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Chair, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering
Anna M. Baetjer Professorship in Environmental Health
Bloomberg Centennial Professor

Marsha Wills-Karp, PhD, researches the environmental determinants of allergic and immune diseases across the lifespan and chairs the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E7527
410 955-0617

Research Interests

Asthma; Allergy; Immunology; Pulmonary Disease; Environmental Health; Air Pollution; Early life determinants of immune disease
Experiences & Accomplishments
University of California, Santa Barbara
Southwest Texas State University
My research activities focus on defining the environmental and genetic determinants of allergic airway diseases such as asthma. My lab members and I have specifically explored the role of CD4+ Th2 cells and cytokines (IL-13), and innate immune pathways (complement activation pathways, TLRs, CLRs), in the pathogenesis of asthma. I have made substantial contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying allergenicity of common allergens-specifically how allergens and airborne pollutants activate innate immune pathways through molecular mimicry (Nature).  More recently, I have turned my attention to how the gut microbiome alters susceptibility to allergen and PM-induced asthma.
Honors & Awards
Chair, NIAID ZRG1 IMM-S (90)S Study Section, 2016
Chair, NIH AITRC Study Section, 2011-2015
Chair, Special Emphasis Review NIAID Panel, 2015
Kleinerman Distinguished Lecture in Pulmonary Pathobiology, 2015
Intramural NHLBI Review Committee, 2014
Delta Omega Honor Society for Public Health, 2014
Scientific Board, Trudeau Institute, 2012-2016
Deputy Editor, Mucosal Immunology, 2012-2017
Associate Editor, JCI, 2017-present
Distinguished Lectureship, Center for Immunology & Microbial Defense Disease, Albany Medical College, 2012
Rebecca Buckely Lectureship, American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, 2012
Marsha Wills-Karp Immunobiology Student Award established at CCHMC, 2012
Member of Clinical Immunology Committee of AAI, 2011-2014
Elected Member American Society of Pediatrics, 2010-present
Keystone Advisory Council Member, 2010
Permanent Member NIH AITRC Study Section, 2009-2011
Executive Leadership for Academic Medicine (ELAM) Fellow, 2007-2008
FDA, Allergenic Products Advisory Committee, 2005-2016
Distinguished Immunology Professor Award, NIAID, 2005
Distinguished Lectureship, Japan, 2005
Member of Finance Committee, American Association of Immunology, 2004-2006
Permanent Member, NIH LCMI Study Section, 2000-2004
Distinguished Alumni Award, Southwest Texas State University, 2002
John Salvaggio Memorial Lectureship, 2001
Faculty of 1000, 2000-2005
Faculty Development Award, Johns Hopkins University, 1994
Wellcome Trust Review Committee, 1998-2000, 2005, 2007
NIH Post-doctoral Training Grant, 1987-1989
First Award, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 1989
Achievement and Leadership Award, Southwest Texas State University, 1981, 1982
Academic Excellence, 1980, 1981, 1982
Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, 1979-1982

Apellis (2015-present)
Janssen Pharmaceuticals (2013-2015)
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (2011-2012)
F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd (2011-2012)
Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R&D (2011-2012)
Genentech (2010-2012)
Omeros Corporation (2010-2011)
Merck (2007-2012)
Abbott (2006-2007)
Amgen (2005-2008)
Centocor (2003-2006)
Abgenix, Inc. (2003-2006)
Merck Frosst (2002-2004)
Dynavax Pharmaceuticals (1999-2004)
Genetics Institute (1998-2000)
Millennium (1997)
Department of Energy, Beryllium Lung Disease (1998)
Roche Bioscience (1997-1998)


1987-1988 Post-doctoral Fellowship, Yale University
1988-1989 Post-doctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University
1989-1990 Research Associate, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
1990-1996 Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

1996-2000 Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

2000-2012 Tenured Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Division of Immunobiology, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

2003-2010 Founder and Director, Immunobiology Graduate Program, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio

2007-2012 Director of Center for Immunological Research, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

2008-2011 Associate Dean for Basic Sciences, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio

2010-2012 Rieveschl Professor of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

2012-2016 Chair, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

2016-present Chair, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Whiting School of Engineering, Baltimore, Maryland
Select Publications
Listed are 5 out of 164 publications
  • Ursula Smole, Naina Gour, Jordan Phelan, Gerhard Hofer, Cordula Köhler, Bernhard Kratzer, Peter A Tauber, Xiao Xiao, Nu Yao, Jan Dvorak, Luis Caraballo, Leonardo Puerta, Sandra Rosskopf, Jamila Chakir, Ernst Malle, Andrew P Lane, Winfried F Pickl, Stephane Lajoie, Marsha Wills-Karp. Serum amyloid A is a soluble pattern recognition receptor that drives type 2 immunity. Nat. Immunol. 21:756-765, 2020.
  • Gour N, Lajoie S, Smole U, White M, Hu D, Goddard P, Huntsman S, Eng C, Man A, Oh S, Kim JH, Sharma A, Plante S, Salem IH, Resch Y, Xiao X, Yao N, Singh A, Vrtala S, Chakir J, Burchard EG, Lane AP, Wills-Karp M. Dysregulated invertebrate tropomyosin-dectin-1 interaction confers susceptibility to allergic diseases. Sci Immunol. 3:20. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aam9841, 2018.
  • Lajoie S, Lewkowich IP, Suzuki Y, Clark JR, Sproles AA, Dienger K, Budelsky A, Wills-Karp, M. Complement-mediated regulation of the IL-17A axis is a central genetic determinant of the severity of experimental allergic asthma. Nat. Immunol. 11(10):928-35, 2010. PMID: 20802484
  • Karp, C. L., A. Grupe, E. Schadt, S. L. Ewart, M. Keane-Moore, P. J. Cuomo, J. Kohl, L. Wahl, D. Kuperman, S. Germer, D. Aud, G. Peltz, and M. Wills-Karp.  Identification of complement factor 5 as a susceptibility locus for experimental allergic asthma.  Nat. Immunol. 1:221-226, 2000.
  • Wills-Karp, M., J. Luyimbazi, X. Xu, B. Schofield, T. Y. Neben, C. L. Karp, and D. D. Donaldson.  Interleukin-13: central mediator of allergic asthma.  Science. 282:2258-2261, 1998
New Horizons in the Prevention and Treatment of Food Allergy
Arsenic and immune response to influenza vaccination in pregnant women and newborns