Gina Calco, Ph.D.

Gina Calco profile picture

Current Program Year: MS 4
Current Student, Physiology and Pharmacology Graduate Program, School of Medicine
M.D./Ph.D. Program Students, School of Medicine


Dissertation Title: PhD Thesis: Increased nerve-mediated bronchoconstriction in obesity-related asthma: the central role of elevated (2020)

Research interests: Clinical and translational research

Clinical interests: Dermatology

Gina grew up in Kalamazoo, MI and attended the University of Michigan, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. During undergrad, she joined Brian Pierchala’s lab and worked on neurotrophic factors and their role in the development, maintenance and regeneration of the peripheral nervous system. Following graduation, she became a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Richard Leapman’s lab investigating new scanning electron microscopy methods for structural and cellular biology applications. During her PhD work, she investigated how metabolic dysfunction in obesity contributes to the pathophysiology of asthma under the direction of her co-mentors Drs. Zhenying Nie and David Jacoby. Following graduation, she intends on pursuing a career in academic medicine as a dermatologist. She is passionate about public health outreach, addressing social determinants of health, and food access. She is one of the co-founders involved in the development and implementation of the Food Resource Center at OHSU. Outside of the lab and medicine, she enjoys dancing, baking treats, and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Education and training

B.S.E., 2014, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Ph.D., 2022, OHSU

Internship: NIH Postbac IRTA program

Memberships and associations:

  • APSA Executive Committee, Public Relations Chair, 2020-2022
  • Dermatology Interest Group Association, Co-President, 2022-present
  • Society for Pediatric Dermatology
  • Medical Dermatology Society

Honors and awards

Pulmonary & Critical Care T32 Awardee
F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein Fellowship
Nicholas L. Tartar Trust Research Fellowship
Robert L. Bacon Endowment Fund for Medical Education Enrichment
Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Member


Selected publications

Calco G.N., Alharithi Y.J., Williams K.R., Jacoby D.B., Fryer A.D., Maloyan A., & Nie Z. Maternal high-fat diet increases airway sensory innervation and reflex bronchoconstriction in adult offspring. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2023 Jun 6. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00115.2023. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37280517.

Calco G.N., Orfaly V.E., Haag C.K., Hamilton A., Stoos E., & Leachman S.A. A Systematic Review of Evidence-Based High School Melanoma Prevention Curricula. J Cancer Educ. 2023 Apr 12. doi: 10.1007/s13187-023-02294-9. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37043169.

Calco G.N., Maung J.N., Jacoby D.B., Fryer A.D., & Nie Z. Insulin increases sensory nerve density and reflex bronchoconstriction in obese mice. JCI Insight. 2022 Oct 24;7(20):e161898. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.161898. PMID: 36107629; PMCID: PMC9714782.

Calco G.N., Proskocil B.J., Jacoby D.B., Fryer A.D., & Nie Z. Metformin prevents airway hyperreactivity in rats with dietary obesity. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2021 Dec 1;321(6):L1105-L1118. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00202.2021. Epub 2021 Oct 20. PMID: 34668415; PMCID: PMC8715020.

Proskocil, B.J., Calco, G.N., & Nie, Z. Insulin acutely increased agonist-induced airway smooth muscle contraction in humans and rats. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2021 Apr 1;320(4):L545-L556. doi:10.1152/ajplung.00232.2020. Epub 2021 Jan 27. PMID: 33501891.

Calco G., Erickson H., Toubat O., & Spellicy S. MD/DO-PhD trainees: Flexing, adapting, and progressing during COVID-19. J Clin Transl Sci. 2020 Nov 23;5(1):E64. doi: 10.1017/cts.2020.559. PMCID: PMC7844159.

Calco, G.N., Fryer, A.D., & Nie, Z. Unraveling the connection between eosinophils and obesity. J Leukoc Biol. 2020 Jul;108(1):123-128. doi:10.1002/JLB.5MR0120-377R. Epub 2020 Mar 14. PMID: 32170879.