Karen graduated with her MS from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2011 where she studied MHC Class I assembly in the lab of Naveen Bangia, PhD. From there she was accepted to the MD/PhD program at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, NY, and joined the labs of Kenneth Mann, PhD, MS, and Megan Oest, PhD. She successfully defended her PhD dissertation in 2017, focusing on mechanisms of aseptic loosening of human total knee replacements. This work primarily used a human postmortem knee model to provide in vivo data of total joint replacement fixation and bone resorption. She graduated with her MD in 2019 and matched to the University of Iowa Emergency Medicine residency class of 2022, also becoming the first EM resident accepted to the PSTP program. Her research interests are the intersection of climate change and infectious disease, and understanding how fluctuating world environments affect her patient population (i.e., the acutely ill). Her medical interests lie in disaster medicine and global health. She hopes to use her experience in immunology, emergency medicine, and the human knee to examine mechanisms of Lyme arthritis as part of the Petersen Lab.