diagnostic Immunology Laboratory, located at the Churchill Hospital, where trainees will spend time covering the main areas of the lab. These include immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, flow cytometry and neuroimmunology. The Churchill Immunology laboratory is a leading diagnostic laboratory in neuroimmunology and performs a number of specialist neuroimmunology tests for the whole of the U.K.

After completion of the laboratory secondment, trainees will be expected to regularly authorise laboratory results. They will also participate in a number of specialist clinics. The Oxford University Hospitals Clinical Immunology department is a Centre of Excellence for Primary Immune Deficiencies and trainees will regularly cover the primary immune deficiency clinics and immunoglobulin therapy infusion clinics.

Other clinics in which trainees will be actively involved include allergy clinics consisting of complex severe allergy, drug allergy, venom immunotherapy desensitisation and drug/food challenges. Trainees will also gain exposure to systemic autoimmune disease and vasculitis by providing cover for the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) complex connective tissue disease clinic.

There is a weekly clinical meeting held during which there is opportunity to present interesting clinical cases and discuss challenging clinical queries. A secondment to a specialist paediatric immunology centre eg Great Ormond Street Hospital and an Allergy Centre for 3 months is also encouraged.

Throughout the post, a trainee’s progress is continually assessed and annually reviewed in the form of ARCPs. At the end of year 2/3, trainees should have completed the part 1 FRCPath examination in Immunology and by year 3/4, completed the part 2 FRCPath Immunology laboratory and oral examinations. The Association of Clinical Pathologists organises regular training days consisting of a series of lectures throughout the year covering relevant topics pertinent to the FRCPath examinations. Trainees are encouraged to attend these valuable training days which aid in the preparation for the FRCPath.

For more information on a career in Clinical Immunology please visit the BSI websire:

Working life of a clinical immunologist | British Society for Immunology

The Training Programme Director is Dr Smita Patel:

Essential Courses

  • ACP/BSI-National Hitchhiker’s Immunology training days (approximately 3 a year)
  • BSACI allergy training days (3-4 a year)
  • Regional Immunology Network Meetings in London (3 a year)
  • Regional Allergy Network meeting (2-3 per year)
  • ALS course
  • Management course
  • In their five-year training period trainees must attend at least:
    – one National BSACI meeting
    – one CIPN meeting
    – and one international EAACI and ESID meeting
    (trainees can often get some sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies or travel bursary if they submit a paper or poster)

Teaching & Research


Weekly departmental clinical meetings are held at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Weekly journal club and research seminars held at the Churchill Immunology Laboratory. Regular presentations held jointly with Rheumatology, Microbiology and Paediatric Infectious Diseases.  There are monthly ESID Grand Rounds which all trainees are encouraged to attend.


Many trainees choose to undergo a formative period of research leading to an award of DPhil at the end of year 2/3. There are a number of clinical and basic science research projects which trainees can be involved in throughout their training.

If interested in research, trainees have the opportunity to explore projects with PIs based in the University and apply for competitive fellowships.