Karen studied Applied Physiology at the University of Sunderland, graduating in 1992. Working life began in the laboratory at North West Water analysing a variety of samples from around the North West. Karen moved to take up a research post at the Cancer Studies Unit, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, working on gastro-intestinal cancer studies including a clinical trial for GI cancer. In 1997 Karen began a two year post combined between the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research and The Willink Metabolic Unit working on a clinical trial for patients with Mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I) where her interest in MPS began. In 1999 she took up the position of Clinical Scientist in The Willink Metabolic Unit (now incorporated into the Genomic Diagnostics Laboratory) gaining knowledge and experience mainly in diagnosis and monitoring of Lysosomal Storage Disorders but also with interest in all disorders of Inborn Errors of Metabolism.
Karen developed and introduced to the service gene sequencing for some of the many Lysosomal Storage Disorders, including the majority of the MPS disorders. Karen was appointed Principal Clinical Scientist in 2008 taking on joint responsibility for leading the Lysosomal Section within the Willink and hence for the management of the Lysosomal Storage Disorder diagnostic and treatment monitoring service within Genomic Medicine.