Karen has served as Director of Operations at 2Blades since November 2022.  She brings over 20 years’ experience in the agbiotech industry, including research and business roles at BASF. Her career has focused on developing disease and pest control biotech traits and bringing these technologies to market. She earned her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Berkeley, as a National Science Foundation graduate fellow.
What motivated you to work in the agbiotech space? 
I’ve been working in agbiotech my entire career (20+ years)! When I was an undergrad at Rutgers in the late 80’s/early 90’s, this field was still very young. I had planned to study Environmental Science, but I got excited about the brand new Biotechnology degree program being offered – I was especially interested in the potential to decrease fungicide usage by engineering plants to be disease resistant. After completing my BS in Biotechnology, I earned a PhD in Plant Pathology and have mostly been working in this space ever since.
What excites you about 2Blades and your new role as Director of Operations?
I am thrilled to have landed at 2Blades last year! I’ve spent my entire career in private industry up until now; with a focus on a different value proposition, the non-profit sector presents new ways of approaching agbiotech. 2Blades’ mission is the reason I got into agbiotech in the first place – I’m excited to work towards bringing critical genetic technologies to benefit growers who need them the most, yet are least likely to have access to these tools as of now.
The role of Director of Operations is a great fit for me. I’m happy for the opportunity to bring my agbiotech industry experience in operations and project management to support our research programs and enable translation of our research to applications in the field. 
What are you reading/listening/watching right now?
Reading:  I just finished “The Covenant of Water” by Abraham Verghese. Now I’m reading Sinéad O’Connor‘s autobiography, “Rememberings.”
Watching: We watch a lot of sci-fi in our house. Currently: “Strange New Worlds” and “Foundation.”
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Family, friends, and travel! I have 17-year-old twins (one boy and one girl). They are about to start their senior year in high school. They’re both in the school marching band and I am the Secretary of the Band Boosters group. That has been more work than I anticipated!
What gets you motivated to come to work each day? 
I’m motivated by what we’re trying to achieve at 2Blades – I know that our work can impact the lives of so many people. I feel fortunate to have terrific co-workers who are a joy to work with. And I truly enjoy doing everything I can to help our programs move forward, and of course, seeing the results along the way.
What is one thing you would like the general public to know about your work at 2Blades? 
We are small but mighty! And while it may seem that we operate in an esoteric space, our work is critical and the impact is wide.