Karen L. Kaul, MD, PhDDuckworth Family Chair
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Administration

The Molecular Diagnostics Lab offers state of the art nucleic acid-based testing for microbes, cancer, and genetic disease.  Utilizing nucleic acid amplification, real time PCR, sequencing, and a variety of other approaches, the laboratory is involved in translational research using basic molecular techniques to diagnose and monitor human disease.  We have developed a number of in-house assays for the detection of various malignancies and infectious agents, validated these for clinical use, and utilized them to improve patient care and achieve a better understanding of the disease.

Our research focus has been the study of the mechanisms and consequences of metastasis for breast and prostate cancer.  We have developed sensitive and specific RT-PCR assays for the detection of breast and prostate epithelial cells, and used these methods to search for occult tumor cells outside the organ of origin in cancer patients, such as blood, lymph nodes, and bone marrow.  We have demonstrated, for example, that tumor cells are present in the bloodstream of a subset of patients with prostate cancer, and that tumor cells can be showered into the circulation during surgery.  We are currently monitoring these patients and developing animal models in which to study the clinical relevance of these cells as well as mechanisms to inactivate them.

I am involved in the NIH SPORE in Prostate Cancer at the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, overseeing tissue procurement efforts.


  • American Board of Pathology, Anatomic Pathology, 1988; American Board of Molecular Genetic Pathology, 2003

University Appointment

  • Clinical Professor of Pathology, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Education and Training

  • 1984, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, PhD and M.D.
    1984-1988, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Residency in Pathology
    1985-1986, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Visiting Scientist


  • Xu W, Neill T, Yang Y, Hu Z, Cleveland E, Wu Y, Hutten R, Xiao X, Stock SR, Shevrin D, Kaul K, Brendler C, Iozzo RV, Seth P: The systemic delivery of an oncolytic adenovirus expressing decorin inhibits bone metastasis in a mouse model of human prostate cancer.  Gene Ther 2014 Dec 11; [Epub ahead of print]
  • Cherenfant J, Talamonti MS, Hall CR, Thurow TA, Gage M, Stocker SJ, Lapin B, Wang E, Silverstein JC. Mangold K, Odeleye M, Kaul KL, Lamzabi I, Gattuso P, Winchester DJ, Marsh RW, Roggin KK, Bentrem DJ, Baker MS, Prinz RA: Comparison of tumor markers for predicting outcomes after resection of nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.  Surgery 2014 Dec; 156(6):1504-11.
  • Bancroft EK, Page EC, Castro E, et al: Targeted prostate cancer screening in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers: results from the initial screening round of the IMPACT study.  Eur Urol 2014 Sep; 66(3):489-99.
  • Ginn AN, Wiklendt AM, Zong Z, Lin RT, Teo JW, Tambyah PA, Peterson LR, Kaul K, Partridge SR, Iredell JR: Prediction of major antiobiotic resistance in Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia in Singapore, USA and China using a limited set of gene targets.  Int J Antimicrob Agents 2014 Jun; 43(6):563-5.
  • Haspel RI, Olsen RJ, Berry A, Hill CE, Pfeifer JD, Schrijver I, Kaul KL: Progress and potential: training in genomic pathology.  Arch Pathol Lab Med 2014 Apr; 138(4):498-504.
  • Killick E, Tymrakiewicz M, Cieza-Borrella C, Smith P, Thompson DJ, Pooley KA, Easton DF, Bancroft E, Page E, Leonqamornlert D, IMPACT Collaborators, Kote-Jarai Z, Eeles RA: Telomere length shows no association with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation status.  PLoS One 2014 Jan 29; 9(1):e86659.
  • Ridgway JP, Peterson LR, Brown EC, Du H, Hebert C, Thomason RB Jr, Kaul KL, Robicsek A: Clinical significance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization on hospital admission: one-year infection risk.  PLoS One 2013 Nov 20; 8(88):e79816.
  • Cherenfant J, Stocker SJ, Gage MK, Du H, Thurow TA, Odeleye M, Schimpke SW, Kaul KL, Hall CR, Lamzabi I, Gattuso P, Winchester DJ, Marsh RW, Roggin KK, Bentrem DJ, Baker MS, Prinz RA, Talamonti MS. Predicting aggressive behavior in nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Surgery 2013 Oct; 154(4):785-91.
  • Mangold KA, Voss BL, Singh K, Thomson RB Jr, Schora DM, Peterson LR, Kaul KL. Multiple broad-spectrum Beta-lactamase targets for comprehensive surveillance. J Clin Microbiol 2013 Oct; 51(10):3423-5.
  • Buchan BW, Ginocchio CC, Manii R, Cavagnolo R, Pancholi P, Swyers L, Thomson RB Jr, Anderson C, Kaul K, Ledeboer NA. Multiplex identification of gram-positive bacteria and resistance determinants directly from positive blood culture broths: evaluation of an automated microarray-based nucleic acid test. PLos Med 2013 Jul; 10(7):e1001478.
  • Schmitt BH, Regner M. Mangold KA, Thomson Jr RB, Kaul KL: PCR detection of clarithromycin-susceptible and -resistant Helicobacter pylori from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded gastric biopsies. Mod Pathol 2013 Sep; 26(9):1222-7.
  • Voss BL, Santiago K, Milano M, Mangold KA, Kaul KL: Integrity and amplification of nucleic acids from snap-frozen prostate tissues from robotic-assisted laparoscopic and open prostatectomies. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2013 Apr; 137(4):525030.
  • Kinonen CL, Gleason BC, Thomas AB, Kaul KL, Cibull TL: Dermal hypersensitivity reaction: a PCR-confirmed pattern of herpetic dermatitis.  J Cutan Pathol 2012 Oct; 39(10)929-35.
  • Singh K, Mangold KA, Wyant K, Schora DM, Voss B, Kaul KL, Hayden MK, Chundi V, Peterson LR: Rectal Screening for Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemases: Comparison of Real-Time PCR and Culture Using Two Selective Screening Agar Plates.  J Clin Microbiol 2012 Aug; 50(8):2596-600.
  • Yue T, Maupin KA, Fallon B, Li L, Partyka K, Anderson MA, Brenner DE, Kaul K, Zeh H, Moser AJ, Simeone DM, Feng Z, Brand RE, Haab BB: Enhanced discrimination of malignant from benign pancreatic disease by measuring the CA 19-9 antigen on specific protein carriers.  PLoS One 2011; 6(12):e29180.
  • Haspel RL, Atkinson JB, Barr FG, Kaul KL, Leonard DGB, O'Daniel J, Rinder HM, Scott J, Sobel ME, Speights VO: TRIG on TRACK: Educating Pathology Residents in Genomic Medicine.  Personalized Medicine; 2012 May; 9(3):287-293.
  • Weiss RL, McKenna BJ, Lord-Toof M, Thompson NN; Work Group members: A concensus curriculum for laboratory management training for pathology residents.  Am J Clin Pathol 2011 Nov; 136(5):671-8.
  • Yue T, Partyka K, Maupin KA, Hurley M, Andrews P, Kaul K, Moser AJ, Zeh H, Brand RE, Haab BB: Identification of blood-protein carriers of the CA 19-9 antigen and characterization of prevalence in pancreatic diseases.  Proteomics 2011 Sep; 11(18)3665-74.
  • Mangold KA, Santiano K, Broekman R, Krafft CA, Voss B, Wang V, Hacek DM, Usacheva EA, Thomson RB Jr, Kaul KL, Peterson LR: Real-time detection of blaKPC in clinical samples and surveillance specimens.  J Clin Microbiol 2011 Sep; 49(9):3338-9.
  • Robicsek A, Beaumont JL, Wright MO, Thomson RB Jr, Kaul KL, Peterson LR: Electronic prediction rules for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization.  Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2011 Jan; 32(1):9-19. 
  • Wenzel JJ, Panning M, Kaul KL, Mangold KA, Revell PA, Luna RA, Zepeda H, Perea L, Vasquez-Perez JA, Young S, Rodic-Polic B, Eickmann M, Drosten C, Jilg W, Reischl U: Analytical performance determination and clinical validation of the novel Roche RealTime Ready influenza A/H1N1 Detection Set.  J Clin Microbiol 2010 Sep; 48(9):3088-94.
  • Qi J, Nakayama K, Cardiff RD, Borowsky AD, Kaul K, Williams R, Krajewski S, Mercola D, Carpenter PM, Bowtell D, Ronai ZA: Siah2-dependent concerted activity of HIF and FoxA2 regulates formation of neuroendocrine phenotype and neuroendocrine prostate tumors. Cancer Cell 2010 Jul 13; 18(1):23-38.
  • Kaul KL, Mangold KA, Du H, Pesavento KM, Nawrocki J, Nowak JA: Influenza A Subtyping, Seasonal H1N1, H3N2, and the Appearance of November H1N1. J Mol Diagn 2010 Sep; 12(5)664-9.
  • Khleif SN, Doroshow JH, Hait WN; AACR-FDA-NCI Cancer Biomarkers Collaborative Consensus Report: Advancing the Use of Biomarkers in Cancer Drug Development. Clin Cancer Res 2010 Jul 1; 16(13)3299-318.
  • Liggett T, Meinikov A, Yi QL, Replogle C, Brand R, Kaul K, Talamonti M, Abrams R, Levenson V: Differential methylation of cell-free circulating DNA among patients with pancreatic cancer versus chronic pancreatitis. Cancer 2010 Apr 1; 116(7):1674-80.
  • Zheng X, Todd KM, Yen-Lieberman B, Kaul K, Mangold K, Shulman ST. Unique finding of a 2009 H1N1 influenza virus positive clinical sample suggests matrix gene sequence variation. J Clin Microbiol 2010 Feb; 48(2):665-6.
  • Mangold KA, Wang V, Weissman SM, Rubinstein WS, Kaul KL: Detection of BRCA1 and BRCA2 Ashkenazi Jewish founder mutations in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues using conventional PCR and heteroduplex/amplicon size differences. J Mol Diagn 2010 Jan; 12(1):20-6.