Karen Lowton is Professor of Sociology (Ageing and Health) at University of Sussex. She initially trained as a registered general nurse at King’s College Hospital, specialising in intensive care before working as a research sister at St George’s Hospital Medical School. Karen left the NHS in 1996 to undertake a mixed-methods PhD in Sociology at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College. On completion of her thesis Karen joined the faculty of King’s College London where she spent 14 years working as research fellow in Palliative Care, lecturer in Nursing, and then senior lecturer in the Institute of Gerontology. Alongside understanding the challenges that people conventionally growing old face, Karen’s research focuses on understanding the health, needs and experiences of ‘new’ ageing populations. These comprise groups of people with rare and complex health conditions who, for the first time in history and due to innovative medical interventions, have been enabled to grow into adulthood. These pioneering groups include adults with cystic fibrosis, autism, and adults who underwent organ transplant as children. Although survival age is increasing, many adults experience traditional challenges of old age much earlier in the lifecourse and for many life expectancy remains shortened. Karen has conducted a number of studies with these groups and those who provide care and support for them, including investigating how end of life care is experienced by families of adults with cystic fibrosis; problematising the ‘transition’ to adult care services of children with rare and complex conditions; and the lived experience of the now-adult survivors of the first paediatric liver transplants in Britain. Karen’s methodological expertise lies in qualitative and health service research; particularly in conducting sensitive research with vulnerable people. She served a maximum term as a member of King’s College London’s College Research Ethics Committee and is currently a member of the Social Sciences & Arts Cross Schools Research Ethics Committee at University of Sussex.