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Abbott, Karen, PhD

Title: Associate Professor

Office: AHC4 333

Phone: 305-348-9132


Department(s): Translational Medicine

Karen Abbott has been a leader in the field of glyco-proteomics and biomarker discovery for over 14 years. As an associate professor within the Department of Translational Medicine, she works with TGIF Director Charles Dimitroff, PhD, to build collaborative translational glycoscience that fosters an environment supportive of mentoring the next generation of scientists and promoting research excellence.


PhD in Biochemistry from The University of Georgia, 2004

Active Grants

  1. Agency: Alliance of Glycobiologists, National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    Role: Principal Investigator (PI)
    Project Period: 04/01/2018 - 03/31/2023
    This project applies the most advanced technologies toward the goal of identifying glycoprotein and glycan markers that can detect ovarian cancer early.
  2. Agency: Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (NCI)
    Role: Principal Investigator (PI)
    Project Period: 10/01/2018 - 9/31/2021
    The goal of this project is to develop a novel method to target glycoprotein receptors with cancer-specific glycans for degradation to analyze global changes in signaling outcomes.

Selected Publications

  1. Murali P, Johnson BP, Lu Z, Climer L, Scott, DA, Foulquier F, Oprea-Ilies G, Lupashin V, Drake RR, and Abbott KL (2020) Novel Role for the Golgi Membrane Protein TMEM165  in Control of Migration and Invasion for Breast Carcinoma. 2020; 11: 2747-2762. Retrieved from (Cover Oncotarget) [PMID 32733646]
  2. Generation of a Fully Human scFv that binds Tumor-Specific Glycoforms. Lu Z, Kamat K, Johnson BP, Yin CC, Scholler N, Abbott KL. Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 25;9(1):5101. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41567-6. PMID: 30911061
  3. Allam H, Johnson BP, Zhang, Lu Z, Cannon MJ, Abbott KL (2017) The glycosylatransferase GnT-III activates Notch signaling and drives stem cell expansion to promote the growth and invasion of ovarian cancer. J. Biol. Chem. 292 (39):16351-59.[PMID 28842505]
  4. Allam H, Aoki K, McDonald JF, MacIntosh SG, Tiemeyer M, Abbott KL *(2015) “Glycomic analysis of membrane glycoproteins with bisecting glycosylation from ovarian cancer tissues reveal novel structures and functions.” J Proteome Res. 14(1):434-46.[PMID 25437919] [PMC 4286206]
  5. Guo H, Abbott KL.*( 2015)“Functional impact of tumor-specific N-linked glycan changes in breast and ovarian cancers”. Adv. Cancer Res. 126:281-303[PMID 25727151]

Research Areas

Dr. Abbott’s lab has been focused on the discovery and development of a human antibody that can target a specific form of N-linked tumor glycan found on glycoproteins abundantly expressed on ovarian cancer, glioblastoma, and lung cancer. This research has the potential to lead to new serum-based diagnostic assays and new therapeutic strategies to target these cancers. 

Abbott is currently funded by an Alliance of Glycobiologists NCI grant that is one of only nine competitively funded Tumor Glycomics Laboratories that are working to understand how complex carbohydrates contribute to the development and progression of tumors. She is also funded by the NCI Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies grant that supports the development of novel and transformative technologies to develop new therapeutics and diagnostics for cancer. She has been funded for ovarian cancer research by since 2010.

In 2005, she was awarded an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship where she developed lectin capture methods for the analysis of glycoproteins from human tissues and plasma using mass spectrometry methods.