Meet the Chief

Karen Ballen, MD

photo of Karen Ballen

Karen Ballen, MD

Dr. Karen Ballen is a professor of medicine at UVA School of Medicine. She also serves as the chief of the division of hematology/oncology, and the medical director of the stem cell transplantation program at UVA Cancer Center.

Dr. Ballen received her undergraduate degree in history and literature from Harvard College and her doctorate from Dartmouth Medical School. She completed her medical residency at Beth Israel Hospital and a hematology/oncology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, both in Boston, MA. Before joining UVA’s faculty in 2017, Dr. Ballen was the director of the Leukemia Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Ballen’s research interests are in novel therapeutic strategies for acute leukemia, including immunotherapy and targeted agents. She is an international expert in stem cell transplants, particularly for patients who have a difficult time finding a donor. Dr. Ballen started one of the first cord blood banks in the Unites States, and she has published over 150 articles on transplants and acute leukemia. She is on the advisory committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the chair of the cord blood advisory committee for the National Marrow Donor Program.

In her spare time, Dr. Ballen likes to hike. She and her daughter climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2016.