Karen is a reproductive biologist with broad interests in the areas of assisted reproductive technologies in humans and livestock, and ovarian and prostate cancer. Her research investigates the role of members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFB) family of proteins in reproductive biology. Current research is focused on the role of activins in ovarian and prostate cancer development. The aim is to identify biomarkers that can predict disease outcome and inform treatment decisions, as well as novel therapeutic targets.
Karen’s other areas of research include the identification of factors important for oocyte quality that can be used to identify good quality oocytes and embryos, or manipulated to improve embryo development. She is also working on improving methods for oocyte cryopreservation. Her laboratory works with human tissue, human cancer cell lines and sheep ovarian cells, and utilises techniques such as cell culture, in vitro embryo production, electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry and molecular biology.