Dr. Lawrence Joseph Wheat, a Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease at Indiana University School of Medicine from 1976 to 2002, led a research team to invent a unique antigen test to diagnose histoplasmosis. His team established the Histoplasmosis Reference Laboratory at IU in 1985 where Histoplasma antigen testing was offered as a referral service. With the emergence of AIDS, histoplasmosis became the leading cause for infection in endemic regions of the country and Dr. Wheat pioneered research evaluating diagnosis and treatment of histoplasmosis in AIDS as part of the NIH AIDS Clinical Trials Group.
In 2002, his team left IU and founded MiraVista Diagnostics (MVD) to focus on research to improve diagnostic testing and provide rapid and accurate services. MVD expanded into veterinary medicine, offering similar tests for diagnosis of fungal infections in animals.
MiraVista Diagnostics researchers have since developed antigen tests for diagnosis of blastomycosis and coccidioidomycosis and refined their antigen tests to improve sensitivity and specificity. Our scientists also have developed antibody tests for diagnosis of fungal infections. This research has defined the role of these tests for management of these diseases. MiraVista Diagnostics now offers specific tests for diagnosis of aspergillosis, cryptococcosis and pan-fungal tests as a marker for serious fungal infection of any cause. MVD currently tests over 110,000 specimens annually and continues to expand its services and serve new customers. Dr. Wheat consults with Infectious Disease physicians and veterinarians in the United States and internationally, improving the outcome of their patients.
Dr. Lawrence Joseph Wheat, Founder of MiraVista Diagnostics
Lawrence Joseph Wheat, MD (Dr. Joe Wheat) is an accomplished and widely published scientist with more than 40 years of focused expertise in the area of infectious diseases. He is recognized by the academic, medical and professional communities as a leading authority on serious fungal infections. In 2002, Dr. Wheat founded MiraVista Diagnostics and currently serves as its Medical Director and President. As a result of Dr. Wheat’s scientific developments, visionary leadership, high quality standards and dedication to excellent client service, MiraVista has earned the reputation as the industry’s premier reference laboratory for fungal diagnostics.
Prior to establishing MiraVista Diagnostics, Dr. Wheat served as a professor at the Indiana University Medical Center’s Infectious Diseases Division for more than 25 years. In addition to teaching medicine, Dr. Wheat was a prolific medical research scientist during his tenure. Since 1976, he published more than 300 scientific articles specifically related to fungal infection, hundreds more articles on broader infectious disease topics and authored chapters about histoplasmosis in several leading infectious disease and internal medicine books. Dr. Wheat’s groundbreaking research findings contributed to the development of the first histoplasmosis antigen test in 1986. Since then, he has continued to develop new generations of diagnostic tests for coccidioides (also known as valley fever fungus), histoplasma capsulatum and blastomyces dermatitidis.
Dr. Wheat received his medical degree from Indiana University Medical School where he also completed his internship, residency and fellowship in infectious diseases. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Infectious Disease from 2002-2013 and is an active member of many professional organizations including the Infectious Disease Society of America, American Society of Microbiology, International Society for Human and Animal Mycology and Medical Mycology Society of the Americas. Dr. Wheat also served in the United States Air Force.