Department: Clinical Science and Services
Clinical Groups: Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery
Karla is an Associate Professor in Small Animal Surgery at the Royal Veterinary College. She is a recognised RCVS and European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery. She is Head of Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery and Clinical Lead for Small Animal Laparoscopy and Thoracoscopy at the Royal Veterinary College.
Karla studied Veterinary Medicine at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. She graduated from Cambridge in 1998 and went on to complete a one-year Small Animal Internship at the University of Pennsylvania.
Karla won a Wellcome Trust Veterinary Prize Studentship to conduct a PhD in bone biomechanics, at the Royal Veterinary College, between 1999 and 2003. She won Young Investigator Awards from the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and the Society for Advances in Mineral Metabolism for her research, which was published in Nature.
Karla embarked upon a 3-year Residency in Small Animal Surgery at the Royal Veterinary College in 2003. She won the European College of Veterinary Surgeons Award for Best Small Animal Resident Abstract in 2006. In 2007, she successfully passed the Board Examination for entry to the European College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Karla was appointed as a Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery at the University of Cambridge between 2006 and 2008, before returning to the Royal Veterinary College in 2008. In 2010, she won a Medical Research Council Award, in collaboration with Professor Jalan at University College London, to investigate novel therapies for liver failure.
Karla became a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College in 2013 and Associate Professor in 2017. Karla is currently Head of Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery and Clinical Lead for Small Animal Laparoscopy and Thoracoscopy.
Karla has conducted research in the fields of basic science, translational medicine and clinical veterinary medicine.
In 1999, Karla won a Wellcome Trust Veterinary Prize Studentship to conduct a PhD in bone biomechanics. She investigated the role of oestrogen receptor alpha in bone’s response to mechanical loading, with clinical implications for the treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis in women.
Karla’s post-doctoral research was funded by the Medical Research Council, with industry support from Gambro Dialysatoren GmbH, BioProducts Ltd and Haemonetics Ltd. Between 2010 and 2015, she worked in collaboration with the Liver Failure Group at the Royal Free Hospital, University College London to publish a pivotal pre-clinical study, documenting the beneficial effects of a novel liver-assist device in acute liver failure. This device is now in human clinical trials.
Karla collaborates with other clinical specialists, including radiologists, pathologists, intensivists and anaesthetists, to generate a diverse clinical research output. She has published work on surgical attenuation of congenital portosystemic shunts, ureteral ectopia, pyothorax, migrating foreign bodies, stick injuries and hepatobiliary surgery.
Karla's publications are listed at Karla C L Lee on Google Scholar.
Karla is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice from King’s College London in 2011.
At the RVC, Karla is Director of the BVetMed Small Animal Surgery Rotation and BVetMed Strand Leader for the Principles of Science. Karla is course leader for RVC CPD courses in Small Animal Laparoscopy and Small Animal Abdominal Surgery.
Karla is a European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS) resident supervisor and was the 2019 Chair of the ECVS Small Animal Examination Committee.
Karla is Head of Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery and Clinical Lead for Small Animal Minimally Invasive Surgery (laparoscopy and thoracoscopy).
Karla has completed extensive training in minimally invasive surgery at the Royal Free Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and offers a wide range of laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgeries. She is a proponent of virtual reality simulation training in minimally invasive techniques, as means of providing excellent standards of care to the greatest number of veterinary patients.
Karla has many years of experience in emergency surgery of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, biliary system, chest, urinary system and skin.