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Karen Berkowitz

Karen Berkowitz, MD

Assistant Professor


Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Practices: Drexel Obstetrics and Gynecology

Specialties: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Education

  • MD - Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y. (1993)

Awards & Honors

  • Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Society

Dr. Karen Berkowitz's areas of clinical interest include infertility, in vitro fertilization, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). She is a graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Society. Dr. Berkowitz's practice is located in Center City Philadelphia.

Dr. Berkowitz is board certified in both obstetrics and gynecology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Clinical Services

In vitro fertilization (IVF), Infertility, Endocrinology, Polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS

Fellowships

  • NIH Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development Award - Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health, University of Pennsylvania
  • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility – University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (1997-2000)

Residencies

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology - Yale New Haven Hospital (1993-1997)

Dr. Berkowitz is an assistant professor in the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Interests

Mammalian germ cell development, Molecular mechanisms governing gametogenesis.

Research

Dr. Berkowitz's research interests include mammalian germ cell development. The germ cell complement and the processes of germ cell development determine reproductive potential. Factors that reduce germ cell number or interfere with gametogenesis can limit or even preclude reproduction, leading to infertility. She is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that govern mammalian gametogenesis and uses the mouse as the model experimental system. Her studies focus on meiosis, meiotic recombination, and chromosome segregation, processes that are crucial to germ cell development and genome integrity.

About Dr. Berkowitz's Infertility Research

Infertility is a major medical concern that affects about 1 of every 10 individuals of childbearing age worldwide. Although a significant proportion of infertility is accounted for by identifiable causes, the molecular basis of these defects is often not known or well characterized. Low sperm count in infertile men and ovulatory dysfunction and diminished ovarian function in infertile women are examples. It is becoming increasingly clear that many more disorders in medicine, including infertility, have a genetic basis than was previously realized. It is the goal of Dr. Berkowitz's research to advance the field so that a better understanding of the underlying defects of infertility disorders will lead to improved treatments.

CTF18 encodes an evolutionarily conserved protein that is crucial for germline development in the fruitfly, and essential for the faithful transmission of chromosomes in yeast. Dr. Berkowitz generated a mouse model that lacks Chtf18, the orthologue of the Drosophila melanogaster gene, cutlet. She demonstrated that gametogenesis and fertility are severely impaired in both Chtf18-/- male and female mice. She also showed that loss of Chtf18 results in premature separation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis. Consistent with these data is that while Chtf18-/- mice are to a large extent viable, loss of Chtf18 results in significant embryonic lethality. Defects in these processes are known to contribute greatly to causes of aneuploidy in offspring, and aneuploidy is one of the most frequent types of genetic defects that occur during reproduction. Dr. Berkowitz's studies are designed to determine the roles CTF18/Chtf18 play in mammalian germ cell development and meiosis. She is examining the molecular mechanisms that control Chtf18 function in vivo, as well as the roles Chtf18 play in genome integrity of germ cells and somatic cells.

Better understanding of the roles of Chtf18 in mammals will broaden the knowledge of the underlying molecular aspects of gametogenesis and chromosomal segregation in mammals, and will provide insight into human infertility and reproductive disorders.

Publications

"The roles of cohesins in mitosis, meiosis, and human health and disease"
Brooker AS and Berkowitz KM
Accepted in Methods Mol Biol

"Disruption of Chtf18 Causes Defective Meiotic Recombination in Male Mice"
Berkowitz KM, Sowash AR, Koenig LR, Urcuyo D, Khan F, Yang F, Wang PJ, Jongens TA, and Kaestner KH
PLoS Genetics. 8 (11), November 2012

"Germline Expression of Mammalian CTF18, an Evolutionarily Conserved Protein Required for Germ Cell Proliferation in the Fly and Sister Chromatid Cohesion in Yeast"
Berkowitz KM, Kaestner KH, Jongens TA
Molecular Human Reproduction, 14(3): 143-150 (Cover), 2008


Contact Information


Practice Office

Drexel Ob/Gyn
10 Shurs Lane
Suite 204, Jamestown Street Entrance
Philadelphia, PA 19127
Phone: 215.477.4960
Fax: 215.477.6107

Research Office

Drexel University College of Medicine
245 N. 15th Street
MS 497, Room 11105
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215-762-3508
Fax: 215-762-4452