Kara earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry, cellular, and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, where she explored the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial division and inheritance. She expanded her research interests with a Damon Runyon Post-Doctoral Fellowship investigating how neuronal tissues grow in Steve Wilson's lab at University College London. During her stay there she was funded by the Wellcome Trust, MRC, and Cancer Research UK and established the foundations for her current work. Her images of zebrafish eyes have been featured in the 2011 Wellcome Collection Image Awards, the MIT Koch Image Gallery, and on the cover of the 7th edition of Molecular Cell Biology, edited by Harvey Lodish. Before joining the biology faculty at Reed College in August of 2012, Kara was a full-time scientific editor of Cell.