Karen M. Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of Behavioral Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

A psychologist by training, Basen-Engquist is internationally-recognized for her research improving quality of life for cancer survivors by developing and testing health behavior interventions to improve survivors’ physical function and health outcomes. She is the director of MD Anderson’s Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship, one of the few comprehensive research-focused initiatives dedicated to basic and clinical research.

Basen-Engquist recently completed a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded study investigating the mechanisms of exercise adoption and maintenance in endometrial cancer survivors. She’s a co-leader of Project LEAP, a new clinical trial at MD Anderson evaluating the use of metformin, a diabetes drug, to prevent endometrial cancer in high-risk individuals. Basen-Engquist also co-directs the Patient-Reported Outcomes, Population, and Survey Research (PROSPR) Shared Resource, a NCI-supported shared resource that assists investigators who are conducting research involving patient-reported outcome, behavioral, and psychosocial data.

“The increasing toll of Americans’ largely sedentary lifestyle and its links to cancer is just beginning to be understood,” says Basen-Engquist. “We now have evidence that going from being completely sedentary to just a little bit active is where we’ll see the most benefit in cancer survivors and, probably, in the general population as well. This is important because it’s ‘do-able’ for most people. My work focuses on identifying the interventions that are most likely to help people adopt healthier changes, no matter how small.”

Basen-Engquist regularly tweets diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle tips and research findings @K_BasenEngquist. She is available for telephone interviews or live broadcast appearances from MD Anderson's on-site studio.

Research efforts include: • How exercise and diet affect cancer survivors' symptoms, biomarkers of cancer prognosis, and overall health.• Helping cancer survivors adopt more physically active lifestyles.• Designing innovative mobile technology methods of measuring and changing health behaviors in cancer survivors and healthy individuals.


About MD Anderson Cancer CenterThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. MD Anderson is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For ten of the past 11 years, including 2013, MD Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in “America's Best Hospitals,” a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).