Cooper earned a B.S. in Biology (1984) from South Dakota State University, a M.S. in Biology (2001) from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (2006) from the University of New Mexico.

Personal Statement

Cooper specializes in toxicity of metals, combinations of metals and in combination with DNA damaging agents in a variety of cells types (lung, keratinocytes, melanocytes and kidney cells) and animal models. Specific interests are in mechanisms of the inhibition of DNA damage repair by these environmental toxicants. She completed her dissertation research in Laurie Hudson’s lab and continued as a contributing lab member during her post-doctoral training and currently as a Research Assistant Professor. She is currently investigating the disruption of zinc finger containing DNA repair enzymes by arsenic, uranium, and other environmentally relevant metals and the potential intervention by dietary zinc.

Areas of Specialty

Environmental heavy metals
DNA damage
Oxidative stress


PhD, University of New Mexico, 2006 (Biomedical Sciences)
MS, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 2001 (Biology)
BS, South Dakota State University, 1984 (Biology)

Achievements & Awards

Society of Toxicology, Member and Secretary/Treasurer of Mountain West Chapter
Member Society of Toxicology (2002-2022)

Key Publications

Journal Article
Zhou, Xixi, Sun, X, Cooper, Karen, L Wang, F, Liu, Ke, J Hudson, Laurie, G 2011 Arsenite interacts selectively with zinc finger proteins containing C3H1 or C4 motifs. The Journal of biological chemistry, vol. 286, Issue 26, 22855-63
Journal Article
Cooper, Karen, L Liu, Ke, J Hudson, Laurie, G 2009 Enhanced ROS production and redox signaling with combined arsenite and UVA exposure: contribution of NADPH oxidase. Free radical biology & medicine, vol. 47, Issue 4, 381-8
Journal Article
Ding, W, Liu, W, Cooper, Karen, L Qin, X, J de Souza Bergo, P, L Hudson, Laurie, G Liu, Ke, J 2009 Inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 by arsenite interferes with repair of oxidative DNA damage. The Journal of biological chemistry, vol. 284, Issue 11, 6809-17
Journal Article
Cooper, Karen, L King, B, S Sandoval, M, M Liu, Ke, J Hudson, Laurie, G 2013 Reduction of arsenite-enhanced ultraviolet radiation-induced DNA damage by supplemental zinc. Toxicology and applied pharmacology, vol. 269, Issue 2, 81-8
Journal Article
Zhou, Xixi, Cooper, Karen, L Sun, X, Liu, Ke, J Hudson, Laurie, G 2015 Selective Sensitization of Zinc Finger Protein Oxidation by Reactive Oxygen Species through Arsenic Binding. The Journal of biological chemistry, vol. 290, Issue 30, 18361-9


  • German