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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



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

Chao W, Spragg RG, Smith RM. Inhibitory effect of porcine surfactant on the respiratory burst oxidase in human neutrophils. Attenuation of p47phox and p67phox membrane translocation as the mechanism. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1995; 96(6): 2654-60.

Chao W, Shen Y, Li L, Rosenzweig A. Importance of FADD signaling in serum deprivation- and hypoxia-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2002; 277(35):31639-45.

Chao W, Matsui T, Novikov MS, Tao J, Li L, Liu H, Ahn Y, Rosenzweig A. Strategic advantages of insulin-like growth factor-I expression for cardio protection. Journal of Gene Medicine. 2003; 5(4):277-86.

Additional Publication Citations

Liu H, Nowak R, Chao W, Bloch KD. Nerve growth factor induces anti-apoptotic heme oxygenase-1 in rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells. Journal of Neurochemistry. 2003; 86(6):1553-63.

Chao W, Shen Y, Zhu X, Zhao H, Novikov M, Schmidt U, Rosenzweig A. Lipopolysaccharide improves cardiomyocyte survival and function after serum deprivation. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2005; 280(23):21997-2005.

Chao W, Shen Y, Li L, Zhao H, Meiler SE, Cook SA, Rosenzweig A. Fas-associated death-domain protein inhibits TNF-alpha mediated NF-kappaB   activation in cardiomyocytes. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2005; 289(5): H2073-80.

Zhu X, Zhao H, Graveline AR, Buys ES, Schmidt U, Bloch KD, Rosenzweig A, Chao W. MyD88 and NOS2 are essential for toll-like receptor 4-mediated survival effect in cardiomyocytes. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2006; 291(4): H1900-9.

Zhu X, Bagchi A, Zhao H, Kirschning CJ, Hajjar RJ, Chao W, Hellman J, Schmidt U. Toll-like receptor 2 activation by bacterial peptidoglycan-associated lipoprotein activates cardiomyocyte inflammation and contractile dysfunction. Critical Care Medicine. 2007; 35(3): 886-92.

Feng Y, Zhao H, Xu X, Buys ES, Raher MJ, Bopassa JC, Thibault H, Scherrer- Crosbie M, Schmidt U, Chao W. Innate immune adaptor MyD88 mediates neutrophil recruitment and myocardial injury after ischemia-reperfusion in mice. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2008; 295(3): H1311-18.

Chao W. Toll-like receptor signaling: a critical modulator of cell survival and ischemic injury in the heart. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2008; 296(1): H1-12.

Feng Y, Zou L, Shen S, Si R, Nagasaka Y, Chao W. Bone marrow MyD88 signaling contributes to ischemic myocardial infarction and modulates neutrophil migratory function. The American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology. 2010; 299:C760-69.

Zou L, Feng Y, Chen YJ, Si R, Shen S, Zhou Q, Ichinose F, Scherrer-Crosbie M, Chao W. Toll-like receptor 2 plays a critical role in cardiac dysfunction during polymicrobial sepsis. Critical Care Medicine. 2010; 38(5): 1335-42.

Tournoux F, Petersen B, Thibault H, Zou L, Raher MJ, Kurtz B, Halpern EF, Chaput M, Chao W, Picard MH, Scherrer-Crosbie M. Validation of noninvasive measurements of cardiac output in mice using echocardiography. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. 2010; 24(4): 465-70.

Lin T, Kwak YH, Sammy F, He P, Thundivalappil S, Sun G, Chao W, Warren HS. Synergistic inflammation is induced by blood degradation products with microbial Toll-like receptor agonists and is blocked by hemopexin. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2010; 202(4): 624-32.

Li H, Su X, Yan X, Wasserloos K, Chao W, Kaynar AM, Liu ZQ, Leikauf GD, Pitt BR, Zhang LM. Toll-like receptor 4-myeloid differentiation factor 88 signaling contributes to ventilator-induced lung injury in mice. Anesthesiology 2010; 113(3): 619-29.

Feng Y, Chao W. Toll-like receptors and myocardial inflammation. International Journal of Inflammation. 2011; 170352.

Wang E, Feng Y, Zhang M, Zou L, Li Y, Buys ES, Huang P, Brouckaert P, Chao W. Toll-like receptor 4 signaling confers cardiac protection against ischemic injury via inducible nitric oxide synthase- and soluble guanylate cyclase-dependent mechanisms. Anesthesiology. 2011; 114(3): 603-13.

Chen HH, Feng Y, Zhang M, Chao W, Josephson L, Shaw SY, Sosnovik DE. Protective effect of the apoptosis-sensing nanoparticle AnxCLIO-Cy5.5. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine. 2011; 8(3): 291-8.

Zou L, Feng Y, Zhang M, Li Y, Chao W. Nonhematopoietic toll-like receptor 2 contributes to neutrophil and cardiac function impairment during polymicrobial sepsis. Shock. 2011; 36(4): 370-80.

Li Y, Si R, Feng Y, Chen HH, Zou L, Wang E, Zhang M, Warren HS, Sosnovik DE, Chao W. Myocardial ischemia activates an injurious innate immune signaling via cardiac heat shock protein 60 and Toll-like receptor 4. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011; 286(36): 31308-19.

Feng Y, Zou L, Zhang M, Li Y, Chen C, Chao W. MyD88 and Trif signaling play distinct roles in cardiac dysfunction and mortality during endotoxin shock and polymicrobial sepsis. Anesthesiology. 2011; 115(3): 555-67.

Yang W, Yamada M, Tamura Y, Chang K, Mao J, Zou L, Feng Y, Kida K, Scherrer-Crosbie M, Chao W, Ichinose F, Yu YM, Fischman AJ, Tompkins RG, Yao S, Kaneki M. Farnesyltransferase inhibitor FTI-277 reduces mortality of septic mice along with improved bacterial clearance. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2011; 339(3): 832-41.

Pejo E, Feng Y, Chao W, Cotten JF, Le Ge R, Raines DE. Differential effects of etomidate and its pyrrole analogue carboetomidate on the adrenocortical and cytokine responses to endotoxemia. Critical Care Medicine. 2011; 40(1): 187-92.

Li HH, Li Q, Liu P, Liu Y, Li J, Wasserloos K, Chao W, You M, Oury TD, Chhinder S, Hackam DJ, Billiar TR, Leikauf GD, Pitt BR, Zhang LM. WNT1- inducible signaling pathway protein 1 contributes to ventilator-induced lung injury. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. 2012; 47(4): 528-35.

Sips PY, Irie T, Zou L, Shinozaki S, Sakai M, Shimizu N, Nguyen R, Stamler JS, Chao W, Kaneki M, Ichinose F. Reduction of cardiomyocyte S-nitrosylation by S- nitrosoglutathione reductase protects against sepsis-induced myocardial depression. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2013; 304(8): H1134-46.

Zou L, Feng Y, Li Y, Zhang M, Chen C, Cai J, Gong Y, Wang L, Thurman JM, Wu X, Atkinson JP, Chao W. Complement factor B is the downstream effector of TLRs and plays an important role in a mouse model of severe sepsis. Journal of Immunology. 2013; 191(11): 5625-35.

Chao W. Inflammation and heart disease: Role of Toll-like receptor signaling. Journal of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine. 2014; 1(2): 104-117.

Chen C, Feng Y, Zou L, Wang L, Chen HH, Cai JY, Xu JM, Sosnovik DE, Chao W. Role of extracellular RNA and TLR3-Trif signaling in myocardial ischemia- reperfusion injury. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2014; 3(1): e000683.

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(6): 1270-80.

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(6): 1258-69.

Gong Y, Zou L, Feng Y, Li D, Cai J, Chen D, Chao W. Importance of Toll-like receptor 2 in mitochondrial dysfunction during polymicrobial sepsis. Anesthesiology. 2014; 121(6): 1236-47.

de Prost N, Feng Y, Wellman T, Tucci MR, Costa EL, Musch G, Winkler T, Harris RS, Venegas JG, Chao W, Vidal Melo MF. 18F-FDG kinetics parameters depend on the mechanism of injury in early experimental acute respiratory distress syndrome. Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 2014; 55(11): 1871-7.

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

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. Critical Care Medicine. 2015; 43:2303-12.

Feng Y, Chen H, Cai J, Zou L, Yan D, Xu G, Li D, Chao W. Cardiac RNA induces inflammatory responses in cardiomyocytes and immune cells via Toll-like receptor 7 signaling. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2015; 290:26688-98.

Thoonen R, Ernande L, Cheng J, Nagasaka Y, Yao V, Miranda-Bezerra A, Chen C, Chao W, Panagia M, Sosnovik DE, Puppala D, Armoundas AA, Hindle A, Bloch KD, Buys ES, Scherrer-Crosbie M. Functional brown adipose tissue limits cardiomyocyte injury and adverse remodeling in catecholamine-induced cardiomyopathy. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 2015; 84:202-11.

Santer P, Pejo E, Feng Y, Chao W, Raines DE. Cyclopropyl-methoxycarbonyl metomidate: studies in a lipopolysaccharide inflammatory model of sepsis. Anesthesiology. 2015; 123(2): 368-76.

Zou L, Feng, Y, Xu G, Jian W, Chao W. (2016). Splenic RNA and MicroRNA Mimics. Promote Complement Factor B Production and the Alternative Pathway Activation Via Innate Immune Signaling. Journal of Immunology. 196(6), 2788-2798. PMID: Not Available.

Li D, Zou L, Feng Y, Xu F, Gong Y, Zhao G, Ouyang W, Thurman JM, Chao W, (2016). Complement Factor B Production in Renal Tubular Cells and its Role in Sodium Transporter Expression During Polymicrobial Sepsis. Critical care Medicine. 44(5), e289-e299. PMID: 26757165.

Panagia M, Chen Y, Chen H, Ernande L, Chen C, Chao W, Kwong K, Scherrer-Crosbie M, Sosnovik D (2016). Functional and Anatomical Characterization of Brown Adipose Tissue in Heart Failure with Blood Oxygen Level Dependent Magnetic Resonance. NMR Biomed. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3557 (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 27226402

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.