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Marsha Wills-Karp, PhD

Chair, Department of Environmental Health Sciences


Departmental Affiliation(s):

Environmental Health Sciences
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Joint)

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E7527
Baltimore , Maryland   21205

410 955-0617


PhD , University of California, Santa Barbara , 1986
MS , Southwest Texas State University , 1982


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 and Awards

Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, 2014

Rebecca Buckley Lectureship (2012)

Chair of NIH AITRC Study Section (2011 - present)
Permanent Member NIH AITRC Study Section (2009 - present)
Fellow of Pediatric Society (2009 - present)
Associate Editor, Mucosal Immunity, (2007 - present)
John Salvaggio Memorial Lectureship (2001)
Permanent Member, National Institutes of Health Study Section-Lung Biology and Pathology (2000 - 2004)
Sigma Xi - The Scientific Research Society (1980 - present)
Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society (1979 - 1982)
Faculty of 1000

  • Allergy,
  • Asthma,
  • Immunology,
  • Pulmonary Biology,
  • Environmental Health,
  • Air Pollution,
  • Genetics of Asthma,
  • Microbiome


Asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood.