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Photo of Cielo, Karen

Karen Cielo, PhD

Director of Research Advancement

Pronouns: She/her


Building & Room:

WROB Room 451


1747 W. Roosevelt Rd. MC 595

Office Phone:



Dr. Cielo has expertise in proposal development, grant writing and editing, team science, project management, teaching, and facilitation.  Her scientific and research background is in molecular genetics & cell biology as well as biomedical engineering.  She has become more of a generalist over the years by working with faculty across the health sciences and STEM fields on interdisciplinary grant proposals.

Dr. Cielo provides support for the conceptualization and development of grant proposals that aim to improve human health and well-being.  She provides strategic guidance, feedback, tools, and tailored resources to increase the competitiveness of the proposals.  She works with early career faculty who are submitting their first NIH R01 (or equivalent) as well as established faculty who are “new” to NIH or preparing larger, more complex proposals.

Selected Grants

National Institute on Aging, Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Diabetes and Renal Failure, PI

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, Small RNAs in Germ Cell Development, PI (award declined)

American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, Midwest Affiliate (competitive renewal), Stem Cells in Mouse Models of Cardiomyopathy, PI

American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, Midwest Affiliate, Stem Cells in Mouse Models of Cardiomyopathy, PI

Publication Aggregators

Service to Community

Amnesty International USA Community Organizing Coordinator

Human Rights Campaign (HRC Chicago) volunteer


B.S., Biopsychology and Cognitive Science, University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Ph.D., Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, The University of Chicago

Professional Memberships

Women In Bio

National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)

Association of Clinical and Translational Science

Selected Presentations

Untangling the ‘Nots’ of Proposal Review Comments: How RD can help PIs who were not funded or not discussed, National Organization for Research Development Professionals 15th Annual Conference, Arlington, VA, May 9, 2023.