Congratulations Robert Knoerl, PhD, RN ONS 2020 Victoria Mock New Investigator Award Recipient

Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
September 10, 2020

The Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute congratulates Dr. Robert Knoerl on receiving this prestigious award, which recognizes the contributions of new investigators in building a scientific foundation for oncology nursing practice. His program of research, with focus on integrative therapies for management of cancer treatment-related symptoms, is integral to improving the experience of cancer patients and survivors.

Dr. Knoerl's current studies include evaluating the effectiveness of mindful music therapy for psychological support in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) receiving cancer treatment, determining the feasibility of an eight-week yoga intervention for treating chronic chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), and defining crucial factors for clinical study design to address CIPN in AYAs with cancer, especially the relationship between metabolomic and genetic markers and CIPN severity and associated functional interference. He is also conducting a choice-based conjoint analysis to identify characteristics of clinical trials which can be modified to increase patients’ likelihood to participate in studies.

In his role as a Nurse Scientist within the Cantor Center, Dr. Knoerl engages patient care staff at all levels in clinical research. His innovative collaborations with Dana-Farber’s Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living target knowledge gaps about supportive therapies and their impact on psychosocial and physical function outcomes. His work to address these challenges in patients and their family members perfectly encapsulates the Cantor Center’s mission to reduce the burden of cancer. Holistically, his work targets improving the quality of life for patients, survivors, clinicians, and caregivers through rigorous research and the promotion of evidence-based practice.

As he investigates the efficacy of non-pharmaceutical interventions, Dr. Knoerl shares his knowledge and insights with colleagues and students alike. During the 2019-20 academic year, he served as a mentor with the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and welcomed a Harvard Medical School student as a research trainee. Meticulous attention to detail and the ability to approach problems from multiple perspectives make Dr. Knoerl a talented nurse scientist and communicator.

Robert Knoerl graduated from the University of Michigan BSN program in 2014. He started in the University of Michigan School of Nursing PhD Program later that year as a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation under the mentorship of Ellen Smith. His dissertation study was focused on determining the impact of a self-guided online cognitive behavioral pain management program to improve worst pain intensity in individuals with chronic painful CIPN. After graduating in 2017, Rob began a postdoctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber under the mentorship of Donna Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN. Upon completion of his fellowship in 2019, Dr. Knoerl was recruited to a faculty position as a Nurse Scientist at Dana-Farber’s Cantor Center and as an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The Victoria Mock New Investigator Award Lecture is Thursday, September 10, 10:15 – 11:15 am.