She found a job in the lab of a member of her thesis committee. In the years since, she has established a lab of her own at the university's school of public health, and made the case that sex affects immune responses.

Klein and others have shown how and why male and female immune systems respond differently to the flu, HIV, and certain cancer therapies, as well as why most women receive greater protection from vaccines but are also more likely to get severe asthma and autoimmune disorders. The work from her lab has helped advance our understanding of vaccine responses and immune function. People with XY chromosomes, a penis, and testicles, as well as people who go through a testosterone-dominated puberty, are referred to as male and female in this article.

Klein has helped lead to a shift in immunology, a field that used to think sex differences didn't matter. Uncounted and uncountable consequences for public health and medicine have historically been caused by trials that only enroll males. The practice has caused women to be denied potentially life-saving HIV therapy and left them with worse side effects from drugs and vaccines than men.

Women and men don't experience the same diseases. Women are nine times more likely to get the disease than men, and they have been hospitalized at higher rates for some flu strains. Men are more likely to die of covid 19 than women.

In the 1990s, scientists believed that differences in the immune system were due to differences in the way people behave.

According to Rhonda Voskuhl, a neuroimmunologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, immunology in the 1990s ignored the idea that multiplesclerosis could have a biological basis. People would say that the women are hysterical. It was necessary for you to convince people that it was basic biology. It was a tough fight.

Sabra Klein and Janna Shapiro look at a specimen on a lightbox.
Sabra Klein (left) and Janna Shapiro in Klein’s laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rosem Morton is a woman.

Even though there are no major differences between the sexes outside the parts that fit under a bikini, biological sex differences and gender differences still exist. They are both involved in susceptibility to diseases. Men are more likely to smoke and work in mining or construction jobs that expose them to toxic substances, which may explain why they are more likely to get Tuberculosis than women.

Sex and gender effects can be teased out. Animal models can be found there. Animals don't have a gender because it's a social construct that we associate with humans. It's a good idea to see the same effect in both animals and humans to see if it's related to sex.