A photo of Hitesh Deshmukh.

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


Board Certified

My Biography & Research


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.

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Divisions

Perinatal, Neonatology

Research Divisions

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

Blog Posts

My Education

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. 

My Publications

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.

The Impact of Maternal Antibiotics on Neonatal Disease. Reed, BD; Schibler, KR; Deshmukh, H; Ambalavanan, N; Morrow, AL. Journal of Pediatrics. 2018; 197:97-103.e3.