Delivering Excellence since 1971

The Infectious Diseases Laboratory (IDL) is located within the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine at the University of Louisville. Founded in 1971 by Dr. Martin Raff, MD, IDL is a university-based, high-complexity reference laboratory that received CLIA certification in 1990.

Today, the laboratory provides testing services to local and regional hospitals, clinics, private physician practices, long-term care facilities, and private business. IDL has the capability and capacity to employ a variety of laboratory tests to support clinical research projects and offer specimen pick-up services for various sites. Our expert customer service and friendly personnel understand client needs through personal relationships.

Dynamic Roots in Testing and Research

In 1989, Dr. James Summersgill, PhD became Director of the Infectious Diseases Laboratory until his retirement in 2016. Most of his research was in the development of molecular testing for atypical pneumonia pathogens such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, and Chlamydia pneumoniae.

Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s several collaborations contributed to the growth and expansion of the Infectious Diseases Laboratory.

Pharmaceutical companies interested in developing new treatments for atypical pneumonia pathogens utilized testing capabilities.

Stored samples from pharmaceutical clinical studies initiated the creation of the Infectious Diseases Biorepository.

Other collaborations have involved health system leaders like Baystate Health, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins.

Public Health Focus Under New Leadership

In 2017, Dr. Leslie Wolf, PhD became the current Director of the Infectious Diseases Laboratory. Her concentration is in public health and infectious disease.

As a faculty member, Dr. Wolf plays an integral role in teaching the next generation of public health professionals.

Dr. Wolf supports other educational efforts by exposing fellows and other clinicians to the lab’s testing intricacies.

Dr. Wolf  also serves as Laboratory Director at the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness since 2013.

'It has been my privilege to be part of the Infectious Diseases Laboratory team, providing quality diagnostic testing and support Division clinical research endeavors. Being able to serve as a bridge between the University of Louisville and Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness allows us to maximize resources and identify opportunities for collaboration to improve the health of our community.' Leslie Wolf, PhD, Director, Infectious Diseases Laboratory

Innovative Beginnings in 1996

The Infectious Diseases Biorepository was created in 1996 and has been essential in supporting clinical and applied research initiatives by providing epidemiological data for archived samples.

Today, the biorepository houses over 70,000 samples linked to complete clinical data in REDCap®, the laboratory information management system. Processing, shipping, and storage support is available Monday – Friday during operating hours.

Available specimen include swabs, urine, stool, whole blood, serum, plasma, BAL, sputum, tissue, and pathogenic isolates.

Specimen collected from consented patients and healthy volunteers from a robust healthcare network in Louisville, KY.

Specimens are processed, stored appropriately, and continuously monitored to maintain their integrity.

Quality is a Cornerstone in Every Project

The Infectious Diseases Biorepository was founded on the belief that high-quality fuels innovative developments. That is why standard operating procedures are written before the start of any project. Laboratory staff are then well trained to ensure each staff member adheres to the approved protocol.

Research interns and fellows gain hands-on experience in sample collection and clinical data compilation.

Data is audited by a Quality Assurance team prior to entry into the REDCap® system.

Samples are utilized in method validations that support ID Laboratory Developed tests.

Research Support Expertise

The biorepository provides routine shipping of biological specimens to national and international health system leaders for further research. Past studies include:

  • Pfizer’s UAD (Urinary Antigen Detection) I and II: An incidence of Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) in adults 18 years and older for S. pneumoniae serogroups causing pneumonia in a multi-hospital system in Louisville, KY
  • HAPPI: The clinical and economic burden in hospitalized adults with pneumococcal pneumonia)
  • City of Louisville Diarrhea Study (CLOUD): A study of the incidence of Clostridioides difficile in a multi-hospital system in Louisville, KY


The COVID-19 BIOBANK was created in 2020 and houses approximately 3000 aliquots of varying sample types positive for COVID-19 and connected to protected clinical data. Current studies include:

  • Janssen’s Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Study
  • NIH SARS-CoV-2 Breath Analysis Study
  • Post COVID-19 Study

Back to Top