Ballinger_Megan_460x460 Lab: 355 DHLRI
Office: 405A DHLRI


I received a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Toledo where I became interested in a career in basic/translational research while working in a molecular parasitology lab investigating how to inhibit pharyngeal pumping as a mechanism to eliminate nematodes from the gut. From there, I traveled north to the University of Michigan and graduated with a PhD in Immunology. My research focused on the role of lipid mediators in regulating lung host defense function of macrophages and neutrophils following bone marrow transplantation. I remained at the University of Michigan and completed two postdoctoral research fellowships focused on understanding innate immunology within the lung microenvironment. My first postdoc focused focusing on cAMP signaling pathways in regulating macrophage phagocytosis and killing of bacteria. Then I switched my focus to understanding the role of Toll-like receptor signaling after hyperoxia in a model of non-infectious lung injury. In 2014, I secured a faculty position at The Ohio State University in the Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. My research has focused on investigating the role of macrophages in regulating chronic lung disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis and asthma.

Research Interests

  • Macrophage Immunology
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Toll-like receptor signaling
  • Allergic inflammation and asthma

Current Research

  • Investigating the role of IRAK-M in regulating pulmonary fibrosis
  • Understanding macrophage-fibroblast interactions in the setting of pulmonary fibrosis
  • Investigator mechanisms of ozone-induced allergic inflammation that cause asthma exacerbations

Active Funding

  1. NIH/NHLBI R01HL141217
    The Pivotal Role of Macrophages in Regulating Pulmonary Fibrosis
  2. OSU President’s Research Excellence Accelerator Award
    Development of novel targets for preventing mechanically induced injury in lung fibrosis patients
  3. OSU Dean’s Development Grant
    TSLP mediates asthma exacerbation following ozone exposure
  4. NIH/NHBLI F32HL164020
    Influence of macrophage-fibroblast interaction and mechanotransduction on fibrotic progression
  5. NIH/NHLBI R43HL165998
    The role of Oxy210 in regulating pulmonary fibrosis


Post-doctoral Research Fellowship: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

PhD: Immunology Program in Biomedical Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

BS: (Honors)-Magna Cum Laude, Major: Biological Science; Minor: Biochemistry University of Toledo Toledo, OH


  • American Journal of Cell and Molecular Biology Top Review Award, 2021
  • ATS Allergy, Immunology and Inflammation Early Career Achievement Awardee, 2019
  • Jo Rae Wright Award for Outstanding Science, American Thoracic Society, 2016
  • Parker B. Francis Fellowship, 2012
  • Internal Medicine Research Day Abstract Finalist, 2010
  • Keystone Symposium Scholarship Winner, 2009
  • Hartwell Foundation Fellowship , 2008
  • The Miller Fund Award for Innovative Immunology Research, 2005
  • Graduate of University of Toledo Honors College, University of Toledo, 2002
  • Sullivan Research Fellowship, 2000
  • University of Toledo Academic Scholarship, University of Toledo, 1998


Reader BF, Sethuraman S, Hay BR, Thomas Becket RV, Karpurapu M, Chung S, Lee YG, Christman JW, Ballinger MN. IRAK-M Regulates Monocyte Trafficking to the Lungs in Response to Bleomycin Challenge. J Immunol. 2020 May 15:204(10):2661-2670.

Lee YG, Reader BF, Herman D, Streicher A, Englert JA, Ziegler M, Chung S, Karpurapu M, Park GY, Christman JW, Ballinger MN.Sirtuin 2 enhances allergic asthmatic inflammation JCI Insight. 2019 Jan 22. pii: 124710. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.124710.

Neagos J, Newstead MW, Zheng X, Huang S, Standiford TJ, Ballinger MN. The induction of tolerance in alveolar epithelial cells in response to TLR ligands. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2015 Dec;53(6):872-81

Ballinger MN, Newstead MW, Zheng X, Bhan U, Mo XM, Kunkel SL, Moore BB, Flavell F, Christman JW, Standiford TJ. IRAK-M promotes alternative macrophage activation and fibroproliferation in bleomycin-induced lung injury. J Immunol. 2015 Feb 15;194(4):1894-904.

Ballinger MN, Newstead MW, Zeng X, Bhan U, Horowitz JC, Moore BB, Pinsky DJ, Flavell RA, Standiford TJ. Critical role for IRAK-M in regulating antioxidant production during hyperoxic lung injury J. Immunol 2012 Jul 1;189(1):356-64.

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