• Meet the Rothenberg Lab

    rothenberg-marc-Rothenberg lab_cc_100xMarc Rothenberg, MD, PhD
    Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology

    Rothenberg is a tenured professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude with highest honors in chemistry and biochemistry from Brandeis University. At Harvard Medical School in the combined MD / PhD program, his PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Frank Austen included seminal studies on eosinophil hematopoiesis. He developed the first culture system for human eosinophils. 

    After a two-year residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston, Rothenberg did a combined fellowship in allergy / immunology and hematology there. During this fellowship, Rothenberg did postdoctorate training in the genetics laboratory of Dr. Philip Leder at Harvard Medical School, where he cloned the eotaxin chemokine. After being faculty of Harvard Medical School for one year, he came to the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's, where he has helped build a top program in pediatric research, and his division is a leader in pediatric allergy and immunology. He manages a research program focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of allergic disorders. In addition, he sees patients suffering from allergic and immunological diseases from around the world as part of the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders, which he directs.

    Rothenberg’s awards include the Pharmacia Allergy Research Foundation Award for the best young investigator in the allergy field; the Young Investigator Award and the Scholar in Allergy Award from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; the Ohio Governor’s Recognition Award; the 2007 E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society of Pediatric Research; and an NIH MERIT Award in 2010 from the NIAID. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, Society for Pediatric Research, and a diplomate of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 

    Among his extensive publications of over 300 articles on molecular mechanisms of allergic responses, Rothenberg edited a book titled, “Chemokines in Allergic Disease.” He has served on various review panels for journals and grant agencies including the National Institutes of Health, where he served on the Advisory Council of the NIAID, Burroughs Trust, and the Medical Research Council of the UK. His research has been supported by numerous sources including the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Defense, Human Frontier Science Program Organization, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Dana Foundation and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

  • Postdoctoral Fellows / Research Associates

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    Nurit Azouz, PhDNurit Azouz, PhD
    Research Fellow

    Nurit came to the Rothenberg Lab after receiving her PhD from Tel Aviv University in Cell and Developmental Biology. She is now working on identifying the molecular mechanisms that regulate esophageal epithelial barrier function, especially the role of proteases and protease inhibitors in the barrier function. Outside of the lab Nurit likes running and watching movies.


    Michael Brusilovsky, M.Med.Sc., PhD
    Research Fellow

    Michael arrived from Ben-Gurion University, Israel to study eosinophilic esophagitis in our lab.  His favorite quote is from House, MD "Idiopathic, from the Latin meaning we're idiots cause we can't figure out what's causing it."  Michael's favorite food is Sushi and his hobbies are hiking and photography.


    Julie Caldwell, PhDJulie Caldwell, PhD
    Research Associate

    Caldwell completed her BS at Xavier University and PhD in the lab of Yolanda Sanchez at the University of Cincinnati. Caldwell is researching the molecular mechanisms of eosinophilic esophagitis. She is identifying noninvasive biomarkers for the disease and analyzing steroid-induced signaling. She and her husband like to play softball and watch sports.

    Eyad KhorkiEyad Khorki

    Eyad graduated from medical school in Jordan and started doing research in the Rothenberg Lab. He plans to apply for residency in pediatrics and continue on to work as a doctor in allergy and immunology. Outside of the lab, he is a championship swimmer in Syria who holds three national records in breaststroke.


    Photo of Leah Nesbitt Kottyan, PhD.Leah Nesbitt Kottyan, PhD
    Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

    Nesbitt Kottyan recently defended her PhD from the lab of Nives Zimmermann in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children's. She is continuing with her work by helping to unravel the genetic profile of patients with eosinophilic disorders. She is in both the Divisions of Rheumatology and Allergy and Immunology. When she is not at work, she likes to run and spend time with her husband and two children.

    Photo of Mark Rochman, PhD.Mark Rochman, PhD
    Research Associate

    Rochman came to the Rothenberg Lab from the National Institutes of Health. He has been awarded several grants and awards, including the Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) in 2010. His research interests center on chromatin (structure, function, dynamics in cytokine signaling), epigenetics and transcriptional regulation and the role of non-histone chromatin architectural proteins in gene expression. He enjoys biking and speaks three languages at home with his wife and three children.

    Photo of Ting Wen, PhD.Ting Wen, PhD
    Research Instructor

    Wen is a postdoctoral fellow from Rutgers University / UMDNJ. While at Rutgers, he studied genetics of the opioid receptor and how chemokines and cytokines influence arthritis and other TH1 / TH2 reactions. He hopes to continue his opioid receptor studies by looking at these receptors in the regulation of eosinophils and other gastrointestinal disorders. His favorite quote is, "Chance favors the prepared mind." − Louis Pasteur

  • Predoctoral Students

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    Miriam PeinhauptMiriam Peinhaupt
    Medical University of Graz PhD Student

    Miriam is a visiting PhD student from Graz, Austria. In the Rothenberg Lab she is studying the role of prostaglandins in life and death of eosinophils. Outside of work, Miriam likes to rock climb, mountain bike and explore American cuisine.


    Jeffrey RymerJeffrey Rymer
    PhD Student

    Jeffrey graduated from the University of Tennessee where he was a EUReCA award winner in 2013. He is currently investigating the function of Calpain 14 and its contribution to the pathogenesis of eosinophilic esophagitis in Dr. Rothenberg's Lab. Jeffrey's favorite quote is "Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up." from Stephen Hawking. His hobbies include playing strategy games and puzzles and keep up with the sciences outside of his area of research, like astrophysics.


    Jared TraversJared Travers
    MD/PhD Student

    Jared received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biochemistry from Purdue University. In the Rothenberg Lab, Jared is currently studying the contribution of IL-33 to the pathogenesis of eosinophilic esophagitis. When he gets free time he likes to play ultimate frisbee, tennis, soccer, guitar and water skiing. His favorite quote is, “The major value in life is not what you get but what you become.”


  • Research Assistants

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    John BesseJohn Besse
    Research Assistant IV

    John received his bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2008. He joined the lab recently after working in the tissue engineering department at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Cincinnati. His responsibilities include developing and maintaining primary cell cultures and taking care of transgenic mouse colonies. He enjoys ultimate frisbee, documentaries, and exploring the local music scene.

    Matt EilermanMatt Eilerman
    Research Assistant II

    Matt graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in biology. He currently works with the mouse models of eosinophilic esophagitis in the lab. When he is not working, Matt likes to play basketball and cook. His favorite quote is, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

    Photo of Kiran KC.Kiran KC
    Research Assistant III

    Kiran KC is from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), where he received a double major bachelor's degree in microbiology and biology-genomics. At Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Kiran works a project to investigate the role of cell junction proteins, Desmoglein 1 and Claudin 10 in the eosinophilic esophagitis epithelial phenotype.

    Photo of Melissa Mingler, MS, MBA.Melissa Mingler, MS, MBA
    Laboratory Manager, Senior Research Assistant

    Mingler was born and raised in Cincinnati. She received her BS in biochemistry and microbiology from Ohio University as well as her MS in biochemistry and molecular biology from Michigan State University. She coordinates and assists in various aspects of the Rothenberg Lab including placing / tracking orders, genotyping, running experiments and taking care of the mouse colony. She enjoys running, soccer and camping.

    Leanne RayLeanne Ray
    Research Assistant II

    Leanne came to us directly after graduating from University of Cincinnati with a bachelor's degree.  She processes the patient samples in the lab.  Leanne enjoys volunteering at the Cincinnati Cancer Support Community Center, assisting in Veteran Support programs, and participating on the Patient Advisory Council at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  Her favorite food is steak and sweet potatoes.

  • Clinical Research Faculty / Support Staff

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    Photo of J. Pablo Abonia, MD.J. Pablo Abonia, MD
    Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

    Abonia provides the bulk of the clinical allergy care for patients with eosinophilic disorders. His research focuses on mining the databanks (patient characteristics, tissue samples, RNA, DNA) to elucidate the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis. He is interested in the role of mast cells in eosinophilic esophagitis. He received his BS, MS and MD degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

    Melody Hess, MSMelody Hess, MS
    Clinical Research Coordinator III

    Prior to joining the Rothenberg team, Melody worked in a variety of research settings, including academic, industry, and clinical centers. She has research experience in microbiology, neurophysiology, and diabetes/endocrinology. She holds a bachelor’s in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (her hometown) and a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Cincinnati. On the Rothenberg team, Melody is primarily responsible for the regulatory management of clinical research studies and the coordination/management of clinical trials. In her free time, Melody enjoys walking/hiking with her husband and their two small dogs, Chico and Gibble. She also enjoys music (playing and listening), cooking, and sewing.

    Jonathan KuhlJonathan Kuhl
    Clinical Research Coordinator III

    Jonathan received his bachelor’s in biology with a minor in chemistry from Xavier University. He is responsible for collecting samples for the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders (CCED).

    Vincent Mukkada, MDVincent Mukkada, MD
    Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

    Dr. Mukkada grew up in the Cincinnati area. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his MD from the University of Cincinnati. He then completed his residency at Brown University and a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. After doing an additional year as a research scholar with Dr. Glenn Furuta in Denver, Dr. Mukkada directed an eosinophilic disease program in Providence, Rhode Island prior to returning to Cincinnati. Dr. Mukkada's clinical interests are focused on eosinophilic disease and pediatric feeding disorders, and he sees many of the CCED patients clinically. His research interests are focused on clinical trials, dietary therapy, and new diagnostic methods in eosinophilic disease. Outside of work, he spends his time being ordered about by his toddler daughter.

    Carina Venter, PhD, RDCarina Venter, PhD, RD
    Research Associate

    Carina comes to us from the University of Southampton/Portsmouth in the United Kingdom where she studied the interaction of food allergies and genetics. Currently in the CCED, she is studying all aspects of nutrition related to allergic diseases:  prevention, diagnosis, and management. Carina cannot decide between two quotes as her favorite. "There is no passion to be found playing small - settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." by Nelson Mandela. Also by Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."


    Learn more about the clinical research coordinators of the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders.