Kathryn T. Hall, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Molecular Biologist in the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). She 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 Dr. Hall’s 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.