Shuk-Mei Ho

Jacob G. Schmidlapp Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental Health
Hayden Family Endowed Chair
Director, Cincinnati Cancer Center

Phone: 513-558-5701 ext. 1
Location: 130 Kettering Lab
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Shuk-Mei Ho, PhD is internationally recognized for her expertise in the role of hormones and endocrine disruptors on disease development including tumorigenesis in the prostate, ovary, endometrium and breast. The 2015 recipient of the University of Cincinnati’s Rieveschl Award for Distinguished Scientific Research, she has made major contributions to our understanding of the impact of heavy metals, oxidative stress and inflammation on carcinogenesis; the discovery of biomarkers for cancer detection and patient classification, and mechanism-based drug development. Dr. Ho’s research employs state-of-the-art investigative tools for genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, epigenomics, and informatics research focused on improving predictive, preventive medicine.

Dr. Ho’s work explores the developmental origins of disease susceptibility by applying epigenetics to epidemiological studies, thereby addressing two important challenges of research in environmental exposure and human health: multiple exposures at various developmental stages and the trans-generational effects of exposure. Her recent findings on exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC), including Bisphenol A, have helped to better inform the clinical and public health communities about in utero exposure to EDC in food and drinking water. She also has obtained preliminary data implicating epigenetic dysregulation of transcriptional regulation as the bases of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-associated disorders such as asthma and cancer.

Dr. Ho is an active participant in the Endocrine Society, the Society of Toxicology, the American Association for Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer Research Program, the American Urologic Society and the Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR). She is past president of the latter. Today she regularly chairs scientific review and policy committees for the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. She is a member of the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Prostate Cancer Research Program, and serves on the Emerging Science Committee of the National Academy of Science. Dr. Ho has been honored by the Ohio Senate (127th General Assembly) and has received the Women in Urology Award from the SBUR and the Society of Women in Urology. In August 2014, she was profiled in the journal of Endocrine Related Cancer as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the field.

Dr. Ho has published more than 200 papers in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals. She is Jacob G. Schmidlapp Professor and Chair of the University of Cincinnati Department of Environmental Health and Director of the Cincinnati Cancer Center. She also serves as the Director of the NIEHS funded Center for Environmental Genetics and Director of the Genomics Epigenomics and Sequencing Core.

Related News:

  • 10/15/2015: Department of Environmental Health Enjoys Celebratory Weekend
  • 10/08/2015: Shuk-Mei Ho, PhD, Honored for Lifetime of Achievement in Research
  • 09/28/2015: Event Honoring Shuk-Mei Ho, PhD, Set for Thursday, October 1st
  • 08/27/2015: DAAP Students' Artworks Dedicated in Renovated Kettering Atrium
  • 07/15/2015: Shuk-Mei Ho Recognized for Lifetime of Achievement in Research
  • 07/15/2015: Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, Awarded 2015 George Rieveschl Jr. Award
  • 04/15/2015: University of Cincinnati Faculty Award Winners
  • 03/27/2015: U.S. Department of Defense Funds Metastatic Prostate Cancer Research
  • 03/26/2015: CEG COEC director cited in Newsweek European edition
  • 04/01/2014: New study links BPA and prostate cancer in humans
  • 03/04/2014: Study links chemical exposure to prostate cancer
  • 03/03/2014: BPA Linked to Prostate Cancer Study Shows
  • 02/01/2014: Community engagement drives new pilot study on fracking and air quality
  • 01/02/2014: 2013 TOP RESEARCH AWARD
  • 11/05/2013: Breast Cancer Research
  • 10/24/2013: Cancer rates climbing in Butler County
  • 09/04/2013: Environmental Health Faculty Students Enjoy Successful Conference in Basel Switzerland
  • 08/29/2013: Researchers Identify Key Protein's Role in Cancer Development
  • 07/01/2013: NIEHS spurs investigation into the health effects of e-waste recycling
  • 06/21/2013: Center for Environmental Genetics Announces Career Development Awards
  • 06/17/2013: $8.7 Million Grant Supports 'Gene-Environment Interaction' Research
  • 02/01/2013: Dr. Ho's group uses saliva for study on methylation in asthma
  • 08/08/2011: Cancer Biomarker?Detectable by Blood Test?Could Improve Prostate Cancer Detection
  • 01/04/2011: Epigenetics and Disease Outcome
  • 01/11/2010: UC wins $5M stimulus grant for lab renovations
  • 09/18/2009: Estrogen May Explain the Higher PCa Risk in Blacks
  • 04/01/2009: Study Links Maternal Exhaust Exposure to Childhood Asthma
  • 02/15/2009: Pollution Link to Asthma in Womb
  • 02/15/2009: Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
  • 02/01/2009: Study Offers Insight into Endocrine Disruption by Soy
  • 01/16/2009: Genetic Data May Predict Colon Cancer Odds
  • 01/16/2009: Cancer "Hot Spots" Found
  • 11/23/2008: Environmental Health Chair Leads Organizing Committee for Meeting
  • 05/19/2008: Another Bastion of Research
  • 05/19/2008: UC Med School Hauls in Funding
  • 04/01/2008: 7.8 Million Grant Supports Gene-Environment Interaction Research
  • 02/26/2008: Distinguished Lecture Series on Advances in Toxicology and Risk Assessment
  • 12/01/2007: Environment Health Chair Selected to Assist With Study
  • 07/22/2007: UC Environmental Health Chair Recognized Nationally for Urologic Research Excellence
  • 03/12/2007: Plastic Dangers
  • 07/01/2006: Chemical in Plastics is Tied to Prostate Cancer
  • 01/01/2006: Series on Experimental Oncology and its Clinical Application

  • Education

    University of Hong Kong B.Sc. 1974 Biological Sciences

    University of Hong Kong Ph.D. 1978 Zoology

    Professional Experience

    1977-1980 Research Associate, Department of Biology, Boston University

    1980-1981 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Boston University

    1981-1986 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Tufts University

    1986-1995 Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Tufts University

    1995-1999 Professor, Department of Biology, Tufts University

    1997-1999 Associate Dean for Research, School of Graduate Studies,Research and Continued Education, Tufts University

    1999-2005 Professor of Surgery and Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School

    1999-2005 Director of Urological Research and Translational Research for the Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School

    2000-2005 Member Diabetes & Endocrinology Research Center Program (DERC), Univ. Mass. Med. Sch.

    2001-2005 Professor of Physiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School

    2005 Vice Chair of Research, Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School

    2005-present Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati Medical School

    2006-present Director, Center for Environmental Genetics, University of Cincinnati

    2008-present National Academy of Science, Member Committee on Use of Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions


    NIH/NIEHS P30 ES06096                  (Ho – PI)                                           04/01/08 – 03/31/18
    Title: Center for Environmental Genetics
    This center grant supports research infrastructure and training in research related understanding the interplays amongst genetics/epigenetics, individual susceptibility, and exposures to toxic environmental agents.


    NIH/NIEHS U01 ES020988               (Ho – PI)                                           08/01/11 – 07/31/15
    Title: Chronic exposure to Bisphenol A and uterine cancer risk markers
    This project aims to address these data gap gaps by assessing the impact of chronic low dose exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) on uterine hyperplasia and carcinogenesis by using a well controlled GLP platform. Our goal is to identify BPA-driven early cancer risk markers to promote translation into public health policy.


    NIH/NIEHS U01 ES019480               (Ho – PI)                                             09/22/10 – 05/31/16
    Title: Susceptible Window of High Fat Diet/Bisphenol A Programming of Breast Cancer Risk
    The work addresses the potential adverse effects of high-fat diets, bisphenol A, and their interaction on breast cancer risk. It studies epigenetics as a reason why BCa can originate in the womb. Finally, it seeks to translate new research findings into public health awareness and community action through an outreach program.


    NIH/NIEHS  R01ES022071               (Prins/Ho – Multiple-PI)                                   08/23/12 – 04/30/17
    Title: Effects of Arsenic on Human Prostate Stem Cells and Prostate Cancer Risk
    The overall goal of this project is to determine whether developmental or adult exposures to inorganic arsenic (iAs) increase prostate cancer (PCa) risk by reprogramming human prostate stem cells.


    NIH/NIEHS  R01ES021477               (Grandjean – PI)                                             04/01/13 – 10/31/17
    Title: Glucose metabolism in adults prenatally exposed to diabetogenic pollutants
    This project is examining the possible etiologic role of environmental chemicals that appear to be diabetogenic in experimental studies and epidemiological studies, most of which are cross-sectional.


    NIH/NIEHS  R21 ES023507              (Xia – PI)                                                         07/01/14 – 06/30/16
    Title: Gene-Environment Interactions in Eyelid Morphogenesis
    This project will investigate the gene-environment interaction mechanisms that control embryonic eyelid development and test the novel idea that genetic risk factor predisposes environmental insults for congenital eye disorders.


    NIH/NIEHS  R21 ES023507             (Midoro-Horiuti – PI)                                        04/09/15 – 03/31/17
    via UTMB
    Title: Epigenomic effects of perinatal exposure to environmental estrogens promote the development of allergic asthma
    This project will compare human data from an ongoing human birth cohort study with mouse data in a systematic approach, performing epigenetic analysis using the Illumina Infinium 450K assays.  Analyzing the data obtained and correlated it to environmental exposure and other biochemical/clinical parameters that are associated with asthma. This could be the basis for future collaborative studies to look at the epigenetic control of other genes that trigger childhood asthma and other allergic diseases

    Selected Publications

    Yang S, Pinney SM, Mallick P, Ho SM, Bracken B,Wu T. (2015) Impact of Oxidative Stress Biomarkers and Carboxymethyllysine (an Advanced Glycation End Product) on Prostate Cancer: A Prospective Study. Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2015 Apr 18. pii: S1558-7673(15)00076-2. doi: 10.1016/j.clgc.2015.04.004. PMID: 25972296

    Warzak DA, Johnson SA, Ellersieck MR, Roberts RM, Zhang X, Ho SM, Rosenfeld CS. (2015) Effects of post-weaning diet on metabolic parameters and DNA methylation status of the cryptic promoter in the A(vy) allele of viable yellow mice. J Nutr Biochem. Jun;26(6):667-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.01.003. Epub 2015 Feb 26. PMID: 25818200

    Tam NN, Zhang X, Xiao H, Song D, Levin L, Meller J, Ho SM. (2015) Increased susceptibility of estrogen-induced bladder outlet obstruction in a novel mouse model. Lab Invest. May;95(5):546-60. doi: 10.1038/labinvest. 30. Epub 2015 Feb 23. PMID: 25706094

    Wong RL, Wang Q, Treviño LS, Bosland MC, Chen J, Medvedovic M, Prins GS, Kannan K, Ho SM, Walker CL. (2015) Identification of secretaglobin Scgb2a1 as a target for developmental reprogramming by BPA in the rat prostate. Epigenetics. 10(2):127-34. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2015.1009768. PMID: 25612011

    Ho, SM. (2014) Battle against the odds: win with effort, attitude, and perserverance!  Endocr Relat Cancer Aug; 21(4): P19-24. PMID: 24928923.

    Yang WS, Chadalapaka G, Cho SG, Lee SO, Jin UH, Jutooru I, Choi K, Leung YK, Ho SM, Safe S, Kim K. (2014) The transcriptional repressor ZBTB4 regulates EZH2 through a MicroRNA-ZBTB4-specificity protein signaling axis. Neoplasia. 16(12):1059-69. PMID: 25499219, PMCID: PMC4309261

    Langevin SM, Pinney SM, Leung YK, Ho SM. (2014) Does epigenetic drift contribute to age-related increases in breast cancer risk?Epigenomics 6(4):367-9. doi:10.2217/epi.14.28. PMID: 25333845, PMCID: PMC4235676. (Invited Editorial).

    Lam HM, Ouyang B, Chen J, Ying J, Wang J, Wu CL, Jia L, Medvedovic M, Vessella RL, Ho SM. (2014) Targeting GPR30 with G-1: a new therapeutic target for castration-resistant prostate cancer. Endocr Relat Cancer. 21(6):903-14. doi: 10.1530/ERC-14-0402. Epub 2014 Oct 6. PMID: 25287069, PMCID PMC4233119

    Leung YK, Chan QK, Ng CF, Ma FM, Tse HM, To KF, Maranchie J, Ho SM, Lau KM. (2014) Hsa-miRNA-765 as a key mediator for inhibiting growth, migration and invasion in fulvestrant-treated prostate cancer. PLoS One. 16;9(5):e98037. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098037. PMID: 24837491, PMCID: PMC4024001

    Tarapore P, Ying J, Ouyang B, Burke B, Bracken B, Ho SM. (2014) Exposure to bisphenol A correlates with early-onset prostate cancer and promotes centrosome amplification and anchorage-independent growth in vitro. PLoS One 3;9(3):e90332. doi: 10.1371. PMID: 24594937,PMCID: PMC3940879.

    Prins GS, Hu WY, Shi GB, Hu DP, Majumdar S, Li G, Huang K, Nelles J, Ho SM, Walker CL, Balla AK, Breeman RBV (2014) Bisphenol A promotes human prostate stem-progenitor cell self-renewal and increases in vivo carcinogenesis in human prostate epithelium. Endocrinol. Mar;155(3):805-17. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1955; PMID: 24424067; PMCID: PMC3929731

    Chu S, Zhang H, Maher C, McDonald JD, Zhang X, Ho SM, Yan B, Chillrud S, Perera F, Factor P, Miller RL (2013) Prenatal and postnatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure, airway hyperreactivity and beta 2 adrenergic receptor function in sensitized mouse offspring.  J Toxicol 2013:603581. doi: 10.1155/2013/603581. PMID: 24454363; PMCID: PMC3876588.

    Brunst KJ, Leung YK, Ryan PH, Khurana Hershey GK, Levin L, Ji H, Lemasters GK, Ho SM. (2013)  Forkhead box protein 3 (FOXP3) hypermethylation is associated with diesel exhaust exposure and risk for childhood asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 131(2):592-4.e1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.10.042. PMID: 23260754. PMCID: PMC3563724.  (Selected for F1000 Prime, as being of special significance in its field)

    Tang WY, Levin L, Talaska G, Cheung YY, Herbstman J, Tang D, Miller RL, Perera F, Ho SM. (2012) Maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is associated with methylation at a 5’-CpG island of interferon-gamma in cord white blood cells. Environ Health Perspect.120(8):1195-1200. PMID: 22562770, PMCID: PMC3440069

    Ouyang B, Baxter CS, Lam H-M, Yeramaneni S, Levin L, Haynes EN, Ho SM (2012) Hypomethylation of dual specificity phosphatase 22 promoter correlates with duration of service in firefighters and is inducible by low-dose benzo[a]pyrene. J Occup Environ Med.7;54(7):774-80. PMID: 22796920, PMCID: PMC3398512.

    Ho SM. (2010) Environmental epigenetics of asthma: an update. J Allergy Clin Immun. 126:453-465. PMID: 20816181, PMCID: PMC3775260

    Myers, JP, vom Saal, FS, Akingbemi, BT, Ho, SM, Belcher, S, (2008) Why Public Health Agencies Cannot Depend upon ‘Good Laboratory Practices’ as a Criterion for Selecting Data: The Case of Bisphenol A. Environ. Health Perspect 117(3):309-15. PMID: 19337501, PMCID: PMC261896

    Prins GS, Tang WY, Belmonte J, and Ho SM. (2008) Developmental exposure to bisphenol A increases prostate cancer susceptibility in adult rats: epigenetic mode of action is implicated. Fertil Steril. 89:e41. PMID: 18308059, PMCID: PMC2531072

    Prins GS, Tang WY, Belmonte J, and Ho SM. (2008) Perinatal exposure to oestradiol and bisphenol A alters the prostate epigenome and increases susceptibility to carcinogenesis. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 102:134-138. PMID: 18226066, PMCID: PMC2819392

    Miller RL and Ho SM. (2008) Environmental epigenetics and asthma: Current concepts and call for studies. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med.,177:567-573. PMID: 18187692.  PMCID: PMC2267336

    Hess-Wilson JK, Webb SL, Daly HE, Leung YK, Boldison J, Comstock CES, Sartor MA, Ho SM, Knudsen KE. (2007) Unique bisphenol A transcriptome in prostate cancer: novel effects on ERß expression that correspond to AR mutation status. Environ. Health Perspect. 115:1646-1653. PMID: 18007998, PMCID: PMC2072856

    Vom Saal FS, Akingbemi BT, Belcher SM, Birnbaum LS, Crain DA, Eriksen M, Farabollini F, Guillette LJ Jr, Hauser R, Heindel JJ, Ho SM, Hunt PA, Iguchi T, Jobling S, Kanno J, Keri RA, Knudsen KE, Laufer H, Leblanc GA, Marcus M, McLachlan JA, Myers JP, Nadal A, Newbold RR, Olea N, Prins GS, Richter CA, Rubin BS, Sonnenschein C, Soto AM, Talsness CE, Vandenbergh JG, Vandenberg LN, Walser-Kuntz DR, Watson CS, Welshons WV, Wetherill Y, Zoeller RT.  (2007)  Chapel Hill bisphenol A expert panel consensus statement: Integration of mechanisms, effects in animals and potential to impact human health at current levels of exposure. Reprod Toxicol. 24:131-138. PMID: 17768031, PMCID: PMC2967230

    Keri RA, Ho SM, Hunt PA, Knudsen KE, Soto AM, Prins GS. (2007)  An evaluation of evidence for the carcinogenic activity of bisphenol A.Reprod. Toxicol. 24:240-252. PMID: 17706921, PMCID: PMC2442886