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The Allen and Lee-Hwa Chao Lectureship in Cancer Research was established in 1999 with a gift from Allen Chao and his wife Lee-Hwa Chao. The Chao family has been generous contributors to UC Irvine and the Cancer Center over the years, with three generations of Chaos giving nearly $30 million to the campus. The lecture series provides a forum to share and discuss topics related to cancer research, prevention and treatment. Each year the lectureship hosts an internationally renowned leader in cancer research, who delivers a technical colloquium in addition to a public lecture. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, is the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN). Prior to joining ACS, Dr. Knudsen served as executive vice president of Oncology Services and enterprise director for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, one of only 71 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers recognized for their research and impact on cancer outcomes. While at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, Dr. Knudsen experienced firsthand how ACS improves the lives of cancer patients and their families through discovery, advocacy, and patient support.
As a National Cancer Institute-funded researcher, Dr. Knudsen understands the critical role government plays in saving lives from cancer. She also served as president for the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), which is an important voice in advocating for funding for cancer research and access to care, including patient access to research innovations. Dr. Knudsen currently holds leadership roles with some of the most important cancer entities in the nation. She serves on the board of advisors for the National Cancer Institute and on 12 external advisory boards for NCI designated cancer centers. She is an active member of several committees with the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in addition to serving on other academic and for-profit advisory boards. She previously served as president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), representing the 102 leading cancer centers in North America, and on the board of directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).