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Karen completed her Registered Nurse Certificate at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide and then went on to complete her Registered Midwifery Certificate at the Queen Victoria Hospital.
Following completion of a Graduate Midwife Program, she spent a number of years working in the Neonatal Unit at the Women’s & Children’s Hospital (WCH) caring for premature babies and their families before becoming interested in research.
Following a role as a Clinical Studies Nurse in a Phase I – IV clinical trial facility in Adelaide, she joined Professor Maria Makrides at the Child Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC), at the WCH in 2003.
Karen completed a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Trial Management through Canberra University and managed a number of large, national multicentre trials with Professor Makrides. To expand her knowledge, she undertook a role of Clinical Trial Project Manager of a large pharmaceutical company sponsored clinical trial of blood pressure management in Primary Care at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Adelaide.
Whilst learning a great deal in this role, Karen missed maternal and child health and returned to the CNRC to commence her PhD under the supervision of Professor Makrides. Karen was awarded the MS McLeod Paediatric and Child Health Nursing PhD Scholarship in 2012 for her project investigating the effect of prenatal omega-3 supplementation on allergy in the offspring at 6 years of age. Following completion of more than 600 childhood allergy assessments, she completed her PhD in 2015 with a Dean’s commendation for post-doctoral thesis excellence.
Karen is currently working on the largest trial in the world (5500 women) to investigate the effect of prenatal omega-3 supplementation on the prevention of preterm birth and has a strong interest in maternal health and clinical trial design and management.