The Aspirato

“The Aspirato”

Newsletter of the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center, 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Baltimore, MD 21224

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Aspirato, the newsletter of the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology


We encourage you to send us information to include in future issues.  We also appreciate your feedback.  If you have something for our next issue, please send it to us no later than September 1, 2013.


Janet Dorer and Bruce Bochner






This newsletter will bring you up to date with Dr. Bochner’s decision to leave Johns Hopkins to take a position at Northwestern University in Chicago, his hometown.  As of August 1, 2013, he will become the Samuel M. Feinberg Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy and Immunology, where one of our former faculty members, Dr. Robert Schleimer, is the Chief of Allergy-Immunology.  In Dr. Bochner’s new position, he will have fewer administrative responsibilities and thus more time to focus on research and teaching, which he looks forward to with much excitement.  His tenure at Johns Hopkins will end on June 30, most recently as Director of the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology since January 2003.  Our heartfelt thanks and best wishes go with Bruce and his wife Jacqi as they move to Chicago. 


Dr. Susan M. MacDonald has been named the Interim Division Director of the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology and will assume these responsibilities officially on March 29, 2013.  As Interim Director, her commitment remains steadfast when it comes to our tripartite academic mission – research, training of fellows, and excellence in patient care.


Dr. Tao Zheng and Dr. Zhou Zhu have also accepted offers to return to Yale University (from where they were recruited about 9 years ago) beginning May 1, 2013, where Tao will become their new Chief of Allergy and Zhou will continue his research work on mouse models of asthma and COPD.  Tao has been the Clinical Director of the Allergy Clinical Practice at Johns Hopkins since July 2010.  We thank them for their success and contributions, and wish them both the very best as they take on their new responsibilities in Connecticut. 


Effective March 15, Dr. N. Franklin Adkinson, Jr. has become the Interim Clinical Director for the Johns Hopkins Allergy Clinical Practice, and Dr. Jody Tversky is the Assistant Clinical Director.


Congratulations to Dr. Li Gao on her promotion to Assistant Professor. Li works on the genetic epidemiology and functional genomics of complex lung diseases.


Congratulations to Dr. Rasika Mathias on her promotion to Associate Professor.  Rasika works on genetic epidemiology with emphasis on cardiovascular/asthma/lung diseases and other chronic disease processes.



Dr. Susan MacDonald has been appointed the Chair of the New Leadership Institute at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.


Congratulations to Dr. Alpa Jani on her promotion to Assistant Professor.  Alpa has been working as one of our highly regarded part-time clinical faculty in the Allergy Clinical Practice.


Congratulations to Kathleen S. Hise, M.D. who received a 2013 ARTrust Mini Grant from AAAAI for $10,000 over one year entitled, “Isolation of a G-Protein Coupled Receptor for Esterified 15(S)Hydroxyeicosatetranoic Acid (15-HETE) Expressed On Human Bronchial Epithelium and Mast Cells”. This grant will allow her to investigate the presence of a novel G protein-coupled receptor for 15HETE that may be important in the severe asthma phenotype.


Dr. Brendan Canning welcomes Dr. Li Yu to his laboratory beginning April 1, 2013 for one year as a Visiting Scientist.  Dr. Yu is an Assistant Professor at Tongji University in China and will be doing research studying the basic mechanisms regulating the initiation of cough and the evaluation of the ion channels regulating excitation of the vagal sensory nerves controlling cough.


Dr. Bruce Bochner started a $32 million company called Allakos, Inc. (4th largest biotech startup in USA in 2012).


Becky Vonakis, Ph.D. received an American Association of Immunologists Early Career Faculty Grant to present at the national AAI Meeting in Honolulu, Hawai


Along with Dr. N. Franklin Adkinson, Jr., Dr. Bochner and he finished editing the 8th edition of the Middleton textbook, 8th edition.



Fellowship Support


Our current five-year NIH T32 training program grant ends June 2013 and our renewal submission was not scored high enough for funding.  We will submit another application in September 2013, but this means that we will have to go at least one year without T32 funding for our fellowship program.


In our last issue of the Aspirato, we were privileged and honored to announce the establishment of the Adkinson-Hamilton Educational Endowment to support the postdoctoral training programs in our division. We are very humbled by the commitment and generosity of Drs. Robert Hamilton and Franklin Adkinson to the Division. Their donation of $600,000 towards establishing a $1 million endowment will make a significant impact in the education of future postdoctoral trainees.


This endowment will help ensure that we can offer a program that will train the next generation of fellows in allergy and clinical immunology without completely relying on NIH.  Therefore, the Division’s goal is to grow the Adkinson-Hamilton Educational Endowment to $1 million over the next four years.  In just one year, we have received additional contributions totaling nearly $15,000 towards this endowment.  If you are interested in contributing to this goal, please contact Dr. Hamilton at, Dr. Adkinson at, or email Jocabel Michel-Reyes from the Department of Medicine Development Office at  Thanks to many of you who have already pledged your committed to this important effort.




Welcome aboard to Kelly Montgomery, Senior Research Associate, who began working with the Grants Management Team in March. 





The web-based divisional calendar is up and running.  Bookmark it on your computer at  The calendar is updated frequently and is the best place to find the latest information about our divisional conferences and other divisional activities.  Please check it frequently.





All had a good time at this year’s Hopkins Alumni Dinner in San Antonio during the AAAAI meetings.  Pictures, courtesy of David Herron, can be seen here.


This year’s annual division picnic is scheduled for Sunday July 14, 2013 (rain date Sunday, July 21).  Dr. Hamilton’s Hybridoma Fruit Farm will be blossoming with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and Asian Pears.  Did you know that Dr. Hamilton is also a certified beekeeper?  A new addition to the farm this past year was an extensive hydration system.  We look forward to a tour of the farm and its facilities.  Dr. Hamilton does most of the work on the farm himself in the wee hours of the morning before coming to work at the Asthma Center, and we are delighted to be his guests on the farm and enjoy the fruits of his labor (pun intended) each year as he generously hosts this event for the division.


On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, we will devote the final Allergy Journal Club meeting of the academic year to celebrate and honor Dr. Bruce S. Bochner who will be leaving Johns Hopkins soon.  Several alumni and faculty will present classic articles on eosinophils, and Dr. Bochner will serve as the moderator for all of the presentations.  The event will be held in the Norman Library, Rm. 2B.65 and dinner will be served.  If you plan to attend RSVP is required, to


Another date to save is Friday, November 22, 2013, for the 23rd Annual Fall Symposium, which is being organized by Dr. Brendan Canning and will focus on the physiologic mechanisms of cough.