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Peisong Gao, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Peisong Gao, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Research Interests: Gene, environment, and allergic diseases


Peisong Gao, M.D., Ph.D. is currently Assistant Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. He joined the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology of the Department of Medicine in 2005 after completing a three-year research postdoctoral fellowship in this division. He is a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. more


  • Associate Professor of Medicine

Centers & Institutes



  • M.D., Fourth Military Medical University, Shannxi (China) (1996)
  • Ph.D., University of Wales - Swansea (United Kingdom) (2001)

Additional Training

Churchill Hospital, Oxford University, UK, 1999; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 2005, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

My research focus is to study the mechanisms underlying cockroach exposure and how it induces allergic sensitization and asthma. We are identifying genes involved in specific immune responsiveness to cockroach allergen by integrating genetic and genomic approaches. Also, we are studying the role of the cockroach allergen-CD206 axis in innate immune responses and genetic regulation by an integrated approach that incorporates functional studies, gene knockout mouse models, and genetic analysis.

Research Interests:

  1. Identification of genetic determinants conferring the susceptibility to cockroach sensitization. Asthma is the most prevalent serious chronic illness of children in the U.S. It is largely accepted that gene-environment interactions are responsible for the development of asthma, and that cockroach allergy is one of the major risk factors for the development of asthma. While there appears to be a rather clear relationship between allergen exposure and allergen sensitization, a dose-response relationship is mostly relevant for “susceptible” individuals, suggesting that cockroach sensitization is not a function of cockroach allergen exposure alone, and genetic susceptibility may be important. Our current study is to identify genetic determinants conferring the susceptibility to cockroach sensitization.
  2. Role of CD206 (MRC1[human] and MR[mouse]) in mediating cockroach allergen induced immune responses and lung inflammation. It is recognized that complex allergens contain multiple innate immune-activating components, which trigger the activation of mucosal innate immune cells that subsequently promote Th2-polarized adaptive immune responses and IgE responsiveness in susceptible individuals. CD206 has been shown to mediate the uptake of diverse native allergens by DCs and to determine allergen-induced T cell polarization. Our study is to investigate the role of CD206 in mediating cockroach allergen-induced allergic responses in vitro and in mouse models of asthma.
  3. Functional effects of TGF-beta1 on mesenchymal stem cell mobilization in cockroach allergen induced asthma. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been suggested to participate in immune regulation and airway repair/remodeling. Transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) is critical in the recruitment of stem/progenitor cells for tissue repair, remodeling and cell differentiation. In our study, we sought to investigate the role of TGFβ1 in MSC migration in allergic asthma.
  4. Functional significance of environmental chemical-aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) axis in modulating allergic sensitization. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a multifunctional regulator that senses and responds to environmental stimuli. Recent studies demonstrated that AhR can mediate an important immune response induced by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), a major component in airborne particulate matter (APM) that is associated with increased asthma morbidity. Our study is to test the functional significance of environmental chemical-AhR axis in modulating allergic sensitization.

Selected Publications

  1. Mitsuyasu H, Izuhara K, Mao XQ, Gao PS, Arinobu Y, Enomoto T, et al. Ile50Val variant of IL4R alpha upregulates IgE synthesis and associates with atopic asthma. Nat Genet. 1998 Jun; 19(2):119-20 View on Pubmed
  2. Seah GT, Gao PS, Hopkin JM, Rook GA. Interleukin-4 and its alternatively spliced variant (IL-4delta2) in patients with atopic asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Sep 15; 164(6):1016-8. View on Pubmed
  3. Gao PS, Mao XQ, Enomoto T, Feng Z, Gloria-Bottini F, Bottini E, et al. An asthma-associated genetic variant of STAT6 predicts low burden of ascaris worm infestation. Genes Immun. 2004 Jan; 5(1):58-62 View on Pubmed
  4. Huang JL, Gao PS, Mathias RA, Hsu SC, Plunkett B, Togias A, et al. Sequence variants of the gene encoding chemoattractant receptor expressed on Th2 cells (CRTH2) is associated with asthma and differentially influences the mRNA stability. Hum Mol Gent 2004; 13(21):2691-7. View on Pubmed
  5. Gao PS, Rafaels NM, Hand T, Murray T, Boguniewicz M, Hata T, et al. A Filaggrin Mutation Strongly Associated with Atopic Dermatitis Confers Greater Risk for Eczema Herpeticum in Diverse Ethnic Groups. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009; 124(3):507-13.
  6. Gao PS, Shimizu K, Grant AV, Rafaels NM, Zhou LF, Hudson SA, et al. Polymorphisms in the sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin-8 (Siglec-8) gene are associated with susceptibility to asthma. Eur. J Hum Genet 2010; 18(6):713-9. View on Pubmed
  7. Sherrill JD, Gao PS, Stucke EM, Blanchard C, Collins MH, Putnam PE, et al. Variants of thymic stromal lymphopoietin associate with eosinophilic esophagitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001; 126(1):160-5.
  8. Gao PS, Grigoryev DN, Rafaels NM, Mu DG, Wright JM, et al. CD14, a Key Candidate Gene Associated with Specific Immune Response to Cockroach. Clin Exp Allergy 2010, Jul 4. [Epub ahead of print]. View on Pubmed
  9. Leung DY, Gao PS , Grigoryev DN, Rafaels NM, Streib JE, Howell MD, A et al (2011) Human Atopic Dermatitis Complicated by Eczema Herpeticum is Associated with Abnormalities in Gamma Interferon Response. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011; 127: 965-73 .
  10. Gao PS , Leung DYM, Rafaels NM, T Hand T, Boguniewicz M, Hata T, Schneider JT, Hanifin JM, Gallo RL, Gao L, Beaty TH, Beck LA, Weinberg A, Barnes KC. Genetic Variants in Interferon Regulatory Factor 2 (IRF2 ) are Associated with Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema Herpeticum. J Invest Derm 2012 Mar;132(3 Pt 1):650-7.
  11. Zhou YF, Tung HY, Tsai YM, Hsu SC, Chang HW, Kawasaki H, Tseng HC, Plunkett B, Gao PS, Vonaki BM, Huang SK. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor controls murine mast cell homeostasis. Blood 2013 Apr 18; 121(16):3195-204.
  12. Tsai YM, Hsu SC, Zhang J, Zhou YF, Plunkett B, Huang SK, Gao PS . Functional Interaction of CockroachAllergens and Mannose Receptor (CD206) in Human Circulating Fibrocytes. PLoS ONE 2013 May 29; 8(5):e64105.
  13. Zhou YF, Mirza S,Xu T, Tripathi P, Plunkett B, Myers A, Gao PS. Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) Modulates Cockroach Allergen Induced Immune Responses through Active TGFβ1 Release. Mediators of Inflammation 2014; 2014:541479.
  14. Gao PS, Zhou YF,Xian LL,Li CJ, Xu T,Plunkett B, Huang SK, Wan M, CaoX. Functional Effects of TGF-beta1 on Mesenchymal Stem Cell Mobilization in Cockroach Allergen Induced Asthma. J Immunol. 2014; May 15;192(10):4560-70.
  15. Ando T, Xiao W, Gao PS, Namiranian S, Matsumoto K, Tomimori Y, Hong H, Yamashita H, Kimura M, Kashiwakura JI, Hata TR, Izuhara K, Gurish MF, Roers A, Rafaels NM, Barnes KC, Jamora C, Kawakami Y, Kawakami T. Critical role for mast-cell Stat5 activity in skin inflammation. Cell Reports 2014 Jan 30;6(2):366-76.
  16. Hong X, Hao K, Ladd-Acosta C, Hansen KD, Tsai HJ, Liu X, Xu X, Thornton TA, Caruso D, Keet CA, Sun YF, Wang GY, Luo W, Kumar R, Fuleihan R, Singh AM, Kim JS, Story RE, Gupta RS, Gao PS, Chen Z, Walker SO, Bartell TR, Beaty TH, Fallin MD, Schleimer R, Holt PG, Nadeau KC, Wood RA, Pongracic JA, Weeks DE, Wang XB. Genome-wide Association Study Identifies Peanut Allergy-Specific Loci and Evidence of Epigenetic Mediation in U.S. Children. Nature Communications 2015 In press.

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center (3B.71)
5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle
Baltimore, MD 21224 map
Phone: 410-550-2124

Activities & Honors


  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) Interest Section Award, 2007
  • Outstanding Pediatric Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Abstract Award (AAAAI), 2010
  • Research Excellent Awards, AAAAI/Sepracor, 2004
  • Annual Respiratory Disease Young Investigator Award, 2005
  • Award, American Lung Association of Maryland, 2007
  • Rheumatic Disease Research Core Center (RDRCC) Award, NIH, 2007
  • Clinical Research Junior Faculty Award, Johns Hopkins, 2009
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