Meet Karen Wheeler, physician and long distance runner!

Hi, I'm Karen Wheeler!

What do you work on?

I am an obstetrician-gynecologist. I do a multitude of tasks on a daily basis including seeing patients in the office, managing inpatients, performing surgeries, and delivering babies. I am most interesting in diagnosing and treating patients with infertility which involves thinking through all of the steps of conceiving a baby and where the process could have gone wrong. I don’t necessarily use complex chemistry on a daily basis, but the problem-solving skills I learned while studying chemistry are invaluable.

How did you become interested in chemistry, and what did you study?

I became interested in chemistry in high school because of an amazing high school teacher. I also loved reading the blurbs in the textbooks about how chemistry, and specifically biochemistry, was being used to improve medical care. I studied chemistry in college and became involved in research. I eventually figured out that I wanted to be involved in the process of bringing new discoveries to patients as a physician.

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

I am a long distance runner and compete in marathons and half marathons. I also love to explore the outdoors whether it’s by biking, hiking, or kayaking! Of course after all of that exercise you have to top it off with a great meal!
Exploring Napa Valley by bike

What's your one piece of advice for people interested in chemistry?

Follow your interests. You may not know where life will lead you, but if you follow your passion you will find a way to make a difference in the world.
Hiking on Mount Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona