Karen E. Nelson

Chief Scientific Officer at Thermo Fisher Scientific

Karen Nelson joined Thermo Fisher as Chief Scientific Officer in July 2021.

Prior to joining the company, she spent many years with the J. Craig Venter Institute, a leading nonprofit research institute, serving as President from 2012 to 2021. A pioneer of the human microbiome field, Karen has authored or co-authored over 220 peer-reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology and the newly announced PNAS Nexus, an open-access journal from the National Academy of Sciences. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Karen received a Ph.D. in animal science and microbiology from Cornell University, a master’s in animal science from the University of Florida, and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and animal science from the University of the West Indies.


  • Chief Scientific Officer

    July 6, 2021 - present

View in org chart