Karen Hapgood attended Caboolture State High School from 1986 to 1989. In her final year, she won a Comalco Scholarship to study chemical engineering at the University of Queensland. Following graduation, she worked in Victoria, but returned to the University of Queensland to complete her PhD. Her research for her doctorate looked at how to make granules, and led to the formation of the Nucleation regime map, which is widely used in both industry and research.
In 2000, Karen moved to the USA to take up a position with the pharmaceutical company, Merck &Co, working to design and troubleshoot the manufacturing processes for new drugs. These included an HIV drug distributed in Africa through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2006, Karen joined Monash University in Melbourne, where she is now Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. She is globally known as a prominent researcher in the field of wet granulation and particle technology and her work is widely used in both industries. Her excellence extends to her teaching career and in 2010, she was awarded the ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.
Karen has also served as a Member of the Therapeutic Goods Committee from 2008-2014, and is Executive Editor of Advanced Powder Technology, and a Fellow of both IChemE and Engineers Australia.