Ling Cao


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

Brief Biography

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) Identification of underlying mechanisms and interventions using real-world data collected through surveys and secondary data analysis. In the wet lab, current investigations are focusing on two 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) HIV-tat associated HIV sensory neuropathy. Additionally, Cao lab is working on establishing a state-wide pain registry to enhance translational studies.

Research Interests

  • Behavioral/Cognitive Sciences
  • Bioinformatics/Computational Biology
  • Immunology / Inflammation / Hematology
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Medical education research

Postdoctoral Training

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

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

Selected Publications

Please view the complete list of our publications through the following link:

  • 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, 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.
  • I. D. Meng and L. Cao. 2007.  From migraine to chronic daily headache: the biological basis of headache transformation (Invited review).  Headache 47(8), 1251-1258.
  • 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”). (PMCID: PMC2963094)
  • 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. (PMCID: PMC2701510)
  • 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. (PMCID: PMC2810130)
  • 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; published online).(PMCID: PMC4110723)
  • L. Cao, M. B. Butler, L. Tan and K. S. Draleau.  2012.  A murine immunodeficiency virus induced peripheral neuropathy and associated cytokine responses.  Journal of Immunology 189(7), 3724-33. (PMCID: PMC3448875).
  • L. Cao, H. Beaulac, and A. Eurich.  2012.  Differential lumbar spinal cord responses among wild type, CD4 knockout, and CD40 knockout mice in spinal nerve L5 transection-induced neuropathic pain. Molecular pain 8(1), 88. (PMCID: PMC3545955)
  • L. Cao and M. B. Butler.  2013.  Involvement of microglial CD40 in murine retrovirus-induced peripheral neuropathy.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 261, 37-43. (PMCID: PMC3729793)
  • K. S. Draleau, S. Maddula, A. Slaiby, N. Nutile-McMenemy, J. A. DeLeo, and L. Cao.  2014.  Phenotypic identification of spinal cord-infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes in a murine model of neuropathic pain.  Journal of Pain and Relief S3:003. Doi: 10.4172/2167-0846.S3-003 (PMCID: PMC4136538)
  • V. D. McLane, L. Cao, and C. L. Willis.  2014.  Morphine increases hippocampal viral load and suppresses frontal lobe cytokine expression in the LP-BM5 AIDS model.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 269(1), 44-51. (PMCID:PMC4026271)
  • J. Malon, E. Grlickova-Duzevik, J. Vaughn, T. R. Vunk, and L. Cao.  2015.  Microglial Content-Dependent Inhibitory Effects of Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) on Murine Retroviral Infection of Glial Cells.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 279(1), 64-70. (PMCID: PMC4325278)
  • 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)

Complete list of publications can be found here. 

If you have had GSBSE students who have graduated, can you share names and tell us what they are doing now?

Virginia McLane (2016): Pharmaceutical company after post-doc training
Eliza Grlickova-Duzevik (2017): Assistant Clinical Professor at UNE