2013 Distinguished Alumna: Dr. Karen Seibert
Karen Seibert, MS ’84, PhD is this year’s Distinguished Alumna. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor and distinction the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Alumni Affiliate bestows on an alumnus in recognition of outstanding career achievement in pharmacy or healthcare, including research, teaching, administration, publishing, etc.
While she was a student at UT, Dr. Seibert studied in the lab of Dr. Christine Hinko.
Dr. Seibert, who earned a master’s degree in pharmacology from The University of Toledo in 1984, is professor of pathology and immunology, professor of genetics, and director of Genomics and Pathology Services at Washington University School of Medicine.
Her work is focused on identifying clinical and translational research programs that have significant potential to lead to improvements in diagnosis or treatment of disease.
Previously, Dr. Seibert spent nearly twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently as Vice President of Research and Development for Pfizer at the St. Louis Laboratories. Her responsibilities included the management of research programs at multiple stages, spanning early new target identification to defining clinical proof of concept as it relates to multiple patient populations. While at Pfizer Dr. Seibert collaborated with leaders at Washington University to renew the long-standing Biomedical Agreement between the two institutions and served as co-chair of the collaboration’s Joint Steering Committee.
Dr. Seibert is known as one of the principal investigators who identified the arthritis and pain drug, Celebrex®. In studies initiated at Washington University in the late 1980’s, Dr. Seibert and colleagues were the first to describe a novel enzyme involved in pain and inflammation (COX-2). These discoveries led to the development of specific inhibitors of the COX-2 enzyme that provide significant improvement over current therapies for patients with arthritis.
In 2000, she was awarded the Edgar Queeny Prize by the Monsanto Company for excellence in science and technology, in recognition of her contributions to COX-2 research, and in 2002 she received the Discoverer’s Award, an honor that the pharmaceutical industry pays to its scientists. In 2008 she was named the “St Louis Health Care Hero” for her contributions to drug discovery and development and has recently been awarded the 2013 Outstanding Scientific Leadership Award from the St. Louis Academy of Science.
Dr. Seibert received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Northwestern University, a Master of Science in pharmacology from the University of Toledo, and a PhD from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis before joining Monsanto in 1991. Dr. Seibert has delivered many papers worldwide in the areas of inflammation, pain, and cancer research and has coauthored nearly one hundred scholarly publications.
Dr. Seibert is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for St Louis Lydia’s House, and St. Louis YWCA, and previously served on boards for St. Louis Winning Women, the United Way of St. Louis Executive Leadership Team, DeToqueville Society for United Way-St. Louis, and American Heart Association – Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Initiative. She was named a Leader of Distinction by the St. Louis YWCA in 2005.
During her visit to campus for Homecoming, Dr. Seibert gave a presentation entitled “What’s Behind the Little White Pill?” The seminar was about the challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry in developing new medications and personalizing medicine.
Charisse Montgomery is the Scientific Editor and College Communicator for The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is an alumna of The University of Toledo with master's degree in English from the College of Arts and Sciences, and she volunteers her time mentoring students and enjoys learning, reading, painting, and traveling.
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