Canning  Ph.D, Brendan J. 

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center

5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Rm. 3A.24

Baltimore, MD 21224-6801

Tel:  410-550-2156

Fax:  410-550-_______



Brendan J. Canning, Ph.D. is currently an Associate 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 1996.  He is a member of the American Physiological Society, American Thoracic Society, International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience, Maryland Thoracic Society, and the American College of Chest Physicians.  He has served as a grant reviewer for the British Lung Foundation, the Austrian FWF Der Wissenschaftsfonds, the United Kingdom National Asthma Campaign, the Republic of Ireland Higher Education Authority, NIH/NHLBI and NINDS as well as the Philip Morris External Research Program and the NIH/NHLBI LCMI Study Section.  He serves on the Scientific Advisory Panel for the University of California at Davis and has been a consultant or collaborator for multiple pharmaceutical industries. He lectures extensively on the relaxant innervation of airway smooth muscle and the mechanisms of cough.



Research Interest:

Innervation of the airways

Airway reflexes



Current Research:

Our current research is focused on mechanistic studies of the cough reflex.  We recently identified the afferent nerves that play an essential role in regulating cough (J Physiol., vol. 557.2, pp 543-558, 2004).  These “cough receptors” are exquisitely sensitive to acid and to punctuate mechanical stimuli and are readily distinguished from other afferent nerves innervating the airways based on action potential conduction velocity, distribution, and their insensitivity to capsaicin, bradykinin, airway smooth muscle contraction, stretch and alterations in luminal pressures within the airways.  Importantly, we have been able to intravitally label the peripheral nerve terminals of these afferent nerves using the styryl dye FM2-10.  This has permitted an unprecedented structure-function analysis of their excitability.  We have also been characterizing the CNS pathways regulating the cough reflex and interactions amongst various afferent nerve subtypes in regulating cough.  We have identified key sites of integration of airway afferent nerve input and mechanisms by which afferent nerve subtypes act synergistically to regulate cough.  These interactions may underlie the excessive coughing associated with upper and lower airways disease, and potentially, the coughing associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease.  Our experimental approaches include electrophysiological recordings, CNS microinjection techniques, in vivo preparations for monitoring cough and reflex bronchospasm, neuronal tracing and immunohistochemistry.

Selected Publications:


Kesler, BS and BJ Canning (1999).  Regulation of baseline cholinergic tone in guinea-pig airway smooth muscle.  J Physiol (Lond.), 518:  843-856.

Canning, BJ, SM Reynolds and SB Mazzone (2001).  Multiple mechanisms of reflex bronchospasm in guinea pigs.  J Appl Physiol, 91(6): 2642-2653.

Mazzone, SB and BJ Canning (2002).  Evidence for differential reflex regulation of cholinergic and noncholinergic parasympathetic nerves innervating the airways.  Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 165 (8), 1076-1083.

Mazzone, SB and BJ Canning (2002).  Synergistic interactions between airway afferent nerve subtypes mediating reflex bronchospasm in guinea pigs.  Am J Physiol (Regul Integr Comp Physiol), 283, R86-R98.

Canning, BJ, SM Reynolds, LU Anukwu, R Kajekar and AC Myers (2002).  Endogenous neurokinins facilitate synaptic neurotransmisssion in guinea pig airway parasympathetic ganglia. Am J Physiol (Regul Integr Comp Physiol), 283, R320-R330.

Canning, BJ, SB Mazzone, SN Meeker, SM Reynolds and BJ Undem (2004).  Identification of the tracheal and laryngeal afferent neurones mediating cough in anaesthetised guinea-pigs.  J. Physiol., 557 (2), 543-558. 



Mentor List:

Petros Karakousis, undegraduate (1993-1994 academic year)

Co-authored 1 paper while working in my lab

Current position, Clinical fellow, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Sandra Reynolds, undergraduate (summer 1995, 1996)

Coauthored 2 papers while working in my lab

Current position: Postdoctoral fellow, Kings College, London

Branko S. Kesler, M.D., pulmonary fellow (July 1997 – June 2001)

Awarded1997 NHLBI National R esearch Service Award

Coauthored 2 papers while working in my lab

Current position: private practice

Linus Anukwu, M.D., postdoctoral fellow (April 2000 – June 2001)

NRSA recipient for underrepresented minorities

Coauthored 1 paper while working in my lab

Current position: Medical resident, Brown University

Stuart B. Mazzone, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow (June 2000 – June 2003)

Awarded a CJ Martin Fellowship from the Australian MHMRC

(fellowship co-sponsors: B. Canning (JHU), P. Beart (Univ. Monash))

Coauthored 11 papers while working in my lab

Current position: Faculty Howard Florey Institute, Melbourne, Australia

Michelle Petrovic, medical student (summer 2000)

Winner of a Denison Award for outstanding research by a medical


Current position: Medical resident

Edwin Yau, undergraduate (2000 – 2001 academic year)

Current position: Medical school, Baylor College of Medicine

David Farmer, undergraduate (summers, 2002-2004)

Coauthored 1 paper while in my lab

Current position: Undergraduate student, Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland

Mark Scarupa, M.D., allergy fellow (September 2002 – 2004)

Coauthored 1 paper while in my lab

Current position: private practice




Other Information:


Since 1997, 4 postdoctoral fellows, 2 graduate students, 1 medical student, 4 undergraduates and 2 technicians have worked or are currently working in my laboratory.  These students and fellows have been very successful in the laboratory, publishing 17 peer-reviewed papers combined with 10 additional peer-reviewed manuscripts currently under review or in preparation.  Three of my postdoctoral fellows have been awarded prestigious individual national (NIH/ NRSA Awards) or international (Australian CJ Martin Fellowship Award) fellowships based on the work carried out in my lab and all are now employed either as research faculty or attending physicians.  Other accomplishments and awards received while working in my laboratory include a Denizon Award for outstanding research by a medical student, 3 undergraduate students being accepted into medical school or graduate school (all have now successfully completed their graduate training) and one former postdoctoral research fellow receiving a medical residency position in internal medicine.   In addition, fellows and students have had the opportunity to present their work at national and international meetings here in the United States and in Europe.