Karen E. Knudsen

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Karen E. Knudsen
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CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater
  • George Washington University
  • University of California at San Diego
  • Temple University
  • University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
OccupationExecutive Vice President Enterprise Director

Karen E. Knudsen is the Executive Vice President of Oncology Services, Jefferson Health and Enterprise Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, one of 71 NCI-designated Cancer Center in the U. S.  She also holds the Hilary Koprowski Endowed Professorship, serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, and holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Urology, Medical Oncology, and Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Knudsen is an oncology researcher whose studies are focused on precision medicine in advanced prostate cancer, with an emphasis on understanding therapeutic relapse and designing new means of clinical intervention.  Her translational studies have resulted in new clinical trials targeting DNA repair, cell cycle, and hormone regulation pathways in patients with advanced disease. Knudsen and her colleagues discovered the mechanisms by which androgen signaling impacts cancer cell proliferation and DNA repair processes, and identified novel strategies for therapeutic intervention. Notable discoveries include identification of RB tumor suppressor loss as a major mechanism of therapeutic bypass,[1][2][3] discovery of the androgen-DNA repair axis,[4][5][6] and elucidation of androgen receptor function in the mitotic cell cycle.[7][8][9] Her discoveries were amongst the first to propose utilization of PARP 1/2 inhibitors for advanced disease,[10][11][12] now an Food and Drug Administration for selected prostate cancers.[13]


Knudsen received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the George Washington University, her PhD in molecular biology from the University of California, San Diego in 1996, and her MBA with honors from the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship training at the Ludwig Cancer Research, San Diego under the mentorship of Webster K. Cavenee. She joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2000, wherein she became a tenured Associate Professor.

In 2007 she was recruited to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, and founded the cancer center’s prostate cancer program, evaluated as “Outstanding” by the National Cancer Institute. After serving as the Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and the Vice Provost of Thomas Jefferson University, Knudsen accepted the offer to serve as the Enterprise Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in 2015, leading the cancer care and cancer discovery mission for Jefferson Health.


Knudsen has been selected or elected to serve in a number of national and international leadership roles across the oncology field. These roles include:

  • President, Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI)[14]
  • Board of Directors, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)[15]
  • Board of Scientific Advisors, National Cancer Institute (NCI)[16]
  • Scientific Research Board, Genentech[17]
  • Editor-in-Chief, Molecular Cancer Research[18]
  • Associate Editor, Oncogene[19]
  • Co-founder, Prostate Cancer Foundation Women’s Forum[20]
  • Steering Committee and Past Chair, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Genitourinary Oncology[21]


  1. Sharma, Ankur; Comstock, Clay E. S.; Knudsen, Erik S.; Cao, Khanh H.; Hess-Wilson, Janet K.; Morey, Lisa M.; Barrera, Jason; Knudsen, Karen E. (2007-07-01). "Retinoblastoma Tumor Suppressor Status Is a Critical Determinant of Therapeutic Response in Prostate Cancer Cells". Cancer Research. 67 (13): 6192–6203. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-4424. ISSN 0008-5472. PMC 4133940. PMID 17616676.
  2. Sharma, Ankur; Yeow, Wen-Shuz; Ertel, Adam; Coleman, Ilsa; Clegg, Nigel; Thangavel, Chellappagounder; Morrissey, Colm; Zhang, Xiaotun; Comstock, Clay E. S.; Witkiewicz, Agnieszka K.; Gomella, Leonard (December 2010). "The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor controls androgen signaling and human prostate cancer progression". The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 120 (12): 4478–4492. doi:10.1172/JCI44239. ISSN 1558-8238. PMC 2993601. PMID 21099110.
  3. McNair, Christopher; Xu, Kexin; Mandigo, Amy C.; Benelli, Matteo; Leiby, Benjamin; Rodrigues, Daniel; Lindberg, Johan; Gronberg, Henrik; Crespo, Mateus; De Laere, Bram; Dirix, Luc (January 2018). "Differential impact of RB status on E2F1 reprogramming in human cancer". The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 128 (1): 341–358. doi:10.1172/JCI93566. ISSN 1558-8238. PMC 5749518. PMID 29202480.
  4. Goodwin, Jonathan F.; Schiewer, Matthew J.; Dean, Jeffry L.; Schrecengost, Randy S.; de Leeuw, Renée; Han, Sumin; Ma, Teng; Den, Robert B.; Dicker, Adam P.; Feng, Felix Y.; Knudsen, Karen E. (November 2013). "A hormone-DNA repair circuit governs the response to genotoxic insult". Cancer Discovery. 3 (11): 1254–1271. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0108. ISSN 2159-8290. PMC 3823813. PMID 24027197.
  5. Goodwin, Jonathan F.; Kothari, Vishal; Drake, Justin M.; Zhao, Shuang; Dylgjeri, Emanuela; Dean, Jeffry L.; Schiewer, Matthew J.; McNair, Christopher; Jones, Jennifer K.; Aytes, Alvaro; Magee, Michael S. (2015-07-13). "DNA-PKcs-Mediated Transcriptional Regulation Drives Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis". Cancer Cell. 28 (1): 97–113. doi:10.1016/j.ccell.2015.06.004. ISSN 1878-3686. PMC 4531387. PMID 26175416.
  6. Dylgjeri, Emanuela; McNair, Christopher; Goodwin, Jonathan F.; Raymon, Heather K.; McCue, Peter A.; Shafi, Ayesha A.; Leiby, Benjamin E.; Leeuw, Renée de; Kothari, Vishal; McCann, Jennifer J.; Mandigo, Amy C. (2019-09-15). "Pleiotropic Impact of DNA-PK in Cancer and Implications for Therapeutic Strategies". Clinical Cancer Research. 25 (18): 5623–5637. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-2207. ISSN 1078-0432. PMC 6744985. PMID 31266833.
  7. Burd, Craig J.; Petre, Christin E.; Morey, Lisa M.; Wang, Ying; Revelo, Monica P.; Haiman, Christopher A.; Lu, Shan; Fenoglio-Preiser, Cecilia M.; Li, Jiwen; Knudsen, Erik S.; Wong, Jiemin (2006-02-14). "Cyclin D1b variant influences prostate cancer growth through aberrant androgen receptor regulation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 103 (7): 2190–2195. Bibcode:2006PNAS..103.2190B. doi:10.1073/pnas.0506281103. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 1413684. PMID 16461912.
  8. Augello, Michael A.; Burd, Craig J.; Birbe, Ruth; McNair, Christopher; Ertel, Adam; Magee, Michael S.; Frigo, Daniel E.; Wilder-Romans, Kari; Shilkrut, Mark; Han, Sumin; Jernigan, Danielle L. (2013-01-02). "Convergence of oncogenic and hormone receptor pathways promotes metastatic phenotypes". The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 123 (1): 493–508. doi:10.1172/JCI64750. ISSN 0021-9738. PMC 3533295. PMID 23257359.
  9. de Leeuw, Renée; McNair, Christopher; Schiewer, Matthew J.; Neupane, Neermala Poudel; Brand, Lucas J.; Augello, Michael A.; Li, Zhen; Cheng, Larry C.; Yoshida, Akihiro; Courtney, Sean M.; Hazard, E. Starr (September 2018). "MAPK Reliance via Acquired CDK4/6 Inhibitor Resistance in Cancer". Clinical Cancer Research: An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 24 (17): 4201–4214. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-0410. ISSN 1078-0432. PMC 6125187. PMID 29739788.
  10. Schiewer, Matthew J.; Goodwin, Jonathan F.; Han, Sumin; Brenner, J. Chad; Augello, Michael A.; Dean, Jeffry L.; Liu, Fengzhi; Planck, Jamie L.; Ravindranathan, Preethi; Chinnaiyan, Arul M.; McCue, Peter (December 2012). "Dual roles of PARP-1 promote cancer growth and progression". Cancer Discovery. 2 (12): 1134–1149. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-12-0120. ISSN 2159-8290. PMC 3519969. PMID 22993403.
  11. Feng, Felix Y.; de Bono, Johann S.; Rubin, Mark A.; Knudsen, Karen E. (2015-06-18). "Chromatin to Clinic: The Molecular Rationale for PARP1 Inhibitor Function". Molecular Cell. 58 (6): 925–934. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2015.04.016. ISSN 1097-4164. PMC 4487541. PMID 26091341.
  12. Schiewer, Matthew J.; Mandigo, Amy C.; Gordon, Nicolas; Huang, Fangjin; Gaur, Sanchaika; de Leeuw, Renée; Zhao, Shuang G.; Evans, Joseph; Han, Sumin; Parsons, Theodore; Birbe, Ruth (1 December 2018). "PARP-1 regulates DNA repair factor availability". EMBO Molecular Medicine. 10 (12). doi:10.15252/emmm.201708816. ISSN 1757-4684. PMC 6284389. PMID 30467127.
  13. Research, Center for Drug Evaluation and (2020-05-20). "FDA approves olaparib for HRR gene-mutated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer". FDA.
  14. "AACI President Knudsen to Focus Two-Year Term on Mitigating Health Disparities". www.newswise.com. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  15. "Board of Directors | AACR About Us". American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  16. "NCI Board of Scientific Advisors". deainfo.nci.nih.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  17. "Genentech: Scientific Research Board". www.gene.com. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  18. "Editorial Board | Molecular Cancer Research". mcr.aacrjournals.org. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  19. "About the Editors | Oncogene". www.nature.com. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  20. "Celebrating Women in Prostate Cancer". Prostate Cancer Foundation. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  21. "ASCO Meetings". meetings.asco.org. Retrieved 2020-11-27.

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