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Wei Chao, MD, PhD, FAHA

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):


Administrative Title:

Vice-Chair For Translational Research

Additional Title:

Associate Director, Shock Trauma Anesthesiology Research Center


UMMC, S11C00

Phone (Primary):

(410) 328-2660


(410) 328-5531

Education and Training

M.D. - Hunan Medical College, Changsha, China
Ph.D. - Biochemistry, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, San Antonio, TX
Postdoc Fellow - University of California, San Diego, CA
Internship - Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, MA
Residency - Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


2000-2003: Fellow, Cardiovascular Research Center, Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
1999-2002: Instructor, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
2003-2009: Assistant Professor in Anesthesia, Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
2009-2015: Associate Professor in Anesthesia, Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
2016-present: The Dean’s Endowed Professor in Anesthesiology, Vice-Chair for Translational Research, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Highlighted Publications

Chen C, Feng Y, Zou L, Chen HH, Cai JY, Xu JM, Sosnovik DE, Chao W. Role of extracellular RNA and TLR3-Trif signaling  in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014 Jan 3; 3(1):e000683. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000683.  PMID: 24390148

de Prost N, Feng Y, Wellman T, Tucci MR, Costa EL, Musch G, Winkler T, Harris,S, Venegas JG, Chao W, and Vidal Melo MF. 18F-FDG kinetics parameters correlate with regional lung neutrophil counts and chemokines during early endotoxemia. J Nuclear Med 2014, 55:1871-7 PMID: 25286924

Chao W. Inflammation and heart diseases: Role of Toll-like receptor signaling. J Anesth Periop Med.  2014, 1(2):104-117.

Zhang M, Zou L, Feng Y, Chen YJ, Zhou Q, Ichinose F, Chao W. Toll-like Receptor 4 is essential to preserving cardiac function and survival in low-grade polymicrobial sepsis. Anesthesiology. 2014, 121:1270-80 (Special Harvard Issue). PMID: 24937074

Gong Y, Zou L, Feng Y, Li D, Cai J-Y, Chen D, Chao W. Importance of Toll-like receptor 2 in mitochondrial dysfunction during polymicrobial sepsis. Anesthesiology. 2014, 121:1270-80 (Special Harvard Issue) PMID: 25272245 (Editorial View: Leone M, Moreau R. Leukocyte Toll-like Receptor 2-mitochondria Axis in Sepsis.  Unraveling Immune Reponse Sophistication. Anesthesiology. 2014, 121:1147-9).

Feng Y, Zou L, Chen C, Li D, Chao W. Role of cardiac- and myeloid-MyD88 signaling in endotoxin shock – a study with tissue-specific deletion models. Anesthesiology. 2014, 121:1258-69 (Special Harvard Issue). PMID: 25089642

Liu Y, Asnani A, Zou L, Bentley V, Yu M, Wang Y, Dellaire G, Sarkar KS, Dai M, Chen HH, Sosnovik DE, Shin JT, Haber DA, Berman J, Chao W, Peterson RT. Visnagin protects against     doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy through inhibition of mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase. Science Translational Medicine.  2014, 6(266):266ra170. PMID: 25504881

Santer P, Pejo E, Feng Y, Chao W, Raines DE. Cyclopropyl-methoxycarbonyl metomidate: Studies in a lipopolysaccharide model of sepsis. Anesthesiology, 2015, 123:368-76 PMID: 26035348

Thoonen R, Ernande L, Nagasaka Y, Yao V, Miranda-Bezerra A, Cheng J, Chen C, Chao W, Panagia M, Sosnovik D, Puppala D, Armoundas A, Hindle A, Bloch KD, Buys E, Scherrer-Crosbie M. Functional brown adipose Tissue limits cardiomyocyte injury and adverse remodeling in catecholamine-induced cardiomyopathy. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2015, 84:202-211. PMID: 25968336

Zou L, Chen HH, Li D, Xu G, Feng Y, Chen C, Wang L, Sosnovik DE, Chao W. Imaging lymphoid cell death in vivo during polymicrobial sepsis. Crit Care Med. 2015, 43:2303-12. PMID: 26335111

Feng, Y., Chen, H., Cai, J., Zou, L., Xu, G., Li, D., Chao, W. Cardiac RNA Induces Inflammatory Responses in Cardiomyocytes and Immune Cells via Toll-Like Receptor 7 signaling. J Biol Chem. 2015. 44(290), 26688-98. PMID: 26363072

Gong Y, Zou L, Chen D, Chao W. The role of myeloid differentiation factor 88 on mitochondrial dysfunction of peritoneal leukocytes during polymicrobial sepsis. Cent Eur J Immunol. 2015. 41(2), 153-8. PMID: 27536200.

Li D, Zou L, Feng Y, Xu G, Yu G, Zhao G, Ouyang W, Chao W. Complement factor B production in renal tubular cells and its role in sodium transporter expression during polymicrobial sepsis. Crit Care Med. In press. 2016. 44(5), e289-e299. PMID: 26757165.

Panagia M, Chen I, Chen HH, Ernande L, Chen C, Chao W, Kwong K, Scherrer-Crosbie M, Sosnovik DE. Functional and anatomical characterization of brown adipose tissue in heart failure with blood oxygen level dependent Magnetic Resonance. NMR Biomed. 2016. 29(7), 978-84. PMID: 27226402.

Zou L, Feng, Y, Xu G, Jian W, Chao W. Splenic RNA and MicroRNA Mimics Promote Complement Factor B Production and Alternative Pathway Activation via Innate Immune Signaling. J Immunol. 2016. 196(6), 2788-2798. PMID: 26889043

Gong Y, Zou L, Cen D, Chao W, Chen D. Reduced Expression of SARM in Mouse Spleen during Polymicrobial Sepsis. Inflammation. 2016. 39(6), 1930-1938. PMID: 27590237.

Chen H., Yuan H., Cho H., Feng Y., Ngoy S., Kumar A., Liao R., Chao W., Josephson L., Sosnovik D.. Theranostic Nucleic Acid Binding Nanoprobe Exerts Anti-inflammatory and Cytoprotective Effects in Ischemic Injury. Theranostics. 2017. 7(4), 814-825. PMID: 28382156

Feng Y, Zou L, Yan D, Chen H, Xu G, Jian W, Cui P, Chao W. Extracellular MicroRNAs Induce Potent Innate Immune Responses via TLR7/MyD88-Dependent Mechanisms. J. Immunol. 2017. 199(6), 2106-2117. PMID: 28768728.

Xu J, Zou L, Feng Y, Conn O, Chao W. Extracellular Vesicle-associated miRNAs Induce Innate Immune Response in Sepsis. Circulation. 2017. 136(1).

Xu G, Feng Y, Li D, Zhou Q, Chao W, Zou L. Importance of the Complement Alternative Pathway in Serum Chemotactic Activity During Sepsis. Shock. 2018. 50(4), 435-441. PMID: 29040213.

Ding R, Xu G, Feng Y, Zou L, Chao W. Lipopeptide PAM3CYS4 Synergizes N-Formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP)-Induced Calcium Transients in Mouse Neutrophils. Shock. 2018. 50(4), 493-499. PMID: 29176405.

Xu J, Feng Y, Jeyaram A, Jay SM, Zou L, Chao W. Circulating Plasma Extracellular Vesicles from Septic Mice Induce Inflammation via MicroRNA- and TLR7-Dependent Mechanisms. J. Immunol. 2018. 201(11), 3392-3400. PMID: 30355788.

Szabari MV, Takahashi K, Feng Y, Locascio JJ, Chao W, Carter EA, Vidal Melo MF, Musch G. Relation between Respiratory Mechanics, Inflammation, and Survival in Experimental Mechanical Ventilation. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol.. 2019. 60(2), 179-188. PMID: 30199644.

Jian W, Gu L, Williams B, Feng Y, Chao W, Zou L. Toll-like Receptor 7 Contributes to Inflammation, Organ Injury, and Mortality in Murine Sepsis. Anesthesiology. PMID: 31045897. 2019.

Williams B, Neder J, Cui P, Suen A, Tanaka K, Zou L, Chao W. Toll-like receptor 2 and 7 mediate coagulation activation and coagulopathy in murine sepsis. J. Thromb. Haemost. PMID: 31211901. 2019

Research Interests

Dr. Chao's laboratory is interested in innate immune signaling and its role in sepsis and ischemic myocardial injury. The laboratory has established a state-of-the art experimental system that allows them to delineate the molecular, cellular, and physiological changes during polymicrobial infection and myocardial ischemia.

Using multimodal animal studies, his team has identified the critical role of the innate immunity, in particular Toll-like receptors and complement factor B, in cardiomyocyte death, myocardial inflammation, and cardiac dysfunction after sepsis and ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Their recent work focuses on endogenous danger molecules such as cellular RNA and microRNAs that are released during and responsible for ischemic myocardial injury and bacterial sepsis. The projects have been funded by NIH (R01s), American Heart Association (Grand-In-Aid), International Anesthesia Research Society.

Clinical Specialty Details

Dr. Chao specializes in adult multi-specialty anesthesiology.