Marsha Wills-Karp, Ph.D.|
Marsha Wills-Karp received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1986. After completing postdoctoral training at Yale University and Johns Hopkins University, she joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1989.
In 2000 Dr. Wills-Karp was named the Rieveschl Professor of Pediatrics and Founding Director of the Immunobiology Division at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In 2003 she founded the Immunobiology Graduate Program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where she was appointed Associate Dean for Basic Sciences in 2008. In 2012 she returned to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences.
Dr. Wills-Karp’s research activities focus on defining the environmental and genetic determinants of allergic airway diseases such as asthma. She and her lab members 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.
Dr. Wills-Karp has 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 she has turned her attention to how the gut microbiome alters susceptibility to allergen and PM-induced asthma.
Dr. Wills-Karp has received several honors, including the Rebecca Buckely Lectureship and the John Salvaggio Memorial Lectureship. She was a member of the Faculty of 1,000, has served on numerous NIH study sections, and is currently the Chair of the NIH Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation Review Committee (AITRC). Dr. Wills-Karp has also served on several editorial boards and is currently Deputy Editor of Mucosal Immunology.