My team and I partner with families to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient that best fits them, their goals and the family’s needs.
Christopher Towe, MD



As a child with allergies and asthma, I always wanted to work with children who had trouble breathing. I’m a board-certified pediatric pulmonologist and director of the Rare Lung Disease Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. I see children from all over the country and around the world with unknown or poorly understood lung conditions.

Conditions I treat include:

  • Ultra-rare or undiagnosed childhood interstitial lung diseases
  • Lung graft versus host disease after bone marrow transplant
  • Lung disease caused by other rare systemic diseases such as:
    • Immune deficiencies
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Auto-inflammatory diseases
    • Lymphatic and other vascular malformations
    • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia

I perform flexible bronchoscopy, including targeted transbronchial biopsies. I’m one of the few pediatric pulmonologists in the world who regularly performs whole lung lavages (a therapeutic procedure) in children with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (rare lung disorder).

Even in patients with a known diagnosis, there is often not a well-defined treatment plan. My team and I partner with families to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient that best fits them, their goals and the family’s needs. I work with a multidisciplinary team, including a dedicated nurse, dietician and respiratory therapist. I often see patients in conjunction with other specialists, such as immunologists, bone marrow transplant specialists and rheumatologists. My colleagues and I often see a patient during the same clinic visit to develop a comprehensive care plan for each patient.

My primary research interest is to improve the characterization, early identification and treatment of pulmonary injury caused by the immune system to improve patient outcomes. My two current areas of focus are:

  • Improving early detection of lung disease following bone marrow transplantation
  • Improving our overall understanding of the cause of lung disease in children with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, preventing these complications from occurring and better treating them when they do

I am unable to study in-depth all the diseases I clinically manage. But, I believe all of my patients and families deserve access to the benefits and promise of research. Therefore, I also facilitate partnerships with other researchers, including many basic scientists, and provide the clinical support needed to facilitate the translational study of these rare pulmonary diseases. This research often happens through n = 1 studies, which involve only one patient or family.

When I’m not seeing patients or involved in research, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling the world and training for marathons. My wife and I have twice been awarded the President of the United States Volunteer Service Award for our work hosting foreign exchange students — one from Albania and another from Thailand. I grew up in a suburb of Houston, Texas and have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, so if I weren't a doctor, my dream job would be working for NASA and the space program.

MD: University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, Dallas, TX, 2008.

Residency: Pediatrics, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis, MO, 2011.

Fellowship: Pediatric Pulmonary, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 2014.

Certification: Pediatric Pulmonary, 2014; Pediatrics, 2012.


Childhood interstitial lung diseases; lung transplantation

Services and Specialties

Pulmonary Medicine, Rare Lung Diseases, Hemangioma and Vascular Malformations, Lung Transplant, Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia

Research Areas


Insurance Information

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Improved donor lung size matching by estimation of lung volumes based on chest X-ray measurements. Roach, DJ; Szugye, NA; Moore, RA; Hossain, MM; Morales, DL S; Hayes, D; Towe, CT; Zafar, F; Woods, JC. Pediatric Transplantation. 2023; 27:e14594.

Diagnosis and Management of the Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Patient with Emerging Lung Disease. Towe, C; Grom, AA; Schulert, GS. Pediatric Drugs. 2023; 25:649-658.

New developments related to lung complications in pediatric rheumatic disease. Rai, S; Schulert, GS; Towe, C. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2023; 35:273-277.

Body mass index percentage and survival in pediatric patients listed for lung transplantation: A modern-era multi-institutional analysis. Heidel, JS; Dani, A; Towe, C; Schecter, M; Zhang, Y; Hossain, MM; Zafar, F; Morales, DL S; Hayes, D. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2023; 42:1242-1250.

Childhood to adulthood: Accounting for age dependence in healthy-reference distributions in 129 Xe gas-exchange MRI. Plummer, JW; Willmering, MM; Cleveland, ZI; Towe, C; Woods, JC; Walkup, LL. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2023; 89:1117-1133.

Complex Thoracic Lymphatic Disorders of Adults. Mujahid, H; Gupta, A; Hammill, A; Towe, CT; McCormack, FX. Orphan Lung Diseases. : Springer Nature; Springer Nature; 2023.

Lung Transplantation Advanced Prediction Tool: Determining Recipient's Outcome for a Certain Donor. Zafar, F; Hossain, MM; Zhang, Y; Dani, A; Schecter, M; Hayes, D; Macaluso, M; Towe, C; Morales, DL S. Transplantation. 2022; 106:2019-2030.

Pediatric 129 Xe Gas-Transfer MRI-Feasibility and Applicability. Willmering, MM; Walkup, LL; Niedbalski, PJ; Wang, H; Wang, Z; Hysinger, EB; Myers, KC; Towe, CT; Driehuys, B; Cleveland, ZI; et al. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2022; 56:1207-1219.

Respiratory Infections in Patients with Primary Immunodeficiency. Lehman, HK; Yu, KO A; Towe, CT; Risma, KA. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. 2022; 10:683-691.e1.

Modern Lung Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Screen for Pulmonary Complications in Patients with Dyskeratosis Congenita. Walkup, LL; Myers, KC; Willmering, MM; Mehta, PA; Nelson, AS; Fleck, RJ; Woods, JC; Davies, SM; Towe, CT. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2021; 204:1340-1343.

From the Blog

Rare Childhood Disease Needs Awareness
Blog Rare and Complex Conditions

Rare Childhood Disease Needs Awareness: Interstitial Lung Disease

By Christopher Towe, MD2/27/2015

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