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Faculty & Staff Profile
Stella Maris 203A
207-602-2213 (w)

Ling Cao, M.D.,  Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Microbiology


Neuroimmunology and immunotoxicology.


MD, Clinical Medicine, Beijing Medical University, 1997

PhD, Toxicology, SUNY Albany, 2002

Post-Grad Training

Post-Doctoral Training
Psychoneuroimmunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Post-Doctoral Training
Neuroimmunology, Dartmouth College, Lebanon, New Hampshire

Research and Scholarship

Research Interests

1. Neuroimmune mechanisms in nerve injury induced neuropathic pain, particularly the roles of infiltrating T lymphocytes and resident microglia.
2. Neuroimmune mechanisms in murine AIDS viral infection induced peripheral neuropathy.
3. Effects of psychological stress on infectious diseases.

Current Research or Scholarship

1. Neuroimmune mechanisms in spinal nerve L5 transection induced neuropathic pain, particularly the roles of infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes and resident microglial CD40.
2. Neuroimmune mechanisms in murine AIDS viral infection induced peripheral neuropathy - roles of CNS microglia and proinflammatory cytokines.

Selected Publications

1. L. Cao, M. B. Butler, L. Tan and K. S. Draleau.  A murine immunodeficiency virus induced peripheral neuropathy and associated cytokine responses.  Journal of Immunology 189(7), 3724-33. (PMCID: PMC3448875).

2. J. T. Malon, S. Maddula, H. Bell and L. Cao.  2012.  Involvement of calcitonin gene-related peptide and CCL2 production in CD40-mediated behavioral hypersensitivity in a model of neuropathic pain.  Neuron Glia Biology (Mar 1:1-12; Epub ahead of print).

3. L. Cao C. D. Palmer, J. T. Malon and J. A. DeLeo.  2009.  Critical role of microglial CD40 in the maintenance of mechanical hypersensitivityin a murine model of neuropathic pain.  European Journal of Immunology 39, 3562-3569.

4. L. Cao, F.Y. Tanga and J. A. DeLeo. 2008. The contributing role of CD14 in Toll-Like receptor 4 dependent neuropathic pain. Neuroscience 158(2), 896-903.

5. L. Cao and J. A. DeLeo. 2008. CNS infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes contribute to murine spinal nerve transection-induced neuropathic pain. European Journal of Immunology 38, 448-458 (featured “In This Issue”).

6. L. Cao, L. Fei, T. T. Chang, and J. A. DeLeo. 2007. Further induction of IL-1beta by IL-4 in LPS-treated mixed glial cultures. Journal of Neurochemistry 102(2), 408-419.

7. L. Cao, C. A. Hudson, and J. A. Moynihan. 2007. Chronic foot shock induced hyperactive behaviors in mice: involvement of both pro- and anti- inflammatory mediators. Journal of Neuroimmunology 186(1-2), 63-74.


If you are interested in a research opportunity in our laboratory, please fill out the application form and submit it via email to Dr. Ling Cao.

Recently Funded Grants

1. K01 from NIH/NIDA, Cao (PI), 04/01/08 – 03/31/11. Role of infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes in neuropathic pain.
2. R21 from NIH/NINDS, Cao (PI), 9/25/2009 - 7/31/2011. Murine AIDS (LP-BM5) viral infection induced peripheral neuropathy - Role of CNS microglia.

New: Research opportunity for Graduate student (Master or PhD)  or Post-doctoral fellow is available in Dr. Cao's lab.  interested individual should contact Dr. Cao directly via Email

Student Opportunities: Yes