Man smiling for headshot

Isaac M. Chiu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Immunology – Harvard Medical School


  • Post-doctoral training
    Harvard medical School
  • Ph.D. in Immunology
    Harvard medical School
  • A.B. in Biochemistry
    Harvard University


  • Harvard Medical School

Determine how cellular and molecular signals from DRG neurons contribute to food allergies.

Isaac Chiu is an associate professor in the department of immunology at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on interactions between the nervous and immune systems at major barrier tissues, including the skin and gastrointestinal tract. He has found that nociceptive sensory neurons directly sense microbes and their molecular mediators to regulate pain. These neurons then signal to innate immune cells via neuropeptides to regulate their recruitment and activation. He is interested in defining neuro-immune signaling that drives allergic reactions, including itch and inflammation.

Dr. Chiu did his Ph.D work in immunology and postdoctoral work in the neurobiology of pain. His lab combines interdisciplinary approaches from sensory neurobiology, immunology and microbiology to study neuro-immune crosstalk at major barrier sites including the gut and skin. The goal of Isaac Chiu’s research at FASI is to uncover neuro-immune interactions and communications with the brain. His project will focus on understanding the role of DRG nociceptor neurons and neuro-immune signaling in food allergies. The aim of his research is to determine whether we can target specific DRG neurons to determine their role in allergic sensitization, determine if DRG neurons signal to immune cells and epithelial cells in the gut, and determine how cellular and molecular signals from DRG neurons contribute to food allergies.

Featured Publications:
Voisin T, Perner C, Messou MA, Shiers S, Ualiyeva S, Kanaoka Y, Price TJ, Sokol CL, Bankova LG, Austen KF, Chiu IM. The CysLT(2)R receptor mediates leukotriene C(4)-driven acute and chronic itch. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 30;118(13):e2022087118 PMID: 33753496

Lai NY, Musser MA, Pinho-Ribeiro FA, Baral P, Jacobson A, Ma P, Potts DE, Chen Z, Paik D, Soualhi S, Yan Y, Misra A, Goldstein K, Lagomarsino V, Nordstrom A, Sivanathan KN, Wallrapp A, Kuchroo VK, Nowarski R, Starnbach MN, Shi H, Surana NK, An D, Wu C, Huh JR, Rao M, Chiu IM. Gut-innervating nociceptor neurons regulate Peyer’s Patch Microfold cells and SFB levels to mediate Salmonella host defense. Cell. 2020 Jan 9;180(1)33-49. PMID: 31813624

Leyva-Castillo JM, Galand C, Kam C, Burton O, Gurish M, Musser MA, Goldsmith JD, Hait E, Nurko S, Brombacher F, Dong C, Finkelman FD, Lee RT, Ziegler S, Chiu I, Austen KF, Geha RS. Mechanical Skin Injury Promotes Food Anaphylaxis by Driving Intestinal Mast Cell Expansion. Immunity. 2019 May 21;50(5):1262-1275.e4. PMID: 31027995

Yissachar N, Zhou Y, Ung L, Lai NY, Mohan JF, Ehrlicher A, Weitz DA, Kasper D, Chiu IM, Mathis D, Benoist C. An intestinal organ culture system uncovers a role for the nervous system in microbe/immunocyte crosstalk. Cell. 2017 Mar 9; 168(6):1135-1148. PMID: 28262351