Academic and medical staff appointments: Professor and Vice Chair Women’s Health Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology- Director, Cancer Population Genetics, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
National Academy of Medicine
National Cancer Policy Forum
National Cancer Advisory Board
Society of Gynecologic Oncology (Past President)
Fellow, American Society of Clinical Oncology
Fellow, American College of Surgeons
Fellow, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
American Medical Association
Association of Women's Surgeons
International Gynecologic Cancer Society
An internationally renowned physician-scientist and recognized expert on ovarian cancer, Dr. Karlan has more than 30 years of experience treating women with gynecologic cancers and investigating pressing clinical and translational questions related to gynecologic malignancies. Her clinical practice is dedicated to delivering cutting-edge compassionate cancer care to women and their families, and her research focuses on understanding the genetic drivers and phenotypic determinants of ovarian cancer, as well as hereditary predisposition to cancers, and molecular biomarkers for early detection, treatment, and prognostication. In 1989 she established a human tissue biorepository to collect fresh frozen tissue, serum, and germline DNA from women with ovarian and other gynecologic cancers in order to study cancers' biologic differences and develop improved treatments. This resource has been used in national and international collaborations including The Cancer Genome Atlas project (TCGA), Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA), and Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) - partnerships that have helped to shape current standards of care for gynecologic oncology.
Dr. Karlan has also been at the forefront of scientific and clinical efforts related to women/families with BRCA and other cancer predisposition and inherited mutations. She currently serves as co-PI on a national effort using a digital platform to implement population-based genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Dr. Karlan holds several patents related to ovarian cancer research and has received multiple recognitions for her work including an American Cancer Society Research Professorship, the Society of Gynecologic Oncology Distinguished Service Award, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Rosalind Franklin Award for Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research, and the National Cancer Institute Director's Service Award.
Board-certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology, Dr. Karlan received her undergraduate degree at Harvard-Radcliffe College and completed her medical degree at Harvard Medical School. She completed both a Clinical Residency and Post Doctoral Research Fellowship at Yale University and a Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at UCLA School of Medicine. After almost 30 years leading the gynecologic oncology program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Karlan returned to UCLA in 2019 as Professor and Vice-Chair, Women's Health Research in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Cancer Population Genetics at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In addition to her busy clinical practice and robust research portfolio, Dr. Karlan is passionate about training the next generation of clinicians and scientists, as well as advocating for women's health and the specialty of gynecologic oncology. She actively participates in medical student, residency, and fellowship training at UCLA is co-author of Surgery for Ovarian Cancer: Principles and Practice, and is Editor-in-Chief of her specialty's journals Gynecologic Oncology and Gynecologic Oncology Reports. Dr. Karlan was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Cancer Advisory Board and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. She serves on multiple non-profit Boards and is Vice-Chair of the Board of Overseers for Harvard University.