Since February 2018 Karen Nolte has been Professor and Director at the Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine at Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg. Previously, she was an assistant professor at the Institute for the History of Medicine at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg. There she was also the curator of the medical history collections. Prior to her Master's degree in Medieval and Modern History, Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology and Sociology at the Georg-August University of Göttingen, she had completed training in nursing for adults in Celle. She did her doctorate at the University of Kassel in 2000-2002 in the DFG Research Training Group "Public Spheres and Gender Relations. Dimensions of Experience" with a study on the history of everyday life and psychiatry on female hysteria around 1900. Her habilitation in the “History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine” was completed in 2010 at the University of Würzburg on the topic of "Everyday History of Medical Ethics - Dealing with the Seriously Ill and Dying in the 19th Century".
Since March 2021, together with Prof. Dr. Katja Patzel-Mattern (Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr. Sylvia Paletschek (Freiburg), she has been leading the research project funded by the Ministry of Science, Art and Education of Baden Württemberg: "'Single Women', 'Girlfriends', 'Women-Loving Women' - Lesbian Lifeworlds in the German Southwest (ca. 1920s-1970s)" and the sub-project on the history of medicine.
Her main research interests are: History of Psychiatry; Body and Gender History; History of Medical Ethics, Nursing, Health Professions, Obstetrics and Material Culture in Medicine and Nursing in the 19th and 20th centuries.