SKCC Director Dr. Karen Knudsen Named Association of American Cancer Institutes’ President-Elect


Karen E. Knudsen, PhDDr. Karen Knudsen, Enterprise Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center– Jefferson Health (SKCC), has been elected vice president/president-elect of the Association of American Cancer Institutes’ (AACI) board of directors. Dr. Knudsen, who has been serving as SKCC enterprise director since 2015, governs cancer research and cancer care across 14 hospitals within Jefferson Health.

SKCC is one of only 70 institutions in the country to hold the prestigious title of NCI-designation out of more than 3,400 cancer centers nationwide, as well as one of eight Prostate Cancer Centers of Excellence. Under Dr. Knudsen’s leadership, SKCC recently was evaluated as “Outstanding” in its most recent NCI Cancer Center Support Grant renewal. It was one of only three cancer centers to rank “Exceptional” by the NCI for Community Outreach and Engagement and is routinely ranked amongst the top 30 cancer centers nationwide.

Dr. Knudsen is also the Hilary Koprowski Chair, Department of Cancer Biology at Thomas Jefferson University, and Professor of Cancer Biology, Urology, Medical Oncology, and Radiation Oncology. Her  translational research centers on prostate cancer and has contributed to new mechanisms for treatment of advanced disease.

“Dr. Knudsen is the leader we need for cancer today,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “She has a deep commitment to both hard science and the urgency of gaining access to those scientific discoveries for all members of our communities. Here at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, she has led our focus on solving the intense disparities in cancer mortality in our city, and improving the lives of all cancer patients through access for all to the most advanced care.”

As president of the AACI–an organization comprising 98 premier academic and freestanding cancer research centers in the U.S. and Canada–Dr. Knudsen will work with the AACI board of directors and other leaders to support their mission to enhance the impact of academic cancer centers.

“It’s an honor to be elected from my peers as the President-elect of AACI.  I look forward to working not just with AACI leadership but with all Centers to advance the pace of discovery, and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families,” Dr. Knudsen said.

A member of AACI’s board of directors since 2016, Dr. Knudsen was program chair of the association’s 2017 annual meeting. She also serves on review, advisory, and elected panels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and is editor-in-chief of the journal Molecular Cancer Research.

Dr. Knudsen’s two-year term as President-elect will begin Sept. 30 during the AACI/Cancer Center Administrators Forum annual meeting in Chicago.