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Daniela Cihakova, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Daniela Cihakova, M.D., Ph.D.

Director of Immunologic Disorders Laboratory, Department of Pathology

Associate Professor of Pathology

Research Interests: Cytokines; Autoimmune polyglandular syndromes; Congenital heart block; Sjogren's syndrome; Myocarditis; Autoimmunity; Immunology

Background

Dr. Daniela Cihakova is an associate professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She also has a joint appointment in the eepartment of molecular microbiology and immunology. She is  an American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI) certified clinical laboratory immunologist and a director of Immune Disorders Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.  She is a director of Word Health Organization collaborating center at the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.  

Her research focuses on the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases where she has concentrated on studying myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy using a mouse model of myocarditis called experimental autoimmune myocarditis. 

Dr. Cihakova earned her M.D. and Ph.D. from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in 2006. Dr. Cihakova joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2008.

Dr. Cihakova  is a member of the editorial board of Clinical Immunology and also serves on the American Heart Association Study Section. Her research has been supported by the Myocarditis Foundation, Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation, W.W. Smith Charitable Trust, Mirowski Discovery Award, National Organization for Rare Diseases, and American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) and NIH/NHBLI.

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Titles

  • Director of Immunologic Disorders Laboratory, Department of Pathology
  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions

Education

Degrees

  • M.D., Charles University (Czech Republic) (1998)
  • Ph.D., Charles University (Czech Republic) (2003)

Additional Training

  • The American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology, The American College of Microbiology, Medical Laboratory Immunology (2013)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Cihakova’s research involves the pathogenesis of myocarditis and its sequela, inflammatory dilated cardiomyopathy (DCMI). DCMI is among the most common causes of non-congenital, non-ischemic heart failure in people under the age of 40. It is also a frequent indication for heart transplantation. Despite the seriousness and prevalence of the inflammatory heart disease, there are still important gaps in our understanding of its mechanism. To help fill those gaps, Dr. Cihakova and her lab use a mouse model of myocarditis, called experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM).

In addition to myocarditis, Dr. Cihakova is also interested in the pathogenic role of SSA/SSB antibodies in development of congenital complete heart block and the susceptibility to Candida infections in patients with autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED).

Lab

Dr. Cihakova’s lab focuses on two main areas related to myocarditis. The first area of interest is the role of the inflammatory cytokines in myocarditis and DCMI. They have discovered that IL17A is critical for progression from myocarditis to DCMI while not being essential for myocarditis development (Baldeviano et al, 2010). They are currently investigating the mechanism of how IL-17A is driving DCMI and have evidence that IL17A and cardiac resident cells interaction is critical for DCMI. Dr. Cihakova and her lab are also interested in the role of the various inflammatory cells in myocarditis and how they contribute to the cardiac remodeling and DCMI. Clinically, different types of myocarditis are recognized based on the predominant infiltrating cell type such as giant cell myocarditis or eosinophilic necrotizing myocarditis. They have developed several models that reflect closely these clinical myocarditis entities. These models allow them to investigate the role of neutrophils, T cells, NK cells, myeloid cells and eosinophils and their contribution to cardiac inflammation and remodeling.

Selected Publications

Diny NL, Hou X, Barin JG, Chen G, Talor MV, Schaub J, Russell SD, Klingel K, Rose NR, Cihakova D. Macrophages and cardiac fibroblasts are the main producers of eotaxins and regulate eosinophil trafficking to the heart. Eur J Immunol. 2016 Sep 12 (in print, available online)

Barin JG, Talor MV, Schaub JA, Diny NL, Hou X, Hoyer M, Archer NK, Gebremariam ES, Davis MF, Miller LS, Rose NR, Cihakova D. Collaborative IFNγ and IL-17A signaling protects the oral mucosa from Staphylococcus aureus. The American Journal of Pathology 2016; 186(9):2337-52.

Wu L, Diny NL, Ong S, Barin JG, Hou X, Rose NR, Talor MV, Cihakova D. Pathogenic IL-23 signaling is required to initiate GM-CSF-driven autoimmune myocarditis in mice. Eur J Immunol. 2016; 46(3):582-92 (Editorial choice – featured as "In this Issue").

Ong S, Ligons DL, Barin JG, Wu L, Talor MV, Diny N, Fontes JA, Gebremariam E, Kass DA, Rose NR, Cihakova D. Natural killer cells limit cardiac inflammation and fibrosis by halting eosinophil infiltration. The American Journal of Pathology 2015; 185(3):847-61 (article was "editor's choice article")

Wu L, Ong S, Talor MV, Barin JG, Baldeviano GC, Kass DA, Bedja D, Zhang H, Sheikh A, Margolick JB, Iwakura5 Y, Rose NR, and Cihakova D. Cardiac Fibroblasts Mediate IL-17A-Driven Inflammatory Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2014; 211(7):1449-64

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Pathobiology

Courses and Syllabi

  • Clinical Immunology (260.712.01)

Activities & Honors

Professional Activities

  • Editorial Board, Clinical Immunology, 2011
  • Study Section, American Heart Association, 2012
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