Skip to main content

Welcome to our new website. We’re still fine-tuning things. If you experience any issues or would like to provide feedback, please contact us.


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

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 CONSULTANT 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) PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE 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