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7 Quick Questions: Meet Charlottesville Kidney Doctor Karen Warburton

Charlottesville kidney doctor Karen Warburton
Kidney doctor Karen Warburton, MD, specializes in kidney and pancreas transplants.

Ever wonder what your doctor or health provider does outside the exam room? Our 7 Quick Questions series gives you a personal glimpse into the people of UVA.

Karen Warburton, MD, FASN, is a Charlottesville kidney doctor at UVA Medical Center. She specializes in kidney and pancreas transplantation, including living donor kidney transplant. 

1. Why did you become a doctor?

I wanted to be a psychologist and ended up taking a lot of neuroscience classes in college. I just fell in love with the science aspect of behavior, ended up taking premed courses and never looked back.

2. Why did you choose your specialty?

Nephrology appealed to my desire to problem-solve in a systematic way and to take care of complex patients. I had great mentors and ultimately became passionate about the field of kidney transplantation, which I think is the most gratifying area within nephrology.

3. What’s your favorite thing about Charlottesville?

We’re excited to be in Charlottesville after being in a big city for 16 years and are just beginning to learn what it has to offer — great public schools, great kids’ activities, wineries, the community. The most fun part is watching my daughter explore.

4. Where did you grow up?

Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’m a huge Carolina Tar Heels fan. It’s going to be hard when UVA plays Tar Heels, but I also have some allegiance to UVA, since I went to college here.

Researching Kidney Transplants?

Learn more about kidney transplants at UVA.

5. What’s the most exciting thing/research happening in your field right now?

I think for me, research in transplantation is the most exciting, because it’s a field that’s still relatively in its infancy. I think the idea of taking basic science concepts, like proteomics or [genome-wide association studies], and thinking about how to apply these to transplant patients — as we think about moving toward an era of individualized medicine — is really exciting.

6. Who is your inspiration/hero?

The person who’s taught me the most about the world is my daughter. But in terms of who I look up to, it’s women who have succeeded in academics, whether it’s medicine or other fields. The president of University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, is a real inspiration who’s shown women can succeed in academics and still maintain their sense of being a woman — so I look up to her.

7. What is your favorite thing about working at UVA?

So far, I think this opportunity to work with a lot of smart people who seem very down-to-earth, are also fun to be around and seem to have a good sense of balance in life.

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