Jacksons Laboratories | USA

Karen is a biologist with longstanding interest in using the mouse to model human metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. She helped develop a high-throughput phenotyping platform to characterize over 40 inbred mouse strains, chemically induced mutant strains, genetically engineered models and outbred mice to aid in the identification of new mouse models of human disease and to help in the functional annotation of the mammalian genome. The mouse clinic approach, whereby a single mouse is evaluated for multiple behavioural and physiological screens, is the strategy currently used for multiple research projects that she leads. 


JAX KOMP2 Phenotyping Center is one of three NIH-funded Centers for phenotyping Knockout Mouse Program (KOMP) strains in a systematic, internationally coordinated effort to functionally annotate the mammalian genome. As such, they are actively involved in the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC), where coordinated protocols are established to ensure harmonized testing on a global level for the multitude of laboratories contributing to this effort. 


Dr Svenson’s RO1 research pursues the identification of chemically induced mutations underlying features of the metabolic syndrome. They are currently focused on a mutant with a mitochondrial defect that may play a role in resistance to diet-induced obesity. Thet have also developed new cardiovascular and hyperglycemic models in this effort. 


As a co-investigator at the Center for Genome Dynamics she has focused on the effects of diet on metabolic traits and have helped develop the Diversity Outbred mouse population to enhance our ability to identify precise causal genes driving these traits.