MacDonald   M.D., Susan M.



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. 3B.69

Baltimore, MD 21224-6801

Tel:  410-550-2075

Fax:  410-550-2090




Susan M. MacDonald, M.D. is currently Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.  She joined the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology of the Department of Medicine in 1987 and became the Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine in 2002.  Currently she is the Interim Director, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  She is a member of the American Association of Immunologists, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum , and the Interurban Clinical Club.  She has served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the JAMA Asthma Website and has peer-reviewed many articles for the leading allergy journals. She has served on multiple advisory committees and review groups, including national and international study sections. She is a strong  advocate for women in science in academia. Additionally, while pursuing her research interests Dr. MacDonald has become very interested in administration with particular emphasis on Faculty Development and Leadership.    



Current Interests:


Research Interest:

 Studies in my laboratory led to the cloning of a novel cytokine termed histamine releasing factor (HRF) (Science 269:688-690, 1995). HRF was shown to cause histamine release from a subset of allergic donors' basophils. It was subsequently demonstrated that HRF enhanced IgE-dependent IL-4 and IL-13 secretion from all basophils. Additionally, HRF was shown to promote IL-8 secretion and a calcium response in purified human eosinophils and to downregulate cytokine production from human T cells. HRF, which was previously designated p23/TCTP, is a highly conserved molecule from humans to alfalfa plants. While originally described as a growth-related tumor protein, it has also been identified in healthy liver tissue and, more recently, in macrophages, platelets, keratinocytes, erythrocytes and hepatocytes as well as several parasitic organisms. Of note, a malarial homolog was identified from Plasmodium falciparum-infected cultured erythrocytes. This malarial homolog also has biologic activity and causes histamine release from human basophils and IL-8 production from human eosinophils.   After deciphering the signal transduction events associated with HRF-induced basophil histamine release, our laboratory made the first inducible -transgenic mouse model of HRF using the Tet-On system.  When HRF was induced in this model, there was an enhanced asthmatic, allergic phenotype after ovalbumin challenge,

            Previously, HRF was thought to interact with a certain type of IgE on the surface of the basophil termed IgE+. While recent experiments have demonstrated that HRF most probably interacts with its own cell surface receptor, the nature of IgE+ needs to be defined. People with this type of IgE have basophils that release to different stimuli such as IL-3, D2O and HRF. The likely explanation for this releasibility might well be due to signal transduction events, in particular, a down regulation of the phosphatase, SHIP.   It has recently been discovered by the Mui laboratory that small molecule agonists of SHIP inhibit the PI3K pathway and are potent and specific agonists of SHIP.  Our laboratory received these agonists and demonstrated that they inhibit IgE-mediated basophil induced histamine release.  In clinical studies not associated with our lab, these agonists have been demonstrated in Phase I clinical trails to be safe and well tolerated.  They are currently in Phase IIa studies for experimental therapy of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.  These trials are being conducted by Aquinox Pharmeucutical, Inc.  As disclosure, it should be noted that Dr. MacDonald is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Aquinox.


Administrative Interest:

            Dr. MacDonald’s interest in administration began while she was Chair of the Task Force for Women in Medicine (1995-1997). During her tenure, and while she was a junior Assistant Professor, she initiated a Mentoring Program for Women Fellows that exists today.  Then under the Chair of Medicine at that time, Dr. Edward Benz, she became the Deputy Director for Faculty Development (1997-2001).  Her passion for mentoring was extended to all faculty, and she initiated a book that describes, “How to Get Promoted at Hopkins.”  Her true intent was to make the implicit explicit.  She extended this book designed for faculty in the Department of Medicine to the greater than 3,000 faculty in the School of Medicine.  Working with the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs, Dr. Janice Clements, they launched the first edition of this “Silver Book” that is given annually to each faculty and now is online. 

            In addition to the Silver Book, and while working with Dr. Clements, she reinstituted a School-Wide Orientation for New Faculty and Parental Leave Guidelines.  She continues to work with the Vice Dean’s Office in the Office of Women and Science.  Also, during her tenure as Deputy Director for Faculty Development in the Department of Medicine, she initiated a Department Annual Review of all faculty with the signed report submitted to her Deputy Director’s Office.

            Dr. MacDonald’s administrative responsibilities culminated when she became the first woman Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine under the Chief, Dr. Myron Weisfeldt (2002-Present).  She has been charged with being the point person for all aspects of faculty development, as well as the sounding board for the Chair of Medicine.  The Department of Medicine is the largest Department in the School of Medicine at Hopkins with greater than 550 faculty members.  With respect to the faculty that she oversees, there are over 194 Assistant Professors, 110 Associate Professors and 104 full Professors.  This is divided as 52% women Assistant Professors, 34% women Associate Professors and 20% women full Professors.  The remaining non-tenured track faculty are Research Associates and Instructors for a total of 142.  We have an emphasis on diversity for underrepresented minorities (URMs) with 25% of the new Assistant Professor hires being URMs.  As Associate Chair, she has overseen annual reviews of all faculty irrespective of their academic direction, be it translational research, clinical research, clinical education, clinician or program building.  She has partnered in recruitment and retention of faculty, investigated scientific misconduct and conflict of interest issues, has been an ombudsperson, monitored salary and chaired multiple Division Chief searches.  During the last ten years, we have had 10 out of 16 Division Chiefs replaced.  Dr. MacDonald is considered a transparent communicator, an effective, well respected, explicit leader who is able to interact with the Chief of Medicine as well as 16 Division Directors and the faculty.  Division Directors often come directly to her with problems to seek solutions before they discuss them with the Chair of Medicine.  One change initiated by her and adopted by the Chair of Medicine was meeting in one half hour sessions with each Assistant Professor, both men and women, to get a flavor of their academic trajectory as well as to introduce them to the leadership of the Department both the Chair and the Associate Chair. While this was an extraordinary investment of time, it turned out to be extremely rewarding, laying the groundwork for strong team-building in the Department as the junior faculty were now able to identify with the departmental leadership.  As the Associate Chair, not all situations are easy.  Investigating scientific misconduct is a process that involves a committee appointed by the Dean of the School of Medicine, and she has been the person chosen to represent a faculty member in this instance.  Additionally, with NIH funding at an all time low, she has had to instruct Division Directors how to best approach their own faculty about giving hard, realistic news.  While she has received numerous awards, her commitment to faculty development resulted in her being the first recipient of the Vice Dean’s Leadership Award in 2009.   She has given numerous talks concerning mentoring and promotion both at Hopkins and nationally and an international talk.





Selected Publications:


1 MacDonald, S.M., Rafnar, T., Langdon, J., Lichtenstein, L.M. Molecular identification of an IgE-dependent histamine releasing factor. Science 269:688-690, 1995.

2 Schroeder, J.T., Lichtenstein, L.M., MacDonald, S.M. An immunoglobulin E-dependent recombinant histamine releasing factor induces IL-4 secretion from human basophils. J. Exp. Med. 183:1-6, 1996.

3 Kleine-Tebbe, J., Kagey-Sobotka, A., MacGlashan Jr., D.W., Lichtenstein, L.M., MacDonald, S.M. Lectins do not distinguish between heterogeneous IgE molecules as defined by differential activity of an IgE-dependent histamine releasing factor. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 98:181-188, 1996.

4 MacDonald, S.M. The IgE-dependent histamine releasing factor. ACI Int. 8/1:34-37, 1996.

5 Dvorak, A.M., Schroeder, J.T., MacGlashan, D.W., Bryan, K.P., Morgan, E.S., Lichtenstein, L.M. and MacDonald, S.M. Comparative ultrastructural morphology of human basophils stimulated to release histamine by anti-IgE, recombinant IgE-dependent histamine-releasing factor, or monocyte chemotactic protein-1. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 98:355-370, 1996.

6 MacDonald, S.M. Human recombinant histamine releasing factor (HrHRF). Int. Arch. Allergy Appl. Immunol. 113:187-190, 1997

7 Schroeder, J.T., Lichtenstein, L.M., MacDonald, S.M. Recombinant histamine-releasing factor enhances IgE-dependent IL-4 and IL-13 secretion by human basophils. J. Immunol. 159:447-452, 1997.

8 Schroeder, J.T., MacGlashan, Jr., D.W., MacDonald, S.M., Kagey-Sobotka, A. and Lichtenstein, L.M. Regulation of IgE-dependent IL-4 generation by human basophils treated with glucocorticoids. J. Immunol. 158:5448-5454, 1997.

9 Bheekha-Escura, R., Chance, S.R., Langdon, J.M., MacGlashan, Jr., D.W., MacDonald, S.M. Pharmacologic regulation of histamine release by the human recombinant IgE-dependent histamine-releasing factor (HrHRF). J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 103:937-943, 1999.

10    MacDonald, S. M., Chakravarti, A, Paznekas, W. A., Jabs, E, W. Chromosomal localization of tumor protein, translationally controlled 1 (TPT1) also called human histamine releasing factor (HRF) to 13q14. Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics. 84:128-129, 1999.

11    Wantke, F, MacGlashan, Jr., D. W., Langdon, J.M., MacDonald, S. M. The Human Recombinant Histamine Releasing Factor HrHRF): Functional Evidence that HrHRF Does Not Bind to the IgE Molecule. J. Allergy Clin, Immunol. 103:642-648, 1999.

12    Bheekha-Escura, R., MacGlashan, Jr.,D.W., MacDonald, S.M. The Human Recombinant Histamine Releasing Factor (HrHRF) Activates Human Eosinophils and the Eosinophilic-like Cell Line, AML14-3D10. Blood 96:2191-2198, 2000.

13    MacDonald, M.D., Bhisutthibhan, J., Shapiro, T.A., Rogerson, S.J., Taylor, T.E., Tembo, M., Langdon, J.M., and Meshnick, S.R.  Immune mimicry in malaria: Plasmodium falciparum secretes a functional histamine-releasing factor homolog in vitro and in vivo..  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98:10829-10832, 2001.

14    Vonakis, B.M., Gibbons, S., Sora, R., Langdon, J.M. and MacDonald, S.M. Src homology 2 domain-containing inositol 5' phosphatase is negatively associated with histamine release to human recombinant histamine-releasing factor  in human basophils. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 108:822-31, 2001.

15    Vonakis, B.M., Sora, R., Langdon, J.M., Casolaro, V. and MacDonald, S.M. Inhibition of cytokine gene transcription by human recombinant histamine-releasing factor in human T lymphocytes.  J. Immunol.  171:3742-3750, 2003.

16    Langdon, J.M., Vonakis, B.M., MacDonald, S.M.  Identification of the Interaction between the Human Recombinant Histamine Releasing Factor/Translationally Controlled Tumor Protein and Elongation Factor-1 delta (also known as eElongation Factor-1B beta).  Biochem. Biophys. Acta  1688:232-236, 2004. 

17 Vonakis, B.M., MacGlashan, Jr., D.W., Vilariño, N., Langdon, J.M., Scott, R.S. and MacDonald, S.M.  Distinct Characteristics of Signal Transduction Events by Histamine Releasing Factor/Translationally Controlled Tumor Protein (HRF/TCTP)-Induced Priming and Activation of Human Basophils.  Blood 2008; 111:1789-1796.

18 Xie, L., Schroeder, J.T., Langdon, J.M., Sora-Scott, R.S., Kawakami, T., MacDonald, S.M. Human IgE+ and IgE- Is Not Equivalent to Mouse Highly Cytokinergic IgE.  JACI 121:1027-1033, 2008.

19 Langdon, J.M., Schroeder, J.T., Vonakis, B.M., Bieneman, A.P., Chichester, K., MacDonald, S.M.  Histamine Releasing Factor/Translationally Controlled Tumor Protein (HRF/TCTP) Induced Histamine Release is Enhanced with SHIP-1 Knockdown in Cultured Human Mast Cell and Basophil Models.  J. Leuko. Biol.  84:1151-1158, 2008.

20 Xie, L., Schroeder, J.T., Langdon, J.M., Sora-Scott, R.S., Kawakami, T., MacDonald, S.M. Human IgE+ and IgE- Is Not Equivalent to Mouse Highly Cytokinergic IgE.  JACI 121:1027-1033, 2008.

21 Yeh, Y.-C., Xie, L., Langdon, J.M., Myers, A.C., Oh, S.-Y., Zhou, Z. and MacDonald, S.M.  The Effects of Overexpression of Histamine Releasing Factor (HRF) in a Transgenic Mouse Model. PloS One, Jun 11; 5(6)e11077:1-12, 2010.

22 MacDonald, S.M.  Potential Role of Histamine Releasing Factor (HRF) as a Therapeutic Target in Asthma and Allergy, The Journal of Allergy and Asthma 2012:2:5 51-59.

23 Fried, L.P., Francomano, C.A., MacDonald, S.M., Wagner, E.M., Stokes, E.J., Carbone, K.M., Bias, W.B., Newman, M.M. and Stobo, J.D.:  Career development for women in academic medicine.  Multiple interventions in a Department of Medicine.  JAMA 1996;276:898-905.             




Mentee List:


Postdoctoral Fellows and Present Positions:

Roy Bheekha, Ph.D. 1996-1998 Department of Immunology

Baylor College of Medicine

Felix Wantke, M.D. 1996-1998 Wilhelminenspital-Vienna


Tushar Shah, M.D. 1990-1993 Senior Vice President of

Scientific and Clinical

Development ALTANA

Pharma US

Jörg Kleine-Tebbe, M.D. 1991-1995 University of Leipzig,


Becky Vonakis, Ph.D. 1999-2001 Assistant Professor 7/2001

Division of Allergy and Clinical

Immunology, Johns Hopkins

Liping Xie, M.D. 2005-2008 Nephrology Fellow

Yeuh-Chio Yeh, Ph.D. 2008-2009 Assistant Professor of

Medicine, Taiwan

Emadia Mohammed Alaki, M.D. 2008-2009 Riyadh Medical

Center Complex, Children’s Hospital

Saudi Arabia

Vicky M. Champaneria, M.D. 2009-2010 Echo technician,



Research Students:

Tanika Martin 2004-2005 Minority Supplement Student

Pearlene Lee Summer, 2003 Undergraduate, University of

California, Berkley

Sophie Seo Summer, 2001, Undergraduate, University of

2002, 2003 Toronto

Masashi Rotte 2000-2002 Senior, Johns Hopkins


Scott Gibbons, Jr. Summer, 1998 Undergraduate, St. Mary's

Summer, 1999 College, St. Mary's City, MD

Summer, 2000

Himanshu Nagar 1997-1998 Junior, Johns Hopkins


Stacy Ryan Chance 1994-1997 Doctor of Medicine


Vanderbilt University, TN

Nancy E. Moeder 1995-1996 Doctor of Philosophy


Cornell University, NY

Katherine Anders 1994-1995 Doctor of Veterinary



Virginia Tech Veterinary


Margaret McIntergart, M.D. 1995 Intern in Medicine

Royal College of London

Jessica Jenulus 1993-1994 Doctor of Philosophy


Allegheny University of the

Health Sciences

Philadelphia, PA

Jae Oh 1998-2000 Doctor of Philosophy

Candidate, NYU, NY


Mentees for Career Counseling:

Jennifer Laurence, M.D. 1993-1997 Postdoctoral Fellow


Joscylin Clinic

Boston, MA

Suzanne Jan de Beur, M.D. 1995-Present Associate Professor of

Medicine, Endocrinology

Johns Hopkins

Michele Keane, Ph.D. 1995-1997 Research Scientist

Osiris Corporation

Baltimore, MD

Elizabeth H. Holt, M.D.,Ph.D. 1998-2000 Postdoctoral Fellow

Division of Endocrinology

Johns Hopkins

Gwen Oldenquist, M.D. 1999-2003 Postdoctoral Fellow

Geriatrics Division

Johns Hopkins University

Kelly Zebo, M.D. 1999-Present Associate Professor of

Medicine, Internal Medicine

Division, Johns Hopkins


Terry Watnick, M.D. 1999-2003 Assistant Professor of

Medicine, Renal Division,

Johns Hopkins University

Linda Resar, M.D. 2006-Present Associate Professor of

Medicine, Hematology Division

Johns Hopkins University

Lisa Spenser, PhD. 2008-Present Assistant Professor of

Medicine, Allergy Division

Harvard University

Stephen Sisson, M.D. 2010-Present Associate Professor of

Medicine, Internal Medicine

Division, Johns Hopkins University

Beatrice Hoffman, M.D. 2012-Present Assistant Professor of

Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins


Cindy Roy, Ph.D., 2008-Present Assistant Professor of

Medicine, Geriatrics Division, Johns Hopkins


Charles Hesdorffer, M.D. 2009-2010 Assistant Professor of

Medicine, Hematology Division, Johns Hopkins


Xie He, Ph.D., 2011-Present Instructor of

Radiology, Radiology Department, Johns Hopkins,


Marian Kollarik Ph.D., 2010-Present Associate Professor of

Medicine, Division of Allergy, Johns Hopkins


Roslyn Stewart, M.D. 2010-Present Associate Professor of

Medicine, Internal Medicine

Division, Johns Hopkins University

Mohammed Atta, M.D. 2009-Present Associate Professor of

Medicine, Renal Division, Johns Hopkins





Updated September 2012