Dr. Karen Nelson is a Jamaican-born American microbiologist noted for her research on Thermotoga maritima at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) which demonstrated the existence of horizontal gene transfer. Her team published the first ever human microbiome study in 2006. Dr. Nelson has authored or co-authored over 190 peer reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology. Karen is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and serves on their Board ofLife Sciences. Other honors include being named ARCS Scientist of the Year 2017; elected to the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2018; a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; an Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies; and a Helmholtz International Fellow. Moreover, Scientific American named Dr. Nelson as one of biotechnology’s “leading lights” in its 2015 “The Worldview 100.” Dr. Nelson was educated at the University of the West Indies and earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University.