Karen D Wright MD

Karen Wright, MD, MS

Member of Faculty, Harvard Medical School

    Contact: (617) 632-4244
  • Fax: (617) 632-4897

Medical Services


  • Brain Tumors
  • Infant brain tumors


  • Hematology / Oncology


  • Brain Tumor Center
To schedule an appointment: Call (617) 632-4244
Karen D Wright MD


The diagnosis of cancer is incredibly difficult for anyone, but when it’s your child, it’s particularly devastating. I make sure to reassure patients, parents, families and caregivers that this is a partnership and a journey we will weather together. Part of my job is to teach them about the tumor, the treatment, and expected side effects of that treatment, but what they don’t initially realize is how much they will teach me in return. I’ve had years of training to prepare for this; they have had but a few weeks. Yet one of the most rewarding parts of my job is to watch my patients, their families and caregivers transition from students to teachers. I think it’s important to also acknowledge that although we may not cure every patient with a brain tumor, we will help patients to live as long and as well as possible with current therapies and supportive care.

Experience and Education


Medical School

Temple University School of Medicine, 2003

Philadelphia, PA


Dartmouth, Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, 2006

Lebanon, NH


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 2010

Memphis, TN


  • Pediatrics

  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles
  1. Ramkissoon SH, Bandopadhayay P, Hwang J, Ramkissoon LA, Greenwald NF, Schumacher SE, O'Rourke R, Pinches N, Ho P, Malkin H, Sinai C, Filbin M, Plant A, Bi WL, Chang MS, Yang E, Wright KD, Manley PE, Ducar M, Alexandrescu S, Lidov H, Delalle I, Goumnerova LC, Church AJ, Janeway KA, Harris MH, MacConaill LE, Folkerth RD, Lindeman NI, Stiles CD, Kieran MW, Ligon AH, Santagata S, Dubuc AM, Chi SN, Beroukhim R, Ligon KL. Clinical targeted exome-based sequencing in combination with genome-wide copy number profiling: precision medicine analysis of 203 pediatric brain tumors. Neuro Oncol. 2017 Jul 01; 19(7):986-996.
  2. Pajtler KW, Mack SC, Ramaswamy V, Smith CA, Witt H, Smith A, Hansford JR, von Hoff K, Wright KD, Hwang E, Frappaz D, Kanemura Y, Massimino M, Faure-Conter C, Modena P, Tabori U, Warren KE, Holland EC, Ichimura K, Giangaspero F, Castel D, von Deimling A, Kool M, Dirks PB, Grundy RG, Foreman NK, Gajjar A, Korshunov A, Finlay J, Gilbertson RJ, Ellison DW, Aldape KD, Merchant TE, Bouffet E, Pfister SM, Taylor MD. The current consensus on the clinical management of intracranial ependymoma and its distinct molecular variants. Acta Neuropathol. 2017 Jan; 133(1):5-12.
  3. Daryani VM, Patel YT, Tagen M, Turner DC, Carcaboso AM, Atkinson JM, Gajjar A, Gilbertson RJ, Wright KD, Stewart CF. Translational Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic Modeling and Simulation: Optimizing 5-Fluorouracil Dosing in Children With Pediatric Ependymoma. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol. 2016 Apr; 5(4):211-221.
  4. Lucas JT, Wright KD. Vismodegib and Physeal Closure in a Pediatric Patient. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2016 Nov; 63(11):2058.
  5. Gupta K, Klimo P, Wright KD. A 2-Year-Old Girl with Dysmetria and Ataxia. Brain Pathol. 2016 Jan; 26(1):126-7.
  6. Wright KD, Daryani VM, Turner DC, Onar-Thomas A, Boulos N, Orr BA, Gilbertson RJ, Stewart CF, Gajjar A. Phase I study of 5-fluorouracil in children and young adults with recurrent ependymoma. Neuro Oncol. 2015 Dec; 17(12):1620-7.
  7. Wright KD, Stewart CF. Response to: comment on "Delayed methotrexate excretion in infants and young children with primary central nervous system tumors and postoperative fluid collections". Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2015 Apr; 75(4):877-8.
  8. Wright KD, Sabin ND, Cheuk D, McNall-Knapp R, Shurtleff SA, Gajjar A, Broniscer A. Incidental diagnosis of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in children. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015 Jun; 62(6):1081-3.
  9. Wright KD, Panetta JC, Onar-Thomas A, Reddick WE, Patay Z, Qaddoumi I, Broniscer A, Robinson G, Boop FA, Klimo P, Ward D, Gajjar A, Stewart CF. Delayed methotrexate excretion in infants and young children with primary central nervous system tumors and postoperative fluid collections. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2015 Jan; 75(1):27-35.
  10. DeWire M, Green DM, Sklar CA, Merchant TE, Wallace D, Lin T, Vern-Gross T, Kun LE, Krasin MJ, Boyett JM, Wright KD, Wetmore C, Broniscer A, Gajjar A. Pubertal development and primary ovarian insufficiency in female survivors of embryonal brain tumors following risk-adapted craniospinal irradiation and adjuvant chemotherapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015 Feb; 62(2):329-334.
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  12. Wright KD, Onciu MM, Coustan-Smith E, Campana D, Raimondi SC, Inaba H, Ribeiro R, Pui CH, Sandlund JT. Successful treatment of pediatric plasmacytoid dendritic cell tumors with a contemporary regimen for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2013 Jul; 60(7):E38-41.
  13. Wright KD, Gajjar A. Current treatment options for pediatric and adult patients with ependymoma. Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2012 Dec; 13(4):465-77.
  14. Perko R, Harreld JH, Helton KJ, Sabin ND, Haidar CE, Wright KD. What goes around comes around? Wernicke encephalopathy and the nationwide shortage of intravenous multivitamins revisited. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Nov 01; 30(31):e318-20.
  15. Murphy ES, Merchant TE, Wu S, Xiong X, Lukose R, Wright KD, Qaddoumi I, Armstrong GT, Broniscer A, Gajjar A. Necrosis after craniospinal irradiation: results from a prospective series of children with central nervous system embryonal tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Aug 01; 83(5):e655-60.
  16. Godfraind C, Kaczmarska JM, Kocak M, Dalton J, Wright KD, Sanford RA, Boop FA, Gajjar A, Merchant TE, Ellison DW. Distinct disease-risk groups in pediatric supratentorial and posterior fossa ependymomas. Acta Neuropathol. 2012 Aug; 124(2):247-57.
  17. Wright KD, von der Embse K, Coleman J, Patay Z, Ellison DW, Gajjar A. Isochromosome 17q, MYC amplification and large cell/anaplastic phenotype in a case of medullomyoblastoma with extracranial metastases. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2012 Sep; 59(3):561-4.
  18. Pounds S, Gao CL, Johnson RA, Wright KD, Poppleton H, Finkelstein D, Leary SE, Gilbertson RJ. A procedure to statistically evaluate agreement of differential expression for cross-species genomics. Bioinformatics. 2011 Aug 01; 27(15):2098-103.
  19. Pai Panandiker AS, Merchant TE, Beltran C, Wu S, Sharma S, Boop FA, Jenkins JJ, Helton KJ, Wright KD, Broniscer A, Kun LE, Gajjar A. Sequencing of local therapy affects the pattern of treatment failure and survival in children with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors of the central nervous system. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Apr 01; 82(5):1756-63.
  20. Wright KD, Qaddoumi I, Patay Z, Gajjar A, Wilson MW, Rodriguez-Galindo C. Successful treatment of early detected trilateral retinoblastoma using standard infant brain tumor therapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2010 Sep; 55(3):570-2.
  21. Johnson RA, Wright KD, Poppleton H, Mohankumar KM, Finkelstein D, Pounds SB, Rand V, Leary SE, White E, Eden C, Hogg T, Northcott P, Mack S, Neale G, Wang YD, Coyle B, Atkinson J, DeWire M, Kranenburg TA, Gillespie Y, Allen JC, Merchant T, Boop FA, Sanford RA, Gajjar A, Ellison DW, Taylor MD, Grundy RG, Gilbertson RJ. Cross-species genomics matches driver mutations and cell compartments to model ependymoma. Nature. 2010 Jul 29; 466(7306):632-6.
  22. Wright KD, Gilbertson RJ. To infinium, and beyond! Cancer Cell. 2010 May 18; 17(5):419-20.
  23. Wright KD, Green DM, Daw NC. Late effects of treatment for wilms tumor. Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2009 Sep; 26(6):407-13.
  24. Wright KD, Gajjar A. New chemotherapy strategies and biological agents in the treatment of childhood ependymoma. Childs Nerv Syst. 2009 Oct; 25(10):1275-82.
  25. Johnson R, Wright KD, Gilbertson RJ. Molecular profiling of pediatric brain tumors: insight into biology and treatment. Curr Oncol Rep. 2009 Jan; 11(1):68-72.
  26. Plotinsky RN, Talbot EA, Kellenberg JE, Reef SE, Buseman SK, Wright KD, Modlin JF. Congenital rubella syndrome in a child born to Liberian refugees: clinical and public health perspectives. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2007 May; 46(4):349-55.
To schedule an appointment: Call (617) 632-4244


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