Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a Professor of Behavioral Science and the Director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Basen-Engquist’s research focuses on cancer survivors and the role of health behavior interventions in decreasing the severity of late effects, improving physical functioning, optimizing quality of life and reducing risk of chronic diseases. In addition, she studies intervention methods for behavior change and innovative real-time methods for assessing symptoms and behavior in cancer patients and survivors.
Dr. Basen-Engquist recently completed an R01 study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to investigate the mechanisms of exercise adoption and maintenance in endometrial cancer survivors, using a social cognitive theory model that tests the social, physiological and behavioral predictors of exercise adherence. Additionally, 2 NCI-funded pilot studies evaluated the benefits of exercise for advanced colon cancer patients and cancer survivors with chemotherapy induced heart failure. She currently directs a prevention program funded by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to increase physical activity among medically underserved breast cancer survivors.
Through activities at the Center, Dr. Basen-Engquist endeavors to expand energy balance research by facilitating collaboration among investigators and expanding research in 4 broad areas – the effect of exercise, nutrition, and weight control on outcomes in cancer survivors and people at increased risk of cancer; biological mechanisms underlying relationships between energy balance and cancer; dissemination and implementation research related to energy balance interventions; and basic biobehavioral mechanisms underlying exercise, eating behavior and weight loss.