Karen Svenson, Ph.D.

Sr. Scientific Program Manager/Research Scientist

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.

I am a biologist with longstanding interest in using the mouse to model human metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. I 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 behavioral and physiological screens, is the strategy currently used for multiple research projects that I lead. 

JAX KOMP2 Phenotyping Center: We are 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, we 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. 

Building Mouse Models of Metabolic Syndrome: My RO1 research pursues the identification of chemically induced mutations underlying features of the metabolic syndrome. We are currently focused on a mutant with a mitochondrial defect that may play a role in resistance to diet-induced obesity. We have also developed new cardiovascular and hyperglycemic models in this effort. 

Center for Genome Dynamics: I am a co-investigator in this effort and have 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. 

Genetics of Sleep Drive: As subcontract PI with collaborators at the Center for Sleep and Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, we are using the Diversity Outbred mouse population to identify genes underlying drive to sleep and developing novel methods to understand sleep disorders.