Employee Testimonial - Muhammad Bilal Khalid, M.D., Allergy & Immunology Fellow

Portrait of Muhammad Bilal Khalid, M.D.

Muhammad Bilal Khalid, M.D.

Credit: NIAID

How would you summarize what you currently do at NIAID?

I am currently a 3rd year Allergy & Immunology fellow at NIAID. The first 2 years of training here involved providing inpatient and outpatient consults for patients with complex allergic and immunological disorders at the NIH Clinical Center and local healthcare facilities such as Children’s National Hospital, George Washington University Hospital, and the John Hopkins food allergy clinic. In 2021, I joined the Food Allergy Research Section in the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases under the supervision of Dr. Pamela Guerrerio. Due to my keen interest in the many unknowns of anaphylaxis, my primary research project has involved leading an intramural clinical trial (NCT04977479) aiming to assess the recurrence of allergic reactions following COVID-19 mRNA vaccination and understanding the biomolecular pathways underlying these reactions. 

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

It typically involves a mix of activities, including seeing patients enrolled in our research study, seeing patients in the continuity clinic, data analysis, collaborating with other researchers, presenting at, and attending professional and educational conferences, and participating in other educational activities in the Allergy & Immunology fellowship program and the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases.

How long have you been at NIAID and what was your career path to arrive here?

I have been at NIAID for 3 years. I completed my medical education at the Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Pakistan, after which I moved to the United States to complete my internal medicine training at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis. Due to my curiosity about anaphylaxis and allergic diseases and my desire to pursue clinical research, I came to NIH, where I have found the nurturing environment I needed to pursue my goals. The guidance from my supervisor and experts in the area has been key to my career growth.

How would you describe the culture at NIAID?

NIAID truly provides a culture of growth and success, and thus in all ways possible supports advancement of science. During my time here, I have found incredible support from my supervisors, mentors, and peers, who have always been there to provide guidance and help so I can achieve my goals and navigate what lies ahead!

Are there any special or unique projects that you are working on?

Soon after the COVID-19 vaccination campaign got underway in the United States, there were reports of allergic reactions following immunization with these vaccines. To understand these reactions and identify any potential biomarkers that may be key to uncovering the mechanism of these reactions, we initiated a clinical trial (NCT04977479) in which participants underwent supervised administration of COVID-19 vaccines in a highly controlled environment at the NIH Clinical Center. We also performed skin testing to the vaccine and related products, and various blood and urine tests to help identify any relevant biomarkers. I have served as a lead co-investigator on this study and have been closely involved in all aspects of the trial, from designing to performance and analysis. To read more about this study, read the NIAID Now blog article, Some Reported Allergic Reactions to mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Were Likely Stress Responses.

In addition, I have authored review articles and some unique case reports of rare allergy and primary immunodeficiency disorders. Finally, I have presented at national meetings about the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in a certain population with immunodeficiency (STAT3 and PGM3 deficiency).

What do you like about working at NIAID?

Working alongside and learning from those who have a passion for science and compassion for patients, along with the required resources to support research, has made my time at NIAID a highlight of my career. The culture and the support from mentors, peers and colleagues is truly amazing. 

What are your future career goals?

I look forward to learning and continuing to contribute towards understanding the biomolecular pathways involved in anaphylaxis caused by vaccines, drugs and food allergens, and to utilize this understanding to improve the accuracy of diagnostic assays and to develop targeted therapeutics. 

Do you have any advice to offer others who might be considering working at NIAID?

NIAID offers a friendly yet stimulating environment which I have enjoyed throughout my time here. I will highly recommend the NIAID Allergy & Immunology training program to anyone interested. It is not only one of the largest programs of its kind, but it also provides an amazing and unique clinical research training experience with an incredible amount of research opportunities and a chance to work with and learn from some of the best in the field. 

Content last reviewed on