Katherine Cahill, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
She received her baccalaureate degree in biology from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, and her MD degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Cahill completed her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and subsequently completed her fellowship training at Harvard Medical School. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology.
Dr. Cahill’s research interests are focused on aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) and the treatment of severe asthma. She has published seminal work on the latter topic on the development of new therapies, including the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. As a clinical research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Cahill was known for her exceptional bedside manner and astute concern for finding better treatment solutions for her allergy and asthma patients through translational research.
Dr. Cahill’s laboratory work has culminated in numerous conference presentations concerning successful experimental work studying the overproduction of the inflammatory prostaglandin and the relationship to the severity of disease manifestation in patients with AERD. She is a member of several prestigious organizations, including American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the American Thoracic Society. She has given lectures throughout her career, published her findings in several well-recognized journals in the allergy field, and has demonstrated engagement and diligent work during her research immersion.
Dr. Cahill sees patients at the Vanderbilt Asthma, Sinus and Allergy Program. Her clinical interests include the evaluation and management of adult-onset asthma, aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), NSAID drug allergy, and eosinophilic diseases.
Dr. Cahill’s lab utilizes translational approaches to identify how cells and mediators of the innate immune system contribute to novel mechanisms driving subphenotypes of adult asthma. Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is a subphenotype of adult asthma with a prominent role for interleukin (IL)-33, mast cells, and platelet-mediated inflammation. She has identified prostaglandin D2 generation during aspirin-induced reactions drives symptom severity and the role of TSLP and mast cells in this process, determined the effects of high-dose aspirin therapy in AERD on mast cells, and identified a subset which responds to inhibition of platelets with prasugrel.
Additional work using imatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of KIT and thereby mast cells, in a randomized-controlled trial in a cohort of steroid-refractory severe asthmatics identified a role for KIT inhibition in improving methacholine airway hyperresponsiveness. Dr. Cahill has successfully recruited more than 150 asthmatics into high-risk translational, stage II, and stage III investigator-initiated clinical trials involving airway provocation testing and developed the infrastructure for an asthma patient registry of over 1000 subjects.
Dr. Cahill's clinical expertise in the diagnosis and management of adult asthma compliments her experience executing mechanistic studies involving assessments of respiratory and systemic inflammation and mediator production. Since her transition to Vanderbilt University in August 2018, her work has focused on translating preclinical data supporting Glucagon-Like Peptide (GLP)-1 receptor agonists are effective in animal models of obese asthma. Through collaborations with experts in obesity and metabolism, animal models of airway inflammation, and platelet biology at Vanderbilt, her goal is to define the mechanisms by which the GLP-1 receptor pathway attenuates inflammation in the obese and AERD phenotypes of adult asthma.