Karen graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1998 with a Honours degree in the Bachelor of Science, majoring in Fetal Physiology. She then completed a PhD in Physiology at the University of Melbourne in 2001. Since 2002 Karen has held a number of research positions at the Howard Florey Institute, Monash University and, more recently, at The University of Queensland. Currently Karen leads a research team containing Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Assistants as well as numerous PhD and Honours students. Her research group studies how perturbations to the fetus (such as increased glucocorticoid exposure and maternal alcohol consumption) can alter kidney development and function, thereby increasing the risk of the exposed offspring to develop adult onset diseases. She has strong collaborations within The University of Queensland, Monash University and the University of Melbourne.