Karson received his A.S. and B.S degrees from Purdue University and pursued his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he studied cell death pathways. After graduation, he created and was the director of UIUC’s first high-throughput screening facility. Karson then took a position with Johnson & Johnson, where he created another high-throughput screening facility at their Jacksonville site. Currently, he is the managing director of the Purdue University Institute for Drug Discovery. Karson has over 40 issued patents, founded several startup companies, participates as an advisor for multiple companies, and has helped discover and develop multiple drugs in human clinical trials.