Center for Clinical Pharmacology

Karen Seibert, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Center

Karen Seibert, Co-Director of the Center for Clinical PharmacologyDr. Karen Seibert served as Professor of Anesthesiology, Pathology and Immunology, and Genetics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis from 2010 - 2020.  Additional positions held during that time include Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy in St. Louis, Executive Director of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, a formal collaboration between Washington University and the University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy, and Associate Director of Shared Resources for the Siteman Comprehensive Center, in conjunction with Washington University and BJC Healthcare.  

As a founding director of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, Dr. Seibert successfully recruited a talented, dynamic research team who bring years of experience in drug discovery and development including drug mechanisms, medicinal chemistry, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, pharmacogenetics, pharmacometrics, drug development, and drug regulation.  The Center recently received the 2020 BMO Harris Bank Spirit of St. Louis Award which honors organizations that embrace risk-taking, innovation, cutting-edge technology, or industry best practices to extend St. Louis’ rich history and global reputation as a hub of innovation and forward-looking vision.

At Washington University, Dr. Seibert also had oversight of the Pfizer-CTI and Mallinckrodt joint steering committees, reporting to the executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of Washington University School of Medicine. These collaborations were established to provide opportunities for academic researchers to translate and transform concepts into breakthroughs leading to drug discovery.

Previous to her appointment at the Center, Dr. Seibert developed and led the clinical genomics group known as Genomics and Pathology Services (GPS) at Washington University School of Medicine.  As Director of GPS, she led an effort to develop genomic-based clinical tests for use in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer and other diseases, overseeing numerous clinical research programs with potential for improvements in diagnosis or treatment of disease, especially in the area of cancer and rare disease research.

Prior to joining Washington University in 2010, 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, overseeing dozens of research programs in multiple therapeutic areas. 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 PhrMA Discoverer’s Award. 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, College of Pharmacy, 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 was a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. She served as a member of the Board of Directors for Unleashing Potential and previously served on boards for St. Louis YWCA, Winning Women, Lydia’s House, the United Way of St. Louis Executive Leadership Team and the American Heart Association. She was named a Leader of Distinction by the St. Louis YWCA in 2005. 

Sadly, Dr. Seibert passed away on November 9, 2020 after a battle with cancer.  She received numerous honors over her career and was so highly regarded that Siteman Cancer Center renamed her position there, in perpetuity, the Karen Seibert Associate Director of Shared Resources.  Additionally, before her death she was informed that Siteman had created the Karen Seibert Lifetime Achievement Award and that she was its first recipient.