A photo of Ian Lewkowich.

Ian P. Lewkowich, PhD

  • Director, Immunology Graduate Program
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



I have always been interested in the immune system. Allergic diseases and the immune response are particularly fascinating to me.

In allergic diseases, the immune system responds to things that it shouldn't, like dust or an allergen from a pet. While everyone is exposed to these substances in our homes or workplaces, not everyone is allergic. Determining why some people are allergic and others are not was the hook that got me interested in this field.

In my lab, we are working on determining what causes the development of severe allergic asthma as opposed to mild or moderate forms of the disease, which are more amenable to therapeutic interventions. We are focused on establishing how exposure in early life (including in utero) influences allergic asthma development.

Notably, we have demonstrated that the production of additional factors associated with severe allergic asthma synergizes with factors produced in mild/moderate disease.

Using a mouse model of allergic asthma in which one strain develops a phenotype characteristic of mild asthma (C3H/HeJ) and others develop a phenotype characteristic of severe disease (A/J), we have identified several novel mechanisms through which asthma severity is regulated.

The National Institutes of Health has continuously funded my research since 2012.


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.

Increased nasal epithelial cell responsiveness to IL-17A in paediatric asthmatics with low blood neutrophil count, low traffic-related air pollution exposure and good asthma control. McAlees, JW; Baker, T; Houshel, L; McKnight, C; Lindsley, A; Strait, RT; Zhang, X; Cannata, A; Biagini, JM; Butsch Kovacic, M; et al. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2022; 52:569-573.

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.

Asthma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Emerging links, potential models and mechanisms. Allgire, E; McAlees, JW; Lewkowich, IP; Sah, R. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2021; 97:275-285.

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.

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.

Age and early maternal smoking contribute to epithelial cell IL-13 responsiveness in a pediatric asthma population. McAlees, JW; Baker, T; Kaur, D; McKnight, C; Lindsley, A; Strait, RT; Zhang, X; Myers, JM B; Kovacic, MB; Lewkowich, IP. Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2019; 74:2485-2487.

Immunomodulatory T cell death associated gene-8 (TDAG8) receptor in depression-associated behaviors. McMurray, KM J; Vollmer, LL; Ahlbrand, R; Thomas, J; Winter, A; Lewkowich, IP; Sah, R. Physiology and Behavior. 2019; 209.

RAGE-induced asthma: A role for the receptor for advanced glycation end-products in promoting allergic airway disease. Brandt, EB; Lewkowich, IP. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2019; 144:651-653.