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.



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.

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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.

Pathogenesis and Treatment of Refractory Disease Courses in Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Refractory Arthritis, Recurrent Macrophage Activation Syndrome and Chronic Lung Disease. Erkens, R; Esteban, Y; Towe, C; Schulert, G; Vastert, S. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2021; 47:585-606.

Pulmonary Complications After Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant. Fitch, T; Myers, KC; Dewan, M; Towe, C; Dandoy, C. Frontiers in Oncology. 2021; 11.

Clinicopathologic Conference: A Four-Year-Old Child With Digital Clubbing. Schultz, K; Divanovic, A; Towe, C; Miethke, A; Wusik, K; Hammill, A; Brunner, H. Arthritis Care and Research. 2021; 73:1379-1386.

Quantitative inspiratory-expiratory chest CT to evaluate pulmonary involvement in pediatric hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation patients. Pennati, F; Walkup, LL; Chhabra, A; Towe, C; Myers, K; Aliverti, A; Woods, JC. Pediatric Pulmonology. 2021; 56:1026-1035.

Developmental Adaptive Immune Defects Associated with STAT5B Deficiency in Three Young Siblings. Foley, CL; Al Remeithi, SS; Towe, CT; Dauber, A; Backeljauw, PF; Tyzinski, L; Kumar, AR; Hwa, V. Journal of Clinical Immunology. 2021; 41:136-146.

Whole-Lung Lavage. Towe, C; Trapnell, B. Diagnostic and Interventional Bronchoscopy in Children. 2021.

Neuroendocrine Cell Hyperplasia of Infancy. Clinical Score and Comorbidities. Liptzin, DR; Pickett, K; Brinton, JT; Agarwal, A; Fishman, MP; Casey, A; Towe, CT; Taylor, JB; Kurland, G; Hagood, JS; et al. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 2020; 17:724-728.

Pediatric heart-lung transplantation: A contemporary analysis of outcomes. Riggs, KW; Chapman, JL; Schecter, M; Towe, C; Zafar, F; Morales, DL S. Pediatric Transplantation. 2020; 24.

From the Blog

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Rare Childhood Disease Needs Awareness: Interstitial Lung Disease

By Christopher Towe, MD2/27/2015

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