Richard Lee Hodinka, Ph.D.

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Emeritus Professor CE of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Infectious Diseases)
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Contact information
17 Grove Valley Way
Greenville, SC 29605
Office: 610-761-6875
B.S. (Biology)
Marietta College, 1976.
M.S. (Microbiology)
University of Montana, 1979.
Ph.D. (Microbiology)
Ohio University, 1983.
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Description of Research Expertise

Dr. Hodinka's research interests are centered on the development, validation and implementation of novel rapid and accurate methods for the diagnosis and monitoring of infectious diseases, with a primary focus on viruses. Current emphasis has been on molecular amplification methods such as the polymerase chain reaction, although work in areas of antibody and antigen detection continue as well. He has collaborated widely with clinician scientists, test manufacturers and other departmental and institutional investigators on applications of conventional and molecular assays for the diagnosis of viral diseases in children and adults. Real-time PCR is now the new gold standard for detecting most, if not all, viruses of human significance, and a number of molecular assays to detect many different viruses in a variety of general disease categories have been developed over the years and investigated for their clinical impact. The method is quite rapid, sensitive and specific and can detect viruses for which existing tests are considerably less accurate or for which no tests exist. Quantitative molecular assays also have been developed and have become invaluable tools to assess disease progression, monitor therapy, predict treatment failure and the emergence of drug resistance, and to facilitate our understanding of the natural history and pathogenesis of certain viruses (e.g., CMV, EBV, HHV-6, BKV, HBV, HCV, and HIV). The potential applications of PCR and other molecular methods for viral diagnosis and monitoring are unlimited, and these methods have dramatically changed the diagnostic landscape of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Procedures performed in the Clinical Virology Laboratory include direct and indirect immunofluorescence and enzyme immunoassays for the detection of viral-specific antibodies or antigens, isolation and purification of viral RNA or DNA, real-time PCR for the qualitative and quantitative amplification and detection of viral nucleic acids, screening and confirmation assays for detecting HIV-specific antibodies/antigens, quantitative molecular assays for measurement of HIV viral load, molecular assays for the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and immunoassays for the detection of viral markers for the diagnosis and monitor of hepatitis A, B, and C viruses. Equipment of particular interest in the Clinical Virology Laboratory include robotic liquid handling systems, magnetic bead-based automated nucleic acid extraction instruments, 96-well real-time PCR thermal cyclers, random and continuous access immunoassay analyzers, microwell plate washers and readers, Class II laminar-flow biological safety cabinets, light and immunofluorescence microscopes, ultra-low temperature freezers, liquid nitrogen storage systems, and a Biosafety Level 3 facility.

Description of Clinical Expertise

Dr. Hodinka is an internationally recognized expert in the science, medicine and regulatory aspects of technologies for the diagnosis and monitoring of viral infections. He established one of the first hospital-based, molecular diagnostic virology laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and has broad diagnostic experience and expertise in molecular applications applied to clinical virology/microbiology. He is a frequent lecturer nationally and internationally on emerging trends in molecular viral diagnostics and other aspects of clinical virology.

From 1988 through June of 2014, he was the Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with oversight responsibility of an active laboratory staff of 17 full-time and two part-time employees. He provided day-to-day supervision and mentoring of testing personnel, ensuring proper performance of all laboratory testing services and reporting of test results. His duties included selecting the tests that were performed, verifying/validating their performance, choosing appropriate equipment, reviewing and interpreting patient test results, providing consultation to clinicians and other healthcare providers about patient testing, writing and reviewing standard operating procedures, assuring proper quality control and continuous quality assurance of laboratory testing, assuring regulatory compliance, providing for strategic and capitol planning and other fiscal affairs of the laboratory, developing and reviewing annual budgets, and overseeing employee hiring/firing, competency and training. He was also responsible for the continuous development, validation and implementation of new, state-of-the-art diagnostic methods that have the greatest impact on the care and management of patients with viral diseases. Teaching and mentoring of infectious disease fellows, pathology residents, medical students, medical technologists, and visiting scientists was also an integral component of his position. His work and expertise supported the goals and mission of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in its efforts to be "the world leader in the advancement of healthcare for children by integrating excellent patient care, innovative research and quality professional education into all of its programs". His areas of clinical expertise include diagnostic virology, comprehensive viral cultures, tissue culture, viral serology, rapid viral antigen detection, and molecular detection and quantitative monitoring of viruses. Viruses and other microorganisms of particular interest to him include HIV, respiratory viruses, herpesviruses, gastrointestinal viruses, enteroviruses, parechoviruses, hepatitis viruses, parvovirus B19, BK and JC viruses, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Trichomonas vaginalis.

Procedures that were performed in his laboratory included direct and indirect immunofluorescence and enzyme immunoassays for the detection of viral-specific antibodies or antigens, growth and identification of viruses in cultured cells, isolation and purification of viral RNA or DNA using automated extraction systems, qualitative and quantitative real-time PCR amplification and detection of viral nucleic acids, screening and Western blot assays for detection and confirmation of HIV-specific antibodies, a culture-based system for the growth of HIV, quantitative molecular assays for measuring HIV viral laod, sequencing methods for drug susceptibility testing of HIV, molecular assays for the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and immunoassays for the detection of viral markers for the diagnosis and monitor of hepatitis A, B, and C viruses.

Description of Other Expertise

Key Words:

Clinical Microbiology, Clinical Virology, Infectious Disease Diagnostics, Evolution of New Technology, Translational Research for Diagnosis and Monitoring of Microbial Infections, Molecular and Cellular Microbiology, Laboratory Medicine, Rapid Antigen Tests, Immunoassays, Immunofluorescence Tests, Western blotting, Infectious Disease Serology, Nucleic Acid Isolation and Purification, Molecular Amplification, Qualitative and Quantitative Real-Time PCR, Multiplex and Point-of-Care Molecular Testing, Viral Load Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, Human Herpesvirus-6, and Adenoviruses, Antiviral Drug Susceptibility Testing, Genotyping, Cell Culture, Virus Isolation Methods, Automation, Respiratory Viruses, Herpesviruses, Gastrointestinal Viruses, Enteroviruses, Parechoviruses, Erythrovirus (Parvovirus) B19, Hepatitis Viruses A, B, C, D, and E, Sexually-Transmitted Pathogens including Herpes Simplex Virus, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Human Papillomaviruses, Treponema pallidum (Syphilis), and Trichomonas vaginalis

Selected Publications

Smith, M.J., Clark, H.F., Lawley, D., Bell, L.M., Hodinka, R.L., DiStefano, D.D., Kulnis, G., Zaoutis, T.E., Coffin, S.E.: The clinical and molecular epidemiology of community- and healthcare-acquired rotavirus gastroenteritis. Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 27: 54-58, 2008.

Hayden, R.T., Hokanson, K.M., Pounds, S.B., Bankowski, M.J., Belzer, S.W., Carr, J., Diorio, D., Forman, M.S., Joshi, Y., Hillyard, D., Hodinka, R.L., Nikiforova, M.N., Romain, C.A., Stevenson, J., Valsamakis, A., Balfour, H.H. Jr., for the U.S. EBV Working Group.: Multicenter comparison of different real-time PCR assays for quantitative detection of Epstein-Barr virus. J. Clin. Microbiol. 46: 157-163, 2008.

Maus, M., Posencheg, M., Geddes, K., Elkan, M., Penaranda, S., Oberste, M., Hodinka, R.L.: Detection of echovirus 18 in human breast milk. J. Clin. Microbiol. 46: 1137-1140, 2008.

Hook, L.M., Jiang, M., Roth, S., Hodinka, R.L., Friedman, H.M.: Blocking antibody access to neutralizing domains on glycoproteins involved in entry as a novel mechanism of immune evasion by herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoproteins C and E. J. Virol. 82: 6935-6941, 2008.

Hodinka, R.L. (Contributor): Clinical microbiology in the 21st century: Keeping the pace – A Report from the American Academy of Microbiology. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C. Page: 1-16, 2008.

Newland, J, Laurich, V.M., Wheeler, A., Heydon, K., Licht, D., Keren, R., Zaoutis, T.E., Watson, B., Hodinka, R.L., Coffin, S.E.: Neurological Complications in Children Hospitalized with Influenza: Characteristics, Incidence, and Risk Factors. J. Peds. 150: 306-310, 2007.

Coffin, S.E., Zaoutis, T.E., Wheeler, A., Heydon, K., Herrera, G., Bridges, C.B., Watson, B., Localio, R., Hodinka, R.L., Keren, R.: Incidence, complications, and risk factors for prolonged stay in children hospitalized with community-acquired influenza. Pediatrics. 119: 740-748, 2007.

Cohen, D.M., Lorch, S.A., King, R.L., Hodinka, R.L., Cohen, K.A., Shah, S.S.: Factors influencing the decision to test young infants for herpes simplex virus infection. Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 26: 1156-1158, 2007.

Patel, M.M., Tate, J.E., Selvarangan, R., Daskalaki, I., Jackson, M.A., Curns, A.T., Coffin, S., Watson, B., Hodinka, R.L., Glass, R.I., Parashar, U.D.: Is routine laboratory testing data useful for surveillance of rotavirus hospitalizations to evaluate the impact of vaccination? Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 26: 914-919, 2007.

King, R.L., Lorch, S.A., Cohen, D.M., Hodinka, R.L., Cohen, K.A., Shah, S.S.: Routine cerebrospinal fluid enterovirus PCR testing reduces hospitalization and antibiotic use in infants 90 days of age or younger. Pediatrics. 120: 489-496, 2007.

Shah, S.S., Hodinka, R.L., Turnquist, J.L., Elliot, M.R., Coffin, S.E.: Cerebrospinal fluid mononuclear cell predominance is not related to symptom duration in children with enterovirus meningitis. J. Peds. 148: 118-121, 2006.

Feltes, T.F., Hodinka, R.L., Paridon, S., Wernovsky, G., Sondheimer, H.: The current state of infection with respiratory syncytial virus in the setting of congenital cardiac malformations. Challenges Facing Pediatric Cardiovascular Practitioners and Their Parents, Cardiol. Young. Jacobs, J.P., Wernovsky, G., Gaynor, J.W., Anderson, R.H. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, New York, N.Y. 16(Suppl. 3): 136-143, 2006.

Malbran, A., Belmonte, L., Ruibal-Ares, B., Bare, P., Massud, I., Parodi, C., Felippo, M., Hodinka, R.L., Haines, K., Nichols, K.E., De Bracco, M.M.: Loss of circulating CD27+ memory B cells and CCR4+ T cells occurring in association with elevated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) loads in XLP patients surviving primary EBV infection. Blood. 103: 1625-1631, 2004.

Swanson, P., de Mendoza, C., Joshi, Y., Golden, A., Hodinka, R.L., Soriano, V., Devare, S.G., Hackett, Jr., J.: Impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Genetic Diversity on Performance of Four Commercial Viral Load Assays: LCx HIV RNA Quantitative, AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR v1.5, VERSANT HIV-1 RNA 3.0, and NucliSens HIV-1 QT. J. Clin. Microbiol. 43: 3860-3868, 2005.

Smith-Whitley, K., Zhao, H., Hodinka, R.L., Kwiatkowski, J., Cecil, R., Cecil, T., Cnaan, A., Ohene-Frempong, K.: Epidemiology of human parvovirus B19 in children with sickle cell disease. Blood. 103: 422-427, 2004.

Tsai, D.E., Nearey, M., Hardy, C.L., Tomaszewski, J.E., Kotloff, R.M., Grossman, R., Olthoff, K.M., Stadtmauer, E.A., Porter, D.L., Schuster, S.J., Luger, S., Hodinka, R.L.: Use of Epstein-Barr virus PCR for the diagnosis and monitoring of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder in adult solid organ transplant patients. Amer. J. Transplant. 2: 946-954, 2002.

Kresnicka, L.S., Rubin, D.M., Downes, K.J., Lavelle, J.M., Hodinka, R L., McGowan, K.L., Grundmeier, R., Christian, C.W.: Practice variation in screening for sexually transmitted infections during prepubertal child sexual abuse evaluations. J. Pediatr. Adolesc. Gynecol. 22: 292-299, 2009.

Wilkes, J.J., Zaoutis, T.E., Keren, R., Desai, B., Leckerman, K.H., Hodinka, R.L., Metjian, T.A., Coffin, S.E.: Treatment with oseltamivir in children hospitalized with community acquired, laboratory confirmed influenza: review of 5 seasons and evaluation of an electronic reminder. J. Hosp. Med. 4(3): 171-178, 2009.

Wilkes, J.J., Leckerman, K.H., Coffin, S.E., Keren, R., Metjian, T.A., Leckerman, K.H., Hodinka, R.L., Zaoutis, T.E.: Use of antibiotics in children hospitalized with community-acquired, laboratory-confirmed influenza. J. Peds. 154(3): 447-449, 2009.

Iyer, S.S., Mittal, M.K., Hodinka, R.L.: Herpes zoster and meningitis resulting from reactivation of varicella vaccine virus in an immunocompetent child. Ann. Emerg. Med. 53: 792-795, 2009.

Clark, H.F., Lawley, D., Mallette, L.A., DiNubile, M.J., Hodinka, R.L.: Decline in cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis presenting to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after introduction of pentavalent rotavirus vaccine. Clin. Vaccine Immunol. 16(3): 382-386, 2009.

Seiden, J.A., Zorc, J.J., Hodinka, R.L., Shah, S.S.: Lack of cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis in young infants with enterovirus infections of the central nervous system. Pediatr. Emerg. Care 26: 77-81, 2010.

Hodinka, R.L. (Contributor): HIV testing algorithms: A status report. A publication from the Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Silver Spring, MD and Atlanta, GA. Page: 1-57, April 2009.

Clark, H.F., Lawley, D., Matthijnssens, J., Dinubile, M.J., Hodinka, R.L.: Sustained decline in cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis presenting to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the new vaccine era. Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 29(8): 699-702, 2010.

Dewan, M., Zorc, J.J., Hodinka, R.L., Shah, S.S.: Cerebrospinal fluid enteroviral PCR testing in infants 56 days of age or younger. Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med. 164(9): 824-830, 2010.

Shah, S.S., Volk, J., Mohamad, Z., Hodinka, R.L., Zorc, J.J.: Herpes simplex virus testing and hospital length of stay in neonates and young infants. J. Peds. 156: 738-743, 2010.

Kajon, A.E., Dickson, L.M., Fisher, B.T., Hodinka, R.L.: Fatal disseminated adenovirus infection in a young adult with systemic lupus erythematosus. J. Clin. Virol. Elsevier, 50: 80-83, 2011.

Pierce, V.M., Neide, B., Hodinka, R.L.: Evaluation of the Gen-Probe Aptima HIV-1 RNA qualitative assay as an alternative to Western blot analysis for confirmation of HIV infection. J. Clin. Microbiol. 49(4): 1642-1645, April 2011.

Ledeboer, N.A., Hodinka, R.L.: Molecular detection of resistance determinants. J. Clin. Microbiol. ASM Press, 49(9): S20-S24, September 2011.

Mukherjee, R., Jensen, S.T., Male, F., Bittinger, K., Hodinka, R.L., Miller, M.D., Bushman, F.D.: Switching between raltegravir resistance pathways analyzed by deep sequencing. AIDS 25(16): 1951-1959, 2011.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Clusters of acute respiratory illness associated with human enterovirus 68-Asia, Europe, and United States, 2008-2010. MMWR 60(38): 1301-1304, September 2011 Notes: Contributing author.

Pierce, V.M., Hodinka, R.L.: A 3-year-old girl with vomiting and diarrhea. J. Clin. Virol. 54: 203-206, 2012.

Pierce, V.M., Elkan, M., Leet, M., McGowan, K.L., Hodinka, R.L.: Comparison of the Idaho Technology FilmArray System to real-time PCR for detection of respiratory pathogens in children. J. Clin. Microbiol. 50(2): 364-371, February 2012.

Pierce, V.M., Hodinka, R.L.: An adolescent with fever, headache, and myalgias. J. Clin. Virol. 53: 93-96, 2012.

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Last updated: 11/13/2023
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