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Kathryn T. Hall, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Part Time, Harvard Medical School
Associate Molecular Biologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Hall received her PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University before spending 10 years in the biotech industry tackling problems in drug development, first at Wyeth and then at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where she became an Associate Director of Drug Development. Dr. Hall returned to HMS in 2010, joining the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in 2012, and receiving a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health in 2014.
In collaboration with Professor Ted Kaptchuk and other members of the Program in Placebo Studies at HMS, Dr. Hall’s recent research has focused on catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme that metabolizes catecholamines such as dopamine and epinephrine and that has pleiotropic effects in a broad set of diseases and treatments. Among her recent accomplishments is a landmark paper published in PLOS ONE identifying COMT as one of the first genetic markers of placebo response, and a broader review in Trends in Molecular Medicine on the impact of genetics on the placebo response. Her work has led to the coining of the term “placebome”, which was added to Jargonwatch by WIRED magazine in 2015. Her research has been the focus of numerous articles including features in Science, The Atlantic, The Economist and Discover magazines.

PhD: Harvard University
MA: Emerson College
MPH: Harvard School of Public Health

  1. Hall KT, Lembo AJ, Kirsch I, Ziogas DC, Douaiher J, Jensen KB, Conboy LA, Kelley JM, Kokkotou E, Kaptchuk TJ. Catechol-O-methyltransferase val158met polymorphism predicts placebo effect in irritable bowel syndrome. PLoS One.2012; 7(10): e48135.PMCID: PMC3479140
  2. Hall KT, Loscalzo J, Kaptchuk TJ. Genetics and the placebo effect: The placebome. Trends Mol Med. 2015;21:285-294. PMCID: PMC4573548
  3. Hall KT*, Kossowsky J**, Oberlander T, Kaptchuk T, Saul J, Bruun Wyller V, Fagermoen E, Sulheim D, Gjerstad J, Winger A, Mukamal K. Genetic variation in catechol-O-methyltransferase modifies effects of clonidine treatment in chronic fatigue syndrome. Pharmacogenomics J. 2016; Jul 26. PMID:27457818
  4. Hall KT, Buring J, Mukamal K, Moorthy V, Wayne P, Kaptchuk TJ, Battinelli E, Ridker P, Sesso H, Weinstein S, Albanes D, Cook N and Chasman D. COMT and alpha-tocopherol effects in cancer prevention: gene-supplement interactions in two randomized clinical trials. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2019. Jan 8. PMID: 30624689
  5. Hall KT, Kessler T, Buring JE, Passow D, Sesso HD, Zee RYL, et al. Genetic variation at the coronary artery disease risk locus GUCY1A3 modifies cardiovascular disease prevention effects of aspirin. Eur Heart J. 2019;40(41):3385-92.PMCID: PMC6933533

Full Listing of Publications

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