Karen Steel

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Karen Steel
Notable awards FRS FMedSci

Karen P Steel FRS FMedSci[1] is a British scientist, currently Principal Investigator at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Steel is a leader in research into the genetics of hearing and deafness.[2]

Together with Professor Christine Petit, Steel won the Royal Society Brain Prize 2012, for their pioneering work on the genetics of hearing and deafness.[3]

The asteroid 24734 Kareness was named after Steel by its discoverer, Steel's brother, Duncan Steel.[4]


Steel obtained her first degree from Leeds University. She then received her PhD from University College London for her investigatory work into the inner ear in several deaf mouse mutants. She set up the mouse genetics and deafness research programme at the newly established MRC Institute of Hearing Research in Nottingham. Following a second postdoc in Munich, she returned to Nottingham to lead mouse genetics research.[5]


Steel studies the genetics behind deafness, mainly focusing on the genetics of mice in order to identify the genes involved. She strives to find and to understand the molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms involved with being deaf. [6] With her group, she has published phenotypic descriptions of over 80 different mouse mutants.

Currently, her research has focused on the progressive loss of auditory functions. She currently uses the mouse models in order to diagram the timeline of auditory loss in humans. [7]


  1. ^ "Professor Karen Steel FRS FMedSci". The Academy of Medical Sciences. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  2. ^ "Karen Steel elected Fellow of the Royal Society". Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  3. ^ "Fellow awarded the € 1 million Brain Prize 2012". Royal Society. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  4. ^ "24734 Kareness (1992 EA1)". JPL Small-Body Database. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Biography - Karen Steel". Grethe Lundbeck’s European Brain Research Foundation. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  6. ^ "Professor Karen Steel". King's College of London. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Biography - Karen Steel". Grethe Lundbeck’s European Brain Research Foundation. Retrieved 2014-01-31.