John Erickson, MD, PhD, completed his pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as part of the ABP Accelerated Research Pathway, and is currently in his final year of training in Neonatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Dr. Erickson began his medical career as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program at Vanderbilt University where he trained with John V. Williams, M.D. His doctoral work yielded four first-author publications exploring mechanisms of CD8+ T cell impairment during viral lower respiratory tract infections and several co-author publications. Specifically, he discovered that PD-1 enforces functional impairment in virus-specific T cells in a manner similar to that seen during chronic infections and cancer.

Now, as a neonatologist and physician-scientist, his focus is on improving the health of all infants, especially those born prematurely, who are at increased risk of serious, life-threatening infections. His research explores changes to the maternal immune system during pregnancy and how these changes affect the susceptibility of neonates to sepsis. Dr. Erickson is currently working under the mentorship of Sing Sing Way, MD, PhD, who is an internationally recognized leader in the field of immunology and has made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the immunology of pregnancy, the roles of fetal microchimeric cells, and neonatal infections.

Dr. Erickson has received numerous grants and awards during fellowship, including a prestigious NIH F32 Post-Doctoral Research Grant, an award from the Liam Nolen Bradley Fund for NEC research, the Cincinnati Children's Arnold W. Strauss Clinical Fellow Award, the AAP Marshall Klaus Perinatal Research Award and the Division of Neonatology Reggie Tsang Award. He is also involved with design and implementation of the neonatology fellowship didactic curriculum and is passionate about resident and fellow education.

BS: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

PhD: Vanderbilt University, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Nashville, TN.

MD: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN.

Residency: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.


Neonatal sepsis; neonatal immunology; maternal immunization; evidence-based medicine; point-of-care ultrasound

Services and Specialties



Antibody structure and function; mechanisms of protective immunity; flow cytometry and T cell biology; pregnancy-induced changes to immunity

Research Areas


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Viral acute lower respiratory infections impair CD8+ T cells through PD-1. Erickson, JJ; Gilchuk, P; Hastings, AK; Tollefson, SJ; Johnson, M; Downing, MB; Boyd, KL; Johnson, JE; Kim, AS; Joyce, S; et al. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2012; 122:2967-2982.

Pregnancy enables antibody protection against intracellular infection. Erickson, JJ; Archer-Hartmann, S; Yarawsky, AE; Miller, JL C; Seveau, S; Shao, TY; Severance, AL; Miller-Handley, H; Wu, Y; Pham, G; et al. Nature. 2022; 606:769-775.

Novel HLA-B7-restricted human metapneumovirus epitopes enhance viral clearance in mice and are recognized by human CD8+ T cells. Miranda-Katz, M; Erickson, JJ; Lan, J; Ecker, A; Zhang, Y; Joyce, S; Williams, JV. Scientific Reports. 2021; 11:20769.

Tacrolimus exposure windows responsible for Listeria monocytogenes infection susceptibility. Miller-Handley, H; Erickson, JJ; Gregory, EJ; Prasanphanich, NS; Shao, TY; Way, SS. Transplant Infectious Disease. 2021; 23:e13655.

Preconceptual Priming Overrides Susceptibility to Escherichia coli Systemic Infection during Pregnancy. Prasanphanich, NS; Gregory, EJ; Erickson, JJ; Miller-Handley, H; Kinder, JM; Way, SS. mBio. 2021; 12:e00002-e00021.

Persistent Zika Virus Clinical Susceptibility despite Reduced Viral Burden in Mice with Expanded Virus-Specific CD8+ T Cells Primed by Recombinant Listeria monocytogenes. Burg, AR; Erickson, JJ; Turner, LH; Pham, G; Kinder, JM; Way, SS. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2020; 205:447-453.

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