Ling Cao


  • M.D., Clinical Medicine, Beijing Medical University (Currently Peking University Health Science Center), 1997
  • Ph.D., Toxicology, SUNY Albany, 2002

Research Interests

Dr. Cao has had successful training in both clinical medicine (Beijing Medical University, MD, 1997) and biomedical research (SUNY at Albany, PhD, 2002, followed by Post-Doctoral training at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical College).  Through these training, she has obtained good understanding of clinical needs and is well-equipped with necessary skills for the investigation of clinical-relevant biomedical questions.  As an independent researcher, her goal is to continue advanced biomedical/translational research, help to bridge basic scientific findings into clinic therapeutic use, as well as mentor students pursuing a career in clinical medicine and/or biomedical research. Dr. Cao’s research focuses on the understanding of interactions between the nervous system and the immune system.  Specific areas of interest include: 1) The roles of CNS infiltrating T lymphocytes, macrophages and resident microglia in the pathophysiology of neurological diseases induced by trauma, infection or toxic agents; 2) Effects of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and stress hormones on immune functions, particularly host defense towards infectious diseases. In the Cao lab, current investigations are focusing on two NIH-funded projects: 1) the role of co-stimulatory molecule, CD137 ligand (41BBL) in the development of neuropathic pain and nerve recovery and regeneration following peripheral nerve injury, and 2) Therapeutic potential of interferon (IFN)-beta for HIV-associated neurological disorders in opioid users.

Selected Publications

  • J. Malon and L. Cao. 2016. Calcitonin gene-related peptide contributes to peripheral nerve injury-induced mechanical hypersensitivity through CCL5 and p38 pathways. Journal of Neuroimmunology 297,68-75. (PMCID: PMC4940993)
  • J. Malon and L. Cao. 2016. Preparation of primary mixed glial cultures from adult mouse spinal cord tissue. Journal of Visulized Experiments. Nov 19;(117). doi: 10.3791/54801. (PMCID: PMC5153361)
  • V. D. McLane, I. Bergquist, J. Cormier, D.J. Barlow, K.L. Houseknecht, E. J. Bilsky, L. Cao. 2017. Long-term morphine delivery via slow release morphine pellets or osmotic pumps: Plasma concentration, analgesia, and naloxone-precipitated withdrawal. Life Sciences. Sep 15;185:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2017.
  • J. G. Kimball, L. Cao, and K. S. Draleau. 2017. Efficacy of the Wilbarger Therapressure Program™ to Modulate Arousal in Women with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Pilot Study Using Salivary Cortisol and Behavioral Measures. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health. doi: 10.1080/0164212X.2017.1376243.
  • L. Cao, F.Y. Tanga and J. A. DeLeo. 2009. The contributing role of CD14 in Toll-Like receptor 4 dependent neuropathic pain. Neuroscience 158(2), 896-903.
  • 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 (Epub ahead of print, DOI: 10.1002/eji.200939657)
  • 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”).
  • C. A. Hudson, G. P. Christophi, L. Cao, R. C. Gruber and P. T. Massa. 2007. Regulation of avoidant behaviors and pain by the anti-inflammatory tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1. Neuron Glia Biology 2 (4), 235-246.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • C. A. Hudson, T. K. Modal, L. Cao, J. Kasten-Jolly, V. C. Huber, and D. A. Lawrence. 2005. The dietary supplement ephedrine induces b-adrenergic mediated exacerbation of systemic lupus erythematosus in NZM391 mice. Lupus 14, 293-307.
  • L. Cao, A. Martin, N. Polakos, and J. A. Moynihan. 2004. Stress causes a further decrease in immunity to herpes simplex virus-1 in immunocompromised hosts. Journal of Neuroimmunology 156, 21-30.

Dissertation Students