Natural Killer Cell Evaluation and Research Clinic (NEAR)

Members of the Natural Killer Cell Evaluation and Research Clinic (NEAR) conduct research to understand the underlying causes of natural killer (NK) cell deficiency diseases. Our team of specialists in pediatric immunology, allergy, and rheumatology provide outpatient consultations to infants, children, and adults with suspected NK cell deficiency diseases and other primary immunodeficiency diseases. We offer diagnosis, evaluation, testing, and access to research studies. 

Patients referred to the NEAR program include those with:

  • Suspected or diagnosed NK cell deficiency (NKD), classical NK cell deficiency (CNKD), functional NK cell deficiency (FNKD)
  • Abnormal (low) results for NK cell count and/or function testing
  • Recurrent, severe, and/or atypical infection with any of the following: 
    • Herpes simplex virus (HSV) – causes cold sores, genital herpes
    • Varicella zoster virus (VZV) – causes chickenpox, shingles
    • Epstein Barr virus (EBV) – causes infectious mononucleosis 
    • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) 
    • Human Papilloma virus (HPV)
    • Wart-causing viruses

Benefits of Participating in NEAR

Your participation may help our investigators better understand NK cells, which could expand the existing knowledge about how to best care for children and adults with immune system problems. This information could guide efforts to improve detection, prevention, and treatment options for people with, or at risk for, NK cell problems in the future.  

Through our research we can usually:

  • Determine if the symptom or set of symptoms is related to an NK-cell problem 
  • Recommend diagnostic evaluations
  • Recommend age-appropriate management strategies

All of the testing we provide is done on a research study basis and should not be used to alter standard of care in any way, unless clinically evaluated and confirmed. Our research receives funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Team Members


Research Coordinators

  • Meera Patel
  • Evelyn Hernandez


Research Laboratory

Contact Us

For more information on participating in NEAR, please contact us at