• Research Faculty

  • A photo of Gurjit Khurana Hershey.

    Gurjit Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD Director, Division of Asthma Research

    is the principal investigator of a federally funded Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Center which supports, in part, the asthma and allergy-based Greater Cincinnati Pediatric Clinic Repository. She also focuses on elucidating the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of asthma and eczema. 

    Visit the Khurana Hershey Lab.


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    Jocelyn M. Biagini Myers, PhD

    is a molecular epidemiologist whose long-term goal is to develop a research career with a focus on reducing pediatric allergic disease. Her current research seeks to identify genetic and environmental causes of asthma, with a focus secondhand smoke exposure. She is also interested in interventions for reduction and prevention of smoke exposure and providing an evidence base for policy on smoking bans around children. 

    Visit the Biagini Myers Lab.


    A photo of Melinda S. Butsch Kovacic.

    Melinda S. Butsch Kovacic, MPH, PhD

    is an epidemiologist who has clinical, translational and community-based participatory research projects. Her research group studies the genetic/epigenetic, environmental and socioeconomic basis of chronic diseases such as cancer, asthma and obesity, with specific interest in understanding how environmental exposures modify risk in vulnerable families. Her research is highly interdisciplinary with collaborators across the academic health center and in the community.

    Visit the Butsch Kovacic Lab.


    A photo of Hong Ji.

    Hong Ji, PhD

    is a molecular biologist and epigeneticist who has a long-term interest in epigenetic basis of development and disease. Dr. Ji’s current research interests include: (a) studying epigenetic responses of epithelial cells to environmental exposure and how this relates to the pathogenesis of allergic disorders and (b) epigenetic plasticity of cells involved in allergic immune responses is a second focus.

    Visit the Ji Lab.


    A photo of Melinda Mahabee-Gittens.

    E. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens, MD, MS, CTTS

    is the director of the tobacco cessation clinic that provides comprehensive cessation counseling, resources, and medications for adults and adolescents. Her research focuses on testing the effects of healthcare based pediatric secondhand smoke reduction interventions on improving child health outcomes and the effectiveness of parental cessation interventions on increasing adult cessation outcomes.


    A photo of Tesfaye Mersha.

    Tesfaye B. Mersha, PhD

    is the principal investigator of a federally funded mentored research science award (K01). The goals of his research are to develop and evaluate an efficient approach to localize asthma liability genes in diverse African American populations in collaboration with members of the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati, and to identify genes and regulatory networks that impact onset and severity of eczema. 
    Visit the Mersha Lab.


    A photo of Umasundari Sivaprasad.

    Umasundari Sivaprasad, PhD

    is attempting to elucidate the function of serpins in asthma, assess a potential role of statins in asthma and to understand the influence of IL-13Ralpha2 in eczema. She has ongoing collaborations with investigators at the University of Pittsburgh and in the Divisions of Pulmonary Biology, Immunobiology, and Pathology at Cincinnati Children’s.

    Visit the Sivaprasad lab.