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

Headshot of Daniela Cihakova
  • Associate Director, Clinical Immunology Laboratory
  • Professor of Pathology

Research Interests

Cardiac Immunology; Macrophages; Fibroblasts; Innate Immune Cells; T-cells; PD-1; PDL-1; Cytokines; Congenital Heart Block; Sjogren's Syndrome; Myocarditis; Autoimmunity; Immunology, Schizophrenia ...read more


Dr. Daniela Cihakova is a Professor of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She also has a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Cihakova is an Associate Director of Immunology Clinical Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. 

Her research focuses on the cardiac immunology and understanding how immune cells and cardiac stromal cells contribute to the pathogenesis of various cardiovascular diseases such as myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, pericarditis, myocardial infarction or check point inhibitors induced cardiac inflammation.

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 research has been supported by the NIH/NHBLI, American Heart Association, Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation, W.W. Smith Charitable Trust, Mirowski Discovery Award, National Organization for Rare Diseases, and American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA), Sjogrens syndrome Foundation, Matthew Poyner MVP Memorial Myocarditis Research Foundation, Myocarditis Foundation.

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  • Associate Director, Clinical Immunology Laboratory
  • Deputy Director of Faculty Development
  • Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions

  • Pathology - Immunopathology



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

Additional Training

  • The American College of Microbiology / The American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Cihakova’s research interest is Cardiac Immunology. She focuses on examining the role of various immune cells such as macrophaes, T cells, Innate lymphoid cells and their mediators cytokines and chemokines in pathogenesis of cardiac diseases such as myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction and pericarditis. Dr. Cihakova is also interested in the pathogenic role of SSA/SSB antibodies in development of congenital complete heart block.


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.

Lab Website: Cihakova Research Laboratory

Technology Expertise Keywords

Multiparameter Flow Cytometry, Cardiac Mice Models, ELISA, Indirect Fluorescence

Selected Publications

Won T, Kalinoski HM, Wood MK, Hughes DM, Jaime CM, Delgado P, Talor MV, Lasrado N, Reddy J, Čiháková D Cardiac myosin-specific autoimmune T cells contribute to immune checkpoint inhibitor-associated myocarditis. Cell Rep, 2022 2022;41(6):111611. Featured in Cardiovascular Discovery NEWS IN BRIEF, 2023.DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111611

Won T, Gilotra NA, Wood MK, Hughes DM, Talor MV, Lovell J, Milstone AM, Steenbergen C and Čiháková D. Increased Interleukin 18-Dependent Immune Responses Are Associated With Myopericarditis After COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination. Frontiers in Immunology 2022;3:851620. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.851620. eCollection 2022.DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.851620

Diny NL,  Baldeviano GC, Talor MV, Barin JG, Ong S, Bedja D, Hays GH, Gilotra NA, Coppens I, Rose NR, and Cihakova D*. Eosinophil-derived IL4 drives progression of myocarditis to inflammatory dilated cardiomyopathy. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2017; 214(4):943-957.  Article was chosen as a front cover story.

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 (article was featured by website Faculty 1000)

Won T, Wood MK, Hughes DM, Talor MV, Ma Z, Schneider J, Skinner JT, Asady B, Goerlich E, Halushka MK,  Hays AH, Kim DH, Parikh CR, Rosenberg AZ, Coppens I, Johns RA, Gilotra NA, Hooper JE, Pekosz A, and Čiháková D. Endothelial thrombomodulin downregulation caused by hypoxia contributes to severe infiltration and coagulopathy in COVID-19 patient lungs. EBioMedicine. 2022;75:103812. DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.103812

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Pathobiology, Johns Hopkins University

Immunology Training Program, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

Graduate Program, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

Courses and Syllabi

  • Cardiac immunology

Activities & Honors

Professional Activities

  • Editorial Board, Clinical Immunology, 2011
  • ad hoc - multiple study sections, NIh/NHLBI, 2012
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