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Personal profile

Research Biography

Karen obtained her BSc (Hons) degree from Flinders University in 1997.  She then went on to carry out her PhD research at Adelaide University, based at the Women's and Children's Hospital, in the area of neurogenetics.  During this time her research was in the identification of genes involved in intellectual disability, culminating in the identification of genes for 2 disorders (BFLS and ARX).  Following her PhD studies, Karen was awarded a Nuffield Medical Research Fellowship, enabling her to take up a post-doctoral research position at Oxford University, UK.  During her time in Oxford, Karen's research was predominantly in the field of gene regulation and chromatin remodeling, in addition to lecturing and tutoring medical students in Medical Genetics and Biochemistry at Oxford University.  After spending 7 years in the UK, Karen returned to Flinders University in 2010 to continue both teaching and research in human genetics. In addition to developing and coordinating all undergraduate human genetics topics at Flinders, Karen has also played a key role in the implementation of Team Based Learning in the MD degree.

Research Interests

I am interested in understanding how the expression of genes is regulated, in both the normal and disease state.   Such regulation is a complex process, and involves many interacting factors including DNA sequence, transcription factor binding and chromatin structure.   Defects at any level of these processes can result in human disease, and understanding these mechanisms will enable us to both diagnose individuals at risk of disease earlier, and to develop improved therapeutics to treat these diseases.


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Medical biosciences

Supervisory Interests

  • Cancer genetics
  • Chromatin gene regulation
  • Gene expression
  • Disease gene identification


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