Christopher Karp and Marsha Wills-Karp devoted 11 years to Cincinnati Children’s

Christopher Karp, MD, director, Division of Molecular Immunology, and Marsha Wills-Karp, PhD, director of the Division of Immunobiology, are departing Cincinnati Children’s for new roles.

Marsha Wills-Karp has been named chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Christopher Karp will become Deputy Director of Host-Pathogen & Vaccine Discovery for the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.

At Cincinnati Children’s, Christopher Karp’s research focused on defining the molecular mechanisms underlying inflammatory responses in infectious, allergic, genetic and metabolic diseases. He discovered  a defect in lipoxin-mediated anti-inflammatory activity in the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung; identified IFRD1 as a novel modifier gene for CF lung disease; and identified RP105 as an endogenous negative regulator of TLR signaling.

Marsha Wills-Karp focused on determining the fundamental genetic and environmental causes of allergic asthma. Her work includes discovering that complement-mediated regulation of the IL-17 axis is a central determinant of severe asthma; elucidating a previously unrecognized role for defective T regulatory cell function in the initiation of allergic asthma; identifying several unique candidate genes for childhood asthma; and demonstrating a strong association between childhood asthma and exposures to indoor and outdoor particulates.

“Their scientific accomplishments here have been extraordinary,” says Arnold Strauss, MD, director, Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation. “We have valued their collegiality, friendship and many contributions to science through their own outstanding research and their recruitment of exceptional divisional faculty and students into the Immunology Graduate Program.”

A national search is planned to recruit a leader for the combined Division of Immunobiology and Molecular Immunology.