JCVI: About / Bios / Karen E. Nelson
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Karen E. Nelson, Ph.D.

Research Interests and Accomplishments 

Karen E. Nelson, Ph.D. is the President of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). Prior to being appointed President, she held a number of other positions at the Institute, including Director of JCVI's Rockville Campus, and Director of Human Microbiology and Metagenomics in the Department of Human Genomic Medicine at JCVI. Dr. Nelson received her undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies, and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has authored or co-authored over 170 peer reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of BMC Genomics, GigaScience, and the Central European Journal of Biology.

Dr. Nelson is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and serves on their Board of Life Sciences. Other honors include being named ARCS Scientist of the Year 2017; a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; an Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies; and a Helmholtz International Fellow.

Dr. Nelson has extensive experience in microbial ecology, microbial genomics, microbial physiology and metagenomics. Dr. Nelson has led several genomic and metagenomic efforts, and led the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006. Additional ongoing studies in her group include metagenomic approaches to study the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, studies on the relationship between the microbiome and various human and animal disease conditions, reference genome sequencing and analysis primarily for the human body, and other -omics studies.

Select Publications

Dugan VG, Emrich SJ, et al.
Standardized Metadata for Human Pathogen/vector Genomic Sequences.

PloS One. 2014 Dec 01; 9: e99979.[more]

Karen E. Nelson
Book Chapter in Bioinformatics and Data Analysis in Microbiology

2014 Mar 01;[more]

Karen E.Nelson
Next-Generation Sequencing, Metagenomes and the Human Microbiome

2014 Feb 01;[more]

Madupu R, Szpakowski S, et al.
Microbiome in Human Health and Disease.

Science Progress. 2013 Nov 01; 96: 153-70.[more]

Brim H, Yooseph S, et al.
Microbiome Analysis of Stool Samples from African Americans With Colon Polyps.

PloS One. 2013 Jan 01; 8: e81352.[more]

Krampis K, Booth T, et al.
Cloud BioLinux: Pre-configured and On-demand Bioinformatics Computing for the Genomics Community.

BMC bioinformatics. 2012 Dec 01; 13: 42.[more]

Jeraldo P, Sipos M, et al.
Quantification of the Relative Roles of Niche and Neutral Processes In Structuring Gastrointestinal Microbiomes.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012 Jun 19; 109: 9692-8.[more]

Fouts DE, Torralba M, et al.
Bacterial Translocation and Changes In the Intestinal Microbiome In Mouse Models of Liver Disease.

Journal of hepatology. 2012 Jun 01; 56: 1283-92.[more]

Ling, X. Z., Kong, M. J., et al.
Molecular Analysis of the Diversity of Vaginal Microbiota Associated With Bacterial Vaginosis

BMC Genomics. 2010 Sep 07; 11(1): 488.[more]

Bik, E. M., Long, C. D., et al.
Bacterial Diversity In the Oral Cavity of 10 Healthy Individuals

Isme J. 2010 Mar 25; 4(8): 962-74.[more]

Chain, P. S., Grafham, D. V., et al.
Genomics. Genome Project Standards In a New Era of Sequencing

Science. 2009 Oct 09; 326(5950): 236-7.[more]

Deboy, R. T., Mongodin, E. F., et al.
Insights Into Plant Cell-wall Degradation from the Genome Sequence of the Soil Bacterium Cellvibrio japonicus

J Bacteriol. 2008 Jun 13; 190(15): 5455-63.[more]

Bek-Thomsen, M., Tettelin, H., et al.
Population Diversity and Dynamics of Streptococcus Mitis, Streptococcus Oralis, and Streptococcus infantis In the Upper Respiratory Tracts of Adults, Determined by a Nonculture Strategy

Infect Immun. 2008 May 01; 76(5): 1889-96.[more]

Wei G, Lu H, et al.
From Phylogenetics to Metagenomics: What Can We Learn About the Gut Microbiota of Giant Panda?

Microbial Ecology. 2007 Jan 01; 54(1): 194-202.[more]

Gill, S. R., Pop, M., et al.
Metagenomic Analysis of the Human Distal Gut Microbiome

Science. 2006 Jun 02; 312(5778): 1355-9.[more]

Deboy, R. T., Mongodin, E. F., et al.
Chromosome Evolution In the Thermotogales: Large-Scale Inversions and Strain Diversification of CRISPR Sequences

J Bacteriol. 2006 Apr 01; 188(7): 2364-74.[more]

Bik, E. M., Eckburg, P. B., et al.
Molecular Analysis of the Bacterial Microbiota In the Human Stomach

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jan 04; 103(3): 732-7.[more]

Eckburg, P. B., Bik, E. M., et al.
Diversity of the Human Intestinal Microbial Flora

Science. 2005 Apr 14; 308: 1635-1638.[more]

Fouts, D. E., Mongodin, E. F., et al.
Major Structural Differences and Novel Potential Virulence Mechanisms from the Genomes of Multiple Campylobacter Species

PLoS Biol. 2005 Jan 01; 3(1): e15.[more]

Nelson, K. E., Fouts, D. E., et al.
Whole Genome Comparisons of Serotype 4b and 1/2a Strains of the Food-borne Pathogen Listeria monocytogenes Reveal New Insights Into the Core Genome Components of This Species

Nucleic Acids Res. 2004 Apr 28; 32(8): 2386-95.[more]