Kelly A. Birdwell, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Medicine
M.S.C.I., Clinical Investigation , Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeM.D., Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GeorgiaB.A., University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Office Address
1161 21st Avenue
S-3223 MCN
Nashville, TN 37232-2372
Clinical Description
Dr. Birdwell is a nephrologist, transplant specialist and translational physician-scientist specializing in patient-oriented research. She examines the factors involved in the pathogenesis, course, and survival of patients with kidney failure and kidney transplantation, with studies ranging from genotypic variation and molecular consequences to biologic markers of disease. In particular, her work focuses on the cardiovascular and metabolic complications associated with kidney transplant and immunosuppression, investigating the interplay of phenotypic, genetic and biochemical abnormalities inherent to those scenarios. Using a pharmacogenomics approach, She conducts research by using BioVU, Vanderbilt’s DNA biobank, and the Synthetic Derivative, corresponding electronic medical record data. Dr. Birdwell directs an ongoing prospective observational study of patients with kidney transplant, which involves the ascertainment of phenotypic data and biospecimens at 3-4 month intervals on all such patients followed at Vanderbilt University, and provides a unique resource for the prospective pharmacogenomics assessment of these patients. Furthermore, she has successfully conducted and published a genetic association study of polymorphisms of tacrolimus dose requirement in kidney transplant using BioVU/Synthetic Derivative, and she is NIH funded to use these same resources to determine genetic variants associated with new onset diabetes after transplant.

Dr. Birdwell is a member of the Vanderbilt Center for Kidney Disease (VCKD),

Please click the link below to learn more information regarding VCKD.
Clinical Research Keywords
kidney transplant, obesity, oxidative stress, pharmacogenomics, calcineurin inhibitor toxicity, new onset diabetes after transplant
Kensinger C, Bian A, Fairchild M, Chen G, Lipworth L, Ikizler TA, Birdwell KA. Long term evolution of endothelial function during kidney transplantation. BMC Nephrol. 2016 Oct 10/22/2016; 17(1): 160. PMID: 27770793, PII: 10.1186/s12882-016-0369-5, DOI: 10.1186/s12882-016-0369-5, ISSN: 1471-2369.

Li YR, van Setten J, Verma SS, Lu Y, Holmes MV, Gao H, Lek M, Nair N, Chandrupatla H, Chang B, Karczewski KJ, Wong C, Mohebnasab M, Mukhtar E, Phillips R, Tragante V, Hou C, Steel L, Lee T, Garifallou J, Guettouche T, Cao H, Guan W, Himes A, van Houten J, Pasquier A, Yu R, Carrigan E, Miller MB, Schladt D, Akdere A, Gonzalez A, Llyod KM, McGinn D, Gangasani A, Michaud Z, Colasacco A, Snyder J, Thomas K, Wang T, Wu B, Alzahrani AJ, Al-Ali AK, Al-Muhanna FA, Al-Rubaish AM, Al-Mueilo S, Monos DS, Murphy B, Olthoff KM, Wijmenga C, Webster T, Kamoun M, Balasubramanian S, Lanktree MB, Oetting WS, Garcia-Pavia P, MacArthur DG, de Bakker PI, Hakonarson H, Birdwell KA, Jacobson PA, Ritchie MD, Asselbergs FW, Israni AK, Shaked A, Keating BJ. Concept and design of a genome-wide association genotyping array tailored for transplantation-specific studies. Genome Med. 2015 Oct 10/1/2015; 7: 90. PMID: 26423053, PMCID: PMC4589899, PII: 10.1186/s13073-015-0211-x, DOI: 10.1186/s13073-015-0211-x, ISSN: 1756-994X.

Birdwell KA, Jaffe G, Bian A, Wu P, Ikizler TA. Assessment of arterial stiffness using pulse wave velocity in tacrolimus users the first year post kidney transplantation: a prospective cohort study. BMC Nephrol. 2015 Jul 7/2/2015; 16: 93. PMID: 26133166, PMCID: PMC4489361, PII: 10.1186/s12882-015-0092-7, DOI: 10.1186/s12882-015-0092-7, ISSN: 1471-2369.

Birdwell KA, Decker B, Barbarino JM, Peterson JF, Stein CM, Sadee W, Wang D, Vinks AA, He Y, Swen JJ, Leeder JS, van Schaik R, Thummel KE, Klein TE, Caudle KE, MacPhee IA. Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC) Guidelines for CYP3A5 Genotype and Tacrolimus Dosing. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther [print-electronic]. 2015 Jul; 98(1): 19-24. PMID: 25801146, PMCID: PMC4481158, DOI: 10.1002/cpt.113.

Sanders ML, Karnes JH, Denny JC, Roden DM, Ikizler TA, Birdwell KA. Clinical and Genetic Factors Associated with Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Kidney and Heart Transplant Recipients. Transplant Direct. 2015 May; 1(4): PMID: 26146661, PMCID: PMC4486315, DOI: 10.1097/TXD.0000000000000521.

Oliveira da Fonseca E, Jittirat A, Birdwell KA, Fogo AB. Myoglobin cast nephropathy in a kidney transplant patient with normal creatine kinase. Am. J. Kidney Dis [print-electronic]. 2015 Apr; 65(4): 628-31. PMID: 25441432, PII: S0272-6386(14)01176-7, DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.07.029, ISSN: 1523-6838.

Oetjens M, Bush WS, Birdwell KA, Dilks HH, Bowton EA, Denny JC, Wilke RA, Roden DM, Crawford DC. Utilization of an EMR-biorepository to identify the genetic predictors of calcineurin-inhibitor toxicity in heart transplant recipients. Pac Symp Biocomput. 2014; 253-64. PMID: 24297552, PMCID: PMC3923429, PII: 9789814583220_0025, ISSN: 2335-6936.

Birdwell KA, Grady B, Choi L, Xu H, Bian A, Denny JC, Jiang M, Vranic G, Basford M, Cowan JD, Richardson DM, Robinson MP, Ikizler TA, Ritchie MD, Stein CM, Haas DW. The use of a DNA biobank linked to electronic medical records to characterize pharmacogenomic predictors of tacrolimus dose requirement in kidney transplant recipients. Pharmacogenet. Genomics. 2012 Jan; 22(1): 32-42. PMID: 22108237, PMCID: PMC3237759, DOI: 10.1097/FPC.0b013e32834e1641, ISSN: 1744-6880.

Birdwell KA, Ikizler MR, Wang L, Byrne DW, Sannella EC, Wright PF, Ikizler TA. Seasonal maintenance of influenza vaccine-induced antibody response in kidney transplant recipients. Am. J. Nephrol [print-electronic]. 2012; 36(3): 201-7. PMID: 22906930, PMCID: PMC3482977, PII: 000341653, DOI: 10.1159/000341653, ISSN: 1421-9670.

Xu H, Doan S, Birdwell KA, Cowan JD, Vincz AJ, Haas DW, Basford MA, Denny JC. An automated approach to calculating the daily dose of tacrolimus in electronic health records. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2010; 2010: 71-5. PMID: 21347153, PMCID: PMC3041548, ISSN: 2153-4063.

Birdwell KA, Ikizler MR, Sannella EC, Wang L, Byrne DW, Ikizler TA, Wright PF. Decreased antibody response to influenza vaccination in kidney transplant recipients: a prospective cohort study. Am. J. Kidney Dis [print-electronic]. 2009 Jul; 54(1): 112-21. PMID: 19185404, PMCID: PMC3772511, PII: S0272-6386(08)01608-9, DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2008.09.023, ISSN: 1523-6838.