Skip to main content


Subpage Hero

Kara Maxwell

Kara Maxwell

Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Kara Maxwell is a physician scientist, boarded in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology and with PhD training in molecular biology and genetics. Dr. Maxwell performed her doctoral training at The Rockefeller University in the field of cholesterol metabolism, and she cloned and characterized the mouse and human forms of Pcsk9. Her postdoctoral training was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Katherine Nathanson at Penn Medicine focusing on cancer genetics and genomics in DNA repair deficient breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. Maxwell currently studies the mechanisms of cancer development in patients with inherited mutations in DNA repair pathways, specifically TP53 related breast and prostate cancer. Dr. Maxwell's clinical practice in Cancer Risk Evaluation focuses on patients with high-risk cancer syndromes, and she is the regional referral expert for Li Fraumeni Syndrome patients. Dr. Maxwell also directs the Cancer Genetics Program at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Association (VA) Medical Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Maxwell's research in Li Fraumeni Syndrome leverages her patient population and international collaborative network. Her work in prostate cancer leverages the Prostate Cancer Foundation's VA Centers of Excellence network, the Million Veterans Program, the Basser Center at Penn Medicine and the Penn Medicine Biobank. Dr. Maxwell is also the director of the Basser Center for BRCA Men and BRCA Program, a center focused on research and clinical care of men with inherited BRCA1/2 mutations, at Penn Medicine.