Karen Sharwood is doing her PhD in exercise physiology with the University of Cape Town, and is based at the MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine in Newlands.
She grew up in Johannesburg but later moved to the coastal town of Port Elizabeth, completing her BA in Human Movement Studies at the nearby Rhodes University in Grahamstown. She then took her studies to Cape Town, where she completed an Honours degree in Exercise Science at the university, where she specialised in biokinetics.
Karen completed her intern year at the Sports Science Institute, where she worked on orthopaedic and cardiac rehabilitation, and conducted academic research. After her internship, she decided to follow the academic route and began her PhD. Her primary research interests include changes in muscle characteristics and physiology associated with chronic endurance training, as well as in hydration and the associated medical consequences of ultra-endurance exercise. She has been directly involved with the medical research undertaken at the South African Ironman triathlon.
In her spare time, Karen likes to run half marathons, fall as often as possible on slippery Star City walkways and electrocute herself on open camera flashes.
Her role on the First African In Space Project is team slave-driver and inflictor-of-pain-through-exercise. She is also in charge of monitoring Mark’s health and fitness during pre-flight preparations and is the principle investigator in the cardiovascular control experiment.
Click here for more information on Karen's experiment on the First African In Space Project.
See below for a list of Karen's logs.