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.

MD: University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India, 2001.

PhD: Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2006.

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship: Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 2008.

Residency: Pediatrics, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 2011.

Fellowship: Neonatology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2014. 

Services and Specialties

Perinatal, Neonatology

Research Areas

Neonatology, Perinatal Biology, Pulmonary Biology, Developmental Biology, Inflammation and Tolerance


Anti-CELA1 antibody KF4 prevents emphysema by inhibiting stretch-mediated remodeling. Ojha, M; Smith, NJ; Devine, AJ; Joshi, R; Goodman, EM; Fan, Q; Schuman, R; Porollo, A; Wells, JM; Tiwary, E; et al. JCI insight. 2024; 9:e169189.

Kruppel-like factor 2+ CD4 T cells avert microbiota-induced intestinal inflammation. Shao, TY; Jiang, TT; Stevens, J; Russi, AE; Troutman, TD; Bernieh, A; Pham, G; Erickson, JJ; Eshleman, EM; Alenghat, T; et al. Cell Reports. 2023; 42:113323.

Delayed Microbial Maturation Durably Exacerbates Th17-driven Asthma in Mice. Wilburn, AN; McAlees, JW; Haslam, DB; Graspeuntner, S; Schmudde, I; Laumonnier, Y; Rupp, J; Chougnet, CA; Deshmukh, H; Zacharias, WJ; et al. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. 2023; 68:498-510.

Prenatal antibiotics exposure does not influence experimental allergic asthma in mice. Lingel, I; Wilburn, AN; Hargis, J; McAlees, JW; Laumonnier, Y; Chougnet, CA; Deshmukh, H; König, P; Lewkowich, IP; Schmudde, I. Frontiers in Immunology. 2022; 13:937577.

The balance between protective and pathogenic immune responses to pneumonia in the neonatal lung is enforced by gut microbiota. Stevens, J; Steinmeyer, S; Bonfield, M; Peterson, L; Wang, T; Gray, J; Lewkowich, I; Xu, Y; Du, Y; Guo, M; et al. Science Translational Medicine. 2022; 14:eabl3981.

A potent myeloid response is rapidly activated in the lungs of premature Rhesus macaques exposed to intra-uterine inflammation. Jackson, CM; Demmert, M; Mukherjee, S; Isaacs, T; Thompson, R; Chastain, C; Gray, J; Senthamaraikannan, P; Presicce, P; Chetal, K; et al. Mucosal Immunology. 2022; 15:730-744.

Inflammatory blockade prevents injury to the developing pulmonary gas exchange surface in preterm primates. Toth, A; Steinmeyer, S; Kannan, P; Gray, J; Jackson, CM; Mukherjee, S; Demmert, M; Sheak, JR; Benson, D; Kitzmiller, J; et al. Science Translational Medicine. 2022; 14:eabl8574.

Editorial: Pulmonary Innate Lymphoid Cells - Gatekeepers of Respiratory Health. Starkey, MR; Deshmukh, H; Lukacs, NW; Lloyd, CM. Frontiers in Immunology. 2022; 13:871207.

A census of the lung: CellCards from LungMAP. Sun, X; Perl, AK; Li, R; Bell, SM; Sajti, E; Kalinichenko, VV; Kalin, TV; Misra, RS; Deshmukh, H; Clair, G; et al. Developmental Cell. 2022; 57:112-145.e2.

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:e142501.

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

Overall Patient Rating