The Hopkins University School of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center
5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Rm. 3B71
Baltimore, MD 21224-6801
Peisong Gao, M.D., Ph.D. is currently Assistant Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Gao received his MD degree and pulmonary medicine training in The Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU), Xi’an, China. From July 1997 to January 1999, he was a visiting research fellow with Dr. Julian M. Hopkin at Osler Chest Unit, Oxford University. He subsequently moved to the University of Wales Swansea with Dr. Hopkin, pursuing a Ph.D. working in molecular genetics of asthma. In 2002, Dr. Gao became a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Shau-Ku Huang in the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2008, Dr. Gao was promoted to Assistant Professor. Dr. Gao is a member of the Genetics, Molecular Biology and Epidemiology Committee (GMBEC), the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). Dr. Gao's research has been greatly recognized by several awards, including the 2004 Research Excellence Award, the 2007 Interest Section Award, and Outstanding Pediatric Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Award from AAAAI.
Immunological and genetic regulation of allergic diseases
Dr. Gao’s major focus is to understand the Immunological and genetic regulation of allergic diseases. Over the past few years, He has been involved in the identification of the genetic basis for atopic dermatitis and eczema herpeticum (ADEH) as part of the NIH Atopic Dermatitis and Vaccinia Network-Clinical Studies Consortium. Dr. Gao is also directing a NIH-funded study (1R21AI088406-01A1) on identifying candidate genes for specific immune responsiveness to cockroach allergen by performing high-throughput gene expression on cockroach allergen treated human innate immune cells. Several major projects in Dr. Gao’s lab:
Project #1: Immunogenetic analysis of human response to allergen
This project will study susceptibility gene(s) regulating IgE responsiveness and asthma. I will study the gene-environment interaction in the regulation of allergic immune response in asthmatic patients, with particular focus on interaction between Diesel Exhaust Particles (DEPs) and cockroach antigen. In this study, I will focus on two cell types, human fibrocytes and DCs from asthmatic patients with cockroach allergy and healthy controls, and perform functional studies for cell maturation, cytokine production and for APC function in T cell proliferation and cytokine production in response to DEPs and cockroach allergen alone or in combination. Importantly, I will investigate the major receptors, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), C-type lectin receptors (CLRs), and Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), involving in the non-IgE-mediated regulation of allergen-induced immune response. Subsequent studies will focus on genes within the major related pathway (s) and investigate whether genetic variants in these genes are associated with allergic diseases and may contribute to abnormal immune response to either CR or DEP or both allergens. Furthermore, we will use mouse models of cockroach allergic asthma to determine the role of the mannose receptor (MRC1, CD206), one major CLR member, in cockroach allergen-induced inflammation and airway remodeling using MRC1 knockout mice (MR-/-).
Project #2: Identification of candidate genes for specific immune responsiveness to cockroach allergen
We will identify genes involved in the underlying mechanism of specific immune responsiveness to cockroach allergen. In this study, we will utilize high-throughput gene expression profiling (RNA-seq) of isolated DCs and fibrocytes for prioritization of candidate genes for cockroach sensitization. We believe that findings from this study will be candidate genes for the investigation of their role in the specific immune responsiveness to cockroach allergen. In particular, we will examine the associations of relevant polymorphisms in these candidate genes and risk of cockroach sensitization. This may offer an opportunity for novel therapies.
Project #3: Epigenetics of food allergy (FA)
This project will focus on a largely unexplored area, epigenetics of FA. There is growing recognition that epigenetic mechanisms are critical to normal human development and play an important role in maintenance of tissue-specific gene expression pattern. In particular, epigenetic regulation appears to play an important role in mediating the associations of pre-natal and post-natal factors with allergic risk. In this project, we will elucidate the role of epigenetic alterations at critical time points of early life in the development of FA using a prospective birth cohort design. We are particularly interested in examining epigenetic mechanisms in the context of individual pre/post-natal factors, vitamin D status, genetic susceptibility, and manifestations of IgE mediated FA. We will address the following questions: 1) Epigenetic alteration can affect the development of FA; 2) Pre and post-natal factors (environmental and genetic factors as well as gene-environment interaction) can affect the epigenetic alteration. This may lead to epigenetic therapies that may restore "normal epigenome" by activating or silencing disease-related genes.
1. Mitsuyasu H, Izuhara K, Mao XQ, Gao PS, Arinobu Y, Enomoto T, Kawai M, Sasaki S, Dake Y, Hamasaki N, Shirakawa T, Hopkin JM. Ile50Val variant of IL4R alpha upregulates IgE synthesis and associates with atopic asthma. Nat Genet 1998; 19(2):119-20.
2. Huang JL, Gao PS, Mathias RA, Hsu SC, Plunket B, Togias A Barnes KC, Stellato C, Beaty TH and Huang SK. 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.
3. Gao PS, Heller NM, Walker W, Chen CH, Plunkett B, Roberts MH, Schleimer RP, Hopkin JM, Huang SK. Variation in dinucleotide (GT) repeat sequence in the first exon of the STAT6 gene is associated with atopic asthma and differentially regulates the promoter activity in vitro. J Med Genet 2004; 41(7):535-9.
4. Gao PS, Mathias RA, Plunkett B, Togias A, Barns KC, Beaty TH, Huang SK. Genetic variants of the T-cell immunoglobulin mucin (TIM-1), but not TIM-3, genes are associated with asthma in an African American population. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005; 115(5): 982-8
5. Mathias RA, Gao PS, Goldstein J, Barnes KC, Beaty TH, Pugh EW, Wilson AF, Huang SK. Sliding window haplotype tests of association to identify asthma susceptibility loci on chromosome 11q: A graphical assessment of sliding p-values. BMC Genet. 2006 Jun 14;7(1):38.
6. Gao PS, Rafaels NM, Hand T, Murray T, Boguniewicz M, Hata T, Schneider L, Hanifin JM, Gallo RL, Gao L, Beaty TH, Beck LA, Barnes KC, Leung DYM. 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.
7. Gao PS, Shimizu K, Grant AV, Rafaels N, Zhou LF, Hudson SA, Konno S, Zimmermann N, Araujo MI, Ponte E, Cruz AA, Nishimura M, Su SN, Hizawa N, Beaty TH, Mathias RA, Rothenberg ME, Barnes KC, Bochner BS. 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.
8. Gao PS, Leung DYM, Rafaels NM, T Hand T, Boguniewicz N, Hata T, SchneiderJT, Hanifin JM, Gallo RL, Gao L, YangM, Beaty TH, Beck LA, Barnes KC. Genetic variants in TSLP and its receptors are associated with risk for atopic dermatitis and eczema herpeticum. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010; 125(6):1403-1407.
9. Sherrill JD, Gao PS, StuckeEM, Blanchard C, Collins MH, Putnam PE, Franciosi JP, Kushner JP, Abonia JP, Assa’adAH, Kovacic MB, Myers JMB, Bochner BS, He H, Hershey GK, Martin LG, Rothenberg MC. Variants of thymic stromal lymphopoietin associate with eosinophilic esophagitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010;126(1):160-165.
10. Gao PS, Grigoryev DN, RafaelsNM, Mu DG, Wright JM, Plunkett B, Cheadle C, Togias A, Beaty TH, Mathias RA, Schroeder JT, Barnes KC. CD14, a Key Candidate Gene Associated with Specific Immune Response to Cockroach. Clin Exp Allergy 2010; 40(9):1353-64.
11. Howell MD,Gao PS, Kim BE, Lesley LJ, Streib JE, Taylor PA, Zaccaro DJ, Boguniewicz M, Beck LA, Hanifin JM, Schneider LC, Hata TR, Gallo RL, Kaplan MH, Barnes KC, Leung DY. The STAT6 gene increases propensity of atopic dermatitis patients toward disseminated viral skin infections. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011; 128(5):1006-14.
12. Leung DY, Gao PS, Grigoryev DN, Rafaels NM, Streib JE, Howell MD, Taylor PA, Boguniewicz M, Canniff J, Armstrong B, Zaccaro DJ, Schneider LC, Hata TR, Hanifin JM, Beck LA, Weinberg A, Barnes KC. Human Atopic Dermatitis Complicated by Eczema Herpeticum is Associated with Abnormalities in Gamma Interferon Response. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011; 127 965-73.
13. Gao PS, Leung DYM, Rafaels NM, T Hand T, Boguniewicz M, HataT, SchneiderJT, HanifinJM, GalloRL, 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; 132(3):650-7.
14. GrantAV, Araujo MI, Ponte EV, Oliveira RR, GaoPS, Cruz AA, Barnes KC, Beaty TH. Functional polymorphisms in IL13 are associated with Schistosoma mansoni infection intensity in a Brazilian population. PLoS ONE 2012; 7(5):e35863.
15. Gao PS. Sensitization to Cockroach Allergen: Immune Regulation and Genetic Determinants. Clinical and Developmental Immunology 2012; 563760.
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