A photo of Hitesh Deshmukh.

Hitesh S. Deshmukh, MD, PhD

  • Attending Neonatologist, Perinatal Institute
  • Director, Center for Perinatal Immunity
    Associate-Director, The Child Health Research Career Development Award (CHRCDA) K12 Program
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Defending the lung from microbial pathogens is a lifelong challenge, the trajectory of which depends on the development of a robust but metered innate and acquired immune system. My research program explores the paradigm that education of pulmonary immunity and the ability to repair pulmonary tissues after infection begins in the early perinatal period — and is influenced by systemic, gastrointestinal and pulmonary exposures to resident and pathological microbes.

Highlights of my findings include:

  • How commensal bacteria prime the 'granulopoietic response' in newborns [Nature Medicine (PMID: 24747744) (Recommended by F1000 prime)]
  • How early-life antibiotic use triggers immune maladaptation, which continues well into adulthood [Science Translational Medicine (PMID: 28179507) (Recommended by F1000 prime)]
  • Clarifying the complex interactions between commensal bacteria, lung epithelial maturation and expansion of lung resident immune cells in newborns [Immunity (PMID: 32075728) and Nature Communication (PIMD: 30604742)]

My research activities are funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health. These include studies on how commensal bacteria are important in lung maturation (R01HL142708) and development of lung mucosal immunity (R01AI138553); mapping unique immune cell niches in the developing lung (R01HL96518); and understanding how fetal inflammation disrupts postnatal development of lung immunity (U01 ES029234).

As a board-certified neonatologist, I provide intensive medical care to preterm neonates in the neonatal intensive care unit at Cincinnati Children’s. I participate in day-to-day management of critically ill infants, attend high-risk deliveries, provide supportive care of infants from birth and perform medical procedures as needed.

I am also actively involved in medical student, resident and fellow education and training. I am the site leader for our institution’s Chronic Lung Disease Reduction initiative. In this role, I lead a multidisciplinary team of physicians, trainees, nurses and respiratory therapists; our long-term goal is to reduce the risk of chronic lung diseases in preterm infants at Cincinnati Children’s.

Finally, I am passionate about pediatric physician-scientist training and development. I am the associate director of the Child Health Research Development Award (K12). I also serve on the Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Committee and mentor immunology graduate students in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). My trainees have won the Marshall Klaus Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the Sabin Fellow Award. Graduates have gone on to pursue careers in academic medicine at many teaching hospitals, including Cincinnati Children’s.


Surfactant protein C mutation links postnatal type 2 cell dysfunction to adult disease. Sitaraman, S; Martin, EP; Na, CL; Zhao, S; Green, J; Deshmukh, H; Perl, AK T; Bridges, JP; Xu, Y; Weaver, TE. JCI insight. 2021; 6.

PKM2-dependent metabolic skewing of hepatic Th17 cells regulates pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Moreno-Fernandez, ME; Giles, DA; Oates, JR; Chan, CC; Damen, MS M A; Doll, JR; Stankiewicz, TE; Chen, X; Chetal, K; Karns, R; et al. Cell Metabolism. 2021; 33:1187-1204.e9.

Airway emergency management in a pediatric hospital before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thom, CS; Deshmukh, H; Soorikian, L; Jacobs, I; Fiadjoe, JE; Lioy, J. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 2020; 139.

Early life antibiotic exposure and host health: Role of the microbiota-immune interaction. Wang, T; Udomkittivorakul, N; Bonfield, M; Nadeem, A; Gray, J; Deshmukh, H. Seminars in Perinatology. 2020; 44.

Pulmonary Consequences of Prenatal Inflammatory Exposures: Clinical Perspective and Review of Basic Immunological Mechanisms. Jackson, CM; Mukherjee, S; Wilburn, AN; Cates, C; Lewkowich, IP; Deshmukh, H; Zacharias, WJ; Chougnet, CA. Frontiers in Immunology. 2020; 11.

The Promise and Peril of Natural Killer Cell Therapies in Pulmonary Infection. Rajaram, S; Canaday, LM; Ochayon, DE; Rangel, KM; Ali, A; Gyurova, IE; Krishnamurthy, D; Fletcher, JS; Reighard, SD; Cox, A; et al. Immunity. 2020; 52:887-889.

Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Supports a Pulmonary Niche that Promotes Type 3 Innate Lymphoid Cell Development in Newborn Lungs. Oherle, K; Acker, E; Bonfield, M; Wang, T; Gray, J; Lang, I; Bridges, J; Lewkowich, I; Xu, Y; Ahlfeld, S; et al. Immunity. 2020; 52:275-294.e9.

Single cell RNA analysis identifies cellular heterogeneity and adaptive responses of the lung at birth. Guo, M; Du, Y; Gokey, JJ; Ray, S; Bell, SM; Adam, M; Sudha, P; Perl, AK; Deshmukh, H; Potter, SS; et al. Nature Communications. 2019; 10.

Combined administration of anti-IL-13 and anti-IL-17A at individually sub-therapeutic doses limits asthma-like symptoms in a mouse model of Th2/Th17 high asthma. Kim, D; McAlees, JW; Bischoff, LJ; Kaur, D; Houshel, LK; Gray, J; Hargis, J; Davis, X; Dudas, PL; Deshmukh, H; et al. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2019; 49:317-330.

Immunological Basis for Recurrent Fetal Loss and Pregnancy Complications. Deshmukh, H; Way, SS. Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease. 2019; 14:185-210.

From the Blog

Patient Ratings and Comments

All patient satisfaction ratings and comments are submitted by actual patients and verified by a leading independent patient satisfaction company, NRC Health. Patient identities are withheld to ensure confidentiality and privacy. Only those providers whose satisfaction surveys are administered through Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are displayed. Click here to learn more about our survey