Jennifer Ellis Cahill, PhD, RN

Nurse Scientist
Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research, Massachusetts General Hospital
Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
Instructor in Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
PhD University of Texas 2013
biomedical devices; brain cancer; brain metastases; cancer clinical trials; data-driven modeling of patient outcomes; device approval; device design; patient reported outcomes; pediatric cancer; quality of life; symptom management I am a nurse scientist at the Munn Center for Nursing Research at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) specializing in symptom measurement primarily in adult neuro-oncology, and to a lesser extent, in all types of pediatric cancer.  I received my PhD in 2013 at the University of Texas Cizik School of Nursing (PI: Terri Armstrong), after completing my first year of doctoral study at the Yale School of Nursing (2008-2009). Previously, I was a fellow at the NCI in the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology where I studied sFRP/Wnt structure function analyses (PI: Jeff Rubin) and received a Technology Transfer Award for work on a peptide phage display library.  From 2016-2018, I was a Nurse Scientist at Boston Childrens Hospital (oncology and neuro-oncology), in addition to serving as the interim Director of Research for Medical Patient Services division of the Department of Nursing, where I still hold an adjunct scientist position. Lastly, I am an adjunct professor at Boston College, where I teach research courses at the Connell School of Nursing. 

My research focuses on symptom experience and other patient-reported outcomes during treatment for cancer. I actively lead my own research program, in addition to collaborating with clinical teams to develop and execute studies in related areas. From a symptom-science perspective, there is significant interest in characterizing associations between symptoms and genetic factors in patients with cancer. Currently, we have initiated studies that characterize symptom and neurocognitive outcomes within the context of two genomically-guided Phase 2 trials under Dr. Priscilla Brastianos, medical oncologist and Director of the Brain Metastasis Clinic at MGH, for patients receiving targeted anticancer agents. These symptoms and QOL measurements are directly protocolized within the biopsy driven clinical trials, to allow streamlined acquisition of symptom and neurocognitive data stratified by tumor and molecular profiles. Complementary to this work, I have a national appointment as Nurse Scientist, Patient Reported Outcomes Working Group and full membership on the NCI clinical trial consortium NRG Oncology Brain Tumor Core Committee. Additionally, I serve as Lead Investigator, Quality of Life and Patient Reported Outcomes for national trials sponsored by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Foundation.

As a clinical expert, I have written book chapters and journal articles on the care of brain tumor patients specifically and cancer patients more generally. Additionally, I have published and presented nationally on leveraging health information technology to improve symptom experience and other outcomes for brain tumor patients.

I have expertise in medical device research and development, most notably through previous work validating CTA and MRA for acute pulmonary embolism diagnosis through NHLBI-funded clinical trials collectively known as the Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis (PIOPED) Studies (PI: Charles Hales). I continue limited device work through collboration with the MGH Center for Innovations in Care Delivery. This includes clinical trial design for safety, feasibility, and efficacy.

My work has been supported by the NCI, NHLBI, American Cancer Society, Harvard Catalyst, Boston Children's Hospital, and multiple industry partners. Altogether, my background as a cancer nurse, combined with research training in instrument development and validation, as well as basic science training as a fellow at the National Cancer Institute, have prepared me to lead clinical trials and participate in translational research projects that aim to improve symptom recognition and remediation for cancer patients.
Yvonne L. Munn Center Publications
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