Karen originally trained as a pharmacist and is currently Professor of Translational Cancer Research at the University of Leicester, where she leads the multidisciplinary Cancer Prevention Group. Her research is focussed on the discovery and preclinical development of agents for the prevention of cancer in populations at increased risk, optimising the translation of these therapies to the clinic and conducting early and late phase trials. She has an interest in both natural compounds such as curcumin and resveratrol and existing drugs that can be repurposed for cancer prevention. Intrinsic to her work is the discovery and development of pharmacodynamic biomarkers for monitoring activity in humans and personalising interventions. She has an emphasis on using clinically relevant models, such as primary explant cultures, informed by reverse translation of trials results. She also has an interest in the role of metabolic health in cancer development and how this interacts with preventive therapies to influence efficacy. Her research over the last 15 years has culminated in her securing Cancer Research UK funding for COLO-PREVENT, a world first prevention trial platform of resveratrol, aspirin and metformin in high-risk patients, which will be conducted across 60 sites and includes an embedded programme of translational research focussed on precision prevention.
Karen is joint lead of the Leicester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and Director of the Leicester Cancer Research Centre. She established and is co-Chair of the UK Therapeutic Cancer Prevention Network and represents this Network on the steering group of the Cancer Prevention Europe Consortium; she is also Vice-Chair of the Cancer Research UK Prevention and Population Research Committee.