School of Medicine

Obituary: Karen Seibert, executive director of pharmacology center, 61

Karen Seibert, a deeply respected leader in pharmacology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, at her home in Chesterfield, Mo., after a battle with a cancer. She was 61.

Seibert wore many hats in her long, successful career. She was the founding executive director of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, a formal collaboration between Washington University and the newly named University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy. In addition to that role, she was a professor of anesthesiology, of pathology and immunology, and of genetics at the School of Medicine. Further, she was associate director of shared resources for Siteman Cancer Center, in conjunction with Washington University and BJC HealthCare.

Seibert also had leadership roles in research collaborations between Washington University and the biopharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., and the university and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. The collaborations were established to provide opportunities for academic researchers to translate and transform concepts into breakthroughs leading to drug discovery.

“As anyone who knew Karen can appreciate, she was a true force of nature – brilliant with a deeply inquisitive mind, a wonderful sense of humor, and a remarkable ability to bring people together and form partnerships,” said Michael Avidan, MBBCh, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology and head of the Department of Anesthesiology. “When she was recruited to our department to be the co-director of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, she embraced it with her usual tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit. She worked through all of the challenges of establishing an inter-institutional venture and cut through administrative barricades with a fierce determination that nothing would get in the way of this very important mission.”

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