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Katherine Callahan

Katherine Callahan

Assistant Professor, Neonatologist, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
My research focuses on how neonatologists and parents use genetic information to make medical decisions and conceptualize patients' futures. This work emerges at the intersection of my training as a neonatologist and ethicist and my longstanding interest in the integration of genetic information into complex medical practice. During medical school, I completed projects to incorporate genetics into child psychiatry and medical school education. In residency, I began to explore the limitations of genetic prognostication through the lens of Down syndrome in partnership with Rachel Adams, parent of a child with Down syndrome. Through my neonatology training, I have witnessed firsthand both the benefits and potential confusion and harms that can result from genetic testing in this context. I conducted a split sample psychological experiment demonstrating that neonatologists applied genetic findings, including uncertain genetic findings or those heralding neurodevelopmental impairment, in biased and problematic ways. I also conducted a mixed methods national survey revealing that neonatologists need more support in using genetic tests and counseling families about results. My recent work lays the groundwork for my recently funded K01 award from the NHGRI entitled "Managing the Uncertainty of Genetic Information in Neonates."