Karen L. Skjei, M.D.

Karen L. Skjei, M.D.

Co-Director, Epilepsy Surgery Program; Director, Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Kosair Children's Hospital; Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology

Clinical Office (Child Neurology)
University of Louisville Physicians
Child Neurology
601 S. Floyd St., Suite 500
Louisville, KY 40202
Clinical Phone: (502) 589-8033

Academic Office:
University of Louisville
Department of Neurology
Room 113A, A Bldg., HSC
Louisville, KY 40292
Academic Phone: (502) 852-7981


1995 - B.S. Biology and Psychology with a Certification in Neuroscience, Duke University, NC.
Graduated Magna Cum Laude and With Distinction
2005 - M.D. University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)


2005-2007 Residency in Pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic, MN
2009-2010 Instructor, Neurology, Mayo Clinic, MN
2007-2010 Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Neurology at the Mayo Clinic, MN
2010-2012 Fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.

Board Certifications

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with Special Qualifications in Child Neurology


Dr. Skjei grew up in the Washington D.C. area. While an undergraduate at Duke University, she developed a strong interest in the Neurosciences, performing basic research through the Duke Department of Experimental Psychology and the Duke Medical Center Department of Neurology. Taking a break from academia, she served for two years in the U.S. Peace Corps, where she realized a career in medicine and clinical research would better suit her life goals. She returned to the U.S. and worked as a Research Technician in Neuropharmacology at the Scripps Research Institute as she prepared for and applied to medical school. She chose to attend the University of California School of Medicine for the diversity and real world experience of the student population there. While there, she won the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Public Service for establishing and teaching a curriculum in Medical Spanish. She completed her combined Pediatrics Residency/Child and Adolescent Neurology Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, where she was awarded the Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellow Award for her combination of clinical excellence, research prowess, and dedication to education and public service. While at Mayo she developed a passion for Pediatric Epilepsy and chose to pursue a 2 year fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology/Epilepsy at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia before joining the faculty here at the University of Louisville.

Clinical Interests

Pediatric epilepsy, refractory epilepsy, epilepsy surgery.

Research Interests

Dr. Skjei’s most recent research has focused on managing medically-intractable epilepsy, and understanding the pathophysiology of SCN1A mutation-associated epilepsy syndromes.

Selected Publications

Skjei KL, Harding B, Holland-Bouley K, Clancy RR, Porter B, Marsh E. Mild malformations of cortical development in patients with SCN1A mutations. Submitted.

Duman O, Uysal H, Skjei K, Kizilay F, Haspolat S, Sibel L. Sensorimotor Polyneuropathy in Patients with SMA Type-1: An Electroneuromyography Experience. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 2012; submitted.

Skjei KL, Dlugos D. The Evaluation of Treatment Resistant Epilepsy. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology, 2011; 18:150-170.

Skjei KL, Kessler SK, Abend NS. SIRPIDs in a 13 year old following overdose and respiratory arrest. Pediatr Neurology, 2011 Nov; 45(5):350-1.

Skjei KL, Martin M, and Slavotinek AM. KBG syndrome: report of twins, neurological characteristics, and delineation of diagnostic criteria. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 2007 Feb; 143(3): 292-300.

Skjei KL and Markou A. Effects of repeated withdrawal episodes, nicotine dose, and duration of nicotine exposure on the severity and duration of nicotine withdrawal in rats. Psychopharmacology. 2003 Jul; 168(3): 280-92.

Cryan JF, Bruijnzeel AW, Skjei KL and Markou A. Bupropion enhances brain reward function and reverses the affective and somatic aspects of nicotine withdrawal in the rat. Psychopharmacology. 2003 Jul; 168(3): 347-58.

Skjei KL, Martin M, and Slavotinek AM. KBG Syndrome: case report of identical male twins and delineation of diagnostic criteria. American College of Medical Genetics, Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting. March 18, 2005.

Townsend TC, Cortes RA, Nobuhara KK, Skjei K, Keller RL, Harrison MR, Farmer DL and Lee H. Comparison of preterm to term infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia: Neonatal support, early outcomes and recurrence. Amer Acad Peds Mtg., SF, October 9-13, 2004.

Contact E-Mail:

Links to relevant websites:

Epilepsy Foundation
: www.epilepsyfoundation.org
International League Against Epilepsy - ILAE
: www.ilae.org