University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Annie Laurie Howard Research Distinguished Professor in the department of Behavioral Science and the Director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Basen-Engquist’s research focuses on cancer survivors and high risk individuals, and investigates the role of health behavior interventions in improving physical functioning, optimizing quality of life, and reducing risk of cancer, cancer recurrence, and other chronic diseases. In addition, she studies intervention methods for behavior change with a focus on distance-based and mHealth interventions, and uses innovative real-time methods for assessing symptoms and behavior in cancer patients and survivors. She currently is the co-chair of LIVES, a national trial of a diet and physical activity intervention for ovarian cancer survivors, and has been a multiple PI and a co-investigator on grants to study the use of wearable and home-based sensors in cancer prevention and survivorship research. Her research on the benefits of physical activity for cancer survivors has been translated into a community program to increase physical activity among minority and medically underserved cancer survivors in Houston, Beaumont, Tyler, and El Paso, Texas, funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Dr. Basen-Engquist’s research center is working to expand energy balance research at MD Anderson by facilitating collaboration among investigators with interests in basic science, clinical, and population research related to physical activity, nutrition, obesity, and cancer.
Dr. Basen-Engquist is a member of the National Cancer Policy Forum at the National Academy of Medicine, and recently served as an organizer of NCPF workshops on incorporating physical activity and weight management programs throughout the cancer continuum, patient navigation, health literacy, and digital health. In March 2019 she became president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology.